My Top 12 Reads of 2018

Wednesday, 29 April 2020
Ok so, I think it's pretty safe to say that my blogging has dropped off substantially over the last year or so. I started this post at the end of 2018/beginning of 2019 and I'm ashamed to say that I'm only just getting round to finishing it now. And by this point, my 2019 round up is well overdue too. But hey, better late than never. As usual, these are my favourite books that I personally read in 2018, not necessarily books that were released in 2018. And they're in no particular order, but may help anyone looking for some recommendations for lockdown reads.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid was one of my favourite books of 2018. So I started off the year by checking out some of his other work. This was another favourite of mine. The Reluctant Fundamentalist has a bit of a weird set up, so I'll try my best to explain. This book reads like someone is talking to you. You have to imagine that you are an American citizen who works in security in Pakistan. You are eating in a restaurant when a stranger approaches you and starts to tell you his story. He tells you, he went to university there and worked in New York City for a while before moving back to Pakistan after 9/11. This book is spectacularly written but is an uncomfortable read at the same time. I think its main goal is to show how people develop an anti-American sentiment. It challenges your views when you read it. This book is powerful.

Sourdough by Robin Sloan
I must admit that I was a little shocked when looking back at the list of books I read in 2018, to see that this one was even in there. I pretty much fell in love with this book from the first page and it's been a favourite ever since I couldn't really believe that this time last year I hadn't read it yet. This book follows Lois, a busy tech worker in San Francisco. One night she decides to order takeout from a leaflet she gets through the door for a soup place. She falls in love with their soup and bread combo and quickly becomes friends with the brothers who run the place. When they suddenly up and leave, they leave their sourdough starter behind and Lois tries making some for herself. She quickly gets drawn into the world of breadmaking, although the sourdough starter is not quite what it seems. Robin Sloan is a phenomenal writer, his books walk the line between real life and magical fiction and they are sublime.  This book made me fall in love with bread baking. 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This novel follows two half-sisters and their separate bloodlines. Effia and Esi are half-sisters, born into two different villages in Ghana. Effia marries an Englishman and remains in Ghana whilst Esi is imprisoned and sold into slavery, then shipped off to North America. This novel has one chapter from a member of each bloodline at each generation. I think that this is one of the best books I've ever read, it grips you right in from the start and addresses many big issues in a powerful and punching manner. Even years later, I'm still blown away by how clever this book is and I would really recommend it.