As always, we must clarify that these are the most appreciated books mentioned in this blog during 2018. The books themselves weren’t published in 2018, because then they would be expensive and not on Thriftbooks. The happy news is unlike 2017, which was a minefield of clunkers, 2018 held some absolute gems. Not that we would have known it as Fortuna, that capricious sprite, started us off with the Scooby Doo book Meddling Kids, which was fun, but was no harbinger of the fine literature to come. Brass tacks? Here they are:
Gold: Crossing to Safety (Wallace Stenger) – If there is better writing out there anywhere, contact us immediately. As Stegner says, how can you create a story from such ordinary lives? By being a writer, whose characters are almost corporal, that’s how. Writing, writing, writing. Not a pile of coke on a black desk.
Silver: Brodeck (Philippe Claudel) – The best discussion book of all time…unless we are forgetting another. Hopefully, high schools rotate out some of their ineffective reading list in favor of Brodeck. The danger of the forming mob, being or targeting the outsider, that is how trouble starts, and its very scalable. Powerful novel. It took a miracle to keep it from taking the gold.
Bronze: Submission (Michel Houellebecq) – Furious battle for the Bronze. This one is not about the writing, because there were better. If you are certain that “Build the Wall” is the dog whistle of MAGA wearing goat effers, then validate your odium with a story involving a probable forecast of France’s future. LBJ swore the Immigration Act of 1965 would not affect the culture or composition of the U.S. but look at us now. What do you think about Houellebecq’s projection?
As our 2017 picks blew birds, our 2018 picks were mostly on target. Big upps for Wonder Boys, Lincoln in the Bardo, The Killer Inside Me, The Painted Veil and Brooklyn. All remarkable reads. Let’s hope we don’t roll a crap 7 in 2019. May St. Francis de Sales, the patron Saint of writers keep smiling.
If you want to read slightly more detailed reviews, click on the word “Home” & scroll down. Happy Festivus.