Here are all the books I remember reading in 2018, in no particular order, with my thoughts.
Grid, by Alice Tarbuck (Sad Press, 2018)
This is such a beautiful pamphlet full of beautiful poems. I re-read Grid all the time.
How to be both, by Ali Smith (Penguin Random House, 2014)
I love this book and this was probably my third or fourth time re-reading it. It’s about loss and about painting and gender and friendship, and for me it is also a book about having a mother.
The White Book, by Han Kang (Portobello Books, 2017)
Recommended by Anna P.
I read this book over the winter break and really enjoyed it. It was painful and beautiful and true, about grief and hurt and recovery.
Conversations with Friends, by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber, 2017)
Recommended by Sasha de Buyl, who also kindly lent me her copy.
I read this book obsessively, and I thought it was remarkable. Friendship and desire and bisexuality, and it features one of my favourite things which is where all the characters get drunk and things fall apart/are revealed.
Mayhem & Death, by Helen McClory (404 Ink, 2018)
I was lucky to be given a proof copy of this book.
I loved this book. Its stories are worlds. My favourite is This Land.
Normal People, by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber, 2018)
Recommended by Sasha de Buyl, who also kindly lent me her copy (again).
I enjoyed this book and thought it was difficult and good. Love and friendship and secrets and pain.
Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng (Little, Brown, 2017)
A gift from A.
This was such a great book! I couldn’t stop reading it, and I would highly recommend it.
All the Hidden Truths, by Claire Askew (Hodder & Stoughton, 2018)
A painful and affecting and vivid book with heart.
Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng (Little, Brown, 2014)
A gift from Sim Bajwa.
It is possible I loved this book even more than her second book. It weaves in and out of perspectives and towards an inevitable conclusion that is hidden in plain sight. I read this book in one sitting.
Melmoth, by Sarah Perry (Serpent’s Tail, 2018)
I bought this book at the airport before flying to Argentina.
I mean, what to say? This book has haunted me since I read it. Please read it so we can talk about it. It is masterful and brilliant.
Attrib. and other stories, by Eley Williams (Influx Press, 2017)
This is so great. Such wonderful stories, such vivid surprising language.
Hera Lindsay Bird, by Hera Lindsay Bird (Penguin, 2017)
This book was a gift from Dave Coates.
What a joy, what a treat. (If you haven’t read or listened to her Pyramid Scheme yet, please do.)
The Chimes, by Anna Smaill (Sceptre, 2015)
This book was a gift from Sophie from when I last visited her in Wellington.
A miracle of a book. It took me a while to get into the language of the writing but when it clicked it clicked. It is very good.
The End We Start From, by Megan Hunter (Picador, 2017)
This book was a gift from Sim Bajwa.
I loved this long poem of a book, painting a dystopian sinking world. It’s about the possibilities and impossibilities of escape, and about having a baby.
Bottled Goods, by Sophie van Llewyn (Fairlight Books, 2018)
This book was a gift from Alice Tarbuck.
This novella-in-flash tells the story of one woman’s struggle under communism in Romania. I had never read anything like this before, structurally. I am glad I read it. The whole thing was very impressive and the images – real and magical – were bright and vivid, and will stay with me.