These are the best books I read in 2018. Some were published earlier than this, but were read by me in this year. Because I am blind they were all read to me, either by a friend or on audiobook, so sometimes the quality of the reader affects my pleasure in a book. However, I do not claim these to be necessarily the best books, but I can at least say my judgement is completely disinterested. No-one has bribed me in any way! I don’t have enough readers.
So, in alphabetical order:
Simon Armitage, The Unaccompanied. Selected poems.
Julian Barnes, The Noise of Time. A biographical novel about the Soviet composer Shostakovich. A good description of artistic life under Stalin by one of my favourite writers.
Mary Beard, Women and Power, A Manifesto. A short collection of two lectures on the subject of women and politics
Deren Brown, Happy. Yes, this is by the stage magician. It is a detailed description of classical stoicism and how to use it in the modern world. It sounds like a self-help book, but is much more serious than this..
Noah Harare, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. By the author of Sapiens, the bestbook of the century so far. This is not as good, but worth persevering with.
Jeremy Lent, The Patterning Instinct. History of Homo Sapiens through comparative anthropology and linguistics. Fascinating comparison of Eastern and Western thought processes.
George Mombiot, Feral. His book about re-wilding. It changes your view of landscape and conservation.
Chris Packham, Fingers in the Sparkle Jar. Early autobiography of this naturalist. By necessity it concentrates on his autism.
Michael Palin, Erebus, the Story of a Ship. Arctic and Antarctic exploration in the first half of the 19th Century, and the tragedy of Franklin’s search for the Northwest Passage. Palin can write as well as tell jokes.
Richard Powers, The Overstory. A massive novel about the twin strands of the growth of trees and of immigration into the USA. It was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and I think it should have won. Beautiful and poetic, if a little long. Good holiday reading.