Nathanial Garrod

The Top Five Books I Read in 2018

At the end of August, 2018 it occurred to me that the vast majority of books I read so far in the year were by white men. I looked at book after book and found myself in a pile of books by white men.

As I tally all the books I read this year, I find that even after becoming aware of what I’m reading and working to be more open and inclusive in my practice, I end the year having read 67% books written by white men.

I say this because the purpose of reading is to grow ones perspective and worldview, because science fiction (my favorite genre to read in) is a historically white male dominated genre, and because there are so many great books out there by folks that are not the same as me.

This effort did effect what I read for the rest of the year, but obviously not enough. As I go into 2019, I will be making an effort to read new and different authors.

All this in mind, my top five books of 2018 were:

Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross is a mashup of concepts we see in books like Ready Player One and The Hunger Games, but without the reliance Ready Player One has on referencing 1980s and 1990s pop culture or the insistence Hunger Games has on forcing the reader into caring about a love triangle.  

The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark

I felt incredibly lucky to nab this from the library within a few weeks of its release – steampunk is not usually my think, but this Caribbean-influenced steampunk set in New Orleans is absolutely incredible. It reads quick and the writing is so smooth.

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

It turns out that starting intense and very emotional books on vacation is my think, and I guess I’m okay with that. This graphic memoir is about a families journey moving from Vietnam and making a future in the United States.

The Vision by Tom King

So, I know this technically did not release in 2018, but the edition I read was a special edition omnibus. I remember when the issues of this comic were releasing and everyone was saying it was so mind-blowing – so I finally took some time to make my way through it and wowowowow I never expected to enjoy a Vision story as much as I enjoyed this. I will probably eventually pick up a physical copy to put next to my copy of Fraction’s Hawkeye.

No Time to Spare: Thinking About the What Matters by Ursula Le Guin

Yeah, this didn’t come out in 2018 either, but December 2017 should count. Would you believe this is the first book I have finished written by Le Guin? I loved reading her short thoughts, excerpted from her blog in a collection categorizing essays/blog posts by subject.

Out of the 80 books I read this year, these were the best five. I enjoyed some other books (Stalking Jack the Ripper, Dragonflight, and Thrawn: Alliances come to mind), and disliked a few – you can check out my Goodreads for more on this.

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