TOP BOOKS OF 2018
(Don’t be afraid - these reviews are all spoiler free.)
This was the first book I’ve ever read by Murakami and it did not disappoint. After Dark is a beautifully atmospheric ‘high-concept’ piece. Whilst reading it, I felt myself being swept through the jazz bars and love hotels of Tokyo in vivid detail. Although it isn’t massively plot driven, After’s Dark’s characters are examined in immense depth and a lot of their experiences and emotions really resonated with me.
TL;DR - it was gorgeous and I sped through it.
The Farm was one of the only books I was able to finish whilst completing my degree. If you’re looking for an absolute page-turner, this English/Scandinavian thriller is it. I literally couldn’t stop reading. That being said, I have read thrillers with more clever conclusions. This one is definitely about enjoying the journey, rather than the destination but it’s definitely still worth reading!
Things Fall Apart
I originally read Things Fall Apart at school when I was about 14. I’m disappointed, but not surprised, to say it was taught poorly and didn’t really unpack it’s very blatant anti-colonial sentiment (crazy right)? I decided to read it again as an adult and this time it was absolutely breathtaking. The slow, calculated chipping away of Igbo culture was explored by Achebe in great depth, through the lens of extremely complex and well thought out characters. I feel like this is a must read book for everyone.
I can’t believe I made it to the end of 2018 without having ever read Fahrenheit 451. It was great to read a story that examined the power of books in shaping our world-view and reiterated to me the importance of reading as much as I can about as much as I can. Would we be happier not knowing about the complexities of the world? Bradbury says definitely not.
I read this book in October (Black History Month here in the UK) and I was completely blown away. I realised I had not read any science fiction by women of colour, which is completely ridiculous. Kindred follows a woman who suddenly and repeatedly gets sucked back in time to save one of her white ancestors, thus preserving her family line and her own existence. It was a gripping and exciting read. I loved how Octavia Butler used time travel as a means of unpacking themes of race and generational trauma. It’s honestly a modern classic and absolutely should be required reading.
Convenience Store Woman
I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did. I read it in one sitting and laughed out loud so much that I annoyed the people around me. For such a short read, Sayaka Murata creates interesting characters with phenomenal depth, whom you can strongly identify with despite their often ‘odd’ and ‘extreme’ actions. Also, the author works part-time in a convenience store herself! Amazing!
Half of a Yellow Sun
I’m so glad that I finally read Half of a Yellow Sun. Reading this book was such an important part of my year. As a Nigerian, I really wanted to know more about such a seminal part of Nigerian and African history. This novel was not an easy read and haunted me for a long time afterwards, but I think it’s one that everyone should pick up and read at some point in their life.
Excited to see how many amazing books I get through this year!