Top 10 Tuesday: The Best Books I Read in 2018

A top 10 +1, actually. 

I wrote reviews for most of these, but there are a few I just didn’t get around to reviewing. 

Njals Saga (author unknown) review

Too Like the Lightning/Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer (Terra Ignota series)

I am lumping these two together because they are so closely connected, with the second book picking up right where the first leaves off. These two books are probably my favorite science fiction that I read this year. These books take place in a drastically changed future world that combines aspects of what we would think of as a utopian society. The title of Too Like the Lightning  comes from Romeo and Juliet: “It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden,/Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be/Ere one can say ‘It lightens.’ While in the play, Juliet is expressing doubt about Romeo’s constancy, the allusion is probably meant to raise questions about the attempts at utopianism depicted in the book. 

I didn’t write a real review for these books, so instead, here are some quotes:

from Too Like the Lightning:
Man is more ambitious than patient. When we realize we cannot split a true atom, cannot conquer the whole Earth, we redefine the terms to fake our victory, check off our boxes and pretend the deed is done.”  

from Seven Surrenders:
“If you lived through it, you must remember vividly when you first heard that number, where you were—out shopping, sharing dinner—who first told you, what the wind smelled like. Tens of thousands of days fade into memory’s melting pot, but not the day Death first took someone you loved, not that day. If, on the other hand, you join me from remote posterity, then the picture must be altogether different. Two thousand, two hundred and four: in the coldness of a history book it must seem like nothing– Stalin killed as many in one weekend– and it must fade too beside the millions of the World Wars. Not so for us. For three centuries we had lived out our rose-tinted daydream, convinced that we were peaceful creatures, good at heart, like Locke or Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Noble Savages; now we woke to find ourselves still brutish humans in the thrall of Hobbes.”  

Splintered Light: Logos and  Language in Tolkiens World by Verlyn Flieger 

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (reread) – In which an angel and a demon team up to stop the end of the world. I’ve never reviewed this, but I’ve read it three times. I mentioned this in a previous Top 10 Tuesday for cozy winter reads, but I have to mention it here, too. 

“Don’t tell me from genetics. What’ve they got to do with it?” said Crowley. “Look at Satan. Created as an angel, grows up to be the Great Adversary. Hey, if you’re going to go on about genetics, you might as well say the kid will grow up to be an angel. After all, his father was really big in Heaven in the old days. Saying he’ll grow up to be a demon just because his dad _became_ one is like saying a mouse with its tail cut off will give birth to tailless mice. No. Upbringing is everything. Take it from me.” 

Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt review

The Iliad by Homer (reread)  review  one of my favorites!

Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R.Tolkien (reread) review 

The Silmarillion by J.R.R.Tolkien (reread) review (I posted this review to GoodReads as well as my blog, but my blog automatically takes out the hidden comments in spoiler tags and I am not sure how to add them back in while keeping the spoiler tags. I should fix that, but for now, I have linked to GoodReads.) Also one of my favorites

Manfred by Lord Byron review a new favorite!

Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr by John Crowley review 

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The Children of Hurin by J.R.R.Tolkien (reread) – In December, I read this for the second time. (I had previously read most of it in Unfinished Tales, before it was published as a standalone book, so really it was more like the third time). I want to write something about my reread when I get around to it. The best piece of writing I’ve read about this book is this essay by lintamande at tumblr. She’s quite right to note that, as grim as this tale is, Turin’s choices overall arent as futile and self-destructive as those of some other characters, and his accomplishments are not altogether useless. 

Published by Beth @ Beth's Bookish Thoughts

This blog is for my thoughts on reading. A couple of my friends on GoodReads have blogs, so eventually I decided to start one myself. I hope to get involved in the book blogging community and become a better reader and writer! I am not accepting copies of new books for review, but I would be interested in new editions or new translations of classic authors. Find me on Upwork (as an editor) in the profile link. From September 2018 to October 2020 I blogged at Blogger.

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