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Episode Discussions > Ep 186 Help Thomas choose his 2018 read

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message 1: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (thomasathogglestock) | 251 comments The office is now open to take your suggestions for the one 2018 novel I will read this year. I saw a few of you already post over on the other Ep 186 thread, I will also take those into consideration.

It would be nice to get maybe a sentence or two about why you think *I* would like the book. C'mon people, sell me a book!

message 2: by Daniel (last edited Jun 25, 2018 05:41AM) (new)

Daniel Sevitt | 13 comments It's a tough one. I've read 57 books so far this year, but, according to Goodreads, only two of them were first published in 2018.

I gave An American Marriage by Tayari Jones a rare 1 star review. It's a hopeless puddle of drek.

Sabrina by Nick Drnaso was a genuinely unsettling and timely graphic novel which is firmly filed under not-for-everyone.

Er... that's it. I'm out. Good luck.

message 3: by Alex (new)

Alex | 7 comments i am really enjoying The Mars Room

message 4: by Alex (last edited Jun 25, 2018 07:34AM) (new)

Alex | 7 comments and Julian Barnes's The Only Story was fantastic. It's the story of a twenty something in 1960s England who falls in love with a 40 year old married woman, and traces their relationship over several decades. It's a riveting, both in how it tells the story through the guilty retrospective of the man but also how dealing with issues of mental illness and substance abuse were so difficult in that era.

message 5: by Janet (new)

Janet (justjanet) | 27 comments I have several recommendations.

My favorite book so far this year is The House of Broken Angels. It's about the relationship between 2 Mexican-American brothers. One of them is dying and the family is gathering for one last party as a send off. It's very heartfelt and demonstrates the utter folly of wall-building without being preachy.

If that one doesn't strike you, my second favorite book this year was Anatomy of a Miracle. This book is about an paraplegic Iraqi war vet who experiences a medical miracle and the aftermath of that. It's pretty much a three ring circus with different opinions as to what really occurred and the vetting process by the Catholic church was one of the most fascinating parts.

If neither of those strikes your fancy, The Maze at Windermere is a book I enjoyed that is very experimental in form. I know that's not really your thing Thomas but this one is exceptionally well done. The setting is Newport, R. I. where New York society has summered for centuries. There are 5 different storylines and it alternates between 2011, 1896, 1863, 1778 & 1692 so you have to pay attention but what happens at the end is rather astonishing.

message 6: by Emily (new)

Emily | 2 comments Well Thomas, I can't give a personal recommendation for this book yet because it comes out in July (and I think possibly August in the States) but I'm really excited about the debut novel by Ghanaian author Michael Donkor. I think it will be titled Hold in the U.K. and Housegirl in the U.S. and it's set in both Ghana and London.

I remember you saying in a previous episode of the podcast that you had read quite a few novels set in Nigeria and were looking for authors from different parts of Africa.

The hardback cover looks gorgeous, if that helps!

message 7: by Ruthiella (new)

Ruthiella | 272 comments Of the four books I have read this year published in 2018 I can only recommend The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner. You might like her Thomas, but she is a marmite author. People seem to either like her style or loathe it. I happen to like it.

Her books are circuitous, not plot heavy. She writes with a certain remove from the characters and events. She incorporates history into her books but they don’t feel like “historical” novels. I think her books have an overarching theme but the reader has to work for this a bit, it isn’t obvious.

message 8: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) | 135 comments Well I haven't read any books published in 2018 so far. Next month I have Head On which is both 2nd in a series and scifi so hardly suitable!

Good luck.

message 9: by Lindy (new)

Lindy I can’t think of a single 2018 title for you, so I’m recommending one from last year: Less by Andrew Sean Greer. Smart, funny and satisfying. Adding insult to his many misadventures around the world, the hapless central character, author Arthur Less, is accused of being a “bad gay” by the queer literary community.

message 10: by Stacey (new)

Stacey | 7 comments I recommend The Great Believers. Wonderful story about friendship and the AIDS epidemic.

message 11: by Jamie (last edited Jun 29, 2018 01:32PM) (new)

Jamie (jamie_loves_libraries) I heartily recommend An American Marriage. So good, so current, so well-written!

message 12: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (goodreadscomdawn_irena) | 27 comments Thomas ~ I have been listening to you for a while and I know you like Willa Cather and quite a few traditional literature . I know when we read The Sympathyzer last summer it was not your favorite either. So judging by some of your favorites ans not so favorites, I have picked several on my 2018 favorite read shelf so far and these are some suggestions that I have that may surprise you. If you have not read them already , try these stand outs that I do not thing anyone could put down and really not find something they could not take away and keep in their heart.

1. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
This book was the first to grab my heart and shake my mind and soul. I can’t let go of this story of the four Jewish siblings growing up in NYC who decide under the influence of one of the oldest , Daniel , that this being the last summer all in one school they must do something in remembrance. So, the four save their allowance and decide to visit a fortune teller that will influence the lives of the four forever by telling each the date of their death. Is it true? What would you do if you knew? Each section tells about the life of each sibling. The youngest does not know he is gay until he runs away with his Sister who suspects so and because she wants to go too. It is the historic era in the Little Castro era and Harvey Milk in politics with the horrific beginning of AIDS. His Sister creates a magic act and follows old familial traditions. All of the kids grow and wait for what happens as we follow history along with this beautiful family.

2. The Answers by Catherine Lacy
Quite a look at life and relationships of all types and how people have become so stereotypical and predictable . No one is very original . Unless you live far away from many outside influences of the media , schools, churches, politics, etc... you do not really develop your mind and thoughts without bias . The Character in this story was raised with no bias and is a fish out of water. She becomes involved in a social experiment that pays a fulfilling salary for being a character acting as herself as the role play girlfriend for a famous person who believes he can’t be loved for himself not what he represents ( fame). So many questions and they just lead to more questions with no answers.
I loved this sort of playful philosophical book. It answers some great questions !

3.Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
I could not put this book down. This book was full of love, friendship , love of family, devotion, honor, loyalty, pride, blind faith, adventure, fear, torture and cruelty as I had never imagined yet truth and all there still stands hope in India and in our USA and other countries that fight for the end of the mistreatment of our girls and women in countries everywhere who have no rights to education, jobs, and are inslaved by people who capture them and sell them for work and sex.
This story tugs at your heart as two young girls in the lower caste in India suffer terrible abuse. You follow their stories as one is separated to marry and then sold when her dowry runs out . Then her other friend loses a limb just to get to America to be free, but is she? They keep hope to be reunited. This is during this time period.
Yes, this is still going on and even in our own country.

These are just 3 I suggest so far. I have tons more to suggest in all genres. I read it all.

Good Luck !
From Oxford, Mississippi

message 13: by Kim (new)

Kim (kimfurry) | 12 comments I read one book published this year that I can recommend. You and I share tastes in some ways--I like Trollope and D. E. Stevenson and I enjoy small heart-warming books that are mostly character driven. (If you haven't yet read The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard, boy are you in for a treat.)

So, since I enjoyed it, I thought you might enjoy The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. This book reminded me somewhat of the Hitchcock film Rear Window, so it is a noir thriller. Its been compared to Gone Girl (of course, what isn't?), but I liked it more. It's written in first person, by a woman who was a child psychologist but suffered some unknown trauma and is now afraid to leave the house. Nevertheless, she creates a satisfying world indoors until she sees something in the neighbor's window, and then things start happening. It's compelling without the sickening anxiety of some other suspense novels.

Anyway, it was published in January 2018 so it fits that criteria, is a quick read and doesn't insult one's intelligence. Takes place present time. First person.

message 14: by Kim (new)

Kim (kimfurry) | 12 comments Oops, I just listened to Episode 185 where Simon recommends The Cazalet Chronicles to you, and you say you don't like historical fiction. I remember why, I think. Because you worry about anachronisms. I do, too, and nothing bothered me, at least in the first two books (I haven't read any farther yet).

Since both Simon and I think they're your kind of books, I think you should give the first one a try! It's called The Light Years.

message 15: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (thomasathogglestock) | 251 comments Kim wrote: "Oops, I just listened to Episode 185 where Simon recommends The Cazalet Chronicles to you, and you say you don't like historical fiction. I remember why, I think. Because you worry about anachronis..."

Yes. You got it on the nose. I will have to look into them now that the two of you are ganging up on me.

message 16: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (tracynotstacy) | 26 comments I think that no matter what you decide to read from 2018, there’s already too much build up about it and it’s going to put a damper on the experience no matter how good the book is.

Do a blind buy. Ask your favorite bookseller to pull something from this year that is under the radar and purchase it without looking at it.

message 17: by Nancy (new)

Nancy | 3 comments I agree with you with all the hype a new book gets. I like your idea and is a great suggestion for Thomas. Happy reading,

message 18: by Helen (new)

Helen | 1 comments Thomas, may I suggest A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza. I believe it is the type of quiet novel you enjoy. It's beautiful, complex, sad. There is some shifting from present to past and back, but I did not find it confusing.

message 19: by Kathie (new)

Kathie Kim wrote: "Oops, I just listened to Episode 185 where Simon recommends The Cazalet Chronicles to you, and you say you don't like historical fiction. I remember why, I think. Because you worry about anachronis..."

Many many thanks to Kim for mentioning The Cazalet Chronicles. I was unfamiliar with this series, but it sounded right up my alley. I've spent a few very enjoyable weeks immersed in these books--I'm now about halfway through the fifth book, All Change. Also watched the miniseries, which was pretty unsatisfying. But the books are great!

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