sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

July 10, 2018

top ten tuesday: standout books of 2018 (so far)
posted by soe 1:18 am

As always, I’m behind on book reviews (although I have drafts of two more months of books in the works). I’m not going to give you the ten best titles of the first half of the year, which is this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic. But I will share the four books I’ve particularly enjoyed thus far, in case you’re looking for reading fodder:

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, started out slowly for me and I thought about giving up due to Eleanor’s frustrating personality. I remember thinking that there had better be a good reason for her foibles … and there were. Eleanor is not, in fact, completely fine when the book begins, but by the end she is well on her way to it.

A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles, focuses on a Russian nobleman who escapes being executed or sent to the work camps because of a poem he published when he was young expressing sympathy for the plight of the worker and for the Bolshevik uprising. Instead he is sentenced to house arrest in one of Moscow’s finest hotels, but instead of continuing to occupy his luxurious suite, he is banished to the attic, à la The Little Princess. Instead of moping, though, he finds the best in the situation — and in every other ensuing slight and setback — which positions him well for some very surprising scenarios and relationships.

Obsidio, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, was an excellent conclusion to the Illuminae Files trilogy. Set in space in the future (I want to say the 28th century, but I might be misremembering), the book wraps up the story of teenaged hackers, pilots, drug dealers, and tacticians fighting against intergalactic corporate greed and militarized thugs, and the formerly murderous AI who is helping them (they hope). This installment added a nurse and a soldier to the mix, and as with the earlier two books involves both a pictorial element to the storytelling and a fair amount of kissing.

Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann, relates a forgotten piece of American history — the systematic murder of members of the Osage tribe of Native Americans who, in the first few decades of the 20th century, were some of the richest people in the nation thanks to the discovery of oil on their reservation. While the contemporaneous investigation cemented the reputation of the FBI and did put those directly responsible behind bars, it neglected to realize the extent to which the paternalistic American government bore responsibility because of its refusal to recognize the autonomy of Native Americans, instead insisting that white people be given guardianship over them and their finances.

How about you? What have you read in the first half of the year that you loved and would recommend?

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