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Sam Freedman @Samfr
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The past few years I've done a blog on my favourite books of the year but no one has the attention span for blogs anymore.

So here's a thread on my top 10 favourite books of 2018, in case anyone wants inspiration for late present buying.
1. The Odyssey trans. @EmilyRCWilson

I devoured this last Christmas. Wilson is the first woman to translate The Odyssey and she certainly brings out new aspects of characters like Penelope and Circe.

But it's also just the best translation ever done. Check out the opening.
2. The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich.

IMHO Alexievich is the greatest living writer in any form. Her style of telling stories through the words of others is mesmerizing and astonishingly powerful. This is her first book on the experience of Soviet women in WW2.
3. The Mixer by @Zonal_Marking

It being a World Cup year I read a lot of football books. This was my favourite - a history of tactics in the PL era. You'll never watch a game in the same way again after reading it.

(Also recommend @jonawils's "Angels with Dirty Faces")
4. Khrushchev by William Taubman

Best biography I read this year (his new one on Gorbachev is on my shelf). A balanced and v entertaining portrait of one of the unusual men ever to lead a superpower.

Also has the best cover of any book I read this year.
5. The Kingdom by Emmanuel Carrere

Carrere is a French writer who combines memoir + fiction and in this case the history of the early church as well. By cutting back between his own life and that of Paul, in particular, he sets out a whole different way to think about religion.
6. My Struggle Vol. 1 by Karl Ove Knausguaard

The first in a now infamous series of hyper-real memoirs. This volume focuses on his father's death (there are five more). The hyper-real style - so detailed that it can't possibly be accurate memory - is weirdly compelling + moving
7. Behave by Robert Sapolsky

The most informative book I read this year. Fascinating insights into every aspect of behaviour from the chemical and genetic to the psychological. Huge but the quirky style - while sometimes grating - also makes it very readable.
8. American Tabloid by James Ellroy

Favourite English language novel of the year (also loved the sequel - The Cold Six Thousand). A underworld/conspiracy version of 60s US history complete with Bay of Pigs, the Kennedys and various Hollywood stars. Great fun.
9. We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates

One of my favourite writers at the moment - his memoir "Between the World and Me" is stunning - this is eight connected essays on race in the Obama era. The epilogue eviscerates the take that Trump's rise is due to economics.
10. Vernon Subutex One by Virginie Despentes

An extremely funny novel by the controversial French writer (is there any other kind?). Follows a homeless record shop owner as he crashes at the homes of various awful former acquaintances who want the one possession he's kept.
I should add that I also read a lot of trashy novels on planes. Favourites of the year were: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes; The Passage by Justin Cronin and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (much better than the film but only read if a) a massive nerd b) you were alive in the 80s)
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