My 2018 in Books

This time last year I did a long retrospective post on what I read in 2017, I thought about doing the same format this year an ’18 best reads of 2018′ list but I realised that what I had to say about my reading this year was a lot more complex than a simple list post.

2018 was the year that I learnt that reading is hard. It was easy while I was at University and had all the time in the world, motivated by the end goals of discussions and essays, I read my set texts and enjoyed reading around the curriculum. Now I do not have the restriction of a set course reading list to keep me on track I sometimes feel lost in the world of literature, unsure how to read a book without a pencil in one hand and half a brain on what the book is trying to say rather than what the words on the page actually say. I also have less time to read, and reading is a hobby that takes time, if I leave it too long between sessions reading a book I lose track on the plot and find it frustrating to go back to so give up on a novel. I find myself torn in my free time between doing something easy like watching youtube and picking up a new book, which requires mental energy and engagement. 

About halfway through the year I almost entirely stopped reading novels and started reading manga, which is why my list is 60 books long. Manga was like a breath of fresh air. It combined my love of visual media like films and TV with literature, I fell in love with the genre instantly. I could read a single edition in a day on my way to and from work, so it became a perfect way to fit reading into my busy schedule. Manga was a window into a new style of reading, one that engaged my creative brain and allowed me to learn about a new culture. It opened my eyes to a section of book shops I’d never looked at before, and has allowed me to learn about super cool independent book stores in my city. I’d be pushed to choose a favourite manga from the year, but it’d probably be a tie between Death Note and Kuma Miko. One an iconic supernatural detective story, and the other a super kawaii story about a girl raised by a talking bear.

I revisited the Harry Potter series yet again this year, which was a great comfort to me when I first moved to Manchester in June. Having a series of old favourites to read kept me happy and positive while I got used to a whole new life. As more changes come in 2019 I think I’ll revisit more old favourites and try and find some new friendly books that I’ll be rereading in years to come.

The list below of what I read this year for me is a sort of scrapbook or photo album, a collection of memories. I can think back to the texts in bold that I read in my final term of University and the stress they came hand and hand with, or I can remember the first mangas I read when I felt like discovering something new. The length of the list does not symbolise a target for the coming year, or an achievement for the previous one. The only thing I want to achieve in 2019 is to read more widely again, to commit time, when I can, to exploring new genres and thinking about literature in a more creative and personal way. 

What I read this year (Texts in bold are ones I read for University, texts in italic are ones that I reread this year):

  1. If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler – Italo Calvino
  2. Look, Stranger! – W.H. Auden
  3. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  4. The Children of Men – P.D. James
  5. Time’s Arrow – Martin Amis
  6. Fiesta – Ernest Hemingway
  7. Antony and Cleopatra – William Shakespeare
  8. Carrie – Stephen King
  9. 10 Days in the Mad House – Nellie Blyh
  10. From Here to Eternity – Caitlin Doughty
  11. It – Stephen King (only managed to finish half of it)
  12. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
  13. Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
  14. The Finger – William Burroughs
  15. Til September Petronella – Jean Rhys
  16. Piers of the Homeless Night – Jack Kerouac
  17. The Outsider – Albert Camus
  18. Hamlet – William Shakespeare
  19. A Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare
  20. Venus and Adonis – William Shakespeare
  21. Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
  22. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
  23. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  24. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  25. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  26. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  27. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
  28. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  29. Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie
  30. Crash – J.G. Ballard
  31. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  32. Thinner – Stephen King
  33. No Country for Old Men – Cormac McCarthy
  34. Death Note (Black Edition I) – Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
  35. Death Note (Black Edition II)
  36. Death Note (Black Edition III)
  37. Death Note (Black Edition IV)
  38. Death Note (Black Edition V)
  39. Death Note (Black Edition VI)
  40. Your Name (Volume 1) – Makoto Shinkai and Ranmaru Kotone
  41. Your Name (Volume 2)
  42. Your Name (Volume 3)
  43. 5 Centimetres Per Second – Makoto Skinkai
  44. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
  45. Orange (Volume 1) – Ichigo Takano
  46. Orange (Volume 2)
  47. Orange – Future
  48. The Word is Murder – Anthony Horowitz
  49. The Gods Lie – Kaori Ozaki
  50. Kuma Miko (Volume 1) – Masume Yoshimoto
  51. Kuma Miko (Volume 2)
  52. Kuma Miko (Volume 3)
  53. Kuma Miko (Volume 4)
  54. Kuma Miko (Volume 5)
  55. Kuma Miko (Volume 6)
  56. Kuma Miko (Volume 7)
  57. Kuma Miko (Volume 8)
  58. The Count of Monte Cristo (Manga adaptation) – Nokman Poon and Crystal S. Chan
  59. Setting the Table – Danny Meyer
  60. We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson

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