Iain M. Banks died in 2013 and with that came an end to his series of Culture novels. Every few years, I end up destroying many days and weeks of sleep by re-reading a selection of these books (life is full, so any reading occurs after 9 pm).
Here's the best of what I read in 2018. I set myself an arbitrary count of ten this year. This really forced me to think about which books had a meaningful impact on me, i.e. not just “great books I can unhesitatingly recommend”.
Here’s the best of what I read in 2016. All, to varying degrees, enlightening, entertaining and infuriating. It was tough to winnow down to a short list — this was a decent reading year.
I offer a line or two of commentary on, and a quote from, each work. The titles link to the Amazon Kindle page for the book. Page numbers are provided for the quotes if available and Kindle locations if not..
P.S. The answer to one obvious question is “on far too many long haul flights”.
I read many of the new histories published during 2014, timed to coincide with the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. These benefit from new research and greater distance from the conflict. But an older work still stands out: Paul Fussell’s critique of English writing about trench warfare, The Great War and Modern Memory.
The thread linking this post's reviews is that each book offers a view into 19th or 20th century Europe.
My reviews are those of an intellectual dilettante, and I make limited attempts to place works or their authors in a wider context. For example, a "professional" review of Joachim Fest's memoir would certainly allude to his role in the Historikerstreit, among other things. Book titles link to the Kindle store page.