The moment has arrived. 2018 is over, even for quite some time and it’s time to take stock. This year I read particularly little, only 29 books, but quantity is rewarded by quality. But what were the books I preferred in this 2018? Here is the Top 10 in this sort of classification. Enjoy the reading.
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Let’s start from the back with a novel of which I have already spoken abundantly, or “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson.
A terrifying gothic novel, but divinely written that will keep you in suspense until the last page. I have already made a review, which I leave you here: http://www.mjpsreviews.com/2018/10/16/the-haunting-of-hill-house-book-by-shirley-jackson-review/
This year has also been adapted into a TV series, of which I spoke to you. Here it is: http://www.mjpsreviews.com/2018/10/25/the-haunting-of-hill-house-series-no-spoiler-review/
Hill House: https://amzn.to/2D6IuVq
We proceed with a novel by a well-known Japanese author: “1Q84” by Haruki Murakami.
Novel divided into three volumes that follows the story of two- and then three-protagonists: Tengo and Aomame, who will then be joined by Ushigawa. At the beginning everything seems divided, but the streets of all three characters are destined to meet to proceed in one direction.
A very good read, full of interesting topics and themes and treated in a very unusual way. Also of 1Q84 I made a review, and you can find it here: http://www.mjpsreviews.com/2018/11/10/1q84-by-haruki-murakami-review/
1Q84 Books 1 & 2 & 3: https://amzn.to/2AGJeiI
Great classic that I recovered this year, and it immediately turned into one of my favorite books, is “Howards End” by E.M. Forster.
Published in 1910 “Howards End” is considered the masterpiece of E.M. Forster, and for a good cause. With an excellent prose, flowing, refined and elegant, Forster describes the relationships of the English upper class. Cold relationships, all based on money and wealth. This is the background in which the main characters, Margaret and Helen Schlegel, live, who seem to be the only two people to have kept a minimum of gallantry. A super recommended book.
I also recommend the 1992 film directed by James Ivory and adapted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, with Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter.
Howards End: https://amzn.to/2Mb20mU
Another great book that I recovered only this year was: “The Man in the High Castle”.
Ukronic novel of 1963 that imagines a world in which the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo axis was to have won the Second World War, and it does so in an excellent manner. This is not a science fiction novel, or just of ucrony, it is literature. Dick’s writing is beautiful and well taken care of and this book is really worth reading. I also made a review, which you can find here: http://www.mjpsreviews.com/2018/04/25/the-man-in-the-high-castle-by-philip-k-dick/
I have not yet seen the TV series that made Amazon Prime, but sooner or later I will, and I’ll let you know what I think.
The Man in the High Castle: https://amzn.to/2Fy5oqL
Novel that closes this “bottom-five” is one of my last readings of the year, and it is “The Green Mile” by Stephen King.
Novel that certainly everyone knows, thanks to the film of the same name, and, for the moment, the best novel by King that I have read. One of the few non-genre writings by King that stars an old prison guard who tells us in flashbacks of when a strange black man arrives in his prison and the strange events that follow. A strong, moving and full of magical and religious realism. Recover it if you miss it.
I also recommend Frank Darabont’s film with Tom Hanks and Michael Clark Duncan. A good product, even if not at the levels of the book.
The Green Mile: https://amzn.to/2smgJCh
And here we are in top-5. Ready to find out what are the five books that I liked best this year?
We start with a bang with “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.
A wonderful novel as much as creepy. Atwood, whose prose flows as light as a river, builds a world in which women have lost everything: the right to vote, to speak, to have goods, the name and even fertility. The only ones who can have children are made handmaid and given to one of the many wealthy families of Gilead to get pregnant and then move on to another family. A very current novel for our times and that there makes it clear how easy it is to lose everything that is taken for granted.
The series is super-recommended. I have not seen the second season yet, but the first is a bomb. Look at it.
The Handmaid’s Tale: https://amzn.to/2M5Xq9m
Another great classic recovered was “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen, whom I discovered to adore.
An extraordinary novel! Two sisters, Eleanor and Marianne, are the protagonists of this masterpiece, the first is the sense, the other the sensibility, the impulsiveness. Both will find themselves entangled in love situations and will face it in a very different way. With a bold and ironic style, Austen gives a perfect insight into the England of its time and the relationship within the bourgeois band. Suggested reading.
Also in this case I recommend the film adaptation, directed by Ang Lee and written by Emma Thompson, who won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Sense and Sensibility: https://amzn.to/2Mb1IMQ
And we finally arrived on the podium and start with an Italian. I’m talking about Elena Ferrante and her very famous work “My Brilliant Friend”.
The first of four novels of the Neapolitan series, the book tells us about the friendship between Lenù and Lila, two little girls, and then teenagers, who grow up in a ward in Naples in the 50s. First time I approached Ferrante and came out in love with her. She has a simple prose, smooth and real. He can describe everything in a few words. So, up, run to the bookstore.
Obviously I also saw the TV series Rai-HBO and I recommend that too. Very faithful to the page and the magic that is created by reading the book. Saverio Costanzo has captured the essence of this wonderful novel.
My Brilliant Friend: https://amzn.to/2SQpr7v
For the last two novels, let’s returns in England. And let’s start with “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro, Nobel Prize for Literature 2017.
A very strong novel that emotionally upset the reader. Never Let Me Go is a coming-of-age novel with a bit of science fiction and dystopia telling about Kathy, a girl who is an assistant. What does it mean? Read the novel and you will understand. I wrote a review, here it is: http://www.mjpsreviews.com/2018/04/05/never-let-me-go-by-kazuo-ishiguro-review/
I have not seen the film because I am very skeptical. I do not think a movie of this book makes any sense. If you have seen it, write me down here and tell me what you think.
Never Let Me Go: https://amzn.to/2AIhTfT
And closes this “classification” another novel by Ishiguro, or “The Remains of The Day”, winner of the Man Booker Prize in 1989.
ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE! My favorite book of the year. The protagonist is Mr. Stevens, a butler who, through his first trip to the English countryside, will think of his entire life at the service of Lord Darlington, his old gentleman, and the old housekeeper, Miss Kenton, for whom he has always felt a strong feeling. who has repressed. Another emotionally upsetting novel that deals with a myriad of themes, in a more than profound and satisfying way. You must absolutely read it.
Also this book a film has been adapted in a movie and I recommend it. Directed by James Ivory, written by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, The Remains of the Day is one of the best films of the 1990s.
The Remains of the Day: https://amzn.to/2sr49l2
This was my list of the ten best books I read this year. But now I’m curious to hear yours. Comment here, or write it on Twitter. As you wish. I hope that some of these titles have interested you, thank you for reading and, if you liked the article, share it and follow the blog, or via your e-mail or via Twitter. Thanks and see you next time.