So after less than two weeks it is pretty clear that 2018 will be at best just as bad as 2017, and that is at best. Let’s be honest, it’s going to get a lot more awful before it gets better and it’s not going to get better. We had a good run but actually the run wasn’t even all that good and the only reason we’re remembering it fondly is we’ve forgotten how it felt before everything fell apart. I guess what I’m saying is everything is terrible and only getting worse. Would you like to distract yourself from how horrible everything is but also not hate yourself for suddenly realizing you just watched eight straight hours of “golden age” television, which apparently means elves fucking their sisters?
Good news: Books still exist. I read a bunch of them last year, and these are the ones I enjoyed the most. It is an idiosyncratic list based on my own personal tastes but guess what, I am the one writing this post, what else would it be based on? In any event, there will certainly be something here for you to enjoy. I am not going to tell you too much about each title because I think we all know that the more you read about a book in a review the more you feel as if you have already read the actual book and therefore don’t need to pick it up. These are all good books, and they all deserve to be read. Note: This list is roughly in order of when I read them last year, so don’t think they are ranked or weighted any other way. Okay, here we go.
Guy Delisle, Hostage: This is also a terrific example of how graphic novels do things that prose alone cannot. Tonally the opposite of Monsters, Delisle’s story of a 1997 kidnapping and captivity in the Caucasus creates a gripping intensity through simplicity and repetition.
Anneli Furmark, Red Winter: If internecine leftist political strife in late ’70s Sweden does not sound like something that appeals to you let me tell you that you are not alone. BUT Anneli Furmak’s story of an affair set during that period and the effects it has on the lives of the people connected to its two main characters is heartbreaking and universal. This is another one where the art adds an entirely different component to the weight of the tale.