Sunday 30 December 2018

Best and Worst of the Year - 2018

When I did my last post I realised that it had been a great year of reading. In the eight years of Excelsior I have only awarded the sublime rating thirteen times. This year I rated four books as sublime. I choose to believe that my critical faculties have not deserted me and that these books were genuinely brilliant. Two were collections of short stories: Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges and Store of the Worlds by Robert Sheckley, and two were novels: Solaris by Stanislaw Lem and Runaway Horses by Yukio Mishima. Truth be told I cannot separate them and collectively they were the best literature I read this year and indeed, for many years.

None of the above were book club books, but the best of those was definitely Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, read way back in January. The book club was responsible for the worst book of the year, which was by far and away The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indridason, which was one of the dullest novels I have ever read, although the writing was technically proficient, which ultimately saved it from the rare occurrence of a reprehensible rating.

This year also saw the adoption of a new method of choosing books to read. I realised that many of my unread books were never really considered because they were stored in parts of the house that I didn't really go to when choosing something new to read; so I began selecting one book from the six main areas where I store books in a systematic fashion. Books that I've had sitting there unread for years are now getting a look in and I even suspect that this is why I've had a cluster of sublime ratings; the gold has been sitting there and I haven't been digging it up! Now - ever upwards into 2019....

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