In the distance, Hernan Diaz

Christmas is almost here so it’s time once again for my end-of-year list of the best books I read during 2018 (here’s last year’s list). These have nothing to do with urbanism; in fact many are novels. This custom dates from when I first started The Urbanist as it was originally set up with the intent of discussing novels as well as urban issues. That ambition went by the wayside long ago but the holiday season provides an excuse to return to reading.

Of the books I read during 2018, these stand out as worth recommending to others; I rate them all as at least four stars. I don’t classify them as “beach reads” or “serious literature”; if they’re worth spending a lot of time with then they’ve got to be engaging in one way or another.



They might appeal to a narrower audience, but I also enjoyed Kristina Olssen’s novel, Shell, set during the construction of the Sydney Opera House, and Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday.

Non Fiction


There are several books related to the ‘DNA Revolution’ in this year’s list because I wanted to learn more about one of the most far-reaching and rapid areas of change in our understanding of how the world works; they’re all suitable for the general reader, though.