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.
- Pachinko, Min Jin Lee
- In the Distance, Hernan Diaz
- Less, Andrew Sean Greer
- Standard Deviation, Katherine Heiny
- A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles
- Home Fire, Kamila Shamsie
- Exit West, Mohsin Hamid
- The Force, Don Winslow
- Reservoir 13, Jon McGregor
- Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis, Lisa Sanders
- Two Sisters: A Father, His Daughters, and Their Journey into the Syrian Jihad, Åsne Seierstad
- Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution, Todd S Purdum
- Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, Steven Pinker
- Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization, Branko Milanovic
- Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are, Robert Plomin
- Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past, David Reich
- The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—And Us, Richard O Prum
- She has her Mother’s Laugh, Carl Zimmer
- The Secret of our Success: How Culture is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating our Species, and Making us Smarter, Joseph Henrich
- The Tangled Tree: a Radical New History of Life, David Quammen
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.