Yes Please & No Thanks Books of 2018

As 2018 is coming to an end, I’ve decided to look back to reflect on what I read this year. I read many excellent books and am extremely grateful to all those wonderful authors for writing such great stories. I know how hard writing can be so thank you for creating and keeping us entertained.

What a privilege is to be able to read all those books.

There were a few books that were not meant to be but that’s OK. Just because a book didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else. Edmund Wilson once wisely said:  “No two persons ever read the same book.”.

Let’s take a look at books I absolutely loved and can not stop talking about:

Eleanor Oliphant is Perfectly Fine by Gail Honeyman. I loved everything about this book. How darkly twisted it was, how that conscious stream of Eleanor’s thoughts made me both cry and smile and how she didn’t get saved by love. Because she didn’t need saving. I wrote a rather long review about it here. Big thumbs up for consistent pacing, vivid characters and that perfect bittersweetness.

Circe by Madeline Miller– if I framed every quote I loved in this book, our entire house would be covered by frames. It’s a slow but extremely philosophical read. It questions what it truly means to be alive and what a gift our mortality, in a way, is. There are so many messages there, its language is exquisite and I still think about it to date. Of course the fact that Greek mythology is ever present was a big bonus for me. Review can be found here.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng– it took me a little while to get into this book as its writing style is quite unusual. It has a sort of journalistic feel to it as it is describing what happened and why. Once I got used to the style, I could not put this book down. Again, there are many messages there and it will make you think. About privilege, how a perception of who we are, can be derived from where we come from, about friendships and life in general.

Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden: The Girl in the Tower / The Winter of the Witch – do you remember how much I loved The Bear and the Nightingale? Well the series gets better from there on. Book 2 – The Girl in the Tower – takes us to medieval Moscow and everything starts turning darker. It’s still atmospheric but that innocence of youth is long gone, book 3 – The Winter of the Witch – goes even darker. It’s brutal at times but there is hope. To me, this series is an utter perfection. Everything I ever wanted from fantasy. Its language is lyrical and creates powerful atmosphere, the world is craftily built, characters aren’t perfect and have many flaws, and its love story doesn’t distract us from the main plot.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty- another “I can’t put it down” book. All about shame, in particular parenting and appearance based shame. All these little lies we tell ourselves to keep going, all that hurt that’s buried inside of us. All those secrets we hope nobody will find about us. It’s an excellent character driven mystery, that really dives deep into what makes us tick and how we can overcome shame and heal. Full review can be found here.

If I had to pick a favourite memoir of this year, it would be a tie between Born a Crime and Educated, but if you twisted my arm really hard to make me choose, I would scream out Born a Crime.

Born a Crime by Trevor NoahNoah is a very political, intelligent and highly opinionated stand up comedian. His comedy will make you think. I watched a lot of his shows on Netflix and am his big fan. His collection of essays is the best audio book I have ever listened to, and in my opinion, one of the best memoirs I have read. It’s both funny and sad, there are many strong messages and I will be re-listening to it again next year. Full review here.

We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Adichie – in my opinion a must read for everyone. Not to create hate or division, but to connect us and to realise we are in this together. It’s not driven by judgement or fear, but by love. I recommend this as an audio book as the Adichie‘s voice is utterly mesmerising and I could listen to her for hours. A perfect length for a walk or a commute to work. Full review here.

Books I enjoyed a lot and that I think are worth mentioning:

Books that were not meant to be during the time I read them:

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (review) – The biggest disappointment of the year as it started off so well. I’m forcing myself not to go on a rant here, but this book made me really angry and I tend not to feel that way when I read books. I usually just lose interest and move on, but as we are friends here, this book really made me mad. The language was haunting and beautiful but I had many issues with both its messaging and the lack of growth of the main character. I still see red whenever I think how sex was implied to be “a rite of passage to an adulthood” and how it glamorised dangerous “monsters”.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (review) – This may be quite a controversial choice given how many people loved this book. By the way I hope we can still be friends if you loved this book. No hard feelings please. 🙂 I loved the messaging of this book – i.e. the questioning of if evil is born or rather made make me really happy… but… it could be that mermaids are just not my thing or that I found both narratives quite indistinguishable and the version I read didn’t have any captures of who was speaking when – either way, it somehow didn’t work for me. I still think it was a strong debut but sadly, not my thing.

Find your Why by Simon Sinek – Gosh, this was so boring. It again started off so well and then turned into such a drag. I DNF in the end, maybe I will revisit it but will need to forget it first before my next attempt.. I still shudder whenever I think of it… sorry!

Linchpin by Seth Godin – I respect Godin a lot. I generally feel aligned with his messaging and think he’s a very interesting person. However I was not impressed with this book. It just went on and on, repeating, admittedly a great idea, that could have been summarised by a few chapters, if even. I do have a short deficit spam but even I didn’t need that constant repetition… I gave up on it in the end, another DNF for me.

There you have it my friends, I wish you all a wonderful end of 2018, full of laughter and fun.

Thank you for reading, commenting and being here. Your time, love and support means a wold to me. ❤️

I look forward to seeing you all in the new year. Šťastný Nový Rok (Happy New Year).💕

28 thoughts on “Yes Please & No Thanks Books of 2018”

  1. Happy new year, Vera!

    We share some fave books ❤ Little Fires, and Big Little Lies were just so good!
    I haven't managed to read the Girl in the Tower this year, but hopefully do it next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy New Year Norrie! 🥳 🎉🎉🎉

      Crossing my fingers you’ll enjoy the rest of that series. It turns darker and darker. I am having a proper book hangover right now he he.

      And thank you for introducing me to Moriarty! Big Little Lies is an amazing book. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your list! I’m so happy you loved The Winter of the Witch so much, it’s my favorite series and I’m so excited to read that one and finally find out how it ends. And a little sad too, cause I don’t want it to ever end! I’ll probably reread the first two books, so I can really savor it ❤️ I loved Circe too, she’s such a beautiful writer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. ❤️

      I absolutely adore 🥰 this series. And I can’t believe it’s over. 😢 The final instalment is dark but soooo good. 😍 I purposely read it over 7 days to savour it. I am so happy you enjoy this series as well. I’ll be re-reading it soon as I have a proper book hangover right now. 😊

      And great idea about reading those books before the final instalment- it really kicks off right where The Girl in the Tower ended and there were times when I wished I remembered its ending a bit better (I have a terrible memory though! 😂).

      100% agree with you on Circe. ❤️


  3. Hi Vera! Thank you for the reminder that it is a privilege to be able to read so many books throughout this year… I’ve actually never thought that way about novels. I’ve been grateful that I have money to buy books, that I have a diverse library to check out books, but never because I’m able to simply read. That one little line in your post just changed my perspective towards books for the better 😊

    I’ve been reading through a lot of 2018 wrap-up posts and writing down a list of books I want to read in 2019, and I’ve just written down the most books from reading this post of yours! I’ve actually never heard of Eleanor Oliphant is Perfectly Fine, but the themes sound so interesting, and so does Little Fires Everywhere. I’ve also heard nothing but great things for Circe, so I’m really looking forwards to reading that too 🙂 Thank you for this amazing list of books, and wishing you a Happy New Year’s! 🎉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Zoie for your lovely comment. I consider the ability to read and to have an access to all of those books one huge privilege. I’m so glad you are seeing it that way as well. 💕

      I am crossing my fingers that you enjoy those books once you get to read them. I loved reading them last year. 😊🤞

      Happy New Year! 🥳

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy New Year, Vera!

    That’s quite the round up for the year, with some excellent reads on your list and, well, yes, a small handful of not so great reads as well. And I cannot wait to read Arden’s series.

    All the best! 🎉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I finished Girl in the Tower a couple of days ago and was wondering if Arden could go three for three. Good to know she has! A couple more days and it’s mine 🙂
    I was enjoy reading your posts. Happy New Year to you and your family!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Gemma! I enjoyed reading your posts as well. 😍

      Crossing my fingers you will enjoy the final instalment of that series, I absolutely loved it.

      Happy New Year to you and your family. 🥳


  6. I think a number of the books on your list were quite a hit with many readers. I know that several of my blog friends have mentioned getting the audio book of Born a Crime. I hope that you are happy, relaxed, and loved in 2019. See you in the new year, Vera!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy you loved Big Little Lies as well. Such a great mystery book. Crossing my fingers you enjoy Circe. Happy reading. 😊📚

      Happy New Year! 🥳


  7. I love how diverse your list is! ❤ And okay, you've completely convinced me to finish the Winternight trilogy. I'll be checking out book 2 this month. 😀 And I somehow missed your Wintersong review (I don't think I was following you at the time?) but I love all you points! It sounds like one of those "guilty pleasure" books (whatever that means) that are kind of problematic but still popular because of, as you said, the thrills?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kathy. 🙂

      And yay!! Now I’m nervously crossing my fingers and really hoping you will enjoy those books. They are turn darker as the series progresses. 🙂

      And yeah, that guilty pleasure is something I completely get. I think the second book had much better story to be honest, I think the author is a really skilled writer, her writing is so poetic and haunting… but sadly, that message just didn’t work out for me. But I’m a complete minority and it’s absolutely ok. 🙂


  8. I like that quote!! I have a similar one written in my journal “There are many, many types of book sin the world , which makes good sense, because there are many, many types of people, and everybody wants to read something different” by Lemony Snicket How boring would it be if everyone liked the same books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Kaleena! ❤

      By the way I can so relate to pre-ordering books, anticipating their releases… and then having them sitting on my shelves unopened… It’s completely normal, you’ll read Circe when the time is right for you. 🙂


  9. Wonderful post! Love your list of books your best books 🙂 Eleanor oliphant was wonderful! I had so many quotes from Circe that I loved too- I adored that book! And the winternight series is amazing- and I’m so glad to hear that the last one is amazing too! (though I knew it would be 😉 ) And I couldn’t put big little lies down either- it’s such a fantastic book!! I’m really looking forward to seven husbands and norse mythology too 🙂 I’ve heard wintersong is disappointing- it’s such a shame. I can understand why to kill a kingdom wouldn’t be for everyone, even if I loved it- so no worries! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad we both enjoyed those books – they were so awesome. Not every book is for everyone and I totally get why people love / enjoy books I personally don’t. Life would be so boring if we all loved the same books. 🙂 ❤❤❤


  10. I have Born a Crime waiting for me to pick up at the library, I can’t wait to read it. Although, I’ve been reading everywhere that the audiobooks a much greater experience, so I guess I’ll just have to heavily exercise my imagination.

    Big Little Lies, Little Fires Everywhere and We Should All be Feminists are amazing. I had never thought of LFE having a journalistic feel to it, but now that you’ve said it, that makes a lot of sense, it does read more as essay pieces and somewhat of a character study that you might have to perform for English lit, but definitely one that opens your eye as to what it truly means to be another person. I wish Eleanor Oliphant was written better, I loved Eleanor, the writing didn’t flow so easily sadly. And Big Little Lies, yes, so unputdownable, I want to read another book that has the same feel to this.

    Great list. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping by.

      I dis enjoy the audiobook version of Born a Crime but I’m sure I would have loved the book as well. Happy reading, crossing my fingers you enjoy it as well. 😊🍀

      LFE definitely read quite as essay pieces, I like your character study analogy, that really makes sense. 👌 And big yes to opening eyes to what it means another person, that’s what really spoke to me too. Nicely put!

      Thank you for your lovely comment, I really appreciate you taking time to write it. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

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