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 Noah – Noah 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:
- Educated by Tara Westover– review
- Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman – review
- Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – review
- Books 1 & 3 from The Immortals series by Tamora Pierce – review of Wild Magic & review of Emperor Mage
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).💕