A little late to the game, but better late than never! In this post I wanna let you all know about my favourite books that I read in 2018. This list is in no particular order, and meant just to showcase the amazing talent of wonderful, thought-provoking, heartbreaking, smile-inducing books that I happened to stumble upon last year. Enjoy!
The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
This is a book that didn’t leave a huge impression to me when I finished it, but I looked back at my time reading this book. And the amount of skills and talent it took for the amazing JK Rowling to write this huge cast of characters intertwined with each other made me realise that the execution for this story is immaculate and no one else could’ve executed it as brilliantly as her.
What really impressed me is her ability to weave in stories of each character, overlapping with time and setting but also able to create these unique, such well-written human beings into the page. Her writing style is amazingly good, the story is compelling, the amount of topics and themes and different timelines was just a delight to devour.
Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
This amazing gem was not a surprise to come into the list, because I’ve been highly anticipating reading this book ever since it was nominated for the Bailey’s Womens Prize for Fiction. This family literary drama is more than just about a married couple. It’s an insight into motherhood, into womanhood, wives and husbands, family, culture, norm, friendship, and so many more. It’s heartbreaking and twisted, the story is so so unique and I couldn’t put the book down. It made me cry, it made me think a lot, and the characters all popped out of the book and so memorable. I loved every second I spent reading it, and I already want to reread it again.
Lost in the Beehive by Michele Young-Stone
One of the first books I read of this year, yet kept popping up in my mind over the year. This is an ARC I received from the published from NetGalley, and I didn’t think much of it coming into the book. I was so pleasantly surprised to get to know the characters in the book, especially our main character who is just so well-written.
Overall the writing style was so atmospheric and beautiful that I feel like I wanted to underline all of the sections in the book. It also deals with various important coming of age themes like friendship and finding your identity, and it’s a wonderful read that unfortunately not many people are talking about.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Glass Castle is one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read in my entire life, and it is not because of the horrible childhood and early life that the author has gone through, but because of how she went through it and wrote it so beautifully, and the amount of love she has for the people in her life. It’s such a well-written memoir, filled with amazing details and great careful scenes of the author’s life that brings it to life in my mind. Her life is definitely unique and amazing, but the execution is what really makes this book exceptional. It’s touching and remarkable, and a must-read for everyone.
I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell
Another memoir made it into my list, and this one has been in a lot of other people’s lists as well. This memoir is about the author’s seven brushes with death, and has had a lot of hype lately. It definitely deserves all the buzz surrounding it, because the writing in this book is amazingly good, and everything is just so readable. I love how lyrical and touching O’Farrell’s writing is, and how every chapter is special and you can really tell how special it is in her heart, how these events really shaped her to be who she is. I loved the last parts of the book, they really made me tear up and was so powerful to read.
Shelter by Jung Yun
This is one of the best literary thrillers I’ve read ever, and surprisingly so because this one is quiet and not as fast paced as a lot of other thrillers are. But slow-paced books are one of my favourite, and this book excels in not its writing style but its content. The author was able to weave these sophisticated and so relatably flawed characters that are twisted and human and so personal, and their relationship with each other, specifically between the family members, are so dark and haunting yet feels so so real.
You never know what’s going to happen in this book, but more than that it’s not a whodunnit or a crime-solving plot. It’s slow and builds up to reveal small parts of the character’s lives, and of course of the relationship. Father-son, immigration, mixed-race marriage, abuse, and fatherhood is discussed so beautifully and heartbreakingly well in this story. I highly recommend this and it is definitely one of my favourite books this year written by a POC author.
Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper
Another quiet, slow literary fiction that made it to the list, and I must say this is one of my top three books of the year, if I had to choose. Emma Hooper was able to incorporate the chilling cold of life in the remote islands near Canada, and combine it with a cast of characters in a family and their relationships with each other. The story focuses a lot on music and seasons, on atmosphere and quietness, its lack of conversations really saturates the entire feeling of the book instead of what happens, and it’s just so palpably beautiful that I already want to reread it again.
It’s such an underrated book, maybe because I read it as an ARC but probably also because its hasn’t had a lot of hype in the internet. But it’s one of my favourite books, maybe ever, it’s touching and beautiful and lyrical and gorgeous and such a moving story.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This compelling little read snuck into this list without me expecting it – I didn’t even plan on picking this up but ended up being so blown away and captivated by the story and characters that I just cannot help but put it into the list. This is probably one of the more well-known books in my list, and it’s such a wonderfully constructed slice of life in a suburban small town. It’s such a page-turner, the characters are compelling and everything was just so enjoyable to read. It tackles a lot of interesting themes and in the end it was just a book I had a hell of a good time reading. I devoured it and despite its flaws, it is still very mesmerisingly good.
So these are my picks of my favourite books that I read in 2018. A lot of amazing books, and I cannot wait to see what books I will pick for 2019. Until next time, I’ll talk to you in the comments!