At the time of setting my reading goal for 2018, I thought I was being over-ambitious with 50 books. However, December 6th marked the day I reached my target and coming towards the end of the year, I’m sitting at 55 books. Averaging at just over 1 book a week, I’m reading now more than ever.
Although I got off to a rocky start, around April I really found my groove with reading again. It was over summer in particular when I filled my time devouring books, a day not passing by without getting lost in a new story. Overall, this year I rekindled my childhood habit of curling up with a good novel every night and it’s something I plan on carrying into 2019. I already have a huge ‘to-read’ list on Goodreads waiting for me to delve into.
Talking of childhood habits, it’s safe to say my Jacqueline Wilson days are over and my reading choices have changed since then. Aside from my lack of non-fiction reads, I read an array of genres across 2018. So, although it was difficult whittling them down I thought I’d share the 10 best books I read this year.
This book received a lot of hype, especially after being the first pick for Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show Summer Read. The plot takes us on an action-packed, fast-paced adventure to restore magic in Orïsha before it is wiped out once and for all.
I had the opportunity to meet Tomi in July, which I spoke all about here. During the event, she shared how Children of Blood and Bone is an allegory of police brutality and of the systematic oppression black individuals suffer in today’s society. As well as this, Adeyemi’s prose was beautiful and she has created such a vibrant world with an intriguingly unique magic system.
This book has it all; political undertones, beautiful prose, well-developed characters, it would be hard for someone not to fall in love with this story.
I don’t know how it took me 20 years to read this novel, but I finally did, and I loved it.
Tolkien proves that the fantasy genre has no limits, having created a world of dwarfs, goblins, dragons, wizards and what a world it is. His ability to transport the reader into a whole new world is fascinating. I remember being so immersed while reading this that I literally locked myself up in my room, free from distraction, so I could truly soak up the magic that is this book.
I’m sure many of you reading this have either read this or seen the film adaptation, but if you haven’t, I recommend you pick it up immediately. From start to finish I had a smile plastered to my face with its adorable romance plot making me feel all gooey inside.
The is relevant and real. Let’s be honest, people can be downright awful. We live in a society in which people react differently when the default is challenged. However, who’s to say what’s right and wrong? That’s exactly where Becky Albertalli hits the nail on the head. It’s honest, it’s relevant, it’s adorable. A wonderfully diverse book which everyone should get their hands on.
I was studying a Victorian Literature module during the time of reading this. The books I had read so far were dull and underwhelming. So, when it came to approaching The Moonstone, I prepared myself for 500 pages of plain boredom. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Although published in 1868 and recognised as the first of its genre, Collins’ novel is still as readable as if it were published today. It’s longer than your average detective novel, but never once did I lose interest thanks to the plethora of twists. Every little detail aided the plot to creep closer to the unveiling of the theft of the moonstone. It’s a spellbinding tale of romance, theft, and murder with quirky characters which made this classic such a joy to read.
I think this novel will forever be marked as one of my all-time favourites. From the outset I was captured by its intricate detail. Character-driven stories have a special place in my heart, and this didn’t disappoint. Every secondary character had a pertinent part to play in how the events unfold. Meanwhile, Ng placed each of the main characters under a microscope, revealing their backstories, giving them great depth as we gradually peel back their layers.
After the thrilling first chapter, the story rewinds to a year before in the quiet town of Shaker Heights. We are presented with a slow-burning tale of tangled relationships, family dynamics and long-held secrets which all inevitably unveil themselves. Ng paints pictures with her words that I couldn’t ever tire of reading making her a firm instant buy for me from now on.
Yet another character-driven novel which stole my heart after just a few pages. Station Eleven is a post-apocalyptic novel, events taking place before, during and after the pandemic of the Georgian flu. The human race collapses and takes everything we have come to know with it. Phones, air travel, medicine, spacecraft, the Internet, everything.
Told from multiple perspectives, this novel’s timelines are seamlessly interwoven and I was left amazed at how all the characters have connected roots. We’re taken back and forth through time and I was captivated by the blossoming relationships, dilemmas faced, and back-stories of characters.
It is a layered, thought-provoking story and no matter how much I wanted to discover what happened to its poignant characters, I didn’t want it to end.
Never have I ever read anything so unique and enthralling.
An action-packed story about political corruption and a deadly virus outbreak all taking place in space over 500 years from now. If that’s not enough, it’s told entirely through data files; audio recordings, chat logs, surveillance footage. It shouldn’t work, but it did.
I flicked through the pages as quick as the fast-paced action which unfolded before my eyes. I was blown away by the degree of detail and thought which must have gone into creating this book. Its unique format was so refreshing, and will undoubtedly stick with me for a long time.
Out of all the books on this list, Once Upon A River is the novel which truly encapsulates the magic of storytelling.
We have a gorgeous historical fairy-tale intertwined with mystery, hovering over the line between life as we know it and magical realism. Can a young girl who was found dead really come back to life? Set in a small English village along the banks of the Thames, this story flows seamlessly like the river itself.
This is an enchanting tale with a timeless quality in which every intricate detail is significant. It is an atmospheric, character-driven novel where magic can be found in the mundane. I was spellbound by Setterfield’s prose and I know this will always be an all-time favourite of mine.
I have a full review for this book here.
This book opened my eyes in so many ways.
Not only does The Hate U Give carry a strong political message about cultural appropriation, police violence and racial bias in America’s justice system, but it is emotionally-charged and fantastically written. I couldn’t put it down. What’s more, I literally laughed out loud. You would find me reading this on the way to work with a smile slapped onto my face amid the tired gloomy faces of the metro riders.
I loved reading from Starr’s perspective. There was an abundance of pop culture references which provided light entertainment while I could also feel tears welling up during Starr’s lowest moments. This book deserves every ounce of hype it’s received and more.
One Day in December is my one of my most recent reads, but I know that it’s a book that will be a favourite for a long time.
Who hasn’t fallen in love with a stranger? For Laurie, it all starts on one snowy day in December. She’s never believed in love at first sight. That’s when she sees him. Through the bus window as she sits with tinsel in her hair. Bus boy. No words are spoken between them, they just share each other’s’ gaze. When the bus pulls off, what she feels can only be described as magic.
Oh, how I loved this story. This is a journey of friendship, heartbreak, aspiration, guilt and betrayal. Loveable characters, heart-warming scenes, the whole story has a cinematic quality. I’d love nothing more than for it to be made into the perfect holiday rom-com. Love Actually who?
What have you loved reading this year? Have you read any of the books on this list?
Thanks for reading!