I can’t believe it is already time to write my yearly wrap up!! I love looking back through all the books I’ve enjoyed this year but it IS always tricky to pick favourites. To make things a little easier I have a rated 5/5 category to handily group together the books I’ve loved (and it’s not an accolade I hand out to any old book, so these are genuinely amazing reads!) A few books really do stand out in my memory to earn the title of my 2018 books of the year. What are they, you ask? Well… I’ve selected ten; four non-fiction and six fiction (as I generally read more of it.) In no particular order, they are:
FICTION / NORMAL PEOPLE by SALLY ROONEY
What can I say? I’m just in awe of Sally Rooney’s writing. She has a way of tapping into and conveying the smallest emotion with such realism that sometimes you think she’s in your head. Couple this with her beautiful, damaged characters and you have Normal People, a book I really didn’t want to be over when I reached the last page.
NON-FICTION / EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LOVE by DOLLY ALDERTON
I believe this was my first read of 2018 – and it set the bar high! Journalist, writer and podcaster Dolly’s memoir was a witty, warm, funny look at her mindset towards love at different stages in her life. Romantic love is in there yes, but this book is a celebration of female friendships and I related to so much of what she way says. I have recommended it to ALL my friends.
FICTION / CONVENIENCE STORE WOMAN by SAYAKA MURATA
This is a wonderfully off-beat yet deliciously dark tale about a woman whom society deems ‘not normal’, simply because she makes life choices that go against the grain. Keiko works in a convenience store and has no desire to do anything else. She doesn’t want to get married either. Everyone around her can’t really deal with that and judge her for choosing to live her life differently than they would. It’s a sharp, insightful story about the pressures of society to make us conform.
NON-FICTION / HOW NOT TO BE A BOY by ROBERT WEBB
This is a truly brilliant biography. Even if you don’t really know who Robert Webb is, you will love his witty, intelligent thoughts on gender roles and the ‘rules’ of masculinity. He tells how he struggled to live up to the idea of masculinity and eloquently describes how bringing up our kids to adhere to these often unsaid gender rules can be so damaging to them. Certainly made me think about how I’ll be bringing up my boys.
FICTION / ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by GAIL HONEYMAN
I read this early in the year and just remember sitting in a coffee shop, with tears running down my face, completely engrossed in Eleanor’s story. She is one of the most unique, endearing and complex characters I’ve come across. There’s a reason you’re probably going to see this book on many people’s end of year book lists. Visceral and wonderful, it’s a must-read.
FICTION / TIN MAN by SARAH WINMAN
By far the most beautifully written and emotionally gut-wrenching book I’ve read this year; I had to take a moment to compose myself after reading. Tin Man is the love story of Elis and Michael, their complex relationship is wonderfully described and you care about them so much. Read it!
NON-FICTION / THIS IS GOING TO HURT by ADAM KAY
This could probably take the title of my most recommended book of the year, I’ve pretty much told everyone I chat to, to read it! If you love a book that makes you laugh as much as it pulls on your heartstrings, while bringing up serious issues about the state of the NHS and the terrible conditions doctors have to work in, then read it now!
FICTION / THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL by PHILIPPA GREGORY
This is included on my list for triggering in me a love of royal based historical fiction that I didn’t know I had. I was asked by HarperCollins to take part in a digital book club, as they released new audiobook versions of a selection of Philippa Gregory’s works this year. They sent me The Other Boleyn Girl on audiobook (narrated by the amazing Vanessa Kirby), and I was hooked!
FICTION / AND THEN THERE WERE NONE by AGATHA CHRISTIE
I only read my first Agatha Christie book in 2017 (The ABC Murders) and this year I’ve read five more, it’s fair to say I’m a convert. And Then There Were None is actually one of her standalone stories, with none of her famous detectives featuring. It is sharp, clever and the big reveal is just delicious. A true classic.
NON-FICTION / MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY by LILY ALLEN
I only recently read My Thoughts Exactly, but I’ve included it as it is such a honest, open, interesting biography from a young woman who has been through a lot. Lily successfully changed my opinion of her (for the better), which I’m guessing was her aim and I’ve been thinking about this book since I read it. Always a good sign.
There you have it: My Top 10 books of 2018! What did you think? Did you love any of these as much as me? I just wanted to say thank you so much to everyone who reads and chats to me on this blog. I really appreciate it and love all the bookish chat!