2018 was a great reading year for me. I read 139 books – 116 fiction and 23 non-fiction. I discovered so many amazing new books that it was hard to narrow the list down to a specific number. However with a lot of consideration I managed it – so here are my top five books of the year!
1. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
I had read a few of Stephen King’s novels but had never classed myself as a dedicated fan until I read this story. A standard King tome at over 700 pages, it’s a beautifully constructed tale of a time-traveller who goes back in time to stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
It’s a crossover of genres, with a mix of historical fiction and science fiction. This could (or should?) be too complex but it just works. It is impressively researched – not just the incident itself but the 60s as a whole. One of my new favourites of all time.
2. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Another epic book, this started to get a lot of hype in the book blogging world so I decided to give it a go. I took my time reading this as the subject matter is so dark and daunting. I sobbed uncontrollably when I finished it (to the bemusement of my husband).
It follows four friends throughout their lives, from when they start living together to when their lives end. The main character, Jude, has suffered greatly throughout his life and you experience each stage of his life with him. It is greatly depressing and I understand some of the criticisms it has received. But it is also beautifully written and thought-provoking.
3. Becoming by Michelle Obama
I’m a huge fan of Michelle Obama and everything that she has campaigned for during her time in the White House.
This is the first time in a long while that a book has made me cry from pure happiness, when reading the story of Michelle and Barack’s relationship.
I found the beginning stages of the book the most interesting and inspiring, however I also really enjoyed reading about the impact of the presidency on her life. It’s just a shame she has ruled out running herself!
4. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
This was my biggest surprise of the year. I adore Ishiguro’s writing style and had heard great things about this novel. I had been told it was best to go into this book knowing nothing about the storyline and I am so glad I did that.
I class this as a dystopian novel but not as science fiction. It feels a lot more philosophical and led me to question what it means to be human. It took me some time to fully comprehend what is actually going on and when I finally did, it was with a feeling of disbelief and horror.
5. So Much for That by Lionel Shriver
Lionel Shriver is my favourite author of all time. She writes with such simplicity and harshness and her almost-satirical views of topics including the American economy and obesity epidemic have fascinated me previously.
In this story it is terminal illness (specifically cancer) that gets first billing. Having recently watch my mum battle cancer I was worried this could be too close to home. But this book focuses more specifically on the American healthcare system and how terminal illness causes cowardliness in people, causing them to push away from family and friends in need.
And here are some honourable mentions:
- My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen
- Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid
- The Good Samaritan by John Marrs
- The Girls by Emma Cline
- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen