I believe that books make great gifts and as I often get asked for recommendations, I thought it might be fun to share my favourite reads from 2018 in a 12 Days of Books kind of way that evolved into a blog post idea! I love it when that happens. This is not a list of the best books of the year and some of them were published prior to 2018, it’s just a collection of the books that had the biggest impact on me this year.
So here, in no specific order, are my favourite reads of the year. There were probably a few others but you can also check out my 2018 Reading List to see what else I read this year!
Day 1: The Woman In The Window by AJ Finn
I devoured this book back in February and I still think about it. I borrowed it from my friend M and it’s one I might borrow again or just purchase. I’m also so excited because they are turning it into a movie starring Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman and more! It will definitely get a re-read before I head to the theatre to catch this one! Check out my original blog post to learn more.
Day 2: Tin Man by Sarah Winman
I was incredibly excited to see that this book was being published as I loved Winman’s first two books, When God Was A Rabbit and A Year of Marvellous Ways. And Tin Man delivered for me what I was hoping for. I wept at times as I was so taken by the beautiful story and this book made me so grateful to have the opportunity to read so many beautiful stories. I blogged about it here.
Day 3: The Crazy Rich Asians Series
I slept on this series for no good reason at all but in doing that, I read all three books within a month and got to enjoy the movie in the same year! The series is funny, scandalous, shocking, decadent, catty, fun and so enjoyably and ultimately left me wanting more! Great to take with you if you’re heading on a vacation over the holidays or in the New Year! Check out my original post to learn more about why I loved this series so much.
Day 4: Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill
I read this book early this year and it was fantastic! Bellevue Square won the Giller Prize in 2017 and is set in Toronto so a must read for me. I didn’t blog about it because I was saving it for something I didn’t end up doing but I wish I had as it was a thrilling read. I can remember sitting up late into the night reading to find out exactly what it was that was going on in this twisty story! I love a good suspense read and Bellevue Square certainly delivered on that. It’s worth checking out and could make a great gift!
Day 5: Beartown & Us Against You by Frederik Backman
I read Beartown last year and wasn’t sure whether I’d like it, despite being a hockey fan, as hockey is central to the town, the people in the town and the story. It turned out I really, really liked it and I blogged about it here. I was excited to learn that Backman had written a sequel, Us Against You, that I read in one day a few weeks ago. Sometimes I finish a book and want to know more about what happens to the characters, where does the story go and that was my feeling after Beartown. Us Against Youwas exactly what I hoped for and I’ll blog about it soon.
Day 6: The Vanity Fair Diaries by Tina Brown
This was the surprise book I got for Christmas last year and my first read of 2018 and I loved it. It was Brown’s retelling of her time at Vanity Fair, reviving the magazine and living through the wild eighties in New York City (there are some great stories in the book about some well known celebrities). I love Vanity Fairso it was fascinating but beyond that, it was a great read being a woman in business myself (not the same industry or time but I legit wish I worked for her during that time). You can find my original blog post here and if you know a magazine lover, a pop culture lover or anyone who might be interested in it, wrap it up for them!
Day 7: Warlightby Michael Ondaatje
I have been a very longtime fan of Michael Ondaatje and I don’t know that I’ve read a book of his that I didn’t love. He is such a beautiful storyteller and my expectations for Warlight were high but it delivered. I read a few historical fiction novels this year and this one was one of my favourites. You can read my original post on Warlight to find out more but if you have an Ondaatje fan on your list, a historical fiction fan on your list or someone who loves beautiful and interesting stories, I recommend it!
Day 8: The Love Walked In Series by Marisa De Los Santos
I’m not entirely certain this is called a series but since it’s now three books, I’m using that term. I read Love Walked In and Belong to Me back in 2009 (I’ve been using the receipt as a bookmark) and loved the story, the characters, the beautiful way in which de los Santos writes and decided then that I wished I could be friends with Cornelia. I’ve reread both many times over the years. It was a great year for me and sequels and I was so thrilled when I learned about I’ll Be Your Blue Sky because it meant the story continued and I enjoyed every single moment of it. I blogged about the series here and I would say if someone on your list needs a book that might feel like a hug, check these out!
Day 9: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
I read The Alice Networkearlier this year and it reminded me how much I enjoy historical fiction (not sure why but I had forgotten that). I blogged about it and described it as “delightful” but thought that was an odd word to use for a story about kickass female spies during WWI. I used it because I enjoyed it so much, the stories and the characters and how they came together. I read a few other historical fiction novels this year that I really enjoyed but this was one my favourite! My original post can be found here if you want to find out more!
Day 10: How To Build A Girl and How To Be Famous
I love these books so much! They’re quite different from everything else on my favourites list and that’s one of the many reasons why I love them. Caitlin Moran is so funny and created a wonderful character in Johanna Morrigan/Dolly Wilde who I met in How To Build A Girl a few years ago. Again, I was so excited to see a sequel was coming this year and enjoyed every single page. Find out more about the first book here and about How To Be Famous here. They make for a fun, warm-hearted, hilarious and at times, raunchy, coming of age tale and might be right for someone special!
Day 11: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
I read this beautiful novel in January and it stayed with me throughout the year. I reflected on the story and the characters at various points and I still believe that it is an important and beautiful story. In no way intended to be a pun or a negative thing, this book haunted me – the poetic writing, the characters and the heartbreaking story. It’s definitely worth reading! You can find out more in my original blog post, here.
Day 12: Educated by Tara Westover
My 12 days weren’t in any specific order, just the standout books I read this year (and in some cases, the books that introduced me to them) but day 12 represents my favourite read of the year. I borrowed Educated from a dear friend of mine after seeing it pop up on many a list and when I blogged about it, I said it would be up there on my list of favourite books. It’s a beautiful and fascinating memoir and I was engrossed in Westover’s journey to education on her own terms. You can find out more about why I loved it here. Educated could be a great gift for the book lover on your list!