2018 has been a good reading year for me. I have beaten my record by reading 54 books this year (with a few weeks left to maybe add a couple more) and I have discovered some truly superb books. Below are my top 5 picks of books which really touched me this year, and I hope you can check at least one of them out and they are all fantastic reads!
5. Mythos – Stephen Fry
I was given this book for Christmas last year and have spent the entirety of 2018 dipping in and out of it. I love Stephen Fry, and I love Greek mythology, so I knew I was going to adore this book. The whole thing is written in a funny but informative tone (just as Fry loves to speak) and it’s very easy to follow and understand, even if you have no understanding of Greek mythology to begin with. It’s a retelling from his perspective but it also speaks volumes about our society today, commenting on issues we face which, while seemingly modern, have clearly been alluded to for aeons.
I started a book club this year with another book blogger (also called Amy – go check her out) and this was one of the first books we discussed. I’d heard so many good things before I’d read it so I went in with high expectations, but luckily, was not disappointed. It’s a beautiful story of two innocent children caught in the darkness and horror of World War II. Doerr is successful in creating two empathetic and powerful protagonists and is reminiscent of books such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Read this if you love inspiring stories of hope and innocence, and you will be blown away.
Cat’s Eye is a novel which jumps around in time, but follows the story of Elaine, and her life so far as she moves back to her home town of Toronto. I’d only ever read The Handmaid’s Tale from Margaret Atwood, but with friends who absolutely love everything she writes, I was eager to read more of hers. I actually listened to this as an audiobook and I loved the way that it includes hard-hitting themes such as bullying and mental health, but it always projects the ignorance of children and the way that can affect everyone once they are adults. Atwood’s reflective tone was really beautiful and by the end of the novel I had really grown to love the protagonist, Elaine.
Having already read, and loved, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I was excited to read another book with an autistic child narrator. Pepper is eight and is abducted by ‘Uncle Dan’ while on a school field trip. Adamant that his mother will come to save him, Pepper must use his brain to work out how to also save himself. This book is not only heart-warming and empowering, but it is also so important for its portrayal of autism and how autistic children navigate the world. It showed Pepper’s vulnerability while also proving how strong he was and is a truly beautiful little story.
Well, this book just blew me away. I still haven’t quite recovered from it and I’m not quite sure I’ll ever read another book as good. It’s 720 pages, so make sure you’re comfortable when you pick it up, but trust me it’s worth every single minute you spend reading it. The 4 protagonists are college friends who stay connected throughout their adult lives. It mainly concerns on of them, Jude, and how his abusive childhood has left him vulnerable and closed off in adulthood. A Little Life proves that love and friendship can triumph over almost anything and Jude, Willem, JB, and Malcolm were a complete pleasure to read about. Yanagihara was not afraid to show the most raw version of human emotion and yet every page is just as beautiful as it is tragic. I urge you to read this, as I think everyone should.