Top 10 Books of 2018
My initial goal at the beginning of 2018 was to read 20 books. The reason for such a personal low number was that I had almost a whole year reading slump in 2017, and I had barely finished 20 books in 2017. I am currently sitting at 88 and I am hoping to get as close to 100 as I can for the year. Audiobooks have been very helpful with reaching this goal. I initially was not a fan of audiobooks but I have come to realize how great they are while I am working, and my hands are busy but my ears are free.
I have come up with my top 10 books of the year. Some books were disqualified as they were rereads. There are also a few runners up because I enjoyed them that much.
I will start with the honourary mentions.
15) “When Dimple Met Rishi” by Sandhya Menon was a very cute about learning to love someone that you had a horrible first impression of. It read super-fast and had decently short chapters.
14) “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley was a quick read. It was nothing like I expected. It is amazing how it still relates to our society today but with similar issues and ones now current in our time. Who is the real monster in this book? Dr. Frankenstein or his creation!
13) “Lady Susan” by Jane Austen was a nice change because the main character is an anti-heroine. I did read several anti-hero/heroine books this year, but this was one of the few that I was really invested in. It is also short enough you can sit and read it in one sitting. The only issue I had with it, was something I also enjoyed about it, and that is that the story is told in letter form. Just keeping characters straight at first was hard but it was great in the end. It was also full of the wittiness we love from Jane Austen.
12) “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han was a quick fun read. I read the whole series. It is one that has been on my “to be read” pile for years, but I could not live with myself if I watched the Netflix film first. The first two books I flew through. The third one I had a hard time reading as quickly. Another bonus with the series is that most chapters are very short.
11) “Caraval” by Stephanie Garber was an amazing book. It was creepy and magical all at the same time. It is a book I hope to reread because I think I will get more out of it. I picked up “Legendary” which is the sequel and I cannot wait to read it before “Finale” which is the final book which comes out in 2019.
Now to the top 10:
10) “The Sandcastle Empire” by Kayla Olson was a thick book but a super quick read. Most chapters were three pages or less, which personally I love. Most chapters ended in a cliff hanger, so I kept wanting to read just a few more pages. I read it as part of the OwlCrate Readathon back in the late summer. I did ask if there would be a sequel. It was wrapped up that it could be a standalone, but in a way, I also want to know and explore more in this world. There were no plans at the time, but it may be a possibility down the line. Either way it was a great book and not one I was really expecting to like and get through so fast. I finished it in a day.
9) “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” by Anne Bronte was a hard book to place on this list. Initially I put it super high and as I kept thinking of more books, I kept lowering it. Which was a hard thing to do. I flew through the book in two days and it is a chunker of a book. I read it was part of the Bronte Book Club this year. It was a book that I wanted to read back in January, but I waited knowing the book club was going to be reading it. Another book I will return to.
8) “Sky in the Deep” by Adrienne Young was a book I read during the mini Owl Crate readathon. They challenged us to read a book in a category we would not normally read or find interesting. This was a book I received in their box and thought no way will I ever read this. It was another book I flew through in a couple of hours. Last I checked there were no plans for a sequel but I hope to read more by this author because the story was captivating.
7) “Wives and Daughters” by Elizabeth Gaskell was another pleasant surprise. It was the group read for Victober. When I saw the size, I thought no way could a book with this premise and this length be any good. Most parts read fast. At the beginning it was a little hard to decipher which characters I needed to take a good mental note to remember for later on. The story was much more than I thought it was going to be. Based on what I had been told I thought it was going to be a step mother, step sister, and Molly sitting around doing needle work all day and not liking each other. I now understand why people have a hard time explaining the plot and what happens in a few brief words because I am as well. I recommend reading it but do take your time with it. The story is sweeter that way. The novel is missing a chapter or two at the end since Gaskell died before it was complete. However, she did share how it was going to end with friends and family, so we do know what happens to our characters.
6) “North and South” was the other Elizabeth Gaskell book I read this year. One thing I love about Gaskell’s writing is the subject matter from one book to another is completely different. I have heard this from people who have read more of her work as well. The theme of industrialization is large and in charge in this novel, but as we discussed earlier it is something that I love in Victorian literature. Many people call this novel the Victorian version of “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen. I see that, but I feel if people do not like “Pride and “Prejudice” they should still give this a try, as it is still very different. The BBC mini-series is fantastic as well although I feel John Thornton is harsher in the mini-series. It was hard to place it at only number six on my list.
5) “The Persian Always Meows Twice” by Eileen Watkins was a very fun mystery read if you love rescue animals but especially cats. My mum and I both devoured it in a day. I was surprised I actually figured out more than she did. Usually it is the other way around. I cannot wait to read more in the series.
4) “Finding Rebecca” by Eoin Dempsey was a late entry on this list and I had to move some books around. It captivated me from the very first chapter until the very end. The premise is intriguing, and the story is even better. It is set during World War II and is different from any other World War II historical fiction I have read in the past. I don’t want to give away much, but there is a man and a woman, and they are in love. He is German, and she is Jewish. He becomes a Nazi to save her and I cannot say any more than that. It will not go the way you think it will though.
3) “Northanger Abbey” by Jane Austen. I really do not know what to say about it. First, let me start with my goal was to read and complete all of Jane Austen’s six major novels this year. I read a little more than that. Growing up and even hearing other people’s opinions recently about her novels, everyone always seems to make disparaging remarks on “Northanger Abbey.” It is ridiculous, and Catherine Morland is ridiculous; but that is what makes it such an amusing read. Mr. Tilney is also the my second favourite hero in any of Jane Austen’s works. He is so sarcastic which I just admire. Can you guess who my number one hero is in a Jane Austen novel? It is later on in this post.
2) “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte is a book that has been on my “to be read” pile for 10 years now. This year I promised myself I was going to get to it. Why have I denied myself this amazing novel for 10 years?! It is a book I know I will read over and over and will probably have a different experience every time. What I admire about Jane is she is true to who she is. Mr. Rochester is an interesting fellow. I have one opinion of him now, but I have been warned it may change with more readings. For now, I like him. I remember I was intimidated by its size when I was younger. To any young reader who sees this, do not let that happen to you. I heard somewhere that longer novels were written to be an experience so take your time with them. It is so true.
1) My favourite novel of 2018 and of all time as of the day of writing this is “Emma” by Jane Austen. Like the last few classics on this list I have an interesting history with it. Let me start at the beginning. It was 2005, the Keira Knightley version of “Pride and Prejudice” had come out. I rented it at Blockbuster. I thought it was stupid and boring. I returned it. A few weeks later a friend came for a sleepover. She had gone and rented the 2005 “Pride and Prejudice.” I sat there thinking how I could get out of watching it. No reason came to me, so I sat there in a funk. We watched it. Things seemed to make so much more sense the second time. I decided it was my new favourite movie. Someone had gifted me the book, so after my friend left the next day I sat down and read it in my reading nook that I had made for myself. Later that night, “Daddy could you take me to Barnes and Noble, so I can get another book by this authour?” He took me. I asked him which one he recommended; he had no idea. He took a purple copy of “Emma” off the shelves. “I think you should get this one,” he stated, “because it is purple, and I know you wear that colour a lot. Plus, you named our dog Emma, so it is a good name.” I explained I was worried about the size. He told me he wasn’t worried as I was a fast reader.
The next day I went to school with it. I had several teachers remark on how “Emma” was one of Jane Austen’s worst novels. I put it on my shelf and didn’t touch Jane Austen for a long time after that.
At first, looking back at this, I was mad. However, after having read Jane Austen’s six novels this year, I have come to a more mature conclusion. I think if I had read “Emma when I was 13 or 14 years old, I would have hated it and never picked up anything by Jane Austen ever again. I think it took a more mature me to appreciate this novel more.
Now, Mr. Knightley. Why do I like him so much? Honestly, I think the maturity thing comes into play here. I like that he calls Emma out on things she has done wrong. He is kind, sweet, and looks out for those who may not be treated so well. He is a friend to all.
I would love to know down in the comments what books you loved this year, which of these books you read, your thoughts, and anything else you may wish to add in regards to these books and experiencing them.