My Favourite Reads of 2018

The best books I read this year. You won’t want to miss this.

2018 has come to a close and I had another great year of reading (I hope you did too)! I’m pretty happy that I managed to reach my reading goal again this year and I am hoping to amp up my goal in 2019. As I like to do at the end of every year, is look back at the books I read and pick my top five fiction reads and my top five non-fiction reads. So, here we go! 

Fiction:


The Travelling Cat Chronicles
I am not a crier. I don’t think I have ever cried reading a book but damn, this one brought me really close. I enjoyed this light-hearted novel so much that I read it twice in 2018. If you want an easy read that’s narrated by a cat, check this book out.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane 
It isn’t very often that I read a description that legitimately makes me want to read a book and sticks with me. I enjoyed this book so much that I gifted three copies of it this year because of its great plot and characters.

Killing Commendatore 
I waited years for the next Murakami novel and it finally arrived late in 2018. I was not disappointed and in my opinion, other Murakami fans won’t be either.

A Spark of Light
This was my first Jodi Picoult novel and I am sure now it won’t be my last. This timely and relevant novel impressed me with it’s depth and readability as well as its perfect commentary on current political events in the US involving women’s reproductive rights.

The Space Between Us
This was my first book by this author. I was really impressed with the character depth in this novel and felt very involved in this dramatic novel involving families. Thankfully the author released a sequel to this book in the late spring of 2018 that I still need to add to my reading list.

Non-Fiction:

Into Thin Air
Okay, so I was a bit behind on this bandwagon but that doesn’t make this novel any less riveting. If you want to know what climbing Mt. Everest is like without having to step foot on it I don’t think there are too many other books that could give you that experience. This book is a nail-biting and heart-breaking read.

Precious Cargo
One of my favourite reads from the Canada Reads 2018 debate for its funny and heartwarming tale of some pretty awesome kids and one lost adult who learned a lot from them.

Forgiveness
This book actually won Canada Reads 2018 and while I enjoyed this novel, I appreciated Precious Cargo a bit more. This novel has some phenomenal historical content that I feel Canadians should read.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark
This book was all the rage this last year due the author’s untimely death which also helped with the arrest of this elusive killer. The author’s voice is unique and engaging and it is a shame that we have lost such a great true-crime writer with such passion and talent.

Tea and Tea Set
I have read a few books on tea and so far this one has been my favourite. It’s nearly an unknown book but it’s content is quite good. I picked it up at a teahouse in Hong Kong and if you want to learn more about Chinese tea and can get your hands on this book I would highly recommend it.

Canada Reads 2018 Comes to a Close

And the winner is…

Well, the debates this year were… interesting. Can’t say I cared much for some of the contenders but the outcome wasn’t as bad as I was anticipating. The winner this year is:518T+qKmNWL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I was shocked to see The Boat People knocked out in the first round as I had the book as my top guess to win it all. I was also surprised that The Marrow Thieves made it as far as it did in the debates. While the topic of that book was no less important, it lacked the literary qualities to make it a winner.

The debates always leave me surprised. Last year was the only year that I found went as I was expecting it to.  Why don’t you check out my review of Forgiveness and get your hands on a copy of this book quickly, as it is sure to fly off the shelves with its new title!

Canada Reads 2018 – Favs and Predictions

Debates kick off next week. Have you read them all yet?

It’s almost time! The debates kick off next week from March 26-29, 2018. In advance of the debates, I have read all five novels and have broken down the five into two lists. One, based on which ones I enjoyed the most and two, based on how the book best fits this year’s theme. Don’t forget to click on the links to read my full reviews on each novel!

Let’s start with the theme: One Book to Open Your Eyes. Here is how I think the debates will unfold and which book I think will be the winner.

Predictions:

5) The Marrow Thieves –  Putting a dystopian YA novel in with other quality pieces of literature is always going to be a gamble and while the topic of the treatment of Native Americans is important the execution of this story just didn’t match up with the other contenders. The loose concept of dreams being stuck in bone marrow was a bit of stretch too.

4) Precious Cargo – I thoroughly enjoyed this read. It draws attention to children and families living with disabilities. The writing is lighthearted and humorous but lacks the depth of the other contending novels.

3) Forgiveness – Rife with Canadian history as well lesser-known war details about Canada’s time in Hong Kong during WWII. The author’s grandparents come to terms with the terrible misfortunes that the war has brought them and learn to forgive as their families come together.  The writing can be a bit clunky and did not feel like a finished whole.

2) American War – Another dystopian though catered to a very adult audience. The content of this book is violent and brutal and draws a lot of attention to the realities of war and the politics behind it as well as the people that suffer in its wake.

1) The Boat People – Despite the slow start to this novel, this book takes the cake when it comes to the theme this year. The book is inspired by a real refugee crisis that happened in Canada in 2010 and it really opens your eyes past all the media and politics to the real issue facing refugees.

In terms of the books I enjoyed the most, however, I would rank the novels as such. It was tough this year as I found the difference in genres made it challenging as I enjoyed a few of the stories equally.

Enjoyability:

5) The Marrow Thieves – This book just didn’t click with me. The storytelling tradition aspects of the book are beautiful but the general YA premise just didn’t work for me.

4) Precious Cargo – I thoroughly enjoyed this novel as it was the most uplifting of the five. Had the other books not been as poignant it would have been higher up on this list.

3) Forgiveness –  Despite the issues I had with the writing style, the content about Hong Kong and the author’s time in a Japanese POW was absolutely captivating.

2) American War – This book surprised me the most. I was completely drawn into this world and the ending left me gutted.

1) The Boat People – Based on the first quarter of this book, I thought it was going to be on the bottom of this list, thankfully the dry story quickly came together to create something phenomenal and beautiful. This book combines dynamic and visceral characters paired with a memorable and important story that will be sure to tug on anyone’s conscience.

What do you think of my predictions and favourites? Do you agree? Comment and let me know!

Here are a few more details to get you prepped and ready for the debates! The contenders and their chosen books are:

Ali Hassan from CBC’s Laugh Out Loud will host for the second year in a row.

The debates will air on CBC Radio One at 11:05 a.m. ET, CT, MT, PT; 1:05 p.m. in Atlantic Canada; and at 1:35 p.m. in Newfoundland and Labrador. They will also be live-streamed on CBC Books at 11 a.m. ET and can be seen on CBC Television at 4 p.m. local time.