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!
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.
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 This novel has some phenomenal historical content that I feel Canadians should read.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.
“We are all drowning slowly in the tide of our opinions, oblivious that we are taking on water every time we open our mouths.”
ebook, 386 pages.
Read from December 13 to December 22, 2018.
I was actually hoping to get a copy of this book on Netgalley but when that didn’t pan out my library saved the day. This is the first time I have read anything by Jodi Picoult and I’m impressed with this timely and politically relevant book on a topic that most authors would shy away from.
The lives of regular everyday people, coming from all walks of life are all brought together in this story from one tragedy. The author pulls you in from the first page with this reverse timeline narrative on women’s reproductive rights in America as a gunman has entered a woman’s reproductive centre. Each chapter provides the reader with a different narrative and approach from the people who are trapped inside this terrifying situation. As the timeline reverses from the point just before the climax of the novel you begin to piece together the lives of the people in the centre, the choices that brought them there that day and the how regardless of their views they are all caught up in the same horrific circumstances together.
“Your religion should help you make the decision if you find yourself in that situation, but the policy should exist for you to have the right to make it in the first place. When you say you can’t do something because your religion forbids it, that’s a good thing. When you say I can’t do something because YOUR religion forbids it, that’s a problem.”
It’s obvious that Jodi Picoult did her homework with this novel as she is able to bring in widely conflicting views on one of the most sensitive of topics of our time. In her afterward, she mentions interviewing numerous women who have had abortions as well as staff from clinics. Each her characters has intensely well-rounded and fully formed perspectives and reasoning for their beliefs and choices and the author does not push the reader in one direction or the other and broaches the topic with integrity and grace.
What I felt was important from this book is that is that it showed some general and very real situations of how many women come to need an abortion service, especially outside of the scary situations like rape, incest or medical necessity, as well as topics of race and why controlling women’s reproduction has become such a violent priority in America.
The reverse timeline worked in building anticipation in the story but I feel that it also created a bit of unnecessary repetition and occasionally, confusion. Overall though the writing style is approachable and easy to read and easily explains this author’s mainstream popularity with her ability to reach such a wide audience. After this novel, I can assure that this won’t be my last Jodi Picoult novel.