Monday, 31 December 2018

Best of 2018

This year I set my Goodreads goal at 40 books, and just managed to read enough to get me to my target at the end of November.  December has been a slow month for reading as we've been fairly busy in the run up to my birthday and Christmas!

Here are some of the books I enjoyed most this year.

Transcription by Kate Atkinson

There wasn't much of a chance that I was going to dislike this.  I love Kate Atkinson, her characters are so authentic and she just knows how to write a good story.  This one is about Juliet Armstrong and her life working for the Secret Service during World War Two.  Perfect historical fiction with a really satisfying mystery.

I'll Be There For You: The One About Friends by Kelsey Miller

Not for everyone but as a massive Friends fan myself I really enjoyed reading this.  It was an interesting look at how Friends became so successful, and I had no idea it had been a fairly bumpy ride in the the beginning and again towards the end with various different negotiations going on.  I liked how the author examined wider cultural trends - we can all acknowledge how Friends can be problematic from a more modern perspective, but love it all the same.  I enjoyed the author's footnotes too.  Clearly a labour of love and well researched.

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

This was one of my favourite reads this year and ever.  Hadia, the eldest daughter of an Indian Muslim family living in America, is getting married and all the characters are wondering whether Amar, the estranged youngest child, will be able to put aside his feelings about his family to be there for Hadia.

The main story is the reason why Amar is estranged from his family, but in exploring this the author weaves together many poignant themes including the clash of religious and cultural traditions with western ideas, and the Muslim experience following 9/11.  Despite dealing with such big topics the writing was never heavy; it's very intricate and quietly moving.  At it's heart it could be about any family - parents trying their best, sometimes failing, and children learning to reconcile their parent's wishes with the direction they want their own lives to take.  Just absolutely beautiful and very highly recommended.

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

My favourite Strike novel yet, and that's about all I can say.  How does anyone review crime novels without giving anything away?! 

The Dollmaker of Krakow by R.M. Romero

 One of the first books I read this year and nothing else has really beaten it.  I gushed about it in an earlier post (which you can click here to read) so I won't again but this is honestly one of the most beautiful and moving things I've ever read and it will forever have a place on my shelves and in my heart. 


I'm so glad I now keep a 'best of' shelf on Goodreads each year, it makes writing these posts so much easier!  Next year I'm keeping my target a little lower at 24 books, averaging two a month.  For the past couple of years it's been quite high and I have noticed it taking some of the enjoyment out of reading for me as I'm trying to race through to reach my goal, and it also causes me to give up on some books before I would have done otherwise.  Looking forward to savouring some big chunky reads in 2019!