What I Read in 2018

30 Dec

It’s my annual reading round up! I managed 41 books this year. I’m actually a little bit ashamed as it’s way below the last few years. I guess there were a couple of factors at play. Firstly, I’ve read more non-fiction and a couple of really weighty tomes, especially when it comes to history. They just take longer to read so I can’t rattle through them in a week as I can with a novel. Secondly, I’ve done a bit more writing this year (just hit 32k on my new manuscript). But thirdly, I’ve probably gone on my phone a bit too much, especially now they put free wi-fi on the train. I need to reverse this trend in 2019.

As usual, I’ve bolded my absolute favourites.

Let me know your top reads of the year, and if you share any of mine.

  1. The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
  2. Starborn by Lucy Hounsom
  3. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (An updated Antigone; beautifully done)
  4. Artemis by Andy Weir
  5. What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  6. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater (Another sumptuous YA from a lyrical writer)
  7. Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton
  8. The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green
  9. The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan
  10. Istanbul by Bettany Hughes (A detailed history of the city in three acts: Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul. I’ve got really into Ottoman history recently so this was perfect – and definitely left me wanting to learn more!)
  11. Blood and Sand by C V Wyk
  12. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  13. Start with your Sock Drawer by Vicky Silverthorn
  14. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Buy this for the teens in your life. It’s fun, fresh and fast-paced)
  15. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (My YA of the year. A very dark, very dangerous take on the fairy court that is utterly compelling)
  16. The Stand by Stephen King (It’s dated…but King knows how to write a good story)
  17. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (It’s a classic for a reason)
  18. The Romanovs by Simon Sebag-Montefiore (This was an incredible read. The history is fascinating, and rendered in gripping fashion)
  19. Daughter of Eden by Chris Beckett
  20. Light Years by Kass Morgan
  21. On Gold Mountain by Lisa See (A family memoir of Chinese-American life in California. Illuminating and poignant)
  22. The Girl Under the Olive Tree by Leah Fleming
  23. Bright We Burn by Kirsten White (Kirsten blew me away with the end of this trilogy. Forget easy solutions and moral binaries – this series will take you to the brink and back again alongside the characters you’ll love and hate by turns)
  24. Therese Raquin by Emile Zola (Grim grim grim…but I do love Zola)
  25. High Rise by J G Ballard (A dark and disturbing look at the breakdown of civilisation in this ‘Lord of the Flies’ for adults)
  26. Travellers in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd (Absolutely fascinating look at how different visitors reacted to Germany in the 30s and into the war)
  27. The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson
  28. A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge (I loved this ghoulish fantasy for the Civil War setting)
  29. The Fifth Season by N K Jemisin (Jemisin has won all the awards for a reason. This is highly original, intricate and carefully crafted sci-fi)
  30. Catwoman: Soul Stealer by S J Maas
  31. The Obelisk Gate by N K Jemisin
  32. The Handfasted Wife by Carol McGrath
  33. Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed
  34. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (You all know I’m not usually one for Iliad retellings – I’d rather just read Homer – but Barker got to me in the end!)
  35. The Party by Elizabeth Day
  36. The Story of Egypt by Joann Fletcher (This was soooooo long but then it definitely drove home the vast expanse of Egyptian civilisation)
  37. The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters
  38. Oscar: A Life by Matthew Sturgis (Wow. A biography so detailed and so rich, I felt I knew Oscar Wilde intimately)
  39. The Poppy Wars by R F Huang (If you like spunky heroines, academy stories and mega-violent war chronicles…you will love this)
  40. The Broken Earth by N K Jemisin
  41. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (Natasha grows in skill with each book and her latest one, a Malaysian-inspired fantasy, is a real beauty)

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