I wanted to wrap-up 2018 with a list of my favourite books from the year.
This year I didn’t read as much as I usually do, because I’ve been writing my first two novels (and been pretty damn sleep-deprived, too, thanks to my now two year old).
But, I’m guessing I managed to read at least twenty books. And from what I did manage to read a couple really stand out to me.
FYI – these aren’t books that were released this year, just books I happened to pick up and read this year. I’m terrible at keeping up to date with what all the cool kids are reading – in fact, most of my reading material is books I find in charity shops or the library. But sometimes I’ll order something new on my Kindle or through Book Depository too.
Anyway, here are the books I loved most this year:
Fiction: Roomies by Christina Lauren
OMG, what a cute love story. I love the romance genre but I tend to prefer books told from first person – and just one person at that. One thing I really dislike about the genre is all the point-of-view switching. This story was told entirely from the perspective of the main female character, which I loved.
It’s about a young woman in Manhattan who has a crush on a busker in the subway. She ends up agreeing to marry him so he can get a Green Card and play music for her uncle’s Broadway show. And then, of course, they have to live together, and pretend to be in love, and it all unfolds from there. Oh and she’s also a writer, figuring her writer-self out, which I loved too.
It was such a gorgeous swoon-worthy read that I devoured it in 24 hours – this is record-breaking for me given I don’t get much spare time to myself! I loved the writing, I loved the characters, I loved the setting and it was funny, too. I had a library copy and I’ve ordered my own paperback to read again (and study so I can recreate the same magic in my own writing!).
Non-fiction (self-help): The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson
Yes, I know, I’m a bit slow to get on the bandwagon with this one. I only actually picked it up because a friend of mine raved about it and loaned me her copy. In truth, I wasn’t expecting much but I was pleasantly surprised.
The author basically says that we only have so many fucks to give and we’re wasting them on things that don’t matter. In other words, you need to figure out what matters most to you and consider what metric you use to measure it – then forget the rest. It’s nothing revolutionary, really, but I did enjoy his humorous writing style and he made me stop and reconsider some things.
The point I found most interesting was this: that life is always some kind of struggle, no matter what you do. It’s up to you to choose the struggle that is meaningful to you – the thing you’re prepared to work for. You’ll never have a life free of problems – even if you get rich, or meet the right guy or whatever – and that’s a good thing. He explains that happiness comes from continuously solving problems – provided they’re problems that matter to you.
Enjoyed this one and will probably come back to it again. Plus he’s funny!
From the dust jacket: Poetry about: art, heart, people, home, you, courage, self-love, strength, culture, acceptance, survival (in no particular order).
Gorgeous, simple but powerful poetry. Short enough that I read it in one sitting, but I will keep coming back to it over and over. There’s nothing especially clever in terms of how she uses language, but I found her observations and insights so like my own that reading it I felt less alone. And there’s something about the simplicity of the language that makes it really powerful.
It also has these really sweet little drawings throughout which I liked too.
Non-fiction (memoir): A Better Woman by Susan Johnson
This was a great memoir of motherhood which I devoured in three days. The author experienced quite a traumatic birth with her two sons, and while I couldn’t relate to that aspect of it, I could relate to so much of her reflections on motherhood.
But the thing I loved most about this book was her reflections on being both a writer and a mother – something I am also trying to juggle. She talked about how she would be desperate to find time to write, how important writing was to her, how scenes from her novels would unfold in her head and she would have to remember them to get them down later – and I just thought, yes, I’m not crazy!
So yes, even though the book is quite old now (2002) – if you’re a mother and a writer, I recommend it.
I’d also add Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg to this list of books I loved reading this past year, but it was a re-read for me. Because it’s brilliant.
Those are my favourite books from this past year. A bit of a random collection, really. I didn’t make reading fiction a priority this past year because I’ve been so involved in writing it. But next year I’m planning to take a more balanced approach (does that ever work, though?) where I juggle both writing and reading fiction. My goal for 2019 is to read 52 books! Fingers crossed.
What books (old or new) have you loved this past year?