Recent Reads: The 2018 edition

It’s been a while since I wrote one of these. Far too long. But as it turns out 2018 was the first year that I’ve recorded ALL the books I’ve been reading, (I even created some sort of poor man book bullet journal). So this post is going to be easier for me than if I was relying on my quite frankly terrible memory!

I thought I’d round up the things I read, and then do a little recap about my favourites. 

I managed to get through 42 1/2  books in 2018, which, given my lay about status might not sound like many, but when chemo brain makes reading hard (honestly, not being able to remember what happened on the page you left off on is so frustrating) and you’ve watched as many random Netflix shows as I have, I think it’s a pretty decent number! In fact, I have to say I am pretty proud of it. 

Some of these books were hardback – I love a hardback – some were paperbacks, some were 99p kindle first reads, some were just normal kindle purchases. Some were whim purchases based solely on the cover art. Some were recommendations and loaned books. Some were absolute flops. Some have stuck with me for months and months and become books I implore people to read. Some were read during chemo insomnia, some were devoured in the garden in the sun, others in bed on days I couldn’t get up, some read on my phone whilst on dog walks because I just couldn’t put them down……

So, onto what I read in 2018; 
  1. This must be the place – Maggie O’Farrell – ****
  2. A year of Marvellous Ways – Sarah Winman – ****
  3. Everything I never told you – Celeste Ng – ****
  4. Calling Major Tom -David M Barnett – ***
  5. One of us is lying -Karen McManus – ***
  6. The Party – Robyn Harding – **
  7. Little fires everywhere – Celeste Ng – *****
  8. In the dark, In the woods – Eliza Wass – ***
  9. The Copenhagen Affair – Amulya Malladi – ****
  10. The Vanishing of Esme Lennox – Maggie O’Farrell – ****
  11. The versions of us – Laura Barnett – ***
  12. Trespassing – Brandi Rees – **
  13. The places I stopped on the way home – Meg Fee – ****
  14. Eleanor Oliphant – Gail Honeyman – ***
  15. To all the boys I’ve loved before – Jenny Han – ****
  16. Eat Up – Ruby Tandoh – *****
  17. Zennor in Darkness – Helen Dunmore – ****
  18. The invisible life of Euridice Gusmao -Martha Batalla – *****
  19. Us – David Nicholls – **
  20. Come a little bit closer – Rachel Abbott – ***
  21. All over the place – Geraldine DeRuiter – **
  22. Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris – *****
  23. All the light we cannot see – Anthony Doerr – *****
  24. Without a hitch – Bettina Hunt – ***
  25. The history of the rain _ Niall Williams – **
  26. The keeper of lost things – Ruth Hogan – ***
  27. The good Liar – Catherine Mackenzie – ***
  28. Leah on the beat – Becky Albertalli – **
  29. The boy in the striped pyjamas – John Boyne – ****
  30. Together – Julie Cohen – ****
  31. The thinnest air – Minka Kent – **
  32. I will never leave you – S.M Thayer – **
  33. The memory shop – Ella Griffin – *****
  34. The summer of impossible things – Rowan Coleman – *****
  35. Where the light gets in – Lucy Dillon – ***
  36. The cancer whisperer – Sophie Sabbage (I didn’t finish this book – it was too preachy!) – *
  37. The book thief – Markus Zusak –  ****
  38. Big little lies – Lianne Moriarty – ****
  39. Where’d you go Bernadette? Maria Semple – *****
  40. Missing pieces – Laura Pearson – ***
  41. The ragged edge of the night – Olivia Hawker – *****
  42. I let you go – Clare Mackintosh – ***
  43. D-Day – Anthony Beevor (I’m still reading this……..)
So, there you have it. The books I read in 2018. 

But what were my favourites? And why?

Little fires everywhere – Celeste Ng
I think that everyone who read this book in 2018 loved it, and I totally think that it’s justified. It’s just the most beautifully written book, that makes you not want to put it down. I read it in two sittings. It touches on teen angst, parenting issues, race issues – I loved how different the lives of the Richardsons and Mia and Pearl were, and how their lives are intertwined in such interesting, and tragic ways. 

I got this book in a Reading in Heels book and I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I had a feeling I’d enjoy it, but I didn’t anticipate how much. It’s just so beautifully written. Funny, so much funnier than I thought it would be. And vibrant. And colourful. And it made me think so much about the lives of these women who were supposed to just be wives and mothers but longed to be so much more! Please hunt this book down and read it! 

All the light we cannot see – Anthony Doerr
I know I’m a bit late to this one, but I am so glad that I found it. I’m a sucker for a WW2 story – I mean I read history books for fun. The way the story splits between these two young people, caught up in the war, in such different ways was perfect. The way their childhoods have shaped the people they have become, and the way they interact with each other. I felt so much for Werner. And the descriptions of St Malo are just beautiful. 

Where’d you go Bernadette? Maria Semple
I got this book after a recommendation by my friend Zoe. It’s another book where I was already bought in just by the cover. And then I realised it was set in Seattle, so that was another plus. I have read a few heavy books this year, so the humour in this book was so welcomed, and easily read. I loved the way the book switched between texts and emails and documents. And I really loved how I literally had no clue where it was going as I read!

The ragged edge of the night – Olivia Hawker
I got this as a 99p kindle read, and let me tell you, I have read some absolute dross on those offers, but this one was not one of those books. It’s another WW2 story, about a German priest who leaves the monastery after it’s decimated by the SS, and decides to do his bit for the war by marrying a widow and helping raise her family.  

Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris
This was another cheap kindle read, maybe not 99p, but hugely discounted at just the moment I needed a train read. And I read this on one trip back from London. It’s the story of a man who is forced to be the tattooist of the new people brought to Auschwitz. One of the people he tattoos is a woman, whom he falls in love with. This is the story, the true story it turns out, of how there was some small moments of light in the most horrific of places. 

Eat Up – Ruby Tandoh
It’s not often I buy a none fiction book that’s not a history book, but I had heard such great things about this, and it didn’t disappoint. It was funny and educational and easy to read and talked about a love of creme eggs. I feared it might be preachy for me. I hate people telling me how to eat, but it was more of an instruction to give up the food guilt. A love letter to food if you will!

The summer of impossible things – Rowan Coleman
Not going to lie, I’m not usually a fan of time travel in books, but I do love anything that’s got a hit of the magical about it, not in a harry potter kind of way mind (Shall I let you in on a secret – not read the books or seen all the films) but back to this book – it’s set between the modern day and the 1970s in 

The memory shop – Ella Griffin
This is a really pretty, easy read. I bought it as some light relief and that’s exactly what it was. It’s a beautifully written tale of a woman who goes to her grandparents home after they die, whilst in turmoil herself, and finds herself having to find a way to get rid of their belongings and heal herself – so sets up a little pop-up shop. The characters are really relatable, and it’s just a bit of cute book!

This must be the place – Maggie O’Farrell

This is my second Maggie O’Farrell novel, the first was Instructions for a heatwave, and I love her style of writing. You’ll see, I read another in close succession. I loved the way this book jumped between the books current day and the characters pasts. I was so bought into Daniel and Claudette’s lives that I just wanted to find out everything about their pasts, especially why Claudette, the world-famous actress, had become a recluse in the wilds of Ireland.


And now I get to start the pile of books I collected over Christmas and my birthday and ordered at the back end of the year and have just sat looking at for a while. But I’ll need more.

Tell me, what have been your favourite reads of late. Give me inspiration. Give me a direction in which to turn! Give me more books I have to buy and slowly bankrupt myself doing (or I happily take hand me downs!)

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