My Favourite Books of 2018

Sure, tomorrow it's March, but here I am anyway writing about my fave books of 2018.

Last year was the year I re-discovered the library, which is just an absolute gem. It angers me that libraries are being closed all over the country and baffles me why more people don't use them (but also don't all use my favourite library because it's really peaceful thankssssss).

Last year I also completed a book challenge, which I put together myself from various other challenges I found on Pinterest. The challenge was to read 30 books, all with stipulations such as 'A book by a favourite author', 'A book with a green spine' and  'A book with food on the cover'. It was fun to do, and I read a lot of books I wouldn't normally. I discovered that some genres and authors are not for me (Terry Pratchett is a firm no) but was pleasantly surprised at others.

Here are 6 of my favourites:

1. Everything I know about Love by Dolly Alderton

This book was my absolute, absolute favourite of the year and shoots straight into my top books ever list. I feel like Dolly really speaks for a good chunk of my generation who grew up with MSN and the fledgling years of the internet. Everything I know about Love is an autobiographical story focused on Dolly and her relationships - friendly, familial and romantic. The stories really get you in the feels - I cried more than once and properly belly laughed at a chapter made up of text message exchanges. I like to fold down the pages of my favourite books if I love a particular scene, quote or page. There were many pages of this book folded down. Read it.

2. Brooklyn by Colm Tobien

I first watched the film of this book at the cinema, loved it (it stars Saorsie Ronan who I rate highly) and then thoroughly enjoyed the book as well. This sounds trite, and I can picture my husband Rich rolling his eyes at me saying this, but it is just about life and the twists and turns that make people's normality so interesting. It's basically a love story between a girl who moves from rural Ireland to Brooklyn in New York and an Italian-American boy, and the struggle between past and potential future. The characters are loveable, yet believable and the writing evocative.

3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

This YA novel was huge when it debuted and has since been made into a film which I am very keen to see. It follows Starr, who witnesses her childhood friend being shot and killed by a policeman. This sets off a chain of events which cause her to make some life changing decisions and explore her racial identity. The story is so relevant for the current political climate, especially in America where the book is set, and explores powerful themes of race, morality, justice and privilege. The characters aren't annoying cliches and it definitely transcends its intended teenage audience.

4. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

I always thought this book would be hella depressing, given that the subject matter concerns a young woman's descent into madness, but it was surprisingly comical, with many a sassy aside from the protagonist, Esther Greenwood, making me chuckle. Whilst it was published more than 50 years ago, the protagonist encounters opinions about sexism which are unfortunately still held by some today. I am a sucker for a novel set post war in the 20th century, and this was funny, poignant and sad. I can see why it is a modern classic.

5. Dear Mrs Bird by A.J Pearce

As I mentioned in the review above, I do love an old fashioned tale, and this book felt like being given a hug. It's twee but I don't care, the characters are so warm and I couldn't have rooted more for Emmeline Lake, the woman who takes on a job at a magazine in World War II Britain and starts replying to agony aunt letters on the sly. It's charming, cute and just lovely.

6. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

This book was weird, but in the best way. With a constant undertone of creepiness, it's is an example of something I would never usually pick up - two sisters living in an decaying house, rejected by the townsfolk and desperately trying to thwart any outsider coming into their lives. The characters are unsympathetic but compelling and you still somehow root for them. Dark, moody and sucks you in.

I want to read 40 books for 2019! What are your faves? I would love to know.

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