In 2018, I managed to beat my goal and read 28 books, so next year, I’m aiming for 30! Here were my faves from the year.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
I was kind of hesitant to read this one because it seemed so over-hyped. But, it lived up to the hype. Some of the other books I read this year with brash characters were just irritating and annoying (Sorry to Disturb the Peace, See What I Have Done), but Eleanor was really relatable in many ways and the story was truly touching.
I found it relevant to read a book about Native Americans in today’s Oakland by a Native American author over Thanksgiving break. Things I loved about this book: intertwining stories, strong and unique characters, getting a taste of a very specific community.
Who doesn’t love a multi-generational family saga? The timeframe and setting of Korea and Japan throughout the 1900s made it especially unique.
I had no idea what to expect from this book but I liked the cover. It was surprisingly touching! It’s a quick read that’s kind of depressing at times but ultimately uplifting.
Loved the plot and the stories made me surprisingly emotional. I really got attached to the characters.
Was there a book on this list that I didn’t cry during at some point? Nope. Good characters, good plot.
Fates and Furies
If it was good enough for Grace & Frankie, it’s good enough for me! The book examines both sides of a marriage, with the first half from one spouse’s perspective, and the second half from the other’s. But it’s not gimmicky and doesn’t have anything just for shock value. It was just a good look at a relationship from two sides that shows that you don’t really know someone completely.
It was intimidating to follow four potential versions of someone’s life, but it was a really interesting look at the role of fate and destiny, and how much a life can branch out when you have the outcome of one moment turn out differently.
Also, while not my favorites, I did want to share some honorable mentions:
- Killing Commendatore – I LOVE Murakami, and his ability to create a palpable environment and atmosphere are nearly unrivaled. However, I felt like some of the themes were a bit repetitive from his other novels, and considering it was a 700-page book, I wish some more of the plot points were more concretely resolved.
- Sing, Unburied, Sing – a really heartbreaking story.
- Little Fires Everywhere – great plot.
- Exit West – super creative & imaginative.
- Home Fire – really interesting story that takes a lot of twists and turns.