Hello friends! It’s hard to believe 2018 is quickly coming to a close. What a year! Over here at Literary Quicksand, we’ve been busy reading a lot of really good books. Sure, we’ve read a few duds that we’d rather forget, but we’ve also read some amazing books as well.
As 2018 winds down, we’d like to take a minute to share our favorite books we’ve read this year! Don’t forget to tell us your favorite books in the comments below!
Here are some of our favorite books we read in 2018:
Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah – I feel like a broken record because I can’t stop talking about how much I enjoyed this audiobook I listened to back in January. It’s such an incredible story of identify, family, perseverance, and social justice (or rather injustice). If you haven’t listened to the audio version narrated by the author, I highly recommend stopping everything you’re doing and picking it up right now!
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – I didn’t think I was going to like this book when I started reading it. Eleanor is a socially awkward recluse that has a drinking problem and stalker-ish tendencies. However, the author somehow slips her into your heart when you least expect it and I found myself rooting for Eleanor until the shocking end.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds – This book is way outside of my comfort zone in so many ways. It’s a YA book with a male protagonist written entirely in prose. I’m so glad I took a chance on it though because it ended up begin an amazing book. It’s short and easy to read in a day or two, but packs a powerful punch. It definitely gives you a lot to think about when you finish.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – By far the most explosive book of 2018, The Hate U Give has already been made into a major motion picture (which was as amazing as the book to be quite honest). Thomas brings Starr to life in the Garden, a fictional & predominantly black neighborhood, that forces tough choices and the reality of being a black person in today’s America.
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood – While this book wasn’t released as recently, picking up All the Ugly and Wonderful Things was so special to me. I finished this book at the beginning of 2018 and it has stuck with me as one of the magical reads that I was privileged to read this year. Stuck in Kansas, born to two drug dealers/users in and out of jail, Wavy grows up in a broken home and must learn to love in any way she knows how.
Beartown & Us Against You by Fredrik Backman – I wasn’t surprised to see that Backman also made Rachel’s list for the same book. Beartown is AMAZING, and I am in the midst of reading Us Against You right now and have no problem indicating that this is going to be another 5* read. Set in a small town in Sweden, this pair of books revolves around many individuals living in Beartown. Backman develops these characters with love, care and finesse, as always, and with such detail that you feel you know them intimately. These books draw you in and will never let your heart go.
Special nod to The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (Lisa See), This Is How It Always Is (Laurie Frankel), The Art of Inheriting Secrets (Barbara O’Neal) and Educated (Tara Westover) which I also ranked as 5* reads for 2018 but didn’t have room for here.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng – This book pulled me in so quickly. I love how Ng weaves together the intricacies of family relationships to create the perfect storm of miscommunication in this story. This one was a page-turner for me! I couldn’t put it down at all.
I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell – This memoir reads like page-turning fiction. Maggie O’Farrell gives readers 17 glimpses into her life, all through brushes with death. It’s fascinating and I loved it! This was the best non-fiction I read this year.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith – Yep, I’m pretty behind the times with this one! I finally read it this year and just loved the heck out of it. It’s super character driven and you expect more to happen, yet you end up not caring that it doesn’t. It’s just a beautiful portrait of a young girl’s life in turn-of-the-century America. SO good.
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel – I see this one is on Caleigh’s list too! We both read this one for book club. From page one, I was in love with Frankel’s writing style. She’s a master storyteller and she just makes it seem effortless! Every time I opened this book, I fell into the world of a family learning to navigate the youngest brother’s transition to youngest sister. The way Frankel tackles this theme is just so on point.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo– I gave into peer pressure on this novel, and I’m SO glad I did. I thought the story TJR told was beautiful, unexpected and well-executed. It was more than the gossipy, celebrity story I thought it was. It’s a story of balancing a successful career with personal goals, of being a woman in a man’s world and using that to your advantage, of taking calculated risks and sometimes jumping in with reckless abandon. Above all, it is a story of being true to yourself and doing what it takes to find happiness. Check out the full review here.
The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain – This novel fell squarely into my wheelhouse, and I was hooked on this one from the very beginning. I adore stories of “realistic time travel,” and though I can’t give much away beyond that, trust me, when I say it’s absolutely irresistible. I loved everything about it. Check out the full review here.
Educated by Tara Westover – Tara’s memoir opened my eyes to an unconventional and oft-unseen way of life. She grew up in an extremist Mormon family that was determinedly survivalist and anti-establishment, going without schooling or access to medicine for most of her life. This was definitely an uncomfortable read at times, but I appreciated Tara’s reflections and the courage it took to share her story with the world. An inspiring must-read. Read the full review here.
Beartown by Fredrik Backman – I’ve been a Backman fan ever since I first read A Man Called Ove, but this might just be my all-time favorite of his. The characters are incredibly written and their emotions and choices stuck with me long after I finished the book.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey – When an Alaskan couple builds a little girl out of snow one winter, they’re astonished to catch a glimpse of a strikingly similar real girl in the woods the following day. Magical realism abounds in this fairy tale-like story and I loved every minute of it.
A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy by Sarah J Maas – I flew through this young adult fantasy series in less than two weeks. It’s pure entertainment and fast-paced fun that completely took over my reading life and left me wanting even more by the end!
I also filled out a year-end book survey over on my blog with all of the books that surprised, disappointed, and delighted me over this past year!
This is so tricky—I have read so many amazing books this year! Here are a few that made it to the very top of my list:
Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry—I loved Stephen Fry and Greek mythology before reading Mythos, but this just made me love them both even more. Fry retells the myths in such a clear, cohesive, and entertaining way, with amusing and fascinating side notes to add further depth to the stories. It was such an interesting read.
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn—This one was by far one of the best books I’ve read ever, let alone this year. It was so full of suspense from the start, and truly captivating to the very last word. If you love mysteries and you haven’t read this yet, go read it now. Seriously.
The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale—This book arrived at the perfect time for me. I was getting in the Christmas mood, and into my lap fell this incredibly touching story of a magical toy emporium and the somewhat dysfunctional family that runs it. It is a story of heartbreak and joy, love and loss, and the magic of being a child at Christmas.