December arrived and I was on my 12th and final book of the challenge, finishing it off during my last week at work before the Christmas break. I am incredibly pleased to have completed last year’s challenge and it’s spurred me on to increase it in 2019.
Below is a round-up of the 12 books I read last year, with some of my thoughts on each and a score I gave each out of five. I keep track of my reading challenge over on Goodreads; I discovered it last year and am obsessed, it’s so useful when looking for future book inspiration. You can find me here.
January: Death on the Nile - Agatha Christie
I kicked off the year with a classic and my first Agatha Christie novel. Whilst I enjoyed the book on the whole, it proved that I do prefer more contemporary writing and I’m just not convinced mystery will ever be a go-to genre for me.
February: The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
Throughout 2018 my friends and I swapped books between ourselves, acting as a bit of a mini book-club. This is one of the ones I got given and I must admit, I really enjoyed it. It’s light-hearted, fun and well...charming. I didn’t expect all that much from it as it appeared as just another chick-lit read which I had gone off a little in the past few years, preferring books that packed more of a punch; however it had me laughing out-loud many times. The main character, Don, is exactly like Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory and I enjoyed reading something within the romance genre from a male perspective.
March: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
When I heard this was being turned into a film by Spielsburg and had tons of 80s references, I had to read it but surprisingly, it didn’t grab me in the way I expected it to. Don’t get me wrong, there are parts I really enjoyed but because it was so hyped up, I finished it feeling that it was just okay. However, if you’re a big sci-fi fan, this would be perfect for you.
April: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman
I’m pretty sure 90% of the female population read this book last year; I was constantly seeing it across my Instagram feed so when I placed a top-up Amazon order of books, this was the first to be added to my basket. I think this would have been a lovely summer holiday book as you could get completely engrossed and devour it in a matter of days. I absolutely loved it. Eleanor is a really interesting character and even if you don’t love her, the story itself is gripping and is much more than you’d perhaps expect.
May: After You – Jojo Moyes
If you liked Me Before You then of course, it’s worth reading the next one to find out what happens but whilst it’s enjoyable, it’s not nearly as memorable as the prequel but then again, that’s usually the case. An easy-to-read book for the Jojo Moyes fans.
June: Miss You - Kate Eberlen
Now don’t get me wrong this was perhaps the most chick-lit book of the whole list, a fairly obvious storyline which has been done in the romance genre time and time again and yet, I really liked it. It is incredibly similar to Love, Rosie but I found myself getting lost in the story, connecting with all the characters and emotions.
July: Call Me By Your Name - André Aciman
I heard so much about the film adaptation of this that I felt it only right to give it a read and I set my expectations high. Whilst I agree it’s a good book and well-written, I just don’t think I connected with the story or the main character as much as I was hoping and therefore, it felt slow at times.
August: This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor – Adam Kay
I summed this up on my Instagram Stories as “one of the best books I have ever read” and almost six months on, I am still recommending it on a regular basis. It is so incredibly insightful into the real story of what it is like to be an NHS doctor and will result in the absolute upmost respect for the incredible people we have looking after us. I truly think this should be added to the GCSE English curriculum so we can ensure future generations read this book. I am such a huge fan of Adam Kay for writing this and I am incredibly pleased to have gotten people who do not enjoy reading to not only read this book, but love it as much as I did.
September: The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris
This book was incredible, heart breaking and harrowing and yet completely absorbing and touching at the same time. This unforgettable read is a true story about Lale and Gita Sokolo; two Slovakian Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz and follows their time at the concentration camp. It’s written sensitively and emotionally whilst remaining true to the factual story and will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
October: Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng
This was another one I was excited to read due to all the rave reviews I had seen. It’s a slow-moving book and had I known that beforehand, I may have enjoyed it more from the beginning but I found it took a while before I became truly engrossed in the story. Saying that, on the whole the story is really powerful and I loved how the author linked the various characters’ stories. I’m intrigued to read Celeste Ng’s other novel, Everything I Never Told You, as part of my 2019 reading challenge.
November: One Plus One - Jojo Moyes
So this was my second Jojo Moyes book of the year and I must say it was my favourite of the two, by far. It’s completely separate to the Me Before You series yet follows the similar ‘opposites attract’ style storyline. It’s easy-to-read but the way the characters and events are depicted makes it a book I wanted to consume all at once, a true page-turner and offers pure escapism.
December: The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes – Ruth Hogan
I absolutely loved Ruth Hogan’s first novel The Keeper of Lost Things so I was really keen to read her next one. Whilst I liked it, at no point did I love it; I just kept waiting to become hooked on the storyline but I never did. It’s not by any means a bad read but for me, it didn’t live up to my expectations.
So there we have it, a little summary of the 12 books I read in 2018. You might be able to tell from the above that my favourite read of the year was without a doubt This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay. I loved it so much I have tickets to see him live in March as part of his book/comedy tour and I honestly think he’ll be a name to remember.
I’ve upped my challenge this year to 15 books and I’m well underway with the second book.
What was the best book you read in 2018? Have you set yourself a reading challenge? Let me know in the comments.