What I Read In 2018
Yes, I know these posts usually come out in January, but that time of year is so over-saturated with lists and I figure you’ve probably just finished all the books you got for the holidays and are ready for something new. So here we go… what I read in 2018.
I read 17 books in 2018. Well, 17 fiction books in 2018.
I read a few nonfiction books, but I’m not going to include them in this list here. They have to do mainly with writing and the craft of storytelling and various lifestyle and health and nutrition things, that don’t really have a place in this particular post. Maybe at some point, I will write a blog about that if you guys are interested. So leave me a comment saying ‘hey, what nonfiction did you read last year?’ and I’ll post about it. : )
So today’s blog will be focused entirely on the fiction books I read in 2018 and my personal favourite. ‘Personal favourite’ seems like a somewhat redundant title, I mean it’s my favourite, how is making it ‘personal’ add more favourite-ness? Sigh, a quandary for another time.
So since I read 17 books, I’m going to keep the reviews/comments on said books reasonably brief. I’m going to review them in the order I read them AND I’m not going to go back and refresh myself as to their respective plots. I’m going to discuss these books based solely on my memory of them at this present moment. Which, if you think about, it’s the best way to review a book. If it doesn’t stick with you, why bother?
So without further adieu here is what I read in 2018.
The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
This woman is one of my
City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Again, another excellent crime/thriller series with a little bit of the supernatural thrown in for good measure. The Aloysius Pendergast series is one of my all time
Further Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
I have a huge soft spot in my heart for the Tales of the City series. I first heard about the series back in 2001. I had just graduated from college and found myself in a lacklustre resort in Cuba on a trip that had started out as a big group of people but ended up just me and one couple. Yeah, it was, um, not a great time for me. Anyway, I stumbled on the tv show one night when I was holed up in my hotel room, and it was exactly what I needed. So when I got home, I went out and immediately bought all the books. I just burned through the series. It’s set in1970s San Francisco and focuses the lives of people living in a big house full of tiny apartments and the family they become. The characters are edgy and real, and the short chapters make dipping in and out of the different plot lines easy to manage. There’s even a hint of the macabre when a possible Jim Jones connection develops. ‘Further’ isn’t the first book in the series, so I’ve linked to the boxset. : )
Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
Yes, I know this is a weird choice for a seconds-away-from-forty-year-old woman. That I really should have read this when I was 12, but I did not. So out of curiosity and because I had seen a peculiar TV movie version of the book, I wanted to read the novel and see what all the fuss was about. And I can tell you this: this book is bizarre. It is utterly compelling but at the same time is kind of brutally written. As I was reading it I would say to myself; ‘this is terrible. Okay, just five more pages.’ There’s something about the story that is just so bonkers you are compelled to turn the pages. And yes, the incest storyline is there, but when it happens, when you finally get there, because this book is
The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood
Okay, the title does not disappoint, this book is dark. I believe I picked this up because Stephen King mentioned it in a tweet. The Darkest Secret is about a child, a twin, that goes missing from a vacation home full of people and you don’t know until the very last page of the book what actually happened. The book opens fifteen years (ish, I can’t remember exactly) and from page one we know that the missing child’s father has just died and now his estranged older daughter has to pick up the remaining twin and travel to the funeral. And the web of lies surrounding the other twin’s disappearance untangles slowly from there. It’s really well written and very compelling, but dark AF. If you don’t want to feel good for a couple days or weeks, for as it takes you to read it and then a few days
How The Light Gets In by Louise Penny
The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
See? I told you I loved this series. One of these books, I can’t remember which, was beautiful and bittersweet, it made me bawl my eyes out. Seriously. The cat was very freaked out. I’ve linked here to a boxset of books 1 to 3.
Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
This was recommended to me by a friend who loves Ian Rankin, and we read a lot of similar books so I thought I’d give it a try. It was a good book. It’s really well done, but it didn’t light my fire. I like my crime and thriller stuff to have a paranormal or a horrific element and this book was just straight up crime thriller. Yes, the crime at the
The Outsider by Stephen King
This was my hands down favourite book of the year! It is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Period. And one of my top three favourite Stephen King books. You get all that awesome super long Stephen King goodness in a book that reads super fast. This book freaked me out so much and was so compelling that I filled every free moment I had with reading it. If I were waiting in my car for some reason, I’d whip out my phone and start reading. Waiting for an appointment? I was reading. Standing in line? I was reading. I could barely tear myself away from the pages. It gave me nightmares, it made me laugh, it made me cry. It is a phenomenal book and needs to be made into a movie now.
Books of Blood – Volume One by Clive Barker
This was another reread for me, but the last time I read it, I was about 14 or 15 years old. I had just started high school and was at a different high school from all of my grade 8 classmates (it was a performing
Brimstone by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Another book in the Pendergast series. It’s one of the earlier ones, and I read it because honestly, after reading Books of Blood I wanted something comforting. Which makes this a strange choice considering the book is about possible possessions by the devil and spontaneous human combustion. But there you go. I am what I am.
The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware
A good locked-in mystery with a solid dose of creepiness. Ruth Ware is very good at writing atmosphere. You feel the room, you feel the weather, you feel the tension, so you get this sort of multi-sensory experience in a classic page-turner.
Books of Blood – Volume Two by Clive Barker
Okay, okay, yes. I went back for more.
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
I’ve read a lot of good things about this book, but I didn’t dig it and honestly gave up about 75% of the way through, just skimmed to the end. I think that the e-book copy I purchased was poorly formatted because it was tough to read. The spacing and dialogue seemed off. Also, the writing felt very masculine, almost to the point where I felt excluded. Which was a strange
Man, lousy formatting can really destroy a book.
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith a.k.a. JK Rowling
I really loved the first three books in this series, the second book in particular but I couldn’t get into Lethal White. It’s felt a little long for me, and I didn’t need Robin to go through as much crappy stuff as she did. I just wanted her to have a better time. So maybe I like the character of Robin so much and want her to have a nicer life, that it
Slade House by David Mitchell
I’ve picked this book up several times, electronically that is, and put it down. But when I picked it up again late last year, I really got sucked in. It’s almost a collection of short stories nestled within a novel and all taking place in and around Slade House, a house that seems to operate outside the laws of time. It is creepy and weird with lots of almost ghost entities. There is a metaphysical element to the story, and I can’t really say more without giving the big stuff away.
Mr Mercedes by Stephen King
Ah, the last book I read in 2018. I chose it because one of the characters in The Outsider came into the world of Stephen King through this book and I loved her so much in The Outsider that I wanted to know her origin story. Holly. Awesome, ass-kicking, aware of her self, Holly. She’s the best. Go read The Outsider, please. Anyway… Mr Mercedes is a really excellent read also. Is it one of my favourites? No. But it is incredibly well done, again a couple nightmares, and there is one chapter in this book that was one of the saddest things I’ve ever read. It brought me to tears. There’s a reason why Stephen King is one of the biggest selling authors of all time. He really is a master storyteller. Maybe one day he’ll do a masterclass on that masterclass website! That would be so cool.
So that’s is my rather long blog post about all the books I read in 2018. I hope one or two of them sparked your interest and will bring you some reading joy over the next year. Please note that all of the links above are affiliate links so if you do end up clicking through to Amazon and picking up a book I get a teeny tiny fraction of a penny or something like that. So thank you, it will no doubt go to good use here in at Château Rockwood.
Please tell me in the comments below what your favourite book of 2018 was. It doesn’t necessarily have to be one that came out in 2018, just something you read in 2018 that shook you up a little bit, made you go ‘hot damn! that’s why I love reading!’
Drop it in the comments below and inspire a bunch of other people’s reading lists, including my own.