Putting this list together was more difficult than I had anticipated it to be. I went to my Goodreads Page with all the books I read in 2018 and looked at those with 4 or 5 star ratings. When it comes to 5 star ratings, there are a select few books which got there. With 4 star ratings, whilst I enjoyed them at the time and couldn’t particularly fault them, they don’t stand out as the “best books I read this year”, but there are still great books so I will list a few of them at the end of this blog post.
But as for favourite/best books of 2018, I have a rather concise list of 4 books.
(Just so you’re aware, this list includes books I read in 2018, not necessarily books which were published in 2018. This list excludes any rereads)
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Rated: 5 stars.
I read Vicious at the beginning of the year, and then read it again in September. Very quickly, it became my response to the question “What’s your favourite book?” I didn’t expect to enjoy a science fiction book so much, but the characters, the plot and of course the writing is fantastic. Vicious gave me a little bit of a book hangover when I read it.
I know a lot of people enjoy this book because of how morally grey it is and I agree. That aspect of the book is a key selling point really. The way Schwab crafts this core conflict in the book is brilliant, but even then I found myself aligning with one side of the argument.
I think this book works brilliantly as a stand alone and would have been content without its sequel, Vengeful. At this point I own multiple copies of Vicious and will probably be rereading several more times in the future.
The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays by Oscar Wilde
Rated: 5 stars.
If you were anywhere within a 5 mile radius of me in and around July this year you could have probably heard me rambling about Oscar Wilde’s plays and this collection earned itself the title of my favourite classic (and it is still definitely up there.) I’ve said it countless times but my favourite from the collection is ‘An Ideal Husband’ because Goring is my favourite character. If you want to read my thoughts on each individual play in this book, look at my review.
I definitely want to revisit these plays at some point in the future and obviously seeing them is a priority for me.
The Private Lives of the Tudors by Tracy Borman
Rated: 5 stars.
If you were around in the summer, you’ll know I got a little bit extravagant when it came to non-fiction history books. I ended up buying quite a few, many of which were fantastic. This one however, I adored. I found it so interesting dipping into the lives of the Tudor monarchs (Henry VII to Elizabeth I) and found out so much I didn’t really know. I’ve been fascinated with the Tudor dynasty since I was relatively young, and this book definitely rekindled that fascination.
The writing didn’t feel overwhelming or textbook-like as I have found with some other non-fiction reads. It was split into decent and logical chapters which generally made the reading experience better and more enjoyable. And I’m definitely interesting in anything else Tracy Borman writes.
I have also recently found out that there was a TV series to go with this book so maybe someday soon I’ll sit and watch that.
The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry
Rated: 5 stars.
Over the summer, this book was bought to my attention and whilst at uni I caved and got the audiobook. Of course, I have no idea what 19th century Edinburgh was like but this book felt as though it hit the mark. This book is a historical crime book. Sure I love history. But before this one, I’d never thought of picking up a crime book. At times it felt fantastical – whilst clearly not being magical in anyway.
There is a core focus on Victorian medicine as the two protagonists spend most of their time in a doctor’s home and out . At this point medicine was experimental to say the least, but the characters you meet genuinely feel as though they are trying to help those in need rather than put on a show. Medical terms and descriptions which are used in the book largely went over my head, but if you are rather squeamish (like me) some of the descriptions may make you feel a little uncomfortable.
Soon after uploading my review for this book, I found out that it was the first in a series, so I am eagerly waiting to find out more about that!
And that wraps up the main four books I am going to say are my favourites of 2018. I understand that four doesn’t feel like many, but for books to make it on this list they have to really stand out and keep me thinking. These ones have stuck with me since reading them.
However, I’m going to give you some other notable reads (all four star reads) which are well worth picking up:
Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed | Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann | Dread Nation by Justina Ireland | The Archived/The Unbound by Victoria Schwab | Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls | Mythos by Stephen Fry | City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab | Gulliver’s Travels by Johnathan Swift
Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and which books you particularly enjoyed this year!