Best Books I Read in 2018


Do you forget what you read recently? My husband’s aunt was looking for book recommendations recently, and all I could think about was what I was reading at that very moment. Thank goodness for Goodreads, right? It’s such a good way to not only record the books you WANT to read (so so many), but to keep track of the books you HAVE read.

I know we are well, WELL into 2019, but I want to revisit some of the books I read and loved last year.

Invisible Furies

photo from

  • A very close runner up would have to be The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel, which was a perfect collection of short stories. The language was so beautifully crafted and the stories were so surprising and tightly drawn.
margaret thatcher

photo from

  • Then The North Water by Ian McGuire, which was on a subject I did not know I cared for (maritime disasters!) and the plot was lively, the language was vivid, and the whole thing was full of fascinating historical detail.
North Water

photo from

I also really enjoyed History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund, Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert,and The Line That Held Us by David Joy – each of which had a LOT to recommend it, from great plot to beautiful writing to thought provoking subject matter and complicated characters.

photos from

It’s so funny to look back at this list, which I wrote in December of 2018 when the books were more freshly-read. I am surprised that I listed the John Boyne book first — not because it wasn’t amazing, but because it hasn’t stuck with me over the months the way the others have. I don’t remember the plot of The North Water that clearly (it’s a little jumbled in my head with The Terror TV miniseries, which I also watched last year), but I remember quite distinctly the FEELING that I had while reading it, of invisible, unstoppable horror and blinding ice and cold.

The particulars of Conviction have remained with me fairly clearly, because I keep turning them over in my head. The main character had some, to me, problematic biases and I keep wondering if he really overcame them, and, if not, if that seems real and truthful or disappointing. It’s a testament to the writing and the construction of the story itself that I keep thinking of it, grappling with the messages it scrawled into my brain.

And when I remember the Mantel collection, it’s with unbridled enthusiasm and a sort of joyous awe: I remember it as a near perfect grouping of stories.

About the John Boyne book — which I gave as Christmas gifts to multiple people! — my recollection is a very hazy impression of quality, with a couple of key plot points jutting out of the fog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s