It’s that time of the year to look back and retrospect. A time to pat yourself on your back, make a commitment to do slightly better the next year. Well, to try, at least. It’s kind of a tradition and is among those few that I really love. And speaking of year-end traditions, looking back at my top reads for the year is something that I absolutely love doing. In the past 3 years, it has become even more so because when I look at the books I have read, it reaffirms my faith that even after motherhood I haven’t stopped doing what I love. It’s a validation in a sense of holding on to my pre-motherhood self which is a promise I had made to myself.
Anway. Speaking of books and reading, I have actually managed to read 45 books this year and am currently on to my 46th which I hope to finish before ringing in the New Year.
Before the reading counter strikes zero with the New Year, I always list my top reads from the year that was. If you have a chance, do take a look at the books that figured in my list in 2017, some great books in there. In keeping with tradition, therefore, here are my top reads from 2018 in no particular order.
My Top 13 Reads from 2018. Take a look at the books that made it to the list! #Books #Lists Click To Tweet
Top 13 Reads of 2018
Saving Monalisa: The Battle to Protect the Louvre and its Treasures During World War II by Gerri Chanel
This is a non-fiction, the story of how a few men and women fought, resisted and lived during the Nazi occupation of France to protect the treasures of art. Sometimes they even paid with their lives for doing the same. What I loved about this book, apart from that fact that it’s a true account of what happened during World War 2, is that even in the worst possible of circumstances these men and women protected what they were passionate about without once thinking that it’s just art. Yes, because it wasn’t just art, was it? It was about their history, about a society’s past and about where they had come from. It’s an awe-inspiring tale and for lovers of non-fiction, a must read.
This is one of those books that once you start reading you just cannot stop till you have reached the end. And once that last page has been turned, you won’t be able to get this book out of your mind for long. The story, as the names suggest, is about this widower called Ove who in the face if it will seem to you like a disgruntled old man. But as you get to know him, you’ll realise he’s just the most adorable old man ever. Truth be told, I had fallen in love with this character while reading and he now sits right next to Atticus in terms of some of my favourite fictional characters.
Read this before Tom Hanks brings this to life on the big screen. You’ll not regret it. I stake my reputation as a reader on this. Yes, I do.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor Oliphant is the perfect heroine you hope to read about in a book. I absolutely adored her. Adore her. Socially awkward, someone who loves to be left alone, Eleanor’s life changes when she meets Raymond, the IT guy from her office. She is so real, her struggles, her demons so relatable in so many ways that I finished this book in no time. And it is one of those which I would love to read again. Also, it is soon to adapted on screen. So, read this before you watch it on the silver screen, I say.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
I loved Liane Moriarty from the moment I read ‘The Husband’s Secret’. But after that, I somehow missed reading her other books. And then suddenly she sort of erupted to the scene with Big Little Lies which I must say turned out to be quite the read.
The book was fast-paced, the characters diverse, interesting and well-written something that isn’t easy. The plot so simple yet so complex that it could only have been executed by an author who knew what she was doing.
And while I was reading the book, this engrossing book, I realised how apt the casting had been in the series as well. I think Big Little Lies is one of those where the screen adaptation was as good as the book.
The Last Mrs Parrish by Liv Constantine
Well, this is one of those books which you will finish reading at one or two sittings for sure. It is engaging and fast-paced. By the time you finish reading this, you’ll probably wonder at the brilliance of the writer who has made a plot, various versions of which you might have read already, so damn interesting. Let’s just say that it’s an interesting battle between two women. Also, there is no doubt on whose side you will be on and how that woman will surprise you.
I came across this book in one of the book clubs I follow on Instagram and was instantly attracted by the contradiction that is its title. And the very next moment, I realised something. Do you know what that was?
Well, the fact that erotic stories for widows seemed contradictory to me. Why should it have unless somewhere in a crevice in my mind the thought was planted subconsciously? Of course, there can be erotic stories for and by widows. Why not? That’s when I decided that I have to read this book and you know what? I’m glad I did for I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I loved the camaraderie between women. I loved the friction between women and I loved that this was an out and out women-centric book. We were there left, right and centre.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
Now, this is a book that just took my heart away. The story is so endearing, the characters so lovable and the premise so heart touching, simple but heart touching, that I cannot believe that I waited this long to read this. This book is about a writer, Juliet and the people of Guernsey whom she discovers through a chance letter. This story has so many levels that I cannot even begin to describe what I loved more. So, I guess you just need to trust my word on this.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of my favourite authors. I loved Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun, so I knew Americanah was going to be a great read as well. And you know what, I was right? The story of Ifemelu and Obinze, their lives in Nigeria, Ifemelu’s move to America, Obinze’s struggles in the UK and their love in the background of Nigeria’s political turmoil, their dreams, their separation yet the love that never really dies, all of these make for a moving read. It’s a book that will stay with you. Ifemelu and Obinze certainly will.
The first thing that caught my interest was the ease with which Lahiri held my attention. There is something soothing in her writing. And I loved that about the book.
Then I couldn’t help but admire how the idiosyncrasies of us Bengalis and specifically that of Bengalis living abroad have been so expertly impressed into this tale. The Namesake, I feel is a story born from the seemingly mundane practice of how as Bengalies we have two sets of names. It is brilliant and her writing exquisite. It is the story of identities, of parental expectations and the turmoil children, grown-up children sometimes have balancing that and their own identities.
You know there are rare cases when the movies are almost as good as the books. This was one of those. But of course, the book has so many more layers to it. Honestly, I loved reading it, every page and every perspective in it. I enjoyed and felt the emotions that the author tried to convey so much so that while at the ending, my eyes welled up with tears.
It’s a love story which made me realise I should read romance more often. You should definitely pick this up if you haven’t already. And watch the movie too. It’s worth a watch.
The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity and My Fight Against the Islamic State
It’s the story of Nadia Murad, Yazidi woman who whose village of Kojo in Sinjar, northern Iraq, was attacked and destroyed by ISIS. The men from her village were killed mercilessly, the women and girls taken as sex slaves by the ISIS. I can’t imagine what she must have gone through. But it’s important that this book is read to know about the horrible crimes that are being committed in the world as we live and also to know about how brave Nadia was to have escaped. Also, to be inspired by her fight for other women and girls like her.
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
This is again a Psychological thriller that I absolutely enjoyed reading. The book is about Anna Fox who has remained confined to her home for 10 months now. Her only connection to the outside world are the windows through which she looks into the lives of her neighbours, trying to guess what must be going on in their lives. Everything begins to change when a new family moves into the neighbourhood. Trust me, this is an engaging read and you’ll have a lot of fun reading it.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
It is the story of the Allbright family, Ernst, Cora, and their daughter, thirteen-year-old Leni who move to one of the remotest corners of Alaska somewhere in the 1970s to start a new life away from everything that happened to Ernst in Vietnam.
This book brings out the story of struggles and survival of two women, Cora and Leni. Whether it is Cora’s tumultuous marriage with Ernst filled with abuse yet driven by love or Leni’s tiptoeing around her volatile father, Hannah subtly yet brilliantly shows the grit of women. I think that is her best trait as a writer, she weaves stories around women and sheds light on their strengths in the most difficult of circumstances. Of course, it’s also about heartbreaking yet moving love stories.
So, that’s my top 13 for this year. As you can probably tell, reading is something which I truly enjoy and I enjoyed with books a lot this year. Apart from that, when someone finds a book recommended by me equally good, it just doubles that feeling of joy. And that seemed to have happened a lot too this past year. So, I hope you as well find one or more of these books worth your while. Also, do tell me, if any of these 13 figures in your top picks for the year.