If you follow me on Goodreads, you will have noted that I seemingly failed in my 2018 reading challenge to read 52 books. Strictly speaking, this isn’t true. I read far more than 52 books. I’m a quick reader, especially when something grips me. However, I didn’t log everything I read, and I didn’t log rereads. I often reread my favourite books as I don’t believe in saying goodbye forever to an enjoyable read.
So this isn’t a celebration of completing my challenge, nor is it admitting failure. Instead, I’ve decided to round-up five books I read in 2018 that have stuck in my mind.
The Shock of the Fall: Nathan Filer
Haunting, witty, brilliant, and emotionally draining, this book wrings your heart, squeezes it and puts it back, with a lump in your throat. Yet, despite the story being about a young schizophrenic, it’s easy to read. A special piece of work – click here to read my full review.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: Gail Honeyman
Oh, Eleanor. Has there ever been a better book character? Because I’m struggling to think of one. Eleanor isn’t really completely fine. She’s been through a major trauma as a child. She’s socially awkward. She’s also clever, funny (really funny), and doesn’t belong. But one day a chain of event begins, forcing Eleanor to address and find peace with the events in her life. This is a story of kindness, a story of acceptance, and a story which will have you laughing out loud on one page, before sniffling on the next. A bit of me doesn’t want Gail Honeyman to write anything else. Eleanor Oliphant is simply perfection.
The Good Mother: Sinead Moriarty
Sinead Moriarty is an Irish author. I read her first book, The Baby Trail, back in 2004 and have stuck with her since. The Good Mother was released in 2017, but I only read it a few months back. Kate is a mum of three, who has found herself a single mother after her husband had an affair. Times are tough and they only get harder when her twelve-year-old daughter, Jess, is diagnosed with cancer. It soon become apparent that Jess isn’t going to get better and she asks Kate to help her to die. Sinead’s writing style can be childish at times, but she has a wonderful ability to pull at the heartstrings. She handles her subject matter delicately, but the book left me an emotional wreck.
My Mum Tracy Beaker: Jacqueline Wilson
This may seem an unusual inclusion and a childish one at that, but many women my age grew up on the fabulous Jacqueline Wilson. Bold and brilliant Tracy Beaker, the bolshy ten-year old who grew up in care, aka The Dumping Ground, was one of my all time favourite childhood characters and like many, I was left wondering whether she’d fulfil her dreams of becoming a writer. In this book, we meet Jess Beaker, Tracy’s ten-year old daughter. She thinks Tracy is the best mum ever; she’s made a home for Jess, she doesn’t put up with bullies, and she even shouts at Jess’s teachers. But then Tracy meets a blast from the past and she and Jess are whisked into a fabulous happy ever after lifestyle, in a big house with a celebrity lifestyle. But is it really happily ever after? Younger readers will no doubt enjoy this as a standalone novel, but adults will be thrilled to meet up with Tracy and foster mum Cam.
If Cats Disappeared From The World: Genki Kawamura
I mentioned in my review that I chose this book simply because I liked the cover, but it turned out to be a quirky and gentle philosophical read about a man coming to terms with the end of his life and what is really important. I sat down and read it one afternoon, a strange yet compelling novel proving that choosing a book on the basis of having a cat on the cover can only be a good thing.
I’m setting my reading challenge again for 2019 and I am setting it for 52 books. However this time, they must be 52 books that I haven’t read before. Link up with me on Goodreads here.