It’s mid-December and I can’t believe that the year is almost over, I don’t know where the time went, honestly. This has been a really good year for me, reading wise. Sure there were ups and downs sometimes and my mood reading tendencies never helped, I am sure. BUT! I also read some of the best the year had to offer.
For this list, I am trying to keep a list of books that released in 2018 rather than some backlist reads because then, this job would get very hard for me. I might have another post where I ramble about backlist books, who knows? Also, there are some other books that I absolutely loved but didn’t make the list, I had to cut myself off otherwise, this would have been just a very long list of books that I squeaked over. Nobody wants that, I think.
So, here’s top ten standalone books of 2018!
Circe by Madeline Miller
Anybody who knows me at all knows that I absolutely love Greek mythology, so when Madeline Miller was coming out with Circe, I knew I was in for a treat. I had read her other book, The Song of Achilles a few years back and it was stuck in my mind as one of the most memorable books of my life. Her writing is so wonderful and the way she presented the story of Circe and her life brought to life what we were robbed of in The Odyssey. Her spectacular writing coupled with the ponderous pace of the books made it one of the most delightful reads of the year for me.
A Collar for Cerberus by Matt Stanley
I am so glad that I joined NetGalley this year because it brought some of the best books of the year to me. A Collar for Cerberus is a journey and you know that saying? About the the journey being more important than the destination? It applies here so thoroughly. The vivid descriptions of Greece, the way every secondary character is presented and the primary characters are so well fleshed out that frankly I couldn’t help but love the book. This book made me think about life in a different way and taught me some things alone the way, what more could I really ask for in a book?
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
This year, I read Uprooted by Naomi Novik for the first time and I fell in love with the book, her writing, and everything else. Then I came to know that there was another book coming out from the author. Spinning Silver was somehow just as enchanting as Uprooted was. Taking the story of Rumpelstiltskin and turning it into a story where ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ isn’t quite the villain was a brilliant spin and I loved it. If you love fairytales that are subverted and made into a whole new brilliant tale, then this is the book for you.
I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman
Another author whose books I devoured this year, Alice Oseman. I had heard of Radio Silence before but I really read it this year which frankly blew my mind. However, I Was Born For This gave me a familiar ground to tread on. Fandoms, fans and bands. I am part of so many fandoms at this point that I have lost count. Or rather, I do not dare count them. Alice Oseman managed to put into every perspective and the good and the bad sides of fandom in this novel, I think part of the reason this turned out to be a great read for me was because I did have the negative side of a fan in my teenage years as well? Not the level that is often shown to us in the media but to a level where I am not comfortable with it now. It has such diverse cast of characters and the plot of the novel is so well done that it had to be on this list.
A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne
John Boyne. What can I say about this author? I read The Heart’s Invisible Furies this year and I was just so freaking delighted with this book that when the opportunity presented itself for an advance copy of the book, I grabbed with both hands. A Ladder to the Sky has such an unlikable main character that sometimes I really wanted to smack him but I didn’t. I continued on and the end result was me finding it on my top ten list. Boyne wrote Maurice in such a way that I couldn’t help but be involved in the book despite his many, many truly horrible deeds.
I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel
You know that feeling of cosy when you are curled up in your favourite nook for reading and with a cuppa about you? That’s the exact feeling I got when I read this one. This book is for bookworms written by a bookworm, sharing the love for books, and how emotionally attached we can be to certain books due to certain events in our life. This was just such a joy to read and I am pretty sure whenever I feel in need of something cosy in my life, I will be reading this again. It just gives such a warm and loving feeling while you are reading it that I don’t think it can compare with much else.
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
Sometimes small things can pack quite a punch. In this case, Ghost Wall as a novella packed quite the punch for sure. My first time reading the author’s works, the fact that Ghost Wall managed to have a haunting tale of abuse, ignorance, prejudice, misogyny and racism, with some truly wonderful historical touches in just 150 pages is absolutely unbelievable. But it is the truth and I am sure I will be reading more of her works now. I have to!
Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
When Furyborn came out this year, I was ready to pick it up sometime in the near future but then Sawkill Girls came along and something made me pick it up before I could even think of Furyborn. For someone who loves fantasy genre more than any other, I sure picked a different one for my introduction to the author. I am glad I did. This book, along with the horror and the fantasy element of it, also deals with how girls are viewed and raised and pitted against each other in littlest of ways. How they are generally underestimated without much conscious thought, it’s just almost default thought process sometimes and that speaks volumes. It dealt with the asexuality spectrum in a way that felt realistic. Ace-phobia is very much real and very different from homophobia but just as important and I am so glad Claire Legrand addressed it in such a way.
Sadie by Courtney Summers
So, this book destroyed me. I came to know about it via podcast, funny, right? At least I think so. Anyway. I can’t even say I enjoyed the book because I don’t think anyone did enjoy this book or went into this one thinking they would enjoy it. There are books out there for the sheer purpose of being entertaining, this is not one of those books. It showed so many sides of the human nature I have been lucky enough to not have faced, the raw agony of emotions were too much at once and yet, I finished it in a day. Courtney Summers handled the subject really well without being too graphic about it. The subtle hints that she does leave behind are enough to last a while. Rather than telling us the gory details, she showed how the abuse affects the victim so if you are sure you can handle it, read it. I want to read more Courtney Summers books but I am kinda afraid of them, if you know what I mean?
The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
You know that feeling when you think you are going to read something specific like a fluffy romance based in space and then the author bamboozles you and you are reading about something else entirely? Yeah. That’s what happened with this one. To a point, I was right, there was ‘fluffy romance’ but there was so much more and in unexpected ways. I hadn’t looked at the tags or genre at the time, merely satisfied with the fact that it was based in space. I am so glad I didn’t know more. This is one of those books that you should definitely go into without knowing too much about the plot or the characters. I am serious about that. Lauren James made me really happy with this one and I can’t wait to read more of her books now.
And a bonus book!
The Book of M by Peng Shepherd
I couldn’t not add this book to the list. I had a rough idea as to what it contained. I thought, you know, a maybe post apocalypse world and people forget their memories in this one. It sounded intriguing, people just randomly losing their memories soon after they lose their shadows? Why wouldn’t it sound interesting? Peng Shepherd changed my idea of what a post apocalyptic genre could be, her writing is so vivid and gripping that I literally could put down the book. It starts out slow and quietly, slowly building up it’s pace and near the end, it is frankly phenomenal. This book seriously made me wonder if this really is a debut novel, the sheer control with which Shepherd writes, the way she wrapped up lose points and the ending itself. I love this book, ok?
So, this is it. The top ten standalones of 2018 for me, what do you think? Have you read any of them? Do you plan to if you haven’t already? Do you agree with them or do you have your own to add to the list? Tell me all about it in the comments!