So, you might remember that I posted the top ten list for the releases of 2018 for the standalone books last week and I hinted that I might do a list for the backlist reads as well. Well, here I am with ten books that I read in 2018 that weren’t released this year but deserve all the praise that I can give them.
There were so many gems throughout the year that this was a hard job but I decided to do it anyway because I just couldn’t not.
So, here’s the list of spectacular reads of 2018!
Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
With the release of the film, I came to know about this book and I am just glad that I read this book. While the movie had its own effect, the book was far more intimate and raw than the movie. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, at the end of it, this is a book about first love. Something almost everyone has gone through. You might not relate to everything in the book or even agree with what’s going on but at times, you would have your own nostalgia running through your mind. I must say that while everything is almost languid in terms of pace in this book, this is not a relaxing book.
Sourdough by Robin Sloan
I will probably not be the first to say this but while you are reading this book, keep some sourdough bread nearby. You are gonna wanna eat it. Sourdough is a fun, quick and a bit thought-provoking book. This book is absolutely fun to read and if you can leave aside certain realities, then this book proves to be much more than just an entertaining read. It’s fun and it’s odd and I loved every moment of reading it. If you are a foodie or a person who loves to read books about food and fiction and just a dash of ‘something else’ then this is the book for you.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
I don’t think I need to say as to why I loved this one, I hope. I mean, none of the characters are likeable or even good people but I think the whole thing rather works for the book rather than against it. Of course, with my love for mythology and them being extremely pretentious about it, it was only right that I love this novel. There is so much packed into this novel and so much of it has to do with ancient myths and languages that I know I am going to read it again. Donna Tartt has a way of writing characters that you don’t like however there’s nothing to do but see what happens to them.
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Ok, so there was this period in this year wherein all I wanted to read was about WWII and yes, it sounds bad but I couldn’t help it. So, I picked this book up because I have been meaning to ever since it came out. I finally read it and I was absolutely in love with the way Anthony Doerr writes. There is so much to love in this novel, from the characters to the writing and the balance of making even the bleak times like WWII somewhat beautiful in the pov of a blind character, the horrors were just as effective. I am sure I don’t need to recommend it to anyone because almost every reader has either read it or is meaning to read it.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
What a find this one was! As gorgeous the cover was, the story was just as lovely. Novik managed to snare me in with her wonderful and atmospheric writing and kept me hooked in with the tale itself. The eerie and unsettling beauty of the Wood is one of the reasons I fell in love with the book, if I am being honest. There’s character growth, there’s nature, there’s magic. What more do you need if you wanna enjoy a cosy read?
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
This book was so good, I wasn’t ready for how good it was. This is one of the very few books where I could see anxiety represented the way I had felt it. Sure, I might not be a super famous web comic creator but to read about her anxiety made me feel like I wasn’t totally alone in this. (I am aware that I am not, obviously but I felt better after reading this book.) This book made me cry but it also gave me such hope.
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
My first ever Brandon Sanderson book and boy, was I sucked into the book like nobody’s business! There are so many things that I could talk about but I will try to contain myself. The characters were so well-written with depth to them that I absolutely enjoyed. Morally gray characters plus awesome politics! Also, a really well-developed world, you know I am weak for world-building. Of course, I then went on to fall in love with even more of his books so that says something, I guess?
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
An absolute hidden gem as far as I am concerned. This book deserves far more hype than it is receiving and nobody who’s read it can deny it. This book hits almost every mark it tries for, from representation to talk of mental health, from parental abuse to academic pressure, from friendships to finding our own self. This is one of the truly coming of age books that can be read by anyone of any age. Every theme presented is handled so carefully and wonderfully, and yes there is some triggering content but the book is well worth a read if you can overlook them. If you are not in a place where you can read it though, please don’t. Alice Oseman was one of the authors I discovered during this year and I am so very, very glad of it.
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
For a book with only 166 pages, this book made me feel a lot of things in a short period of time. The writing is concise and impactful and just heartbreaking in the best ways. It’s almost shameful how much I could relate to Florence and her woes. There’s so much packed into this book, from differences in class, sexuality, the weird but important balance of love and sex, and it all happens with such a quiet tone that I was just left breathless at the end of it. That is not to say that this book doesn’t have flaws, there are a few and not quite as easy to ignore yet this still managed to find its place on this list.
Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Night Circus is one of those classics that I have been seeing everywhere and hadn’t read till this year. It is slow paced, almost languid. Everything in this book is beautiful and yes, the pace and the length sometimes seemed too much but in the end, I ended up really loving it. Sometimes being vague works and with this one, it really worked. I can’t wait for a re-read.
And a bonus book!
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
I remember when I started reading this book, I was just taken aback by the humour. John Boyne’s writing was a blessing this year for me. This particular book was just so ridiculously good, there were moments when I actually had to close the book and think of the things that happened in the book whether it was humorous or heartbreaking. Either way, this book deserves all the praise it’s been lavished on. While I totally understand the point made against the length of the book, I still count this as one of the best books I have read this year.
So, this is it! This is the Top Ten Standalone (Backlist) reads for me, what about you? What do you think? Have you read any of them? Or are planning to read them soon? Any recommendations for me? Tell me in the comments!