2018 was an emotional rollercoaster for me. I don’t use this blog to talk about my personal life (and no doubt it would bore the pants off people here if I did) but let’s just say that my one take-away from 2018 is that nothing is forever, never ever say never and take your chances where you find them.
So with that trite lifeism out of the way, I’ll get to the good stuff.
I set myself a target of 125 books to read in 2018 and I actually beat that with 127 (full list is here). I wanted 20% of the books I read in 2018 to be non-fiction and in the end, I hit 34 in total (so that’s 26%). I am seriously starting to get into non-fiction, especially politics and social policy and 6 of my books of the year are non-fiction so you can definitely expect to see more of it on my blog in 2019.
I was less successful in reading writers of colour (WOC). I’d set myself a target of 20% of my list to be WOC but in the end only 16 of the books I read were by WOC (so that’s 12%). I’m disappointed in myself about that but I did search out more WOC for my To Read Pile and I definitely want to make that 20% target this year.
Gender wise my list was evenly split again – 49% by women and 51% men. It’s relatively easy to hit that as a target though because I read a lot of children’s and YA and it tends to be female author driven.
Aspirations for 2019 reading wise is to keep with the thrillers and crime novels as I am still working on one in real life and they help me to think about structure, plot and character. I’m looking at reading 20% of books by WOC and 50/50 male/female.
Because this remains a personal review blog, I’m not going to be scheduling posts and I’m not going to focus on any particular genre or market. I do appreciate everyone who stops by the blog and many thanks to those of you who have liked my posts or left a comment.
I’ve set out below my favourite books of 2018 (in no particular order):
In Pursuit Of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s by Joseph Jebelli – this is a fascinating if at times awful and depressing read about Alzheimer’s and how we’re working towards a treatment for it.
Refuge: Transforming A Broken Refugee System by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier – given how often we see refugees dominating the news cycle, this is a timely and compassionate book about how the refugee system works, the political compromises that have contributed to the crises and looks at a potential way of reforming the international system.
The Gender Games by Juno Dawson – this is a fascinating and thought-provoking book that’s part memoir and part sharp critique on society’s roles on gender and which is hilariously funny and sharply observed.
The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Changes The Way We Think, Live And Die by Keith Payne – is an eye-opening must-read about the social psychology of poverty and income and how it impacts on inequality and discrimination and frankly, if Barack Obama has it down as one of his books of the year, then really who am I to argue?
CHILDREN’S BOOKS (9 – 12)
A Spoonful Of Murder by Robin Stevens – the Wells and Wong mystery series just gets better and better with this book seeing the detective duo head for Hong Kong when Hazel’s grandfather dies and Daisy discovering that, for once, she’s not the most important person in town …
The Legend Of Kevin by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre – just really tickled me. It’s a lovely, simple story of the friendship between a young boy and a flying horse but there’s some great humour, the illustrations are fabulous and the sea monkeys are really very naughty indeed.
What Is Race? Who Are Racists? Why Does Skin Colour Matter? And Other Big Questions by Claire Heuchan & Nikesh Shukla – confronts questions of racism, difference and racists straight on in an easy-to-understand way that doesn’t talk down to the reader and doesn’t avoid hard questions while adding personal experiences that help build empathy and understanding.
London Rules by Mick Herron – I am a massive fan of the SLOUGH HOUSE SERIES anyway and this latest instalment is another hilarious and sharply plotted affair about MI5’s embarrassments and how they are each trying to deal with the fallout from the previous book.
The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton – is a brilliantly plotted mash-up of QUANTUM LEAP, GROUNDHOG DAY and Golden Age Detective fiction that kept me thinking long after I finished it.
YOUNG ADULT BOOKS
The 57 Bus: A True Story Of Two Teenagers And The Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater – is an astounding non-fiction book about a real-life crime that looks at both victim and perpetrator with huge empathy and respect.
My To Read Pile for 2019 stands at a horrifying 570 (for reference, I started 2018 with 416). I am going to cut down what I add to it during this year because I need to get it under control – I’m already almost out of shelf space and am reduced to piling them up around the house. Anyway, full list is behind the cut for those interested and if there’s anything you specifically recommend then let me know and I’ll move it up the list.
Thank you again for reading and best wishes to you all for 2019.