Top 5 Saturday: Top Books of 2018

Welcome to Top 5 Saturday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by Devouring Books, and for this week’s challenge I’m reminiscing on the best books I read in 2018!

I couldn’t find the actual topic for this week, so I just decided to come up with my own! I tried brainstorming what kinds of bookish topics really interested me as well as what would be different than what I usually post about. I feel like I typically blog about books I’ve read more recently since it’s easier to write about books that are still fresh in my mind. However, there are so many great books that I’ve read before starting this blog!

2018 may seem like an oddly specific and random year to choose for this. However, this was a special reading year for me. During college, I went through a period where I nearly stopped reading. It wasn’t intentional, but as I was taking some time off between college and grad school, I realized that this was a part of myself that I had kind of lost over the last few years. Reading has always been such an important part of my life, and it made me sad to realize how much I had let it go during college. Therefore, in 2018, I made an effort to begin reading again and take back my identity as a reader. That’s why this year-in-books stood out to me and why I decided to single it out for this post! The books on this list are the books that helped me fall back in love with reading as an adult. Also, just to clarify, these are books that I read in 2018, and not necessarily books that were published in 2018. And full disclosure – there are actually seven books on this list instead of five! I just couldn’t narrow it down any further. In no particular order, here are my top seven books of 2018!

1. “The Devil’s Highway” by Luis Alberto Urrea

The Devil's Highway: A True Story: Luis Alberto Urrea: 9780316010801:  Amazon.com: Books
  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Year: 2004

This is the first book I read in 2018, and the one I credit for restoring my love of reading. I had recently graduated from college with a B.A. in Spanish, and this book had been referenced in one of my classes. It was a topic that I was really interested in, but I had never gotten around to actually reading it.

I made it my goal to tackle this book, and once I had done that I just couldn’t stop! From that point on, it just didn’t feel right if I didn’t have a book to pick up when I felt like reading.

It’s a truly incredible book, and if you’d like to learn more about it, you can find the Goodreads synopsis HERE!

2. “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Short by the  Taliban: Yousafzai, Malala: 9780316322409: Amazon.com: Books
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Year: 2013

2018 is also the year that I started listening to audiobooks (something else I credit for restoring my love of reading)! I Am Malala is the first audiobook I ever listened to, and I fell in love with the format immediately.

I had initially been resistant to reading anything that wasn’t a physical book. However, I had just started grad school to become a teacher and my commute was long and dull. Listening to music (the same songs on the radio over and over) got boring quickly, and I was too exhausted from long days at school to read at night before going to bed. Therefore, I decided to give audiobooks a try. That way, I would have something to entertain me during my commute (but that wouldn’t be a distraction), and it would help me continue to read even though my schedule was so overwhelming. It was a win-win!

This is such an inspiring story, and the narration is wonderful! You can find the Goodreads synopsis HERE.

3. “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel: Honeyman, Gail:  9780735220683: Amazon.com: Books
  • Genre: Realistic Fiction
  • Year: 2017

I absolutely LOVED Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine when I first read it (and I still do)! It immediately became one of my all-time favorite books. It was so quirky and weird and funny, but at the same time dark and captivating. It was so different than anything I had ever read, and it really made me realize just how many books were out there that I hadn’t experienced yet (and how many I had missed out on during my reading hiatus throughout my college years).

You can find the Goodreads synopsis HERE.

4. “What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot: Moriarty, Liane: 9780425247440: Amazon.com: Books
  • Genre: Realistic Fiction
  • Year: 2009

This was my second ever audiobook, and another five-star read for me! I loved that the narrator had an Australian accent (especially since the book is set in Australia); if I had read a physical copy of it I wouldn’t have read it with an Australian voice in my head!

At this point my eyes were really being opened to the many benefits of the audiobook format, such as being able to have a more authentic experience of the characters and setting! The narrator really brought these to life.

I also just loved this book. It was (like my previous entry in this list) quirky and fun, but also dark and twisty at times. It kept me guessing until the very end. You can find the Goodreads synopsis HERE!

5. “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot  series Book 10) - Kindle edition by Christie, Agatha. Literature & Fiction  Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
  • Genre: Mystery
  • Year: 1934

This was yet another example of fantastic narration. The audiobook I listened to was performed by Dan Stevens, and the voices and accents he did were just incredible.

This was also my first experience with Agatha Christie, and I am officially a fan now. It is very clear why she has earned the title of “The Queen of Mystery!”

You can find the Goodreads synopsis HERE!

6. “Born A Crime” by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood - Kindle edition by  Noah, Trevor. Humor & Entertainment Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Year: 2016

I highly recommend listening to this one rather than just reading it. It’s narrated by Trevor Noah himself, and his performance is just amazing.

Not only is his life story incredible, but the way he narrates it is so mesmerizing. I didn’t want it to end!

You can find the Goodreads synopsis HERE.

7. “All You Can Ever Know” by Nicole Chung

All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir: Chung, Nicole: 9781936787975: Amazon.com:  Books

  • Genre: Memoir
  • Year: 2018

I got this one after attending a book festival in my city and listening to the author speak. It was a really incredible panel of novelists, and I even got the author to sign my book afterward!

I honestly can’t even remember exactly why I picked this one up when I did. Normally I get really excited when buying new books, but because I already have so many on my TBR I don’t end up getting to my new books for a while (sometimes even several years). But I needed something new to read and I decided I really wanted to read one of the books from the panel I had attended at this festival. This one had a really beautiful cover and didn’t seem quite as heavy as the others, so I decided to give it a try!

And wow. I’m not entirely sure why this book moved me as much as it did, but I just found it so powerful. It was such an eye-opening experience for me to see the effects of adoption (something I’ve always been interested in but not known much about), and specifically interracial adoption.

It’s such a beautiful and well-written story. If you’re interested in learning more, you can find the Goodreads synopsis HERE.

Wow! Looking back on this now, it’s not lost on me that more than half of these are nonfiction selections. I’ve always declared that I’m not that interested in nonfiction, and I’ve also felt that my goal for 2021 of reading more nonfiction has greatly increased my interest in the genre. However, looking at this, it’s clear that I’ve always been a fan of nonfiction without even realizing it!

Have you read any of these books? What would your top five be?

Let me know in the comments!

3 thoughts on “Top 5 Saturday: Top Books of 2018

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