I can’t believe 2018 is almost over! As cliche as it sounds every single time someone says it, the year flew by. It mainly flew by because I had my nose stuck in a book for approximately 75% of the year. #nerdalert
I did a quick recap of my favorite books by category on my Instagram stories, but I wanted to go more in depth here. Read on below for my favorite books from the year, some of which I may have already mentioned in previous posts. These are the books I could not shut up about all year and kept recommending to anyone who would listen.
Favorite Overall Book // The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
This is the second book by Kristin Hannah that I’ve read, and I may need to read all of her other ones. The Great Alone is about a family in the 1970s who move to rural Alaska to live off the grid. The novel centers around the coming of age of Leni Allbright, the 13 year old daughter of Earl and Cora. Earl is a POW who comes home from Vietnam a changed man, one who is volatile and violent. Leni believes moving to Alaska will be the chance at a new life that her family needs, but Alaska proves to be more challenging than the Allbrights originally thought.
Hannah’s writing is captivating and spellbinding. The characters we followed in The Great Alone told a story of heartbreak and desperation, but also the importance of building a community of strong men and women.
Favorite Fiction Novel // A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
This novel tells a story of an Indian-American Muslim family who settles and spends their lives in California. A Place for Us spans decades and details the lives of a family of five: three siblings – Hadia, Huda, and Amar – and their parents – Rafiq and Layla. The three siblings attempt to create lives for themselves while also respecting and honoring their parents’ faith and culture, and Rafiq and Layla look back on the choices they have made in their lives. A Place for Us is a beautiful story about life in America today, and delves into what it means to meld new and old traditions and cultures.
Favorite Mystery Novel: The Good Daughter by Karen Slaughter
Nearly thirty years ago, two girls, Charlotte and Samantha, are forced into the woods near their home at gunpoint. One escapes and the other is left behind. The traumatizing event they endured leaves their mom dead and their dad absolutely devastated. Now, twenty-eight years later, Charlotte is a lawyer and returns to her hometown after tragedy strikes their small town. The Good Daughter plunges you into the current mystery unfolding, and reveals the secrets that have been kept about that tragedy twenty-eight years ago. This novel is thrilling and I could not put it down.
Favorite Nonfiction: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
This book is the amazing true story of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA. They helped achieve some of the greatest moments in America’s space program. The book chronicles the personal lives and professional journeys as “human computers” of each of the four women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darren. Hidden Figures shares the incredible stories of women who lived through the Civil Rights era, the Space Race, the gender equality movement, and so much more. This was such an interesting book to read and learn about some remarkable individuals with whom I was not familiar.
Favorite Guilty Pleasure Read: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Crazy Rich Asians is about three very wealthy Chinese families and all of the gossip, backstabbing, and drama that comes with their money and status. Nick Young, the son of one of the families, brings his girlfriend, Rachel Chu, home to Singapore when he returns for his childhood best friend’s wedding. Nick does not tell Rachel who his family is and how wealthy they are, serving as a wide awakening for her upon her arrival and making her a target for jealous ex-girlfriends and protective family members. The first in a trilogy, Crazy Rich Asians was outrageous and entertaining, along the lines of The Devil Wears Prada.
Favorite Book Turned Into a Movie: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Starr Carter is a sixteen-year-old who goes to a fancy private school that is very different from the poor neighborhood where she lives with her family. Starr’s friend Khalil was driving her home from a party one night when they get pulled over and subsequently shot by a police officer, though he was unarmed. Starr is the only witness to what happened that night. Local cops and drug lords try to silence Starr and her family, and there are some people protesting in Khalil’s name, with others calling him a drug dealer and a gangster. Angie Thomas’s writing in The Hate U Give made me think about the power of our words and our actions.
Favorite Inspirational Book: You’re Not Lost by Maxie McCoy
I’ve spoken about this book in a prior post, but it had to make this list as well because of how incredible it is. The book is an action plan that sets up steps for you to really work towards figuring out what your next steps are or what you’re missing. Maxie’s writing is relatable and realistic and downright funny, and had me laughing throughout the book.
Favorite Audiobook: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
The Boys in the Boat chronicles the story of the American rowing team that competed in Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. The eight-oar University of Washington team set out to win gold, and this book details not just their triumph in Berlin, but the road it took to get them there. These were the sons of blue collar workers who defeated descendants of royalty and elite rivals, thanks to their heart, dedication, and determination when others had written them off. Read by Edward Herrmann, I looked forward to listening to this book each time I got into the car to drive to and from work.
Favorite Historical Fiction Book: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
This book was also featured in a post earlier this year, but I wanted to include it here as well. Two women are brought together by unconventional circumstances: one woman who was recruited by the Alice Network during World War I, and another American socialite who comes to Europe in the aftermath of World War II to search for her cousin who has gone missing. The novel takes us through their journey through Europe searching for the missing cousin, and it also details the thrilling journey and triumphs of the Alice Network during World War I. This was such an amazing book!
Thanks for reading and I look forward to posting more in 2019! Happy New Year, everyone!