Roundup: Best books of 2018 (so far) and some upcoming greats to keep your eye on

Hello dear book-lovers world:

It has been so long since I’ve been on here! The last few months have been extremely full on the home-front, with my PHD defence, daughter starting daycare and things being very very busy at work. I had all these plans to do a “best of 2017” and a “what to watch out for in 2018” and both of those failed miserably in the insanity of day-to-day life. So, with a made-in-March-resolution, I endeavour to get back on the blog and keep spreading the love of reading.

For all of you readers out there, I thought you’d appreciate that I applied for a PD program a few weeks back, and had to create a 60 second video of who I am outside of the classroom, and I ultimately decided to tell the story of my life through 3 books:

  • Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi (because I love to travel and eat)
  • The Revolution of Marina M by Janet Fitch (random historical fiction – the best genre ever)
  • Illustrated edition of Harry Potter (purchased for my 18 month old to try and get her as into reading as I am)

The love of reading is deep in this household!

So, using that as the framework, what are some great books that will hopefully help you define your 2018, and some great ones you should definitely be keeping your eyes on this year?

  1. 102 Minutes by Jim Dwyer – so far my favourite book of 2018, this book (which granted came out in the early 2000s) documents in painstaking detail (based on thousands of interviews and review of 911 calls) the 102 minutes between American Airlines 11 entering WTC North Tower and its collapse. Telling the story of 9/11 through the eyes of the people caught in the burning towers, it is a non-fiction book that reads like fiction and cannot be put down. I stayed up until 5 am reading, which, given both work and my baby, was definitely unwise.
  2. Still me by Jojo Moyes – (the third book in the “me before you” … trilogy? anthology? who knows.) The iconic character, Louise Clarke, returns in a story of her attempting to reclaim her life and experience it on her newly expanded terms. While it doesn’t pack the emotional punch of Me Before You, it is vastly superior to “Me After You” and is a perfectly delightful read.
  3. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate – this fictionalized account of the TRUE STORY of Georgia Tann, the creator of modern-day private adoption system, discusses the way in which children of poor people were sold to the wealthy. When her system was finally exposed in 1950, she was brought up on trial but died before she could be prosecuted. This story is told in two voices: in 2016, by a woman named Avery whose grandmother has a mysterious connection to Georgia Tann, and by Rill Foss, when she and her siblings are placed into the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in the 1930s after they were abducted from their riverboat. Truly excellent.
  4. Tana French, the Dublin Murder Series – after reading the first in this series eons ago (In the Woods), I finally finished the remaining 5 this year. While each has their own strengths, the Secret Place and the Trespasser (5 & 6) stood out to me as head and shoulders above the rest. An excellent book series for those looking for books that they can have for the long haul.
  5. The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright – okay, so I’m totally on a 9/11 kick. But this book about the development of Al Qaeda is also now a miniseries starring Jeff Daniels. Highly recommended!
  6. American War by Omar El-Akaad – Truly excellent dystopian that draws the lines of a “new” civil war along lines that are both foreign and familiar to those who know their history. It’s also basically a “what makes a terrorist” guidebook for understanding how people become radicalized. Heartbreaking first line: “Back then, I was happy.” It’ll stay with you long after you’re done reading it.
  7. Sing, unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward – similar to Mudbound, this is a tale of modern race relations told entirely through the story of a child in the car with his family going to pick up his father from jail. He is a teen frantically trying to keep his family together in the face of a mother who wants to be a good parent but cannot put the needs of her children above those of herself, a father who too is more interested in drugs than parenthood, a baby sister who needs him desperately, and grandparents struggling with their own past.

Books to keep your eyes peeled for:

  1. An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim. I received this book as an ARC and it is advertised as a book for lovers of Station Eleven and the Time Travellers wife. I must say, it was quite entertaining, and a powerful story about the endurance of love and faith. Coming June 2018!
  2. Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris – I received this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This excellent historical fiction, which comes out in September of 2018, is a fascinating fictionalized account of real-life photograph of mother advertising the sale of her four children whom she can no longer afford to keep.
  3. I was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon – I received this as an ARC, and this fascinating book asks you to render a verdict on whether Anna Anderson, the 20th century actress who styles herself as the lost duchess Anastasia, is who she says she is. Simply breathtaking.
  4. Believe Me by John Fea – I received this as an ARC, and is a really interesting sociological analysis of the Evangelical Church’s relationship with the Trump Administration, during and after the election.


What are the books that you are most looking forward to reading in 2018?

Happy reading! xo

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