12.30.2018

Top Ten Novels I Read In 2018

Well, I did it. 100 books in one year. There are so many stories I want to tell you about. Force you to sit down and immerse in. I'm going to start with my favorite novels that I read this year. I love fiction - romance, mystery and even better if there's a little history thrown in there.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Something about this book was just so 2018. A thoroughly now and modern love triangle, set in Atlanta. Even though it was one of my early reads of the year (hat tip to President Obama who recommended it,) it haunted me and was my most recommended book of the year when people asked me what to read.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
I mindlessly added this to my library queue after seeing it nominated for best Young Adult book on Goodreads. As I started turning the pages, I started recognizing myself. This is a modern coming of age story -- and the phone is almost a third character in a love triangle. I intensely loved these characters and also felt that push and pull of technology-fueled text relationships. By the time I got to the end, I was wrecked. But, in the best way.

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah

I can't remember how I discovered this one, but if you wrapped up romance, wine and history -- it'd be something that I'm predisposed to love. This book follows a somm student who returns to her family's vineyard to study white Burgundies, reconnects with an old flame and uncovers some a complicated World War Two era family mystery.

The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

You know those books that you read and immediately start casting in your head? That's The Wedding Date. This meet-cute story has the best sexual chemistry of anything I read this year. And the author casually and real-ly tells the story of how complicated interracial relationships can get... and fast. Read this before it hits the big screen. (And her second book, The Proposal is also super fun.)

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain
I picked up Love and Ruin because I've got a twisted romantic thing for Hemingway. This book tells the story of how he met his third wife, but focusing on him (let's face it, he's an asshole even if he's fascinating) gets this book all wrong. It's the incredible true story of Martha Gellhorn, trailblazing war correspondent and author. She was the only woman on the beach for D-Day. Wild. She loves Hemingway, but she doesn't allow him to hinder her career or wreck her self-esteem -- and that, that is the real story of this dazzling romance.

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
Growing up in Tampa, surrounded by Cubans and Cuban lore, I've always been fascinated by Havana. Last year, I visited Cuba and got to know it on a deeper level. Suffice to say, it's complicated. What an incredible place. Incredible people. This book is told from the point of view of a Miami-raised travel journalist who is set to visit Cuba for the first time, to covertly distribute her beloved grandmother's ashes. The story bounces back and forth between modern day and her grandmother's story during the revolution. As I found when I visited, the truth lies somewhere in between... and is always interesting. Read the book, and visit when you can.

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

The Lido by Libby Page
Even though The Lido was on my to-read list for most of the year, I kept pushing it off. After all, an intergenerational friendship between an 80-something woman and a 20-something woman sounded sweet... but I don't know, wasn't zooming to the top of my interests (after a decade in-house at AARP, maybe it felt a little too close to the work day.) But, this story is so much more than cloyingly sweet. It's the tale of a bad ass woman who survived the bombings of London in World War Two only to meet modern day gentrification slowly erasing the neighborhood she's known her whole life. That, plus friendship, love and an epic David and Goliath battle (via a Facebook page.)

The Lido by Libby Page
How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry
This book felt like the antidote to 2018. It's so adorable... it's unironically just lovely. You'll want to book a flight to England and immerse in a small town bookstore. Multiple tales weave through the story, centering on this bookshop just after it's beloved owner passes away. Read it when you need to smile and believe in love.

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
My friend Paige recommended this novel, set in 1940's Barcelona. Having recently visited, I loved immersing back in the streets (and spent a lot of this book Googling places I want to wander on my next visits to Barcelona and Paris.) But, you quickly get sucked into this mystery where a tween boy seeks to unravel what happened to an elusive (and possibly dead) author.

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
Four children sneak a visit to a fortune teller, who privately tells each the exact date they will die. If you knew, would you live your life differently? Would you even believe in what she told you?

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
I'll have more lists for you in the coming days, but if you only read these ten books in one year, you'd be doing really well.

Also of note, I really went out of my way this year to read books by women of color. While 35% of my total 100 books were written by authors of color, you'll note that more than half of my faves were... so, get outside of your comfort zone and try new authors who write authentically from their perspectives. I'll now read anything by these new faves: Tayari Jones, Jasmine Guillory, Erika Sanchez, Ann Mah, Samin Nosrat, Mary H.K Choi, Alyssa Cole, Jenny Han, and Helen Hoang.

Here's a link to all 100 books I read in 2018 - and my strategies to consume so many!

NOTE: Links take you to Amazon to buy (where I could potentially earn pennies via Amazon Associates,) but I encourage you to support your local bookstores and libraries. Almost all of the books I read this year were checked out from the DC Public Library. 

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