My top 10 books in 2018

I am in a pickle! I enjoyed so much writing 'My top 5 books in 2017' post last year that I thought I'd do that again. I didn't read a lot in 2017, though, and picking my top 5 books was a breeze.

If you've come across 'My 2018 in books' post last week, however, you know that I had a stellar 2018 when it comes to reading. There is no way I can do a Top 5 list. I tried. I failed. I refuse to try again. As I don't think anybody would survive a 'My top 70 books in 2018' post, I have therefore settled for a Top 10 instead. Just as hard but more doable.

What I am NOT attempting is ranking these books in order of merit, enjoyment or any other classification. The numbers purely help me tidy up the page. In my heart, they are all in first place!

So here it goes… And please do let me know in the comments below or on Twitter whether you also have loved some or all of these!

1) The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech
If you haven't experienced a book hangover yet, go and read this book. You will then understand what it is that people keep mentioning. A beautiful and hopeless love story. The power of nature. Characters that will feel as real to you as the person sitting next to you handing you tissues as you sob your way through the pages. This book has everything.

Bonus: read here Chapter 5 in its entirety, plus the author's unique commentary.

2) Ascension and Distortion by Victor Dixen
I know I am slightly cheating and these are two books… but they belong to the same trilogy so I decided to make my life easier and count them as one! Aimed at a Young Adult audience, the books follow the 12 contestants of a reality TV show headed to Mars. In theory, not my cup of tea. In practice, I couldn't put them down and I can't wait for the third book to come out this year. I more than loved them!

Bonus: read here my interview with the author and here my Q&A with the translator of the trilogy.

3) The Faithful by Juliet West
The gorgeous cover and the mention of Sussex are the two elements that first caught my attention but there is nothing that I didn't love in this book. I was extremely interested in the political and class aspects of the novel. You can tell that a lot of research went into it and that can only add to the great settings and the cast of unforgettable characters.

Bonus: here you can find an interview with the author.

4) The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
I have no idea whatsoever why I didn't read this book sooner. I adored it. I found Stevens an utterly fascinating character. I loved his interior monologues and the insights into the era of the English country houses, with the corresponding hierarchy and loyalty of their staff. A must read for sure!

5) The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
This was one of my first reads in 2018 and probably the first that blew my socks off! The narrative is beautifully poetic and so engaging that I found myself picking the book up at every opportunity. I am one of those rare people who don't read much while on holiday - as I get way too distracted by new places and experiences - but this novel changed things.

6) The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper
The book came with a packet of tissues. I should have heard the alarm bells then! But I started reading and I thought 'Oh, this is funny… the scenes where Melody breaks into song and dance at the most inopportune moments are hilarious…'. Then I delved into the life of the King family and the tears arrived. Abundantly. As I said, I should have heard the alarm bells! A brilliant novel. Do read it!

Bonus: you can read my interview with the author here.

7) The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
I read the synopsis and expected a sweet and funny book. For some reason, my head veered more towards 'treaty on living on the autism spectre' than 'rom-com'. I am so happy my head was totally headed in the wrong direction. This novel is sweet, witty and downright steamy.

Bonus: here you can find my interview with the author.

8) Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall
Mentioned in the Get Booked podcast as a great example of novel with an unreliable narrator, this is a twisted and captivating read from start to finish. I felt depleted of sanity by the time I finished the book and prised myself from inside the head of the narrator. In a good way! Totally recommended.

Bonus: click here for a guest blog post by the author.

9) Mr Peacock's Possessions by Lydia Syson
I don't normally go for stories of hardships on faraway lands but I fell in love with the cover of this book and I was intrigued by the fact that the author was inspired by the history of her husband's family. All I have to say is: WOW! The scenery and the characters felt so alive that I might as well have been travelling and working alongside them. The relationships among them - simmering under a harsh sun - were incredibly enthralling and culminated in a great ending. I loved it!

Bonus: you can find here my interview with the author.

10) Smoking Kills by Antoine Laurain
I am no expert but this - for me - is the epitome of a French dark comedy. Witty and original, it is a small gem and I savoured every detail in the same way I imagine smokers enjoy every drag of a cigarette!

Bonus: click here to read my Q&A with the translator of the book.

So this was my 2018 top 10. What do you think? I debated whether I should mention all the other great titles I had the honour to read last year but I feel like I've already demanded too much of your attention. Feel free to peruse my past reviews though… there are some brilliant books out there. Happy reading!


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