As many of you know, I’m a big fan of audiobooks (I love books too, just don’t have the leisure time to sit and read all day). I thought I would share my favorite books of 2018, and would love to hear your suggestions, in case I need to add some new ones to my list for 2019. It’s strange – I’ve read/listened to so many books this year that they all start to blend together. I’ve read around 60 books this year! That’s insane! It doesn’t feel like it’s been a chore by any stretch though – I am almost always listening to an audiobook while I’m working, or even when I’m home during the day. Much better than having the TV droning on in the background. This post contains some affiliate links.
I listen to audiobooks via my Audible subscription. If you’re interested in a free trial, check it out here.
Let’s get on with my Favorite Books of 2018!
The Great Alone is another great read by Kristin Hannah (who wrote my favorite book of all-time, The Nightingale). This book is about a family living essentially, off the grid, in Alaska, a choice that was made by Ernt, a father who suffers from PTSD from the Vietnam War. He struggles with the conditions and the darkness that come with Alaska, and is abusive towards his wife. Their daughter, Leni, is witness to all of it. It is a story of resilience, perseverance and courage.
Calling Me Home is a story of forbidden love in the 1930’s between a young white teen and the black son of the family’s housekeeper. It’s one of those books that takes place during a time that is difficult to fathom, but also demonstrates the power of true love. I found it captivating.
Amazon sometimes does a better job of describing the book than I do, so here’s a recap —
“Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has a big favor to ask her hairdresser, Dorrie. She wants the black single mother to drop everything and drive her from Texas to a funeral in Ohio – tomorrow. Dorrie, fleeing problems of her own and curious about Isabelle’s past, agrees, not knowing it will be a journey that changes both their lives.
Isabelle confesses that, as a teen in 1930s Kentucky, she fell in love with Robert Prewitt, a would-be doctor and the black son of her family’s housekeeper – in a town where blacks weren’t allowed after dark. The tale of their forbidden relationship and its tragic consequences just might help Dorrie find her own way.”
The Key, by Kathryn Hughes was another favorite of mine this year. I have been a fan of Kathryn Hughes since I read The Letter, and The Key, while a different story altogether, it was one that caught your attention early, and kept you listening.
From Amazon —
It’s Ellen Crosby’s first day as a student nurse at Ambergate Hospital. When she meets a young woman admitted by her father, little does Ellen know that a choice she will make is to change both their lives for ever….
Sarah is drawn to the now abandoned Ambergate. Whilst exploring the old corridors she discovers a suitcase belonging to a female patient who entered Ambergate fifty years earlier. The shocking contents, untouched for half a century, will lead Sarah to unravel a forgotten story of tragedy and lost love, and the chance to make an old wrong right.
While The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic, is a fictional novel, it could most certainly be true in its circumstances. Even though we all know how the story of the Titanic ends, it’s one of those events in history that I find so fascinating. Hearing stories of survival and perseverance, while also enduring great loss are always compelling.
Educated, A Memoir is similar in some ways to The Great Alone, in that the stories are about children growing up in extreme circumstances, in survivalist-types of situations, who then go on to escape that life and go on to live productive lives, despite the odds. However, this book is a memoir vs. fiction. The author, Tara Westover, grew up never attending school and was raised by a father who was anti-government, and a mother who was an herbalist. Her story is one that you have to read to believe and appreciate her pursuit of education given the staggering odds against it.
On a lighter note, Where’d You Go Bernadette is on of those books that makes you just laugh out loud. Bernadette is endearing in that she goes against the rules and norms that other moms do, but you love her for it.
From Amazon —
“Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.
Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle – and people in general – has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.
To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence – creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.”
I’ve read a lot of World War II historical fiction, as it’s another era that I find fascinating and amazing. The courage and bravery of normal people making such consequential differences in people’s lives and survival never gets old. The Paris Architect is a different take on the issue of hiding Jews during the war. The main character, Lucien, is an architect who is paid a large sum of money by an industrialist to construct hiding places like no other. He finds places that in many cases go undetected, despite exhaustive searches. What’s even more interesting, is that he didn’t start out on this journey with empathy for the plight of the Jews, but through his work, things become deeply personal.
A great read and a different take on World War II historical fiction.
Carnegie’s Maid is another one of those stories that could be true, but is actually a work of fiction. Regardless, I found it an interesting premise. This book takes place during the era of ladies maids and where your class status was everything. Clara is a maid to Andrew Carnegie’s mother, and came upon the job through a mix-up, but is left to prove herself. She forges an unlikely relationship with Andrew Carnegie, and has an acumen for business, which he helps to cultivate. In turn, she proves to have an influence on him as well, in an unexpected way.
How Hard Can it Be? is a sequel to I Don’t Know How She Does It and is another book that made me laugh out loud, in part because I found it so relatable in terms of raising teens. Kate Reddy is in the throes of teen angst, and her husband is going through a mid-life crisis of sorts, taking up cycling and quitting his job to pursue a new career in counseling. This leaves her to return to work as she’s nearing 50, a virtual dinosaur in the corporate world.
I found it hysterically funny at some points, and so relatable when it comes to being a mom of teens. Thankfully, my husband isn’t going through a mid-life crisis. 😉
I try to share books that I enjoy throughout the year, but it’s good to have a recap and revisit what I’ve read. Please share some of your favorite books this year so I can add them to my list for 2019!