Ranked: Reads in 2018

This year contained many ups and many downs, so it’s hard to say how I really feel about 2018. One thing I am positive about though is that this year was full of fantastic reads. Twenty-six books fell into my hands these past 365 days, and it’s time I share with my loyal readers the definitive ranking of every book I read this year. Now let’s get down to business!

2018 reads

26. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

The latest in a new series, “Storied,” which captures my own initiative to read the greatest books in American literature, Fahrenheit 451 was far from the greatest as it bored and confused me and didn’t meet my expectations of literary greatness. A big womp womp at the end of this one.

Fahrenheit 451

25. Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss

Forest Dark was another book that had been amped up so high for me only to come crashing down as its poetic writing failed to carry its lacking plot. But it did move Israel up higher on my never-ending travel bucket list, so at least there’s that.

Forest Dark

24. One Summer Day in Rome by Mark Lamprell

The details of the delightful and historical Italian city in this novel give me nostalgia, but considering the clichés and ultimate cheese, that’s about all it gives me. I guess amore can’t be found everywhere.

One Summer Day in Rome

23. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Similar to #25, Sing, Unburied, Sing had some beautiful lines, but this one went a bit too far for me. Without clarity, the prose in this critically acclaimed novel left me lost when an intriguing story was present from page one.

Sing, Unburied, Sing

22. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

You know the whole “It’s me, not you” breakup line? That’s how I felt about my boyfriend’s pick for me, The Forever War. I love the concept and message behind it, but they couldn’t compensate for my inexperience with sci-fi.

The Forever War

21. Miss You by Kate Eberlen

Oh another novel I read during my Italian dream week. I was fully enthralled with Kate Eberlen’s funny, sweet, and heartbreaking chick lit … all the way until the last 30 pages when the ending failed to live up to the rest of the book.

Miss You

20. The Underwriting by Michelle Miller

My years in finance have taught me not to be ashamed to love money or to get pleasure from reading about it, so the concept of The Underwriting caught my attention. But all the sex, money, booze, and fun in the world can’t offset clichés and less-than writing.

The Underwriting II

19. The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott pits love and sin against one another in this historical fiction novel that expertly creates complex characters while failing to give them the time (and pages) they deserve for a fully fleshed-out story.

The Ninth Hour

18. Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

So many of the two- and three-flame books I read this year had disappointing endings, which is how I felt about Warlight. Ondaatje can write better than most, hence his Booker Prize nomination, but his plot twists need some fine-tuning.

Warlight

17. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

My overall opinion of Kevin Kwan’s second book in his mega trilogy probably was reviewed a little unfairly, but it was impossible to not compare it to its predecessor, Crazy Rich Asians. With its over-the-top plot and details, it couldn’t match the joy that books one and three gave me.

China Rich Girlfriend

16. Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Louisa Clark is one of the best characters to have ever been created, and I’m so happy Jojo Moyes has continued her story. The novel’s bumpy plot doesn’t allure like Me Before You, but I enjoyed the third installment nonetheless.

Still Me

15. The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

I read The Birth of Venus after some serious Italy withdrawals, and it was a solid cure. Some historical fiction, an engaging plot, some sexy, some Florence, and I was good to go (back to Italy of course).

The Birth of Venus

14. The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

Could Tiffany Haddish be the kryptonite for my anti-memoir feelings? If anybody could do it, it’s her, and I sure am glad I gave the genre a chance with this hilarious and beautiful human being whose life has been anything but easy.

The Last Black Unicorn

13. The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

Sure, life is hard, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t laugh at it sometimes. That’s exactly what Meg Wolitzer does in The Wife, which mixes humor, reality, and relationships in a detailed and enjoyable drama.

The Wife

12. The Futures by Anna Pitoniak

Remember the first time I interviewed an author for Big Little Lit? Well, I’ll never forget it, and I’ll never forget that author’s first book, The Futures, which was the most relatable read in 2018.

The Futures

11. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I started “Storied” for literary greats, such as To Kill a Mockingbird. It was everything I hoped it would be, and its sad relevance 60 years after being published wasn’t lost on me.

To Kill a Mockingbird

10. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage has been on many best-of-2018 lists and rightfully so. Its messages are colored by gray, forcing readers to see that sometimes there really isn’t a right answer and that we should never try interpreting someone else’s experience. Rather, we should listen.

An American Marriage

9. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Oh how Eleanor Oliphant touched my life. Not only was she one of my favorite characters I met this year, but her story raised important questions about mental health and our perceptions of it. This is one of those books we all need to read.

Eleanor Oliphant

8. The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

We also need to read historical fiction hits, such as The Women in the Castle. By reading the stories of three very different German women during WWII, we see just how important history is to present-day society and that everyone has a story to tell.

The Women in the Castle

7. The Good Girls Revolt by Lynn Povich

While nonfiction has a limited appearance on the list, I’m happy one of the two books is The Good Girls Revolt, the powerful recap of what happened when the women of Newsweek fought back against discrimination and masculinity and won. Let’s hear it for the ladies (and all the fighting that remains)!

The Good Girls Revolt

6. All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

My obsession with Emily Giffin is no joke. That obsession only grew when I met her at a Q&A in June to promote her new book, which somehow combined nearly every current issue into a compelling story. This woman really cannot be stopped.

All We Ever Wanted

5. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

The book that started it all. When I look back on 2018, I will surely remember everything related to Crazy Rich Asians, including the movie, which gave the book a run for its money. Kevin Kwan, I’ll forever be grateful for the details, the fun characters, and, of course, the money diaries you gave in this captivating series.

CRA

4. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

I honestly can’t say it better than I did in my June review: In Exit West, Mohsin Hamid has “created existential poetry as his words reach down to the core of human emotion and make you experience exactly what the characters are feeling: anxiety, stress, and the overwhelming sense that you’re just going through the motions.” This guy is a full-fledged writer.

Exit West

3. My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

I talked about this book nonstop for weeks. It had me talking about history, about Hamilton, about how two writers somehow combined forces to create one of the best novels in 2018, etc., etc. This one brought out all of the feels in me, and I’ve never been happier that a book took over my life like My Dear Hamilton did.

My Dear Hamilton

2. Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

I didn’t think Kevin Kwan could get any better after his debut, but he proved me wrong. While all of the great characteristics from books one and two are still present in Rich People Problems, Kwan gives us more with plot twists on nearly every page and while speaking broadly about Asian identity.

Rich People Problems

1. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I boldly claimed, after turning the final page in Little Fires Everywhere, that this was my favorite book of all time. Even though my strong feelings toward Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth have reemerged, making it a close call, I am certain that Celeste Ng is a genius and that the story she tells of a common tale — gossip — is the furthest thing from common. It’s pure magic on every page, and I thank her for that.

Little Fires Everywhere

Happy New Year to every Big Little Lit reader, and thank you for supporting and reading with me this year. I can’t wait for another amazing year of books with you. Send me all of your 2019 recs with a comment below!

2 thoughts on “Ranked: Reads in 2018

  1. Pingback: 2019 Resolutions | Big Little Literature

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s