This has not been a great reading year for me. I did read some great books, but I didn’t read as much as I would have liked. For the last 6 months, but especially since we began school in September, I’ve been in a reading slump. I’ve struggled to make time for books, to find new books to read. I find myself beginning and reading only a few chapters of a new book before putting it away to start something new. I’m determining now to be more intentional about my reading life. I am a reader, but I’ve realized that at this stage of my life I need to be more disciplined about making it happen. More reading lists, less TV, etc.
Anyways. Here are a few of my favorite books I did read in 2018.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (listened on audio)
This book was completely delightful, but I’m not sure I would have liked it quite so much if I’d read a hard copy. Part of what I loved about it was the narrator and her Scottish accent. (Note to self: find more audiobooks whose narrator is Scottish. Or Irish.) It dealt with some heavier themes, but never felt heavy or depressing. Probably the book I would most universally recommend from last year.
Read Aloud Family by Sarah McKenzie
Sarah is the host of one of my favourite podcasts, The Read Aloud Revival, and author of a homeschool favourite Teaching from Rest. While she is a homeschooling mama, this book is not just for homeschooling families. She talks about the importance of reading aloud to our children, gives some really great tips and strategies (including the helpful ‘what your kids can do while you’re reading’, and the ’10 discussion questions you can ask about any book’), and a stellar list of recommended read alouds by age. This is a great book for any parent who enjoys reading to their children, or who would like to make reading aloud a bigger part of their family culture.
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Beautiful and heartbreaking and funny all at the same time. I borrowed this from the library, but keep searching the used bookstores for a copy because I know it will be one to re-read one day. I can’t think of a way to properly sum it up or recommend it enough. Just read it, and you, like I, will fall in love with Leo Gursky.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Towle’s Rules of Civility was one of the best books I read last year, and this one did not disappoint. It’s a character driven novel and so was a slower read, but I was so drawn in by the Count and his life on house arrest living in a hotel during some turbulent years of Russian history. Towle’s is such a gifted writer- his characters come alive, and the setting was a much a character as any of the people who graced its pages.
Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
I’ve been meaning to read this modern Canadian classic for a while, and am happy I finally got around to it. I found the story so captivating I had dreams about it when I’d reluctantly put it down for the night and go to sleep. It follows the life story of Daisy, through almost a decade, and is filled with interesting characters. Like her father, with his stone memorial to her mother.
What are some of the best books you’ve read this year? I’d love to hear about your favorites.