Top Ten Books of 2018

I read 47, going on 48, books this year. I’m sure for a book blogger this is barely anything. But compare this to how many I read last year – I went from 17 to 47 and that’s a huge jump! Being a part-time book blogger and bookworm has encouraged me to read more. Having said that…

I would like to read fewer books next year. I don’t care to consume so many books. I’d rather take my time and savour the experience. Because reading is an experience, isn’t it? I’ve done enough philosophising (see The Reader’s Existential Crisis), so I won’t delve too deeply into this. I did read some amazing books this year, two of which became my favourite ever books…

  1. Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr Seuss (Favourite)

Dr Seuss somehow managed to encapsulate the complexity and magic of the entire spectrum of the thing that is life in one small children’s book. That is no easy feat. It can take literary heavyweights over 600 pages to do this and Dr Seuss managed to do it in under 44 pages. It’s no wonder that it is such a hit for graduation speeches, it’s a perfect send-off to real life.

If you’re wandering, lost, confused, waiting, anxious, then this magical children’s book is for you. For me, this book is my go-to pick-me-up.

oh the place's you'll go

  1. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (Favourite)

Anne Frank’s diary was written in the attic Anne and her family hid in from the Nazi’s in Amsterdam. I know, I know not a lot happens in the book, but that’s the point, that was the life of many Jewish people during the Holocaust. We get glimpses of their fears and their frustrations being penned up and restricted from the outside world. They are restricted. It’s in this restriction that Anne is forced to become more in touch with her repressed emotions, desires and thoughts and I strongly resonated with Anne. It’s gut-wrenching when you realise that Anne died just two weeks before the concentration camp was liberated. When you read this book and you see how strongly Anne felt about her ambitions, how she put great care into planning her future, it will break your heart.

Two weeks.

anne

  1. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney

I read and finished the entire series this year. I was enjoying it so much that I immediately went to grab a copy of the latest book that released late this year! I haven’t done that since Harry Potter. Speaking of which, I much prefer this series to Harry Potter (I’ve finally become disillusioned). Wimpy Kid is just good fun, very silly, very immature and very goofy. Just how I like it!

Warning: Greg can be a total jerk, so if you’re looking for a heroic hero, you’ve got the wrong kid. I mean, the giveaway is in the title really… it is ‘wimpy’ kid, after all. Read it with a pinch of salt.

the meltdown

  1. The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

The Kingmaker’s Daughter and The White Queen were a bit all over the place. The mini-series was eye-opening, and it became increasingly better as the episodes progressed. While watching the show though, I was far more interested in Margaret Beaufort’s story, so when I finally read The Red Queen, I was happy to find that it lived up to my expectations! The final third of the book wasn’t as exciting as the mini-series which did a much better job in including all the suspenseful action and fight for the throne.

Margaret Beaufort was the mother of the Tudor dynasty. Gregory paints her as complex, driven, ambitious and deeply religious. Margaret Beaufort is simply fascinating. It appears that she engineered the dynasty and sought her final marriage to regain political power and influence to reassert House Lancaster back onto the throne and as a key political powerhouse. Margaret Beaufort is not likeable, she’s incredibly frustrating, you may possibly hate her, but, my goodness, I was awe-struck by her steely determination and resilience.

red queen

The War of the Roses is said to be the inspiration for Game of Thrones and I can see significant parallels, although Martin does draw inspiration from multiple characters for single characters and vice versa e.g. Jaime Lannister and Tyrion Lannister: two halves of Sir Anthony Woodville, brother of Queen Elizabeth Woodville who, I believe, is the inspiration for Cersei Lannister (and Margaret of Anjou), and the three York brothers are the three Baratheon brothers. I always thought House York = House Stark and House Lancaster = Lannister, and I can safely confirm that this is total bull. House Lancaster = Targaryen, House York = Baratheon. Yep. In that case, I have some theories as to who will end up on the throne, but I don’t know how faithfully Martin will follow history if at all. Also, I have a wild (emphasis) feeling that Jon Snow is basically Jesus.

Game of Thrones returns in four months. Four months!

  1. British Muslim Women Write: The Things I Would Tell You by Sabrina Mahfouz (Editor)

A collection of short stories, plays, and poetry written by British Muslim women. The amount of times I said YAS in this book is insane. There are some stories in this book that I think many women would relate to, but I’m glad this focuses on the Muslim experience. Kamila Shamsie’s The Girl Next Door is arguably the best short story I have ever read. I was dumbfounded and humbled. Humbled. You know how I was talking about understanding that not everyone can be brave and righteous out loud? Yeah, I’m also referring to how judgemental I, myself, can be. This short story reminded me to remember that I’m not exactly perfect either, so I better get off my damn high horse.

31945031

  1. Emma by Jane Austen

Easily my favourite Jane Austen novel. This is Jane Austen’s most perfect novel in its characterisation and plot, everything ties together perfectly, it’s a blemish-free book. Emma is not likeable, but she grows to become likeable, sees the error of her ways and actively works to amend her wrongdoings. That is a level of maturity that is difficult to achieve. Not everyone can self-reflect and self-reflect accurately, but Emma does. It helps that Mr Knightley is perfection and has ruined men for me. I mean, if he’s not Mr Knightley, he’s simply not worth it.

Side note (and unpopular opinion): Pride and Prejudice is seriously over-rated. Elizabeth is relatable, but the writing in P & P was drab and while the Keira Knightley adaptation was good, the romance didn’t make any sense to me. “Oh my God, I was wrong about you, so now I love you. Oh my God, you’re smart, I love you.” Emma and Mr Knightley were friends first, they’ve known each other long enough to actually really know each other, not that Elizabeth and Darcy cannot, but my intuition tells me their romance doesn’t make sense. I just don’t see it, and plus, it’s a little boring.

Emma cover

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I’m not the biggest fan of YA. YA Fantasy I do enjoy. But the writing in YA tends to illicit dramatic sighs and scowls on my part. This didn’t at all. This book is absolutely outstanding. One of the most relevant books of our time. I’m not going to say any more as I’ve already written a book review on this YA masterpiece and it’s one of my most favourite reviews I’ve written.

the hate u give

  1. The Lorax by Dr Seuss

Three words: your voice matters.

Weigh in.

Vote.

Dr Seuss was a genius.

the lorax

  1. Habibi by Craig Thompson

Beautiful and heart-breaking. The story of Dodola and Zam is precious and I need to make it a mission to read more graphic novels and, more importantly, graphic novels like this. Also, I loved how the novel echoes and intertwines the similarities between Christianity and Islam.

habibi

  1. Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook

This is the kind of poetry book that possesses a special piece for everyone. I actually learnt a lot from this enlightening collection as well. Highly recommended for poetry lovers!

stuff

Overall: children’s books, a graphic novel, YA, poetry, classic, comic, historical fiction, non-fiction and an anthology. That’s a pretty wide selection!


Have you read any of the books from my top ten books of 2018 and what are your thoughts on them? What are some of your favourite reads of this year? Did you achieve your reading goals, or do you not believe in having them? Let me know in the comments!

Sopshki Out.

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40 Comments

  1. Although I am not at all a bookworm or book reader. But i am fascinated by your reviews here. Really the way you describe the book is very appealing MashaAllah and I can vouch on it without even actually reading it.
    I guess i should start reading some of it soon, I guess i will start with InshaAllah the 44 pages one 😁.
    Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you, Aquib, that’s the highest compliment you can pay to a book reviewer, so I really appreciate that! I think you will love the Dr Seuss ones, it’s so hopeful and inspiring! You might also love Whispers of the Beloved by Rumi. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kudos to you. Bahut acha hain. 😁 (checking your urdu 😛) MashaAllah. Keep writing MashaAllah hope to see your novel soon, God willing.
        Hey please do consider sending me a request access for my blog. Peace be on you. ✌️✌️.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Shukriya, meri dost! (I hope I did that okay!) I’ll send it over, had no idea you went private? I tried to look up your page on my manage followers and I couldn’t find it. 🤷‍♀️

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  2. You read some really good books this year. I read Dr Seuss for the first time earlier this year and it “Oh the Place You’ll Go”. I was surprised by how much you can learn, even as an adult. I loved it.
    I love Jane Austen. While P&P is my favorite, I did think Emma was pretty good. I only have one Austen book left to read, I think.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s such a timeless book and applies to all ages! I’m not the greatest fan of P & P, but I can see it’s appeal because Elizabeth is a relatable character for a lot of people. I don’t know which Jane Austen novel you have left, but I hope you enjoy it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel the same way about reading next year! I’m going to focus less on the numbers, because after a while it started to feel like a chore, and I never want reading to feel like a chore to me. Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately was a great poetry book! I didn’t eye-roll once while reading it, which says a lot because that is what has happened to me every other time LOL. And I still need to read THUG, but I have heard amazing things. Will have to pick it up in 2019 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I remember when everyone was doing their reading challenges for this year, I think we were one of the few who had kept their goals around the 10-12 mark. Completely agreed, reading is meant to be a pleasure, not a chore and I feel that setting intense challenges just end up burning us out. 😔 Paha, yep, I read it after seeing your review, so thanks for that! Yeah, I know this sounds horrible, but there always parts in a poetry collection where I just can’t relate because it’s kinda… far-fetched and stupid? But this one? Nah. Just right. I’ve only seen one 3 star review of THUG, so I can safely say that you will at least enjoy it!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wimpy Kid series is the one that seriously got me into the world of books. Oh I still remember when Greg clears it in the first line ‘how this isn’t a diary but a journal’.

    I completed Anne Frank’s diary in two days. I completed her two years of life in two days. The book just broke my heart, because all the while I really found myself wishing for it to be fiction and not reality. . I really want to speculate and do a separate post for this book. Which I might.

    I’m actually gonna buy Dr. Seuss’s books as a gift to my cousins but after I read them first. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a rare one! I usually hear that Harry Potter got people into really reading, so it’s refreshing to hear someone say the Wimpy Kid series (it’s funnier, as well). I think he distanced himself from the word diary, but I’m not sure why?

      Anne’s Diary does read like fiction, but I wonder if it’s because the events occurring are too horrendous to fully absorb that it’s reality. You keep reading and just think to yourself how restricted they were whereas we can’t imagine that kind of physical restriction. You should, if you do, I can’t wait to read it!

      You’ll love Oh, The Places, I can bank on that!

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  5. My nephew pointed Habibi out to me recently (he was trying to get me to buy him something and I think attracted by the color) but I was definitely interested though I hadn’t heard of it before. Thrilled to see you liked it so much! I will definitely pick it up now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oo, I don’t know how old your nephew is, but if he’s a minor, I probably wouldn’t recommend it because there’s a lot of graphic violence. I think you’ll enjoy it though! I hear Blankets is really good as well. 🙂

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  6. I’ve read only 25% of Anne Frank’s diary and I’ve put it down, because like you’ve said, nothing much happened. But regardless of that, I really admire her positivity through everything.

    Even though Anne was afraid, she would always reassure herself that it would turn out okay, things would be alright. Somehow, I think through her optimistic voice, she makes everything sounded better than it actually was. I think the situation that she was put in was very bad, but she kept saying: “I’m okay.” I couldn’t help but imagine how far could Anne could have gone if she has managed to survive the war. She was very bright.

    But still, the diary was not my cup of tea, I could barely even reread my own diary, let alone other people’s. How did Anne died anyway, because of illness?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nothing much does happen, yep, so, it can feel a bit trying, but it’s both gruelling and inspiring seeing Anne trying to push forward, creating goals for herself and her resilient positivity. And I like that because nothing much happens, we get to see an insight into her feelings and emotions. I think even if a lot was happening, she would still focus on her feelings.

      I don’t know how she managed to be and remain so positive, like you said it was much worse than she made it out to be. But I don’t agree with her relentless positivity, I agree with her resilience, but so much depression of emotions? You don’t repress emotions, you repress yourself. Despite that, yes, you’re right, I could have definitely seen her become a writer (writing fantasy maybe for children’s books) and a journalist. 😭

      Haha, at least you know now that diaries are your cup of tea! 😂 Anne died from typhus.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t tend to read a range of book, usually just YA and barley ever non fiction but this list has given me lots of ideas for 2019! I read “oh the places you’ll go” to my little cousins and i was so suprised by how wise and real it was for a childrens book, usually when i read for younger kids its not very enjoyable but i loved the meaning in this story!
    ive also written a 2018 book reciw of feminist book that comes out saturday morning if you wanted to check it out xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to hear that! I hope if you do get to read anything outside of the YA genre here that you enjoy it, I think you may enjoy Alicia Cook’s poetry and Things I Would Tell You! But I’m with you on non-fiction, I want to read more too and especially biographies and memoirs, they’re surprisingly easy reads.

      Exactly, right?! Dr Seuss somehow managed to connect to both children and adults. I hope your little cousins understood the messages and loved it as much I did! XD

      I’ll be sure to check it out! (It should be up by now, right? I’m just going through my comments now that I’m not busy, so apologies for the late reply!)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have heard a lot of people rave about Emma by Jane Austen. I don’t know why I’ve been reluctant to read it. I know it inspired the movie Clueless (1995), which I love, but maybe that’s part of the reason…I may try to read this book finally this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think Cher is more easily likeable than a Emma, but I personally think they’re both great. Emma isn’t a big fave for everyone, but I think seasoned Austen fans recognise it to be the best one! I hope you enjoy it, and don’t get too angry at Emma! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. 17 to 47 is a huge jump!!!

    I gifted my copy of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” to my niece. We were talking about the books she’d read and enjoyed. Of course Dr. Seuss came up. But she hadn’t read this one yet. So I immediately gave it to her. Now, I need to buy 2 more copies lol. One for myself, and the other for my brother (he’s graduating from high school this year). There’s so much wisdom in that little book. It’s a book for everyone really.

    Habibi sounds like a great read! And it’s a graphic novel? YAS!

    Oh, man. 2 weeks. That’s what always gets me. And to think that it happened to so many people… smh.

    Happy New Year Soph! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paha, too much of a jump! That’s what book blogging does…

      Would I be a total selfish person if I said that I would have probably kept the copy for myself? “Child, I love you, but get yer own.” 😂 Either way, I hope she loves it! I bet it’ll be awesome company for your brother… that book is medicine for graduates!

      I have to warn you beforehand and let you know that there are depictions of rape, and it being a graphic novel, well, it’s graphic. But there’s so much to learn from it both in terms of life and just general info!

      Yeah, I think it was you who pointed out that they were only two weeks away from liberation. And happy New Year to you too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for the welcome back ☺️ I am very well-rested that’s for sure, thank you for asking. How are you? I apologise that I haven’t gotten to your new posts recently but I will get to them, for sure! 🙂

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  10. The hate U give is amazing! I loved the book when I read it and I promised myself I would watch the movie…

    I still haven’t lol
    I definitely want to read Diary of Anne Frank just waiting for the right time 😂 Great books btw 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So strange, The Hate U Give is currently the film I’ve been watching, so far it’s good. It’s gotten some mixed reviews, but I like it! It’s pretty faithful to the book, so I’m sure you’ll like it, but I don’t think that there’ll be any new angle, so if you like it when a film is loyal to the book, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

      Paha, Yeah, it’s both sad and uplifting, Anne’s Diary is one you can read for any occasion, but if you’re enjoying action-packed books right now, it might not be the best choice. And if you do read it, let me know what you think of it! ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m a bookworm just like my big sister. I would love to read the diary of a young girl by Anne frank. I haven’t read the book of the hate you give but I’ve watched the movie and it’s amazing

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    1. I watched the film a couple of months ago and I agree, it was amazing and the actress played her so well! And that’s lovely that you’re both bookworms, maybe you can buddy read Anne Frank’s Diary with her, that’d be fun! ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve seen you mention Oh the places you’ll go so many times and I’m really looking forward to reading it but something comes in the way every time, even if it’s just 44 pages.
    This is the first I’ve heard of Habibi! I don’t read graphic novels but since I haven’t read a book which shows similarities between Christianity and Islam, I’ll give it a go!

    Like

    1. I think you’ll love it if you get the chance to read it! It manages to encompass life in its entirety – job applications, mental health, not fitting in, doing your own thing, hardships – it’s, ah, my favourite book of all time!

      I have to warn you that Habibi contains a lot of graphic violence, it is quite disturbing and tragic. Yes, the similarities between Christianity and Islam and also how a person can struggle with adhering to their faith. So many lessons in it. It’s a beautiful book. Let me know if you do because I think we’ll have a lot to discuss! 😃 (why do the smiling emoji’s have to be so creepy looking?)

      Like

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