I take pride in calling myself a bibliophile and my year 2018 in books was a good year. I read some of the best books by great authors. In this post, I’m sharing the 10 books (that number is so low for a year I know *sigh*) I read in 2018. Note that not all these books came out in 2018. I reread some of them and most of them were on my to-read list for so long and 2018 was the year I finally read them. See if any of these books interest you.
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10 Books I Read In 2018
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Origin By Dan Brown
Origin is the 5th book in Robert Langdon series by the author Dan Brown. Mostly set in Spain, it is a perfect book for you if you are into a mystery thriller. It deals with the ever-heating debate between science and religion. (Yes, it is interesting!) As always Brown has done a wonderful job of mixing fictional story with real art and places and history. He has subtly pointed out how us, human beings, are on the verge of giving in ourselves to the technologies.
Synopsis: Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.
As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.
Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself… and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery… and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.
The Book Seller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad
Asne Seierstad, an award-winning Norwegian journalist writes about the four months she spent with the family of the bookseller in Afghanistan, shortly after the fall of the Taliban. You can actually learn so much about the Afghan people’s lives, mostly the women through this book.
Synopsis: For more than twenty years, Sultan Khan defied the authorities to supply books to the people of Kabul. He was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned, and watched illiterate soldiers burn piles of his books in the street.
In spring 2002 award-winning journalist Asne Seierstad spent four months living with the bookseller and his family. As Seierstad steps back from the page and lets the Khans tell their stories, we learn of proposals and marriages, hope and fear, crime and punishment. The result is a unique portrait of a family and a country.
The Blue Notebook By James A. Levine
The Blue Notebook is the first novel of James A. Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. He was inspired to write this book after he saw a young woman writing in a notebook outside her cage while he was interviewing homeless children on a street in Mumbai known as the Streets of Cages, where child prostitutes work. This book is a not a cup of tea for everyone as it talks about the ugly and horrific subject of child sex slavery/prostitution in Mumbai, India with very disturbing graphics descriptions of child sex abuse, rape, sexual mutilations, and torture.
Synopsis: The Blue Notebook tells the haunting story of Batuk, a 15-year-old from rural India who was sold into sexual slavery by her father when she was just nine. As she navigates the grim realities of the Common Street – a street of prostitution in Mumbai where children are kept in cages as they wait for customers – Batuk manages to put pen to paper, recording her private thoughts and stories in a diary. The novel is powerfully told in Batuk’s voice, through the words she writes in her journal, where she finds hope and beauty in the bleakest situations.
The Vegetarian By Han Kang
The Vegetarian By Han Kang is the winner of The Man Booker International Prize 2016, translated to English by Deborah Smith. The book tells the story of sudden vegetarianism of a woman after waking up from a nightmare. The story is told in three parts and this psychological fiction has been reviewed as disturbing, confusing, intriguing, beautiful, hypnotically strange, and what not.
Synopsis: Yeong-hye and her husband are ordinary people. He is an office worker with moderate ambitions and mild manners; she is an uninspired but dutiful wife. The acceptable flatline of their marriage is interrupted when Yeong-hye, seeking a more ‘plant-like’ existence, commits a shocking act of subversion. As her rebellion manifests in ever more bizarre and frightening forms, Yeong-hye spirals further and further into her fantasies of abandoning her fleshy prison and becoming – impossibly, ecstatically – a tree.
The Spy By Paulo Coelho
The Spy is historical and biographical fiction by the bestselling author, Paulo Coelho describing the life of one of the most famous female in history, Mata Hari. He tells an enthralling tale, partly fictional of the legendary dancer and accused spy, Mata Hari through a fictional letter written by Mata Hari to her lawyer.
Synopsis: HER ONLY CRIME WAS TO BE AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN
When Mata Hari arrived in Paris she was penniless. Within months she was the most celebrated woman in the city.
As a dancer, she shocked and delighted audiences; as a courtesan, she bewitched the era’s richest and most powerful men.
But as paranoia consumed a country at war, Mata Hari’s lifestyle brought her under suspicion. In 1917, she was arrested in her hotel room on the Champs Elysees, and accused of espionage.
Told in Mata Hari’s voice through her final letter, The Spy is the unforgettable story of a woman who dared to defy convention and who paid the ultimate price.
Related: Book Review: The Spy by Paulo Coelho
Half Of A Yellow Sun By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Half Of A Yellow Sun is historical fiction by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Winner of the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction, this book tells the story of the Biafran War through the perspective of various characters. The book incorporates love, resentment, ups and downs of relationships, human emotions, the brutality of war, and its effect on an individual, a family, a community and a country. For me, personally, it was a brilliant read.
Synopsis: In 1960s Nigeria, Ugwu, a boy from a poor village, goes to work for Odenigbo, a radical university professor. Soon they are joined by Olanna, a young woman who has abandoned a life of privilege to live with her charismatic lover. Into their world comes Richard, an English writer who has fallen for Olanna’s sharp-tongued twin sister Kainene. But when the shocking horror of civil war engulfs the nation, their loves and loyalties are severely tested, while their lives pull apart and collide once again in ways none of them could have imagined…
Room By Emma Donoghue
Room, a novel by Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue won the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize regional prize (Caribbean and Canada) and was shortlisted for 2011 Orange Prize, 2010 Man Booker Prize, 2010 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and 2010 Governor General’s Awards. The book can easily make one emotional and overwhelmed. The book tells the powerful story of a 5-year-old boy, Jack and his Ma living in the eleven square foot from Jack’s perspective, which makes the story so innocent and strong and emotional.
Synopsis: To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
Related: Book Review: Room By Emma Donoghue
Carry On By Rainbow Rowell
Carry On, a number one New York Times – bestseller, is a third YA novel by the author Rainbow Rowell. The book tells the story about the Simon Snow, a final year student in magic school who is the “Chosen one” prophesied to defeat the evil force, the Insidious Humdrum that has been causing havoc in the magical world for years. The novel unfolds through the major characters’ narration and is definitely a page-turner.
Synopsis: Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.
Carry On is a love letter to love stories and the power of words – to every ‘chosen one’ who ever had more on their mind than saving the world.
A Man Called Ove By Fredrik Backman
A Man Called Ove By Swedish writer, columnist, and blogger, Fredrik Backman is an international bestseller translated to English from Swedish. This novel tells heart-warming story of Ove, a grumpy old man who has lived his life by principles and routines and his neighbors. Set in a Swedish neighborhood, this book will make you laugh and cry as you read it through.
Synopsis: At first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots – joggers, neighbors who can’t reverse a trailer properly and shop assistants who talk in code.
But isn’t it rare, these days, to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be, and a lifelong dedication to making it just so?
In the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible.
All The Light We Cannot See By Anthony Doerr
All The Light We Cannot See is New York Times number one bestseller and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2015 and Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction 2015. This historical fiction is simply yet beautifully written with great details and beautiful metaphors. A page-turner, this is one of the finest books I’ve ever read.
Synopsis: For Marie-Laurie, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighborhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic layers within the invaluable diamond that her father guards in the Museum of Natural History. The walled city by the sea, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio fills his life with possibility and brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth.
In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of Marie-Laurie and Werner illuminate the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.
How many of these ten books have you read?
If you haven’t read them yet, you can add them to your to-read list.
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“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” – Mortimer J. Adler