Book Reviews · Jus' Sayin'

My 2018 Favourites

Hey Guys! Happy New Year’s Eve 🙂 Wow, the year is officially over. Crazy. I don’t know about you but I’m really looking forward to 2019. Don’t get me wrong, 2018 was pretty good but there are some things I’m happy to leave behind in 2018.

2018 was a great reading year for me. For my Goodreads Reading Challenge I had wanted to read 48 Books, try to average a book a week. I actually ended up reading 69 Books! I was hoping to reach 70 but for the life of me I could not finish Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer. I’ll probably try again in the new year.

Another reading challenge I participated in was the Penguin UK Read The Year Challenge. I wish I could say I completed it but I missed 1 month! I wont beat myself up over it though, I’m proud of myself for sticking to it. If they have it again next year I think I will join. If you know of any others that you think are good, please let me know.

My Favourite Books of 2018

It was really hard to pick my favourites because I read so many good books! I wasn’t exaggerating when I said it was a good reading year. To make this task a little easier, I decided to go with the books that I gave a 5 star rating on Goodreads. I wanted to add some 4 star ratings but then this list would be looong haha! So here are my top reads of 2018.

White Teeth – Zadie Smith

This was my first Zadie Smith novel. I know, I’ve been asleep. I loved this book so much. In fact, one of my 2019 goals is to read all of her books. Her writing is just amazing.

Chat Bout! An Anthology of Jamaican Conversations – Shelley Sykes-Coley

This book was hilarious! I laugh til’ I weak. Every Jamaican here and abroad should have this as part of their collections. Not only is it funny, the illustrations are brilliant. Nice, light, humorous read and I love supporting local authors. Instant classic.

Becoming – Michelle Obama

Does this really even have to be said? I loved Michelle Obama before and I loved her even more after I read her book. This woman is an inspiration. If she ever does a book tour in the Caribbean, I’m there.

How to Love a Jamaican – Alexia Arthurs

This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018 and it did not disappoint. I’ve been singing this book’s praises from the rooftops since I read it. I am a one woman PR campaign! There was not one story in this book I didn’t like. What makes this book even more memorable is I got to meet Alexia when she came to Jamaica. She met with a group of us, spoke with us about her experiences in the literary world, laughed with us and signed our books. One of the most memorable nights of 2018.

Barracoon – Zora Neale Hurston

This book took my heart and broke it it into tiny pieces. It took me awhile to recover. The thing with this book is, you know what it’s about, you know what you’re going to read but even that doesn’t prepare you. This I believe is one of the most important books of black history and to think, because of foolishness, it almost never got published. I’m so grateful it made it out into the world.

Monday’s Not Coming – Tiffany D. Jackso

My first Tiffany D. Jackson my certainly not my last. This was another heartbreaking but important book. This book shows how abused and missing black and brown girls are not priorities in America. While it’s set stateside, this could apply to any country in the world. The neglected girls who need help but don’t get it and are just written off as if they don’t matter. It shows how it could just take one person to care and how that might save a child’s life.

The Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi

I don’t know how a YA, fantasy novel became one of my favourites of the year considering those are not genres I usually gravitate to but here we are because it’s just so freaking good! I loved everything about it. It was so well written and the story just had me from page one. I’m waiting (im)patiently for book two which comes out next year. Have to pre-order that ASAP.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal

I don’t even know where to begin with this book. It was so many things all at once but it never got jumbled or boring. It dealt with culture, immigration, religion, love and then there was a murder mystery, actual erotic stories all with humour. I know, it sounds like a lot but it was genius. I’m going to re-read it.

The Hate u Give – Angie Thomas

I read this book in one day I was so engrossed. Another important book and I’m happy that the movie did it justice. I have Angie Thomas’s new book on pre-order as well.

Augustown – Kei Miller

My first Kei Miller and he definitely lives up to the hype. His writing is beautiful. I can’t think of another way to describe it. I tried to review this book but I didn’t know how to do it justice. I want to read it again to see if I can discover something new the second time.

When Me Was a Boy – Charles Hyatt

A Jamaican classic. This was another book that made me laugh and it made me remember my Grandma as it was one of her favourites. You can see my review of it here.

The Other Side of Paradise – Staceyann Chin

I waited a long time to read this book but I’m glad I did. I don’t think I could have handled it and been able to appreciate it at an earlier time in my life. No lie, this is not an easy book to read. This book shows people’s capacity to be cruel and hurtful. It also shows just how everything in Jamaica that glitters sure as hell ain’t gold. I’m happy that Staceyann made it out alive.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

This book took me down and brought me up at the same time. I simply loved it. My review is here.

Lila Girls – Martha Hall Kelly

All lovers of historical fiction should read this book. I was just so good. You will cry though, prepare yourself. The prequel to this will be coming out next year April, I can’t wait 🙂

Hunger – Roxane Gay

This book haunts me. Roxane Gay is so honest, raw and real with her writing. She isn’t asking us to feel sorry for her, she just wants us to listen to her. It isn’t always easy because the subject matter isn’t easy. It’s uncomfortable but it’s real life.

A Man Called Ove – Fredrk Backman

My first Fredrik Backman and oh my days he’s an amazing writer! The way he makes you fall in love with his characters. Ove was one of the best written characters I’ve read all year. I just loved him right to the last page of this book. I want all of his books, ALL of them.

Is it Just Me? – Miranda Hart

Miranda Hart can do no wrong for me. I think she is one of the most hilarious comedians period. This book had me rolling. Read it and when you get to the part about the laws she would have in Miranda Land, you will not be disappointed. You can see my review here.

All in all, while there were quite a few bumps, 2018 was a pretty good year. I hope 2019 will bring more opportunities, more good times and of course more good books.

Did any of your favourites make the list? Let me know what some of your favourite books of the year were. I love recommendations.

Happy New Year guys! Have a safe holiday and I’ll see you back here next year. 🙂

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