Best Books of 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to the downright obligatory Best Books of 2018. As is often the case with these ‘best books of the year’ posts of mine, the top 10 that make the list may not necessarily be the books that I gave 5-stars when I finished reading them. Because I make my ratings’ decisions immediately after finishing a book, they can be impulsive and would, on reflection, be altered. I make a point of not altering ratings once I’ve set them, but this annual best books list is a good way to “reassess” the ratings I’ve given books in the past year and decide, once and for all, which books were actually deserving of that moniker. The results is that these books are the ones that have stayed with me, for one reason or another, and were, completely subjectively, the “best books” that I read in 2018.

(If you’re looking for my more stats-based wrap up of 2018 then please do pop over to my 2018: A Bookish Year In Review post!)

Without further ado, let’s do this like the music charts, in reverse order, shall we?

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Best Books of 2017

Welcome one, welcome all, to the downright obligatory Best Books of 2017 post – my name is Emma and I’ll be your cruise director for today. As you can see, this post didn’t quite make it out into the world on New Years’ Day as I intended, because apparently I took a fortnight to reflect on my 2017 reading and really think about what the very best books I read in the last year were, rather than just picking out all the books that I’d given 5-star ratings. These books are the ones that have stayed with me, for one reason or another, and were the best books that I read in 2017. Obviously, not all of these were published in 2017, but just made it firmly onto my radar (and bedside table) in the last year.

(If you’re looking for my more stats-based wrap up of 2017 then please do pop over to my 2017: A Bookish Year In Review post!)

Just fyi, because these posts are long enough already, I won’t be posting synopses of all the books I’ve chosen, since Goodreads can do a much better job than I can about being concise, but I’ll be sure to link to their blurbs and to my review, if I’ve done one! But I will make sure to explain why each book has earned a place on this hallowed list…

Without further ado, let’s do this like the music charts, in reverse order, shall we?

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Best Books of 2016

Welcome one, welcome all, to the inevitable and downright obligatory Best Books of 2016 post that isn’t at all subjective or biased in any way. (Disclaimer: that sentence was entirely a lie.)

(If you’re looking for my more stats-based wrap up of 2016 then please do pop over to my 2016: A Bookish Year In Review post!)

I’m sure you’ve seen enough of these lists floating around in the past week or so but, basically, I’ve decided to draw a line under (let’s face it a pretty crappy) 2016 in the most positive way possible – by celebrating some absolutely brilliant books that I’ve read this past year. They may not necessarily have been published in 2016, but all of them were read by yours truly in these past twelve months and, it’s safe to say, if they made this list and have stuck around despite my patchy memory, then they must have been something special. Each of these books has well and truly earned their place on this list and I’ve detailed the not-at-all-incoherent reasoning behind each choice below so that, hopefully, my flailing might persuade you to read them yourself if you haven’t already.

Right, without further ado, let’s do this like the music charts, in reverse order, shall we?

burialritescoverHonourable Mention: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Why?: When people say a story is “haunting”, I finally know what they mean thanks to Hannah Kent’s novel. Set in Iceland, it follows the story of Agnes Magnusdottir, the last person to be sentenced to death in the country. From the outset we are told what Agnes has allegedly done and this characterisation of her as a “murderess” haunts her every word and interaction from this opening page. Add onto that Kent’s chilling writing style which masterfully evokes the harsh, bleak, but beautiful, Icelandic landscape, and you have an absolutely astounding book that has stayed with me for many months.

“To know what a person has done, and to know who a person is, are very different things.”

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