Ah, such a big statement isn’t it, ‘my favourite books of the year’. I mean, what if the best book ever pops up in the last week of December? A pile of Christmas to-do lists means that’s a chance I’m just going to have to take 🙂
This year has been a fab one for me on the reading front, and I’ve notched up 34 books across my monthly ‘Reading Lately’ posts. I also read 4 health-related books I didn’t post reviews on, and I’m hoping to finish 2 more books by the end of December – hey, I’m calling it a round 4-0 🙂
This is a massive improvement for someone who struggled to read 4 books a year a while back – see last year’s post for the excuses – life, kids, etc. – I just never seemed to have the time. But getting back my reading mojo has really enriched me – every single book I read gives me a new perspective, some new information, or a quote that resonates – and even my least favourite books have given me some snippets to take away.
So without further ado, it’s onto the year’s favourites – in no particular order (and with the usual caveat that they are based on the year of reading as opposed to the year that they came out). If you’re looking for some Christmas holiday reading inspiration I hope this helps you find it. Or if all else fails, gives you some ideas for your 2018 reading list instead 🙂
Back in January I read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – believe it or not I think for the first time in my life. It wasn’t my usual kind of love story but I actually really enjoyed it. All that dark and menacing imagery – and despite it’s age, it still felt very fresh.
2. DOG MEDICINE
In February, I fell in love with Dog Medicine by Julie Barton – a story about a woman, her dog, and the battle with clinical depression which threatened to destroy her life. It’s a beautiful story of how relationships with animals can quite literally save us. It’s also a touching love letter to the wonderful dog who helped Barton during her darkest days.
3. A SONG FOR ISSY BRADLEY
In March, I was captivated by A Song for Issy Bradley, a heart rending book about the devastating loss of a child. It’s a difficult read but also utterly beautiful. If you can handle the subject matter I can guarantee it’s one you’ll never forget.
4. DAVINA MCCALL: LESSONS I’VE LEARNED
May saw me sail through Davina McCall’s memoir Lessons I’ve Learned, a fabulous, straightforward life guide from one of Britain’s most beloved television stars. The book introduced me to lots of other books and ideas I’ve since enjoyed exploring. If you’re looking for positive tips on how to get the best out of life, then this is one I’d really recommend.
5. PRESENT OVER PERFECT
In June I found myself raving about Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, one of the most affecting books I’ve read, not just this year, but at any time, full stop. Maybe it was because this memoir about stepping away from ‘busyness’ came just at the right time for me. In any case, it inspired a whole post on the blog which you can read in detail here.
6. THE GIRLS
Another fantastic read in June was The Girls by Emma Cline, a dark and atmospheric novel about a 60’s cult populated mainly by young girls. Cline must be one of the most gifted writers I’ve come across his year and the narrative in this novel practically sizzles off the page. It’s definitely a good choice if you’re looking for something a bit different. Be warned though – it’s not a feel good story by any stretch at all.
7. SMALL GREAT THINGS
Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult, was probably my favourite fictional story of the year overall. It’s an amazing, thought provoking read about racism and how it can exist both overtly and in ways you might not expect. If you enjoy John Grisham novels I think you’ll like it. And if you enjoy books that make you think, second guess yourself and question everything, then this is one book I’d definitely recommend.
8. BIG MAGIC
In August, I went all whimsical about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic – a sort of guidebook for creative types on living out their dreams. If you’re the kind of person who needs to banish self doubt, do your best work and find that creative fairy dust I think you’ll like it. And if you’re a fan of the movie La La Land, I think you’ll understand why I’m saying ‘here’s to the ones who dream.’
October saw me falling in love with August Pullman, the main character from R.J Palacio’s Wonder, all about a boy who is very different from the other kids. This is a book to make you smile, cry and look on at August with, yes, wonder, as he makes his way through middle school. It’s a book that is rightly lauded for promoting kindness, empathy, and the one million and one other reasons that make reading books so great.
10. A MOTHER’S LOVE
Last but not least was A Mother’s Love, by Deborah Zeigler, the story of brain tumour sufferer Brittany Maynard, who chose to move state so she could peacefully end her life. It’s a beautifully written, harrowing book about loss, grief and the power of maternal devotion. If you’re looking for a story that will grab at your heart and stay there, then this is one you should definitely pick up.
That’s it for this year’s round up, I wonder what 2018 will bring? Hopefully more books, more stories and lots more reading. Until then, here’s to a happy festive season – and Christmas stockings filled with lots more lovely books to enjoy 🙂
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links which mean that I will receive commission should you choose to purchase something via them. This enables me to earn a small income from the time I spend on blogging and does not in any way affect the price you pay.
Pin this post for later:
Oh I’m so glad you wrote this I really must write mine too. Some of my favourites here too. In fact Wuthering Heights is one of my all time favourites and I’m overdue a reread! I’m glad to see a couple of books that I have on my To Be Read pile too so I’ll have to bump them up the list!
Ah, delighted you liked it Sarah! As you know, I get a lot of my to-read inspiration from you! 🙂 Looking forward to your 2017 update. Mine seems a bit early but I’m hoping to wrap up the blog for Xmas at the end of next week xx
Ah great post, I also loved Davina’s book, wasn’t so impressed with Blink by Malcolm Gladwell though.. (her recommendation)! Currently zooming through Lisa Jewell’s latest one – Then She was Gone. It’s brilliant! Love her.
Yes, the Davina book is fab isn’t it Laura? I haven’t read Blink but I did read Outliers – it was really interesting 🙂 Oh I’ll have to check Lisa Jewell out – haven’t read any of her books. Sound good! 🙂 xx
I tried to read Wuthering Heights a couple years ago and could not even get through the first chapter. I do really want to give it another chance though. Obviously Wuthering Heights is a classic for a reason and I need to get my act together and give it another try haha.
It did take me a little while to get into it too Siobhan, but once I did I really enjoyed it. Definitely worth another try! 🙂 x
You’ve inspired me to try and find my reading mojo again – I’m still in that endless excuses phase! I am determined to read Middlemarch this year – sometimes classics aren’t the obvious choice, but I can’t let my life pass without reading it? And I would never have picked up a book by Davina – but now you have piqued my interest.
Aww great Jenny, I’m glad if this has given you some inspiration! Once you get back into it there will be no stopping you 🙂 And yes, the Davina book is fantastic, so many pointers and simple tips xx
I love reading these posts, I must do mine but I’m not sure I could pick 10! I think it will be just a random round up 🙂 Quite a few of these I haven’t read although I remember you reviewing a lot of them and they’re still in my TBR pile! Wuthering Heights is an all time favourite, I may reread it over the Christmas break xx
Thanks Hayley, I’d love to hear your annual favourites! Oh, the Christmas holidays are my favourite time to read or re-read oldies. For some reason, I feel I can get into them more at that time of year xx