READING WRAP UP OF 2018

2018 was not a good reading year for me. If you’ve read my blog posts, 2018 Highlights or 2018 Favourites, you will know that last year was a bumpy ride. It was a transitional year for me to even settle in my room and read the books I’ve been hauling. I’ve been drafting and editing and revising my last and current book projects and there are just too many events going on in my personal life, too. 

I didn’t read a lot of books but there are wonderful books I’ve read and we will be talking about them in this blog post today!

P.S. The books I’m going to be mentioning today are no way in order but I will be talking about what they are all about briefly or the impressions that these books left me.

Books I didn’t enjoy

There are only a few books that didn’t pique my interest which doesn’t mean that I hated them. It just means that…I didn’t enjoy them. Surprise, surprise!

The first one on my list is Estrella’s Quinceañera by Malin Algeria which is a book about Estrella Alvarez who is a fifteen-year-old girl who isn’t too proud about her race and everything connected to it and is trying to impress her American friends. But then, she meets this “cholo” named Speedy and he just complicates the situation she’s in. It is a young adult novel that speaks about loving who you are and where you came from and I could totally see how others would love this book. It just isn’t for me.

The next one is The Pillars of Creation by Terry Goodkind which I believe is the seventh book of The Sword of Truth series. This one was immersive. I read the book in two days with little breaks and I have to admit, it was immersive because of the wonderful world-building of the story. And because I am happy with that, it makes sense that this wonderful world is shared in 14 books. Unfortunately, I found the characters bland and confusing, especially the end bit where the writer shows how the bad guys, or the person that the main protagonist and her group were running from, is actually not bad.

Okay, I wouldn’t say confusing. I take that back. But, for me, the big reveal was just not pulled off effectively and thus, making it seem awkward or off.  

Another one is The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor which is another young adult book. I have to admit, this one isn’t terrible. It really isn’t, but the reason why I put this in the ‘Didn’t Enjoy’ pile is because I couldn’t thoroughly resonate with it. And the reason I could think of why I felt this way is because over the years, after reading and immersing myself in a lot of magical realism and historical fiction books for new adults, I seemed to have outgrown YA fiction. 

This is also the reason why I’m putting Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor in the same pile. It did give me the “feels” when the writer reveals Zoe’s bestfriend, Olivia, is dead, but after that, with all the romance thing going on, I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around the whole premise of the book. 

Another one is Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by Jack Thorne. I know this book isn’t well-received and I’m not just putting this book in this pile because I’m hopping in the bandwagon of hate. No, that’s absolutely not the case. And here, I might be a bit biased because I never seemed to enjoy any Harry Potter books and movies ever in my life. I understand how people love the books and the movies to the bits and I will not meddle with that. The part that I’m confused of is how HP fans keep mentioning that they are HP fans as if it is a diploma and will instantly make them a quality reader. 

And I don’t hate Harry Potter stories at all. In fact, I think they’re brilliant. I can understand that these books mean childhood to a lot of readers (and I can’t seem to relate with that because I’m more of a Narnia kid) but again, I don’t understand why hopping in the HP fandom bandwagon means you automatically have good reading tastes.

And the last ones are three of Lang Leav’s books: Love and Misadventure, Lullabies and The Universe of Us. Okay, I’m ready to get roasted and burned alive for what I’m going to say here but, these books are just…they’re…they’re terrible poetry.

And I’m sorry, but I’m saying this with no hate. I’m really not.

When I bought her collection, I had high expectations and I automatically knew I was going to love them. But the thing is these books and I, we were not friends. And I’m sad that we don’t get along well together. And I’m sorry to disagree with the ‘complex and something-something inside the simple and childlike facade writing of her’ because I think it’s a load of bull.   

Books I enjoyed

Da Vinci Decoded by Michael J. Gelb made me feel like my IQ was increased by twenty percent and not only was I educated and entertained by the wisdom of Leonardo Da Vinci, I also highly appreciated the effort of Gelb putting his reflections upon Da Vinci’s teachings. 

The same thing happened to me with The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom. But not because of the musical terms sprinkled here and there. It was because Mitch Albom taught me about life through music. There are a couple of elements in the book that felt really nostalgic for me even though I only read it the first time. For instance, Frankie Presto’s love story with Aurora York reminded me so much of the little prince and the rose. Both loved each other so much but are still not quite capable of making the right decisions because they are still so young or not matured.

Surprise, there’s YA in this pile! And these books are Latitude Zero by Diana Renn, Before I Die by Jenny Downham and Idiot! by Colin Neenan. There are elements that I found a bit off in the stories but paid no mind as I thoroughly and genuinely enjoyed them so I’ll leave it at that.

The middle-grade and children’s books I read in 2018 were Small Steps by Louis Sachar, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exuprey (reread),  Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Peterson, The Robber and Me by Josef Holub, Eli, the Good by Silas House and Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi .

I also read nonfiction books which are The Hidden Life of Dogs by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas and Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho which were brilliant. On a side note, I also read Paulo Coelho’s The Valkyries and The Alchemist right when 2017 was ending.

I’ve had rereads of Kazuo Ishiguro’s books too. He’s my all-time favourite writer and I just love the way he writes stories. These books are Never Let Me Go, A Pale View of Hills, and The Remains of the Day. I can’t count many times I’ve reread these books! I’m just in love with them.

Graphic novels I’ve read were Stand Still, Stay Silent by Minna Sundberg, ReMind by Jason Brubaker and Sithrah, also by Jason Brubaker. They instantly became my favourites!

Other books I’ve read were Life of Pi by Yann Martel and Congo by Michael Crichton.

Top 2018 Books

So now, let’s go to my top 2018 books! I chose a total of four books and rated them five stars because they absolutely deserve it. Now, this doesn’t mean I didn’t give any more five stars outside of my Top Books. It’s just that these really lingered on me quite a lot longer and actually impacted me a lot stronger than the rest of the books I’ve read.

So in no order, I chose:

  • The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by  Mitch Albom
  • Eli, the Good by Silas House
  • A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent by Minna Sundberg 

Have you wrapped up your 2018 reads?

How many books have you read this 2018 and have you wrapped them up? What are your favourites and your least favourites? Tell me about them in the comments section down below!

And also, if want to know more about my 2018 favourites that are not about books, here’s a blog I posted about it.

Always keep smiling and your head high!

T.L. Thornes is a writer residing in Ilocos Sur, Philippines. She was twelve when she started keeping drafts of her poems in composition notebooks. Since then, she has found an emotional outlet through writing. When she’s not writing, she can be found in the streets of her hometown, urbansketching, or in her room, writing songs and making art journals.