Favorite Books of 2018

Reading has slowed down significantly as the holiday season arrived.  Plus, I’ve been spending a good portion of my time in November putting together furniture.  Still, I thought it would be fun to look back over the books that received five stars.  I definitely saw some trends that I thought I would share with you.  All of the links will send you to my reviews of each book.

Favorite New Author:  This year, I started following Victoria “V.E” Schwab on social media.  I had heard of her books, and that people really loved them.  So, I started with The Archived series, which I checked out of the library.  I absolutely loved both The Archived and The Unbound.  Which led me to pre-order her new middle-grade book, City of Ghosts, which I again, of course, loved.

Favorite YA Books: In addition to the above books, I also really loved a few newer authors, as well as a couple of authors I was already familiar with their writing.  Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi introduced me to a new African mythology, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was a poignant and beautiful contemporary novel about grief and racism.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Thunderhead (the second book in the Scythe series) by Neal Shusterman and Library of Souls (the third book in Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series) by Ransom Riggs.  I’ve read Unwind by Shusterman many years ago, which I liked.  I’ve also been reading Riggs’ series for a couple of years now and plan to read this next book (which I already own) Map of Days that continues the story of his Peculiar series.

Favorite Adult Books: All of the adult authors I enjoyed this year were new to me.  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was an impulse buy that I really enjoyed and probably prompted more impulse buying this year than I have in a long time.  How to Stop Time by Matt Haig made me tear up at the end.  It actually answers the question of how to stop time through this fictional, magical story.  And What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty was a surprise because it wasn’t the main story that made me love it so much, but the subplot of her sister and infertility that kept me turning the pages (and I think I cried at the end of this one, too).

Favorite Non-fiction/Memoir: Kathy Khang’s book Raise Your Voice is a perfect narrative of this moment in history.  It challenged the reader to face the excuses used to stay quiet when we need to speak up.  And on a completely different level, Anne Bogel’s book, I’d Rather Be Reading, was a perfect collection of essays for any reader to relate to.

All of these authors have inspired me in so many different ways and prompted me to see life from new perspectives.  I think they have all taken a part in shaping me this year, and I look forward to seeing what new favorites will come into my life next year!

What are some of your favorites? 

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Raise Your Voice By Kathy Khang: A Review

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Raise Your Voice: Why We Stay Silent and How to Speak Up
by Kathy Khang

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I never heard of this author before. The book was another recommendation I got from Instagram, but I’m really glad I read it. It’s both timely and relatable.
There is so much going on in our country and the world, and there are so many voices who are sharing their opinions. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and go silent. But Khang encourages every person in this book to speak up. And it’s not just in the traditional sense of speaking with words, but with our actions, our interpersonal conversations, and even what we wear or how we spend our money.
The writing is very conversational and, at times, sarcastically funny. She includes a few interviews with other women who have spoken up in their communities on both large and small scales. She also includes the story of Esther from the Bible. How this story relates to her personally and motivated her to speak up more often.
The advice is realistic and practical. She is open about times in her own life that she didn’t speak up, and that it’s okay to have those moments, completely understandable, but not let those moments define you. Instead to continue searching for your own voice and how you want to use it.
She gives several examples and suggestions on how people might be able to speak within their own communities. I didn’t feel like this book was trying to push an agenda, but she is honest about her point of view and perspective.
My favorite part was the social media do’s and don’ts. It’s good, basic advice for anyone who wants to engage on Twitter, Facebook, or other platforms. And I wish everyone would go by those guidelines. I think it would help us all grow as humans.
Overall, the book is great. One that I would recommend to anyone feeling overwhelmed and unheard. Great challenge and wonderful read!