Every year, I set myself a challenge to read more books than last year, and 2018 is off to a flying start. I enjoy all sorts of genre, from crime, to coming of age, to the classic memoir, and so in this list you’ll find a good mix of everything. As well as selecting books from the new sellers and book shop charts, I’m also trying to read more classic books that appear on every ‘must read’ list. I’m going to try and give an updated reading list every few months, so hopefully you’ll find lots of inspiration for your own reading lists.
Call me by your name – Andre Achiman
I picked this book up on a whim at Euston Station in London waiting for a train back to Liverpool and I was not disappointed! This is a beautiful love story set in 1980s Italy between an intellectual, 17 year old Italian-American, and a visiting 24 year old American scholar. It’s a story about the pains of unrequited love and finding your sexual identity during a long hot summer and the 20 years that followed after. This book stayed with me long after I finished it and just recently the movie version won an Oscar for Best Screen Adaptation.
Lullaby – Leila Slimani
I heard about this book on an episode of one of my favourite podcasts, The High Low hosted by Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes. Every week they discuss the books they’ve read over the last week and occasionally have an author on for an in depth chat. The first lines of Lullaby are “The baby is dead. It took only a few seconds”. I don’t think I’ve ever been hooked in more by a book’s opening sentences but if you’re still needing a little more, let me tell you about the plot. A middle class french family living in Paris hire a nanny for their two young children when the mother decides its time to go back to practising law. The book opens on the crime scene of the nanny’s murder of the two children before going back to tell the strange events leading up to the crime itself. This was a book I could not put down!
Everything I know about love – Dolly Alderton
So this is the memoir of one the hosts of the High Low podcast I mentioned above. Despite only being 28, Dolly has lived an incredibly interesting life filled with both great sadness and happiness. She beautifully tells the story of how the break up with one of her first boyfriends resulted in an eating disorder, and how the true test of friendship came when her best friend’s sister was diagnosed and later died of leukaemia and the terrible aftermath that followed. It’s not all sad though. There is a hilarious chapter about the hours spent on MSN to chat up boys when you were a teenager and the ridiculousness of the modern day hen party.
Nutshell – Ian McEwan.
I devoured this book in one sitting – I simply couldn’t put it down. Nutshell is about a woman having an affair with her brother’s husband and their plot to do something terrible to him. The plot twist though, is that someone is listening into their plot, and they are not happy – the unborn baby of the adulterous wife. It’s a weird premis to get your head round, having a story told from the perspective of an unborn child, but once you get past this, its a story that will leave you guessing until the end.
Good me, bad me – Ali Land
This is a thrilling story about 15 year old Milly put into protective foster care whilst she awaits the day she has to testify against her mother in court – a woman accused of sexually abusing and murder several children. Throughout the book, Milly struggles to come to terms with the abusive upbringing she’s had, witnessing her mother’s crimes and whether or not she too is evil. There were so many twists to this book and I didn’t see the ending coming at all.
Have you read any good books in 2018? I’d love to have some suggestions about what to read next.