WE ARE AUBURN RECOMMENDS: OUR FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2018
We certainly understand the challenges with finding the time to read; it is much easier these days to Keep up with the Kardashian’s than the publishing world. Sitting down with a book can almost feel like an extra plate in the already spinning world of gym, friends, love, parties, films, socialising, work etc.
Especially in the sparkling glitter storm of December it is easy to replace the slow burn of a mind enchanting novel with the instant gratification of watching a Christmas movie with a glass of Vino. But as we approach the end of the year; the glitter will start to settle, the parties will become fewer and Netflix’s choice will get smaller and when it does and you find yourself with a bit of down time pick up that novel and escape.
We have spoken to a lot of you in the last week about your favourite reads of 2018 and boy did you guys get some word mileage done this year – after some discussion, some debate and some joint appreciation, we have put together a list heroing the reads that have impacted our souls, warmed our hearts and challenged our thoughts in 2018.
The result was a mix of genre: contemporary literature, journalism, heartfelt memoirs, critical essays, and a few self-help books too. As difficult as it was to whittle down our list, here are the truly standout reads that we couldn’t stop thinking about this year.
Have you read some of them? What did you think? Do you agree? Is there something missing that you would add to the list?
If you haven’t read some of them yet then make sure you do in 2019.
Everything I know about Love by Dolly Alderton
A spot-on, wildly funny and sometimes heart-breaking book about growing up, growing older and navigating all kinds of love along the way.
When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown up, journalist and former Sunday Times dating columnist Dolly Alderton has not only seen it all and tried it all but written about it too.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely fine by Gail Honeyman
Widely hailed as the fiction debut of 2017, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a triumph of deft observation of everyday life. By turns laugh-aloud funny and deeply poignant, it is a book that champions everyday courage and the importance of friendship in a world where people are increasingly isolated. Challenging the stigmas that exist around loneliness in contemporary society, it is a gentle reminder of those we too easily overlook and how a life can be changed by small acts of kindness.
When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
Spanning four decades and moving between suburban Essex, the wild coast of Cornwall and the streets of New York, this is a story about childhood, eccentricity, the darker side of love and sex, the pull and power of family ties, loss and life. More than anything, it’s a story about love in all its forms.
Small Great Things by Jodi Piccoult
When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father.
What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not. Small Great Things is about prejudice and power; it is about that which divides and unites us.
Ask a manager by Alison Green
In this witty and practical guide, Green tackles 200 of those delicate discussions that you need to have, but might not be sure how to begin – and arms you with the wording to do it. Along the way, she shares some of the most outlandish and hilarious letters she’s received from readers over the years – from an employee who placed a black magic ‘curse’ on her coworkers to a boss who repeatedly stole an employee’s lunch.
It’s like an agony Aunt column for office drama
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Probably the most feverishly anticipated book of the year, there’s so much more to Michelle Obama’s memoir than the headlines. She writes about the learned vulnerability that comes with being an ethnic minority; recalls the times she’s “smiled for photos with people who call my husband horrible names on national television, but still wanted a framed keepsake for their mantel”; and mentions the “swampy part of the internet that questions everything about me, right down to whether I’m a woman or a man”.
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Set in 18th century London, an unusual discovery (spoiler: it’s a mermaid) brings the lives of several very different Londoners into contact. The characters are so well written that they end up feeling like close friends and somehow, despite being set in the 1700s, the book still manages to discuss modern political issues.
Lullaby by Leila Slimani
Sometimes, the hype surrounding a book, film or other work of art is so frenzied that it deters you from engaging with it rather than drawing you in. Lullaby – known as Chanson Douce in French – is nothing short of a sensation, having sold 600,000 copies in France and winning the country’s most prestigious literary prize, Le Prix Goncourt, in 2016. Thankfully though, it doesn’t disappoint. Opening with the line “The baby is dead”, Lullaby tells the story of a charming middle-class Parisian couple, Myriam and Paul, their two young children and the nanny they trust, Louise. No prizes for guessing that things don’t end well.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Mark the day you bought Children of Blood and Bone in your calendar. Adeyemi’s electric debut takes place in Orïsha, a fictional African kingdom in which magical people once intermingled with the non-magical. Years prior, an authoritarian king wiped out all adult maji, including Zelie’s mother, eliminating all traces of magic from Orisha. Zelie has a chance to bring magic back to her people, but it will take remarkable effort. She’s joined by her brother and a rogue crown princess. Expect giant lions, epic magic battle scenes, and a fantasy whose intentions are to make us reconsider our own world.
Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton
Louise is 29 years old. Louise has three miserable jobs and sublets a nasty apartment in a nasty part of town. Louise dreams of becoming a Great Writer but they say if you haven’t made it in New York by 30, you never will.
Lavinia is 23 years old. Lavinia dresses in feathers, breaks into Central Park Zoo in the middle of the night – just because she can – and dances drunkenly in the fountain outside Lincoln Centre. Lavinia takes Louise under her wing, propelling her into New York’s drug-fuelled, decadent, head-spinning party scene. Finally, thinks Louise, this is it.
Then everything starts to unravel.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is unlike other true crime books out there. Like many before and after her, McNamara, a journalist by trade, became enthralled with the story of “the Golden State Killer.” She did a deep-dive into police records, interviewed survivors and connected with true crime followers online. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is the investigation she was writing at the time of her sudden death.
The Woman in the Window: A Novel by A.J. Finn
If you’re in the mood for a twisting, page-turner of a mystery, look no further than The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. The book is so highly-anticipated that it’s already being translated into 36 languages and a movie adaption is in the works. The story takes the perspective of Anna Fox, an agoraphobic woman who lives alone and likes spying on her neighbors. Things take a turn for the worse when she witnesses something across the street she shouldn’t have.
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink
Aside from figuring out what to do with our lives, we often spend time figuring out when to do certain tasks. When is the optimal time for a career move? For embarking on a change at home? In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Daniel H. Pink combs through the science to show that perfect timing isn’t intuition or luck. Rather, he argues, it’s a matter of logic and biology. Read it for tips on how to maximize your day in the new year.
Unlocking Happiness at Work: How a Data-driven Happiness Strategy Fuels Purpose, Passion and Performance
Unlocking Happiness at Work takes you on a journey into why and how leaders should become compassionate capitalists and ensure that their teams thrive. This book debunks the myth that happiness at work is a waste of time and demonstrates how it can deliver a more productive and engaged workforce, which can have real impact on the bottom line.