2018 in Books

Eighteen books in 2018 is surely not a record by any measure but I’m easily impressed. My eternal gratitude to Kindle and Audible because, without these modern world marvels, my number would be just a tad sadder. I hope something on this list piques your interest. Please share your favorites!

Happy New Year!

Check out Part I of my 2018 list, January through June, here: https://www.marinaraydun.com/blog/2018/7/18/six-months-in-books

Part II

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessle


I’m a fan of Marisha Pessle’s writing. I absolutely loved Night Film so when I saw a new title to her name, I had to jump on it. YA Thriller is not my typical choice of a genre but, like I said, if I like the author, I’m loyal enough to give it a try. The book did not disappoint. It was expertly written and scary in the way it conveyed inevitability of our existence. It’s a very engaging title.

Brain on Fire by Susannah Calahan


This is one of the scariest books I’ve ever read. Mostly because it’s a real story! It was sobering to be reminded just how fragile our bodies and minds are, how the doctors are not magicians in white lab coats. A young, presumably healthy woman not being taken seriously by medical professionals is also personally relatable (and thus even more petrifying). On the negative side, since I listened to the book on Audible, I have to say I hated the narrator’s unnecessary accenting of various characters.

A Terrible Country by Keith Gessen


Given that all the action takes back in the “old country,” of course many names were mispronounced by the narrator here too, but the book is brilliant. Potentially relatable only to those like me—transplants born in one country/culture/society and raised in another, but there is so much tangible nostalgia here. Not for the “motherland,” but for that delicate, fragile feeling of belonging to a place, to a people. Much like the protagonist, many of us feel like we don’t belong—not with the old, not with the new. This is a novel full of beautiful ache. Highly recommend.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekknen


All I can say is WOW! One of the most complex novels I’ve ever read. Nothing about it was predictable. I simply could not put it down! Additionally, what’s fascinating is that two authors wrote this together in real time. This is unheard of! Sometimes you hear about two authors collaborating, but it’s usually done in editing each other etc; these authors got together every night on-line and actually wrote together. Incredible. Highly recommend!

This One is Mine by Maria Semple

3.5 stars

Maria Semple is one of my favorite authors, but this is my least favorite book by her. It’s a great set of characters (and the set itself is a good example of how characters don’t need to be likable to be relatable), and I loved the multiple points of view, but I didn’t long to get back to the book whenever I stepped away from it. Also, the Audible narrator repeatedly mispronounced Hermès. It was distracting.

Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem


I started a Facebook Book Club by the name MR Book Club (please join!), and this book was our first official selection. The novel is being adapted for the big screen by Ed Norton so I couldn’t wait to dive in. I must admit, I expected it to be better. It’s a fascinating study of Tourette’s, and I love that the protagonist has special needs, but as a thriller, it didn’t really work for me.

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris


I loved B.A. Paris’ other books so I was excited to get my hands on this one. It didn’t disappoint but having read so many books by the same author in a short period of time, it wasn’t as unpredictable for me as it would be for somebody else. The writing is solid. Recommend!

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty


Liane Moriarty cannot possibly disappoint me. Another fun, enlightening read with some gorgeous character development. It’s a long one but oh so satisfying. Highly recommend!

What have you read this year?

May 2019 bring us all lots of glorious storytelling!