We’re about halfway through July, and I’ve read 56 books. I’ve read a lot of good books that I’ve enjoyed, but I would say that my overall reading year has been pretty lackluster in general. There are certainly a few standouts, but most of the books I’ve read have been forgettable, even if they were super enjoyable. I gave a lot of books five stars because I loved them in the moment, but as I think back, I find that I’m not as attached to them as I thought I would be. But as I said, there are a few books that stand out, and those are the books I’m going to talk about here!
I’ve never done a best books so far type of post before, but I’ve been seeing it going around here and on Booktube. I suppose it would be interesting to see which of these books makes it to my Top 10 Books of 2018 list and which are knocked off. To make things easier on myself, I’m going to order them first read to last read, no rankings involved.
So, without further ado, here are the best books I’ve read so far in 2018!
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
This books stands out because of its subversion of normative expectations, its heady atmosphere, and its gorgeous prose. Somewhat similar in plot to The Secret History, it is about a group of theater students who are rather close-knit until one of their number is killed.
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I finished this book in a few hours, then a month later I bought it, and now I’m strongly considering re-reading it. It was just so fantastic on so many levels. It’s hilarious, with witty dialogue and standout characters, and it’s fast-paced and fluffy and sweet.
A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena
This book has its problems, but I loved it all the same. It’s about a Parsi girl living in Saudi Arabia and struggling with its misogynistic norms and religious guidelines. It’s tragic and nuanced and made me feel very deeply. Having lived in Egypt for three years as a teenager, I related to it on a very personal level.
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
This book was a revelation told in gorgeous, profound prose. It’s about a young Nigerian woman who is mentally ill – or is she? Her mental illness seems to be a group of gods possessing her – but is it? At its core this book interrogates our perceptions and interpretations about the self and mental health. It was absolutely mindblowing.
Policing Egyptian Women by Liat Kozma
The only non-fiction book on this list, this is a book that discusses various groups of Egyptian women’s relationships to the burgeoning state in 19th century Egypt. It might sound dry, but it’s because of this book that I learned 19th century Cairo had a school for training female physicians that recruited mainly slave girls and street orphans.
Nevernight Series by Jay Kristoff
Because of this series, I was reminded of my love for adult fantasy. The richness of Kristoff’s worldbuilding is astonishing, but so are his characters, the relationships he crafts, and the twisty plots he seems to pull out of thin air. Reading these two books was a genuinely thrilling experience.
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
I did not expect to absolutely love this modern-day retelling of Antigone with an all-Muslim cast of characters. But it won me over quickly; I read it in one sitting. I was drawn in by the characters, the steadily rising tension, the quietly beautiful prose, and the immensely tragic ending.
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
Based heavily on the second Sino-Japanese War, it’s about a young girl who fights to be taken seriously in the military academy she has gained entrance to. Soon enough her country is embroiled in a violent, vicious war. The magic system here is fantastic – you get high, summon gods, and use their powers. But it comes at a cost. It is so damn cool.
Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aaminah Mae Safi
This is a very slow, character-driven book, and it took me some time to get through it. And yet there’s something about it. It’s about a half-Iraqi, half-white girl living in Texas. It’s about her relationships with her family and her female friends. It’s about her coming to terms with herself and her heritage. It is incredibly clever and witty, and I connected to it on a personal level.
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
This is the seventy-year long saga of a gay man growing up in Ireland. It’s a dark comedy, taking us through heartbreaks, similarities, madcap coincidences, surreal happenings. Despite its length and lack of coherent plot, I couldn’t put it down, and it affected me deeply.
Well, that’s it! What are some of your favorite books of the year so far?