If somebody asked me what to read

I decided not to make a post about the best books 2018. The thing is, I liked more books than I can easily recommend. Some of the books I liked might be simply not interesting for others. I will find a way to mention those books some other time. Meanwhile, if somebody asked me now what books I’d recommend, these are the ones I’d talk about. Click the links for more information about the books.

1. Classic fiction

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

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I’ll never grow tired of recommending this book. It is actually a memoir, but it’s much more than a personal story. It tells you about the way Paris looked and lived in 1920s. A Moveable Feast has a complicated history. Read my post to learn more.

Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood

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The book is a beautiful farewell to Berlin. The stories tell about people Isherwood met in Berlin in 1930s before Nazis came to power.

I don’t think anybody ever read my review of the book because I posted it in the very beginning of my blogging when nobody was reading my blog yet.

Daphne du Maurier’s short stories

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I am starting to suspect that no works by du Maurier can disappoint. I’ve read only her short stories so far, but I can recommend all of them. Here are the posts where I talk about the short stories: Short Stories By Daphne Du Maurier and Reading Books In December. And here’s the post about Birds.

2. Modern fiction

Virgil Wander by Leif Enger

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I really liked this book. I would prefer a more solid ending, but even with the ending as it is, it’s still a perfect book with well-developed characters and an interesting plot.

The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles

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It’s a wonderfully written story about two women, and their lives and love to music. The story starts in Brazil in 1930s when both of them are still kids. In my personal rating this book is definitely among the best I read in 2018.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

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If you are looking for something really kind and heart-warming, you will definitely like this book.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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I wouldn’t call this book my personal favourite, but I do realise many other people will like it more. The book does entertain. It’s a gripping fast-paced story about an elderly movie star who decides to reveal all her secrets to a writer.

Melmoth by Sarah Perry

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Melmoth is quite the opposite of the book mentioned above. It’s not an easy read aimed to entertain. It’s perfectly written and it has several interesting stories, but the main treasure of the book is its message which is thought-provoking and deep. I am in love with the book, but I know that some people found it disappointing because they expected it to be a gothic ghost story. Even though there’s such an element in the book, it’s merely a tool for delivering an idea. If you are looking for a book that will make you think, Melmoth is a good choice.

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt by Andrea Bobotis

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This book hasn’t been published yet but it’s the best book I read in 2018. You might like it less than I did, but I think you will still like something about it. It’s perfectly written, and perfectly made, with an intriguing start and a beautiful ending. It’s about a complicated history of one family from the American South. It will be published in July 2019. I definitely recommend pre-ordering it, or marking the date in your calendar so that you can read a sample when it’s out and make your choice.

3. Thrillers

I think 2019 will become the year when I’ll finally accept that thrillers are just not my genre. I love being thrilled, spooked and scared by a book, but unfortunately most of the thrillers I encounter are either horribly written or have silly plots (or both). Still, I was lucky enough to have found these two thrillers that I can recommend.

You Were Made For This by Michelle Sacks

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This is a psychological thriller about relationships that look perfect on the outside, but in reality have some other, often sinister dynamics, and about disasters that such relationships can cause.

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

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This is a crime thriller about a group of women who venture out into Australian wilderness as a team building exercise. And then, of course, something goes wrong…

4. A strange book

The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien

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If you are looking for something surreal and crazy, this might be the right book. I was initially very confused by the book. But as time goes by, I’m starting to understand how deep and genius it actually is. In fact, chances are I will be re-reading it to discover more of its philosophy and craziness.

4. A book with good humour

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

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I love the humour of this book. It’s funny but not dumb. Besides, the story is also kind and quite interesting. The Rosie Project is about one very special scientist on a quest to find a wife for himself.

5. A young adult novel

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

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I hardly ever read young adult novels but I really liked this one because of its deeper message. It’s a story about young people living in a strange town where people, animals and things keep mysteriously appearing and disappearing. It’s a story about friendship and love, but most importantly it’s about people who are learning to see the true nature of others and themselves.

6. Controversial

There’s actually nothing controversial about these novels. They are perfectly written and I find them very interesting but they focus on some taboo or traumatic topics and so I think some people might find them disturbing.

Patrick Melrose novels

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There are 5 novels about Patrick Melrose. Patrick is a very troubled man. The novels are perfectly written (at least the first four, I haven’t started the fifth one yet), but they are hard to read because of the topics they focus on such as child abuse or drug addiction. Here are my reviews of the first two novels: Never Mind (Patrick Melrose novel #1) by Edward St. Aubyn and Bad News, Patrick Melrose novel #2 by Edward St Aubyn.

Everything Under by Daisy Johnson

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The story is based on a myth. It’s a magical realism story about a river, a mother and a daughter. It’s so beautifully written, it brings a whole new world to life.

7. Memoirs

Miss Ex-Yugoslavia by Sofija Stefanovic

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Guess what? That’s the book that finally got me into blogging! I loved the book so much that I just couldn’t keep quiet anymore. I wrote to the author to express my gratitude but I still felt like I had more to express. So I wrote a post about it, and this post became the first one on my blog.

When Sofija Stefanovic was a kid, her family immigrated from Belgrade to Australia. In her memoir she speaks about her experience of changing countries, cultures and languages. It’s exciting to see the world she then discovered from the perspective of a young child who was never before exposed to such education, entertainment or customs. You become aware of many things that are taken for granted nowadays, and you also become aware of the fact that there are often several truths all of which are equally real.

I understand that I liked the book so much because I’m from a similar background but I’m sure that this book will be interesting for many other people too.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

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Even though Born a Crime describes so many horrible things that happened to the families in South Africa during the times of apartheid and later, I still think about this book as kind and often funny. It takes a great comedian to write a heart-warming book about something that is often heart-wrenching.

8. Non-fiction

What if? by Randall Munroe

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This book is very funny. It’s scientific but it’s written in a language that everybody can understand. It answers many strange and silly questions in a clever and interesting way.

Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

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It’s another book I often suggest to read, especially when some homeopathy or “detoxing” treatments arise in a conversation. It focuses on some popular wrong beliefs about medicine, pills and beauty products. It provides and explains researches for each statement. It also explains the mechanisms behind popularising these products. Although the book is based on science, it’s written in a fun and entertaining way, so it’s really interesting to read. Reading this book can save your money and health.

This will be it for now. Hopefully I’ll make another post like this in a few months. Meanwhile I’m very interested in what you would recommend, especially when it comes to Strange and Humour categories. 😀

26 thoughts on “If somebody asked me what to read

    1. Thank you! I was so lucky to discover this book. It was before I knew anybody in the book community. I was just googling for books to read, and that’s how I found it. It was the only one that sounded interesting :))

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  1. Thanks for all these recs! I recently bought The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo after hearing all the praise for it. I’m really looking forward to picking it up soon 🙂

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  2. Really interesting list – I love Goodbye to Berlin, it’s one of my favourites – and at least 1 person has read your review now, me 😉
    Thrillers can be variable, I am a bit thriller-ed out at the moment as I’ve read 3 of them one after the other! I’m going to read something different.

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      1. I was up at 4:30 or 5:00am, watching the sun come up on a chilly spring morning as I feverishly typed out all my thoughts on THE BIRD EATER. I was so excited to share my review with the world. 🙂 At the time, I hadn’t even bought my domain name, and I was thinking, “Oh, jeez, am I really going to be able to do this??” lol Good memories. 😀

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  3. A wonderful list – thank you for your thoughtful, intelligent recommendations. I love the sound of ‘What If?’ and ‘Miss Ex-Yugoslavia’. They are books I wouldn’t normally consider – thank you!

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    1. Thank you Sarah! Well, I will be over the Moon if you read any of these books. I did write the list in hopes it would be helpful for people. I used to google for books to read and it was so hard to discover something I’d find interesting.

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    1. Thank you! The black kitty is a model with lots of experience. We’ve been together for more than a decade and she’s been posing for many of my photos. Norrie, maybe you can suggest me a thriller to read? I know I said I might give up on the genre, but I know myself, I’ll end up picking something anyway, so I’d better choose something with your recommendation.

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      1. Hmm, let’s see…
        If you like subtly thrillery stuff like You Were Made For This, i think you’d also like Tangerine (Christine Mangan), or The French Girl (Lexie Elliot).
        For more of a suspense type, anything by Mark Edwards. I loved his early stuff: Magpies and Because She Loves Me.
        The Retreat was awesome, and he had made some old characters reapper from his older books 🙂

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    1. Wow! Thank you Monica Rose! I’m really curious and excited now. Well, I won’t add anything else about the books because I think I outlined the main things that might be problematic for some people. I enjoyed them. I can’t say I enjoyed The Third Policeman as much as I enjoy Patrick Melrose, but they are very different books. What are you reading right now?

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      1. Well, I’m in the middle of three books right now. One is called The Amulet of Samarkand, a middle grade fantasy novel. Then another called The Reckoning at Gossamer Grove, adult historical mystery. Then a Harlequin book that I forgot the title of lol I just know it’s infuriating me so far 😂 thanks for asking! I’m more in the Patrick Melrose kind of reader but odd books are something I’m not familiar with so I’m trying it out.

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