What books did I read and enjoy in 2018? I read lots and below are some of my favourites. In no order I would recommend the following:

Milkman by Anna Burns

An astonishing book in which issues such as stalking and power are explored. Narrated by an eighteen-year-old girl and set in the Troubles this is at times creepy and very unsettling. You can see exactly what the Milkman is doing, how he is playing the situation and how the community is believing the rumours. With lots of humour this is a fantastic read and highly readable. Read more here.

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

One of John Boyne’s best books yet. The brilliance of John’s writing is that he creates a totally appalling character and yet you keep reading in the hope that something dreadful will happen to him. Why this was not on the Man Booker list is anyone’s guess. Read more here.

There, There by Tommy Orange

This is a beautifully written, powerful debut novel which will stay with you long after you have finished. The writing is superb, told through a variety of voices it is an intense read that connects the stories of these different characters who all were at the same powwow. Read more here.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

The second novel from Sally Rooney as she explores relationships and coming of age love. With sparse prose she deals with small town Ireland where you come from, who your family is matters more than who you are.

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

Thanks to Denise Johnstone-Burt at Walker Books I read it. The story follows events in the life of a 16-year-old black girl, Starr Carter, who is drawn to activism after she witnesses the police shooting of a childhood friend. Thought provoking, disturbing and engaging that should be on the syllabus of every school and in the hands of every politician.

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

A wonderful courtroom drama with a twist. The murderer is not on trial, they are on the jury and the excellent plot keeps you grips until the very last page. A perfect introduction to the books by Steve Cavanagh.

Lullaby by Leila Slimani

Myriam, mother of two children and a successful lawyer hires a nanny to mind her children and to avoid the day to day demands of looking after them and the household. The nanny begins to take over resulting in jealousy, resentment and suspicions and then the baby dies… A brilliant, unsettling read and one that will put fears into the heart of anyone contemplating hiring a nanny.

From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan

I am a fan of Donal’s writing and in his latest book he tackles the topical issue of refugees. Raw anguish and emotions are portrayed in this moving novel of three men each searching for something they have lost.

Educated by Tara Westover

My top read of 2017 I’ve included it in the list because it is newly published in paperback and I want more people to read it. It is a superbly written book, inspiring and a testament to how we can overcome some of the greatest challenges put to us and how education can change lives. Read more here.

Notes to Self by Emily Pine

A bestselling novel in Ireland from Tramp Press this is a series of powerful essays in which Pine explores herself, her relationships and in turn makes you question your views and feelings.

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Published in 2017 I only got around to reading this during the summer. A stunning piece of writing in which Shamsie re-imagines Antigone for our age of terror. Told through 5 viewpoints this fantastic novel portrays the impact of modern-day terrorism on lives and families.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stu Hardcastle

I got this to read thanks to a recommendation on The Bookseller Podcast by Nic Bottomley and wow what a good choice he made. Probably the best debut novel I read this year and the most inventive plotline in which Evelyn will not die just once… I’ll not ruin the story for you but recommend you pop into your local bookshop and buy a copy for yourself.

Thank you for reading.

Buy all your books from your local bookshop, the purchase will help ensure bookshops remain in our towns and villages in 2019.

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