Every time I walk into a library or a book shop, I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of books there are in the world. And I always think that I will never have enough time to read everything I want to! Honestly, I could live my entire life doing nothing but reading, and still feel I didn’t get enough of it.
So every year, I try to look back and think about the books I did manage to read. I like to dwell on them once again and share my particular favourites with you. In the past, I have shared with you lists of the 10 Best Books I Read in 2017, 2016 and 2015. This year, try as I might, I could not keep it to 10. I have a list of 12 books (and some more by the same author mentioned in the descriptions).
It is sad that so few people read books these days, but if you do, kudos to you! I hope you find something on my list that makes you want to reach for a book and get lost between its pages…
So, happy reading!
(Disclaimer: The list is assembled in no particular order. These are all books that I loved and am happy to recommend)
When two people with little in common find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere with little hope of survival, the similarities between them start emerging. Their strong will power, ability to see humour in the toughest of situations and faith in human relationships starts pulling them together. Broken bones, sub zero temperatures and bleak prospects dampen them only momentarily, before their inner strength forces them to go on just a little bit more.
You will live their journey with them at every step, getting to know them better and better, until you will not just be a reader, but a character in the story with them. Charles Martin weaves this story wonderfully. A page-turner!
2. Water from my Heart, by Charles Martin
Once again, a book by Charles Martin. Charlie is engaged in a wild and dangerous profession, minting money beyond belief. Everything comes to a standstill when the consequences of his actions harm someone very dear to him. He finds himself lost in Central America, trying to find a young boy and redeem himself. This book reminded me of Shantaram for a while, until I read about the author and realized it was loosely based on his real life experiences. I loved the protagonist’s journey to self-realization, to finding himself and understanding what real happiness was. Powerful characters, profound philosophy, sweet romance and nail-biting drama ensure that the reader remains ensnared in the story.
3. I’ll Give you the Sun, by Jandy Nelson
What a joy it is to discover a new author who strikes a chord with you. I absolutely loved Nelson’s style of writing. She practically keeps you inside the heads of Noah and Jude. You don’t just see their actions, but you live in their minds, their feelings. You experience their life and pains and joys with them.
The story is tragic and yet, so truly reflects how we let misunderstandings and miscommunications wreck our lives. The ending ties up a little too neatly, but it is difficult to complain. After everything Noah and Jude go through, you can’t help but wish to give them the sun, the stars and all the happiness in the world.
If I had to choose the top 3 books I read in 2018, this would certainly make it to the list.
4. East of the Sun, by Julia Gregson
The story is not just about the journey of three English women to India, but also about their journey to finding themselves during their stay in India. When they begin their voyage, to a large extent all three of them are innocent and naive. As they travel deeper and deeper into what India has to offer them, they learn much about life and themselves. Rose, Tor and Viva, each face their biggest personal fears and yet, due to their friendship and their mutual support, they are able to overcome these battles and find peace within themselves.
A story about friendships, about travel and about self-awakenings. All together, East of the Sun makes for an interesting read.
5. Jasmine Nights, by Julia Gregson
I loved the book! It had me hooked from Page 1. Maybe because Saba appealed to the rebel in me. Maybe because my father has been a fighter pilot and I could identify with Dom’s passion for flying. Or maybe because I’m a hopeless romantic, and yet a realist. I liked that Saba and Dom have such powerful personalities and choices and they don’t let their love for each other come in the way of what they truly want to do. Yet, their love makes them stronger and helps them through the ups and downs their chosen professions entail. While Gregson’s East of the Sun seems to be the most popular of her books, personally I’d rate Jasmine Nights higher.
6. The Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean M Auel
Auel takes you back in time to an era that we know little of. A time when humans as we know them now were just evolving and the Neanderthals (our ancient ancestors) were coming to the end of their existence. Ayla, a human kid ends up separated from her people and makes her home with a Neanderthal clan. Auel’s intense research brings their customs and cultures to life. It is fascinating to see how like us they were in so many ways and yet how different.
I enjoyed the read, but have to warn you that this book is the first and the best in the series. The second book, The Valley of Horses, is slow at first, but picks up pace after Ayla meets Jondalar. Book 3 was a lost case though and despite trying really hard, I abandoned it in the end. All the same, do not miss The Clan of the Cave Bear. It is a phenomenal book!
Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.