Twenty-eighteen is the year I decided to get back into reading things I didn’t have to read, and I’ve never been more glad — I got to spend the year delving into a lot of fun, thoughtful books I’d never read before (and a few I just wanted to experience all over again). What better way to end the year than rank them from best to worst?
Just as I did in my last reading list in June, I divided this list into four parts: the Great (the books I loved and probably won’t be able to forget), the Good (the books I really enjoyed but probably aren’t on my favorites list), the Okay (the books that were just fine, really), and the Bad (the books I would never, ever, ever read again). Let me know some of your best and worst books of 2018 in the comments!
1. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
I actually first read this book in 2017, but I loved it so much I read it again this year. It follows 17-year-old Elio, the son of a professor, who finds himself drawn to their family’s houseguest for the summer, a grad student named Oliver. From the moment Oliver comes into his life, Elio can’t seem to stop thinking about him, quickly slipping into a haze of desire over a man he doesn’t think he can have. I wouldn’t call this book your average love story. It’s about a young man exploring his sexuality, both with a woman and a man, while grappling with the expectations instilled in him by a heteronormative culture. His obsession with Oliver may become tiresome to some, but to those of you who are like me, it feels painfully relatable. But what really puts the book at the top of my list is how author André Aciman manages to capture the feeling of first love, desire, and desperation through words. This book shattered my heart into a million pieces and still made me want more. And that, in my opinion, is the sign of a great book.
2. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
I’m not sure why I waited so long to read this — the moment I heard it was about, I knew I’d love it. Trust me, I wasn’t disappointed. The story follows Patroclus, a young awkward prince during Greece’s age of heroes, and Achilles, the legendary warrior or the Trojan War, from the early years of their friendship, through their deepening relationship, right to their tragic end. Miller transforms this well-known myth into a heartbreaking epic that somehow feels less like a retelling and more like a creation of her own.