Coming at you only a couple of months late, here are my top reads in 2018. I read a number of other really good books, but these are my 5/5 picks.
Educated by Tara Westover
A truly amazing memoir by Tara Westover who grew up enduring extreme domestic violence within her survivalist family. Through encouragement from one of her brothers, she took the SAT and applied to college without any formal education and worked to earn a PhD from Cambridge University. I was frustrated and angry with most of the people in Tara’s life while reading this, and it left me with more questions than answers. It is a powerful story, and while extreme, it shed light on the effects of living with individuals with fundamentalist beliefs as well as mental illness.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Kristin Hannah is one of my favorite authors, so I was eager to start this book. I found the first 50 or so pages to be a little slow, but once I got into the novel, the rest of the book more than made up for the slow start. The book chronicles Leni’s coming of age in a remote area of Alaska while dealing with her volatile father. There’s love, complicated family dynamics, and a well developed sense of place.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
I kept reaching for different books before I finally picked this one up. Don’t let the blah cover deter you from reading this book! This novel weaves the story of two families of different generations together through the horrifying adoption practices of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Before reading this, I knew nothing about this piece of American history, and it inspired me to do more research. Wingate tells a compelling story, and I didn’t want to put this book down.