Hands up if “read more” is on your New Year’s Resolution list. I feel like it’s a pretty common one but often I just don’t know where to start when it comes to picking a book. There’s SO many, how can you possibly choose?! This indecisiveness has previously led to me not reading much but last year I actually managed to read a decent amount of books.
I found out about these books from a variety of places, but mostly from social media or through the podcasts I listen too.
If you often think to yourself “I should read more” and like books about the outdoors, adventure, nature, nutrition or even murderous women (is that a category?), then check out all the books I read in 2018.
Non-fiction adventure & outdoors
Let my people go surfing, Yvon Chouinard
This is another non-fiction book that’s written by the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard. It’s about his unique look on how you should run a business and how he created Patagonia from the ground up.
If you’re interested in business or you have one then this is a great read on how you can do things differently and have a positive impact at the same time.
The Unsettlers: in search of the good life in today’s America, Mark Sundeen
It takes a look at three very different ways of living as the author tries to come to terms with his own desire to live differently. You’ll follow a couple living in the middle of nowhere in Missouri, another trying to revitalise Detroit through urban farming and a couple in Montana who are trying to navigate what it means to live and raise a family ethically.
Whilst upping sticks like some of the couple in this books might not be something you’re willing to do, you’re sure to pick one or two things you’d like to try in search of a different kind of life.
Pants of Perspective, Anna McNuff
I follow Anna McNuff and her adventures on Instagram and was excited to read this, her first book. It follows her adventure as she runs the length of New Zealand on the 3,000km Te Araroa Trail.
You’re bound to laugh during this book as well want to get out and explore! She also has a second book out about cycling across the USA which I’m hoping to read this year!
Adventureman, Jamie McDonald
Adventureman is written by Anna McNuff’s boyfriend and tells the story of his adventure as he ran across Canada raising money for children’s hospitals after he spent a lot of his own childhood in one.
I saw Jamie and Anna talk during their book tour leg in Vancouver and was dying to read their books afterwards.
This book also takes you through Jamie’s life up to the point he runs across Canada which is an interesting read. He’s currently running across the USA if you want to follow on Instagram!
The Nature Fix: Why nature makes us happier, healthier and more creative, Florence Williams
The author, Williams, investigates cutting-edge research as she travels to fragrant cypress forests in Korea to meet the rangers who administer “forest healing programs,” to the green hills of Scotland and its “ecotherapeutic” approach to caring for the mentally ill, to a river trip in Idaho with Iraqi vets suffering from PTSD, to the West Virginia mountains where she discovers how being outside helps children with ADHD
This was one of my favourite reads from last year and one of the ones I feel like I remember a lot of – a true test of how much I enjoyed it.
Find a Way, Diana Nyad
I listened to a podcast interview with Diana Nyad and her attempts to swim across from Cuba to Florida. It’s not an easy swim and one that she’d attempted before and failed due to very near death by jellyfish and poor weather.
But, on September 2, 2013, at the age of sixty-four, Nyad emerged onto the sands of Key West after swimming 111 miles in fifty-three hours.
The book takes you on a journey through Nyad’s life both personally and in relation to swimming. It’ll have you truly believing anything’s possible and it’s a great book to read if you’re just feeling a bit stuck in a rut at the moment.
As I walked out one midsummer morning, Laurie Lee
I’m a big fan of Alastair Humphrey’s books about his big adventures. While I wait for his book about his time spent travelling across Spain playing the violin I thought I’d read the book which inspired his journey: As I walked out…
I found it a little hard to get in to at first but once the journey starts and Lee beings walking across Spain it’ll awaken your sense of adventure. A great classic in travel and adventure to read!
The inside of a dog, what dogs see, smell, and know, Alexandra Horowitz
I started off the year by reading this book all about dogs. It’s a non-fiction book and the author takes a look into the mind of a dog and speaks about why you should just let dogs by dogs. It’s not about how to train your dog but will help give you an insight into why your dog does the things he does.
Since I’m a dog walker I thought I should read this book and definitely improved my knowledge of why some of the dogs I walk do what they do.
Woman Code, Alisa Vitti
Woman Code looks into how food can affect a woman’s hormones and things such as irregular periods, fertility issues or depression among others. It’s a book I’d seen mentioned on social media a few times and I always find it interesting how food can have such big effects on everything about us which was my reason for reading it.
Whilst I haven’t followed through and put any of the 5-step protocol that author and holistic health coach Alisa Vitti has created, I did find it a very interesting read and if you do have issues with any of the above it could be worth a read.
Dead Zone: Where the wild things were, Philip Lymbery
This book takes a look at some of the world’s most iconic and endangered species and delves into what we can do to save them. Whilst we know that climate change and habitat destruction are a big problem for these animals, and others, we rarely link it to the huge consumer demand for cheap meat. Dead Zone looks at how intensive farming, both meat and crops, is leading towards more species becoming endangered.
It’s not a book that’s telling you to become vegan but it does make you think about whether you really need to eat as much meat as you currently might and whether you should be buying more organic products. While not vegan or vegetarian I do think we could all do with eating less meat or at least switching to more sustainable sources.
Vitamania, Catherine Price
I rounded off the year with another non-fiction read, this time all about vitamins. I found out about this book through the Netflix series “A users guide to cheating death” which I”d highly recommend if you’re interested in health and nutrition.
This book is written by award-winning journalist Catherine Price, and looks at how we get vitamins, what happens if we don’t get enough of them and the myths surrounding supplements. It’s a fascinating read into what fuels our body and you’ll learn about the history, science, hype, and future of nutrition.
It’ll certainly challenge your beliefs about vitamins and food – especially if you’re someone who regularly takes supplements.
Everything I know about love, Dolly Alderton
Another book that went pretty crazy on social media was Dolly Alderton’s novel, Everything I know about love. This book is sad, funny and very relatable and you’re sure to love it, I can definitely see why there was so much chat around it.
The Kind Worth Killing, Peter Swanson
It follows Ted who meets a beautiful woman, Lily, on the plane to Boston. He mentions half-seriously that he’d like to kill his wife but then Lily says she’d like to help. Ted and Lily forge an unusual bond and talk about the ways Ted can get out of his marriage. But Lily has her own dark history she’s not sharing with Ted. And Ted is keeping something from Lily, too.
As Ted begins to fall in love with Lily, he grows anxious about any holes in their scheme that could give them away. And suddenly the two are pulled into a very lethal game of cat and mouse, one in which both are not likely to survive when all is said and done.
Honestly, I can’t remember a whole great deal about this book so I guess you could say I didn’t enjoy it as much as some of the others on this list. However, I finished it (and there’s definitely some books I started last year but never got around to finishing).
The Hating Game, Sally Thorne
It’s really your typical rom-com book and in this instance sees the two protagonists annoying each other at work until they both realise they like each other and fall in love.
Nothing groundbreaking but a feel-good book for a rainy weekend!
The Last Mrs Parrish, Liv Constantine
This novel tells the story of Amber Patterson who’s fed up of being a nobody and believes she deserves a life of money and power. She plans to insinuate herself into the life of Daphne Parrish, socialite and philanthropist. She becomes Daphne’s closest confidante but a skeleton from her past may undermine all her plans.
Full of twists and turns that’ll keep you guessing, The Last Mrs Parrish is a great read and hard to put down this is another one that I was keen to get back to reading after a day out walking dogs!
The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware
In this dark novel the protagonist and journalist, Lo, is given the assignment of a lifetime and sent to spend the week on a luxury cruise. However, during the week she believes she witnesses a woman being thrown overboard. Upon reporting it, she discovers all the passengers are accounted for and so the ship sails on as if nothing has happened. Lo sets out to uncover the secret…
Call me by your Name, André Aciman
It’s hard to have not heard of this novel which was turned into a film. Whilst I haven’t seen the film I was keen to read the book which details the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera.
Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. It is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time.
I thoroughly enjoyed this and am making a mental note right not to check out the film!
Tangerine, Christine Mangan
Following on from my apparent interest in darker novels is Tangerine. This novel follows Alice Shipley and Lucy Mason, two old friends, who haven’t spoken in over a year. When Lucy arrives in Morocco to visit Alice she tries to get things back to normal but soon Alice feels controlled and stifled at every turn.
Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.
Tangerine is Mangan’s debut novel and it’s not only a great story but the imagery of Morocco will have you dreaming of travel.
Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn
Before Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn, wrote Sharp Objects a dark story about a reporter, Camille, sent to uncover the truth behind the mysterious murders of young girls in her hometown. Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims a bit too strongly and is dogged by her own demons.
Whilst I wouldn’t say the outcome of this novel is a complete shock (you can see it coming) it’s still a gripping read and one you’re sure to enjoy if you liked Gone Girl.
The Girlfriend, Michelle Frances
This novel is a gripping psychological thriller that’ll truly keep you guessing and is a number one bestselling debut thriller from Michelle Frances, The Girlfriend, is a story about a mother (Laura) who has a successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband and a talented, smart and kind son. When her son, Daniel, meets Cherry she isn’t convinced about their relationship. Then, a strategy strikes, and a lie is told. Things will never be the same.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
This one’s a bit of a change to my usual dark novel and is warm and uplifting with a different kind of heroine to the ones you usually see. Another one I’ve seen plastered over social media and, in my view at least, it lives up to the hype.
Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant is a novel about a woman struggling with social skills. She tends to say exactly what she’s thinking and lives a carefully timetabled life. Weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. When she meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office, her life changes and Raymond’s big heart ultimately helps Eleanor find a way to repair her own damaged one.
Poetry books I read in 2018
Milk and Honey
I’d these this collection of poems spoken about all over Instagram and was keen to read through it. A #1 New York Times bestseller Milk and Honey is about survival, the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.
I wouldn’t call myself a poetry lover (studying the GCSE anthology and pulling apart the poems in that kinda ruined in for me), but I quite enjoyed reading these poems. Enjoyed maybe the wrong word since they aren’t the happiest of poems but even in the darkest moments throughout Milk and Honey there’s still a touch of sweetness.
Love her wild
These short poems about love take you through the most exhilarating highs and the heartbreaking lows of life and love into a few short lines. The words become etched in your mind—and will awaken your sense of adventure.
And so that’s it for my 2018 reads! I’m kicking off the new year with Michelle Obama’s book and then who knows what next! If you have any suggestions drop them down below!