This is a list of my favourite books written by women from 2018 – those I’ve read this year, rather than those published this year, although most fit into both categories. With starting to study English at Cambridge, my reading for pleasure has probably declined a bit – however this is something I’m now consciously trying to rectify, especially by keeping up with some new releases.
Vox by Christina Dalcher
Vox imagines a world in which women have been limited to only 100 words a day – say any more, and they are electrocuted by a counter fitted to their wrists. Reminiscent of both Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and, more recently, The Power by Naomi Alderman, Vox is both brilliant and terrifying. The world it creates feels so incredibly real and a lot of the events and characters hit uncomfortably close to home.
Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill
This collection of poetry, short stories and what could perhaps be described as musings, reimagines classic fairy tales with a feminist retelling. A personal favourite is “Why Tinkerbell Quit Anger Management”. The subtitle of this collection is “and other stories to stir your soul”, and this rings true. At times sad, funny, angry and heart-breaking, Fierce Fairytales keeps the essence of the tales whilst twisting them into something new and exciting.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
The perfect cosy winter read as you’re filling that space between Christmas and New Year, or the gap before returning to Cambridge. The characters of this novel (recently adapted into a film starring Lily James) make it what it is, as you are unable to not love them. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is set after the end of the Second World War and is made up of a collection of letters between the author Juliet and her publisher and friends as she discovers the fate of Guernsey during its German Occupation. Despite the, at times, upsetting subject matter, this story is heart-warming at its core.
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas
This Young Adult series, which begins with Throne of Glass, remains a guilty pleasure of mine- particularly considering the rushed essay I handed in because I’d spent half my week devouring this final instalment. Maas’ heroine and her supporting cast show a journey throughout the series and it is brilliantly rounded off here.
If We Were Villains by M.L Rio
Perfect for fans of dark academia novels such as The Secret History, by Donna Tartt, If We Were Villains tells of a group of students at an elite college where their drama course revolves around the plays of Shakespeare. In this, their third and final year, they are finally being allowed to tackle tragedy. When their real life becomes startlingly close to the plays they are performing, friendships start to unravel. I loved the dark nature of this narrative, and the many Shakespeare references added to the theme beautifully.
The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
“”Magic doesn’t require beauty,” she said. “Easy magic is pretty. Great magic asks that you trouble the waters. It requires a disruption, something new.””
This is another collection of fairy tales, this time, set in the universe of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows duology. This collection draws out both the magic and the darkness which make a traditional fairy tale and create something entirely new.
(Featured image by Ada Thilén, source: Biblioklept)