Top Ten Books I Read in 2018

I didn't quite meet my reading goal of 25 books in 2018, but I did get through 21 so I'm not too upset. I read some authors for the first time, discovered a couple of new favorites, and read several biographies and memoirs. I also read some books for a new segment of the podcast I'm on called "Next Best Adaptation," which looks at books that have upcoming films versions coming out.

Just like last year's post, I wanted to share my top ten books I read in 2018 in no particular order.

Venus in Fur by David Ives
I started the year by reading the script of one of my favorite plays that I saw in 2017. (I saw it...four times, in fact.) It's a fascinating read especially because it's full of witty lines that I feel like can sometimes go by so fast onstage. Venus in Fur is a really interesting story that raises many questions about gender power dynamics but also the power struggle between a director and an actor. I'd like to try to read more plays in 2019, both of things that I have and haven't seen.

Unmasked: A Memoir by Andrew Lloyd Webber 
I read Andrew Lloyd Webber's memoir to review for BroadwayWorld UK and I was shocked by how much I enjoyed it. It's a massive book (especially considering it only covers up until the opening of Phantom), but if you have any interest in his life or work, it can give you incredible insight. I'm ready for his Part 2 any day now.

Boy Erased by Garrad Conley
From the first few chapters of this memoir, I knew it was something special. Garrard Conley tells about his time attending gay conversion therapy as a young man, but he also gives the story of how he came out -- first to himself and then to his parents -- in thoughtful detail. I cried many times while watching this and it really showed me how far we still have to go in this country alone. I was also very impressed by the stunning film starring Lucas Hedges, Russell Crowe, and Nicole Kidman that was released this year and highly recommend both the book and movie.

When the Curtain Falls by Carrie Hope Fletcher
Carrie Hope Fletcher is perhaps the person who inspires me the most and I've always enjoyed her whimsical novels. However, her latest book combines two of my favorite things: the theatre and ghosts. You can read my full review here, but I was absolutely enchanted about this double timeline romance and ghost story which filled me with both joy and despair.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Don't tell my teachers, but I had never actually read a full Charles Dickens book before last year. After I started volunteering at the Charles Dickens Museum in London, I realized that had to change so I went out and bought A Tale of Two Cities (it wasn't mammoth-sized like some of Dickens's books and I love the French Revolution) and I was shocked by how much I loved it. I fell in love with all the characters, found the story very engaging, and was surprised at the humor in the novel. I've since bought a few more Dickens novels to read in 2019. 

Young and Damned and Fair by Gareth Russell
I've been an Anne Boleyn fangirl from a young age and have admittedly never given much thought to Henry VIII's other wives (except Anne of Cleves, who I think is fascinating). However, I couldn't resist this well-titled biography of Catherine Howard which I learned so much from. It's a really beautiful depiction of life in Tudor court and holds a wealth of information about the young girl often written off as foolish or even slutty. Perhaps Catherine was one of those things, or even both, but Russell's biography shows that there's more to her story.

Wilde About the Girl by Louise Pentland
I adored Louise Pentland's first novel, Wilde Like Me, so I was thrilled for its sequel to be released. All of your favorite characters from the first novel are back, but with new adventures. I don't read much contemporary fiction but Louise manages to write characters who are relatable but whose problems don't feel trivial or silly. I hope Louise turns the Robin Wilde books into a whole series because I want more!

Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico 
I read this little novella because my friend, Rhiannon, kindly lent me her vintage copy. If you're a fan of British theatre, you might know that there was a musical adaptation of the book staged this past year in Chichester which my best friend worked on hence my reading the original novel. It's a charming story with an almost fairytale-esque air to it that will leave you grinning.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
It's not every year that you read something and it immediately goes into your top five books of all time. But after we fell head over heels for the movie adaptation starring Lily James that was released this year, my friend Rhiannon and I decided we had to read the novel. And I read it within only a few days!

It's a gorgeous story, told through letters, about a young writer named Juliet in post-WWII London who ends up traveling to Guernsey and learning about its occupation by the Nazis during the war. It has romance and friendship and literary references and everything I could ever want.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens 
Finally, I ended the year by reading this classic Christmas tale that I had somehow never read in full before. I was shocked by how legitimately funny I found it, but it's also somehow rather chilling even this long after it was first published. It might sound odd, but I'm rather impressed by Charles Dickens. Having volunteered at his former house for a year, I feel much more connected to Dickens the Man than Dickens the Writer, but he really blew me away with this one.

What were your favorite books you've read this year? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter. x

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