Books of 2018

Here is the full list of books I’ve read this year. The genres have certainly ranged and I seem to like crime thrillers more these days. Also, do not judge me on the ‘chick flick’ books – we all need it from time to time I feel for some mind-numbing read. Just like watching Keeping up with Kardashians or I’m a celebrity, get me out of here. No? Just me? There were a handful of let downs and even some more that I couldn’t bring myself to finish it.

1. Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

  • My first Terry Pratchett book. It’s a bit too fantasy for me and hard to keep up with. Love the dark humor though.

2. Born a crime by Trevor Noah

  • Reads like how he talks, its so funny. The end did make me tear up a bit. He wrote about growing up in apartheid and I’ve learnt a lot about it from the book. One of my favourites this year.

3. We are completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

  • Uneventful. I cant even remember what its about.

4. The Nakano Thrift shop by Hiromi Kawakami

  • Picked it up at heathrow just before our flight to Japan. Dragging, a bit of sad lonely story.

5. Maximize your child’s bilingual ability by Adam Beck

  • I love this book and love his website. My inspiration to push teaching malay to the kids and finding innovative ways to get them to talk and read the language. If you’re raising a kid in a country/environment where your language is a minority language, this is the book for you!

6. Raising a bilingual child

  • More like factual, research book on why being bilingual is great. Not recommended if you were like me, looking for practical tips.

7. Sofa So Good by Scarlett Moffatt

  • She is my guilty pleasure. Hilarious book.

8. It’s all in your head

  • Recommend this to health professionals. I came away having different perspective on those who have abdo pain/headache with no organic causes or those teenagers who have unexplainable pain or paralysis.

9. Pengabdian

  • I actually like this book despite it being written 24 years ago. Still a lot of relevance on the social issues the character faced, though the medical information is outdated. Love it even more because the story was set during Brunei’s independence. I can just inagine myself there at the stadium, shouting out our independence.

10. Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine

  • Enjoyed this one! Recommend it for a heartwarming read.

11.Sarong Party Girls

  • It was an interesting book that has certainly given me a different aspect of the culture in Singapore. Ah Beng, Ang Mohs, SPGs… easy and fun read. Slightly disconnecting in the sense I disagreed with Jazzy (SPG) attitude but that’s it – we all have different takes in how to live and survive in this world. It’s funny that I feel uncomfortable reading the racy moments just because it is set in Asia and involving Asian people. If these were white characters, I don’t think I’ll bat an eyelid. It’s like when Bollywood goes extra sexualized (when its nothing in Hollywood movies) and I get all uncomfortable.

12. Crazy Rich Asians

  • I do like the book for the craziness of what the rich can do and have and partly wishing I have that much wealth. Unable to decide whether I like the book or movie better.

13. Rich People Problems

  • Sequel of above- Enjoyed this. As above.

14. China Rich Girlfriend

  • The last of the trilogy. Cant remember plot but enjoyed first better.

15. Educated by Tara Westover

  • Best book ever – see next post

16. A book of Untruths by Miranda Doyle

  • Found it hard to get into and flicked through it a lot.

17. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

  • Recommend this!!! I dont want to detract or ignore that there are defects in society and the average work system that can put women at disadvantage. However she has written well on how we as individuals should also step up and take charge of what we want to do, our vision and ambitions. Its a short book and I felt inspired after reading this.

18. The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

  • Love the short stories and quite relatable.

19. Every Little Fires by Celeste Ng

  • Love this book! Easy read and I love her writing.

20. Everything I never told you by Celeste Ng

  • Her first book is better but still love her writing.

21. A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman

  • Heart warming – see next post on my newfound love and discovery for Fredrik Backman.

22. My grandmother sends her apologies and regards by Fredrik Backman

  • Difficult to follow but love the sentiments behind it.

23. A boy made of block by Keith Stuart

  •  Fictional book about a dad learning to understand his autistic boy through minecraft. Made me want to play minecraft. One scene at the end was touching but otherwise predictable storyline.

24. Love, hate & other filters by Samira Ahmer

  • Ok book from what I remember.

25. Behind closed doors by B A Paris

  • This was a quick read and a good thriller. Made my heart race for hours after reading the book.

26. How women rise: Break 12 bad habits

  • Alright book.

27. My Greek Summer holiday

  • This is one of the cheap books you’ll find in WHSmith and then find yourself not benefitted much at the end of it. I finished it for the sake of finishing it. Also bought to try to reminisce our Greek holiday.

28. To the boys I’ve loved before by Jenny Han

  • Ok so this is a YA (young adults) book but we just need this from time to time! Brought me back high school memories and smiled like a schoolgirl reading it.

28. PS I still love you by Jenny Han

  • Of course I had to read the sequel.

29. Always & Forever: Lara-Jean by Jenny Han

  • And finish off the trilogy. Sad to have it finished!

30. The 5 love languages of children by Gary Chapman and Ros Campbell

  • Recommend this to all parents! I’ve learnt a lot from this.

31. Better by Atul Gawande

  • Interesting and I always like reading his books. We can learn a few things from his observations.

32. Revive your heart by Nouman Ali Khan

  • I can hear his voice as I read it. So as a big fan, I am biased. Lots of great reminders and I love relating the ayat from quran to our everyday life (as we should).

33. The Rosie project by Graeme Simsion

  • Easy and fun read.

34. The Witches by Roald Dahl

  • Please can I put this in? I know it’s a kids book! This was our night time reading for a few months (we picked it up whenever we feel like it). I love Roald Dahl!

35. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

  • Love the first book better. Second one felt a bit same-y.

36. Normal People by Sally Rooney

  • This is supposed to be good but I found the storyline boring.

37. Tin Man

  • I can’t quite figure out how I feel about this book. The good things: there are some emotions and relationships in it that is captured beautifully. There are sensitive topics written well: AIDS, being lonely, death. The things that I don’t like: bit dragging, too sad.

38. The Subtle Art of not giving a f*ck by Mark Manson

  • As someone who has a strong inner critic, this was read at a good time. I was down with myself and the book taught me to ask the hard questions: why am I hard on myself, what am I really upset about. Because I had to confront what I perceived as my weaknesses, I soon learnt that it is just that: a perception. I learnt to not give a f*ck to things that do not matter and for things that do matter, to ask the difficult questions of why it does and how to ‘get over it’.

39. A river in darkness by Masaji Ishikawa

  • One man’s escape from North Korea. Mumtathil and I are somehow interested in North Korea, so I find these kind of books interesting. I really felt for this man though. For what he has been through and what he has to deal with even after escaping North Korea.

40. Histories

  • Read this on and off for awhile. Interesting take on having different takes of the different bodies milling through hospital at one time. I found it difficult to follow though, with too many different characters. Bit depressing as well.

41. A little life by Hanya Yanagihara

  • This book is way too long. I did enjoy reading the first half of the book and love the different perspectives. But then I couldn’t take the never-ending pain of one of the main characters. In the end, I felt like it’s better off maybe if he just ends his pain. Mixed reviews on this one.

42. Gantung

  • My second malay book for the year. Bought because I felt I had to read more malay books. But the storyline was not so plausible, though I enjoyed reading the Manglish (malay-english) language featuring in it, more so because it captures how today’s generations talks nowadays.

43. The Halfling King by Katrina Daud

  • Yes to a bruneian book! I love the illustrations and found myself thinking about it after. I read it in the literal sense first time and then realise (I’m so slow) what it was trying to talk about. And then after that, I wonder whether I’m interpreting it differently.

44. From Kianggeh to Weston by Rozan Yunos

  • Short articles on Brunei history and culture. Some interesting articles but some just consisted if boring facts. I am a fan of his blog though, not discrediting him and love on what he does in reviving Brunei’s history.

45. Stay with me by Ayobami Adebayo

  • I actually love this book. I read it in less than 2 days. Easy read and I like the different perspectives it was written in. A book about the societal and familial expectations of becoming a mother, and the impact it has when you cannot bear a child. It also explores the couple’s relationship. I thought it was gonna be heavy but it was a good read. Ayobami is definitely a good story teller, made me feel like it’s based on true story. That said, parts of the storyline can certainly resonate in our culture. Recommend this!

46. Gurkhas

  • If you’re into gurkhas, military or modern warfare, this is the book for you. I’ve always been intrigued with Gurkhas, so mysterious and inpenetrable. My childhood consisted of going to Gurkha shop from time to time because thats where Mama finds the really good kitchenware and food serving stuff. So random, I know. We’ll enter the heavily guarded Gurkha military compound and go to the small shop and I’m just intrigued with them and their presence in Brunei. This book was honest and heartfelt and describes the Gurkhas well. It also has detailed description of this Gurkha’s stint in Afghanistan. I feel like I’m there in their , shooting the enemy.

47. Laughing all the way to the mosque

  • Too funny and definitely recommendable. So many things were relatable and I highlighted a few things and laughed it again as I read it back.

48. Letters to a young muslim

  • Recommend this for both muslims and non muslims. Gently points to what we as the muslim youth should be asking ourselves and others. I wish my nephews, nieces and kids will read this one day because Omar has written things so eloquently and explained our religion beautifully. He also talks about difficult topics and venture into it when many of us just brushes over it.

49. Becoming by Michelle Obama

  • This is fun more because I get to learn how Michelle became an Obama. I realise as the book went on, that I wanted to read more on Barack. I felt like I did not need to know the details of the first chapters of her life but then as she wrote about being the first lady, I appreciated the reason why she wrote about her background. It made it more profound on the difference of her beginnings and her life now. Towards the end, I love her vision and reading on her life as First lady.

50. Dreams from a father by Barack Obama

  • What a book to end the year! I love it largely for the fact that I can read the thoughts of President Obama, well before he became president. It is not like a usual biography and I dont think it intends to but instead follows a man’s journey of identifying what makes him, his race, his identity. It tries to identify how the black society navigates its way in America and his identification as a black man, being mixed race and brought up in Hawaii and Indonesia. He has a gift of writing, though his lack of full stops makes me lose track of what he’s trying to say in the first place.

So that’s it people. If you made it to the end, you must be bored. Do comment if you’ve read any of the above. Tell me your fave reads as well! I love discovering a good book!

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