The Best Books of 2018

I love reading. I am a book addict and proud of it. I am always on the lookout for something new to read. In the month of November, I finished my reading challenge of 100 books for the year. I have previously written a post on how to read more, and now I thought of sharing some of my favorites from the books published this year. I tend to read very extensively and I don't pay much attention to the genre in general. I do have a soft spot for books that inspire me, and reading self-help books is my guilty pleasure. This year, I tried to read more nonfiction and as you may see from the titles below, it went pretty well. I can't wait to start next year's reading challenge - I have set some subgoals including categories of books to read. But without further ado, let us get to my list of the best books published in 2018!

Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker
This book changed the way I look at things. Through watching the news and following different media outlets, we get a pretty negative idea on the situation in the world. Not to say it necessarily isn't, but we have to admit us humans are notoriously good at focusing on the bad and even wallowing in it. When we think about it, the news did not use to be a 24/7 thing, they were broadcasted at set times and for the rest of your day, you were news-free. All the click-bait headlines and hyperboles are intended to get people's attention in a world full of distraction, and it does not necessarily give a good idea about what is happening.

I love to read well-thought-over and well-researched texts, and Steven Pinker always delivers on this front. He supports his arguments with compelling facts and statistics and helps the reader to look at the bigger picture, a longer timeline than we are perhaps used to seeing. I wholeheartedly recommend reading this book if you are looking for new perspectives.

Educated by Tara Westover
Reading the memoir of Tara Westover felt like reading a piece of fiction, that is how incredible her story is. Growing up in Idaho in a fundamentalist Mormon family, she went through a tough childhood: no friends, no school, no books. Although I have nothing in common with her except for the love of books that she comes to realize later in life, I found her style of writing very relatable and her story very compelling and inspiring.

Origin by Dan Brown
I had actually only read The Da Vinci Code before grabbing this book by the well-known author. It was recommended to us in my CS101 class, so I thought reading it almost counts as studying. And it certainly did! I had to use Google so much (does anyone else do this?) while reading, because things I had never heard about just kept coming up. Setting in Spain, I found it very entertaining to read about places I had previously visited, but also discovering places I now want to go to. I would recommend this to anyone interested in sci-fi and AI.

The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery by Barbara K. Lipska
I took a course recently that had to do with the structure of our brain from a linguistic standpoint and that is perhaps why I found this book, once again, kind of related to my studies. This book was gifted to me by my husband's relative who has never even met me, so I was quite surprised what a good match this book seemed to be. Barbara Lipska is a neuroscientist and the director of the Human Brain Collection Core at the National Institute of Mental Health. Ironically, she lost her mental health because of brain tumors. The book is an interesting description of losing and then regaining your grasp on reality. It made me question our definitions of mental health and the stigmas that come with it. It is scary to think our personality could change drastically without us even knowing. If psychology, mental health or neuroscience interest you, I would give this book a go!

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson
Jordan Peterson has emerged almost out of nowhere to become an international superstar of sorts with an important message: take responsibility. I love the fact his writing started on Quora, a website where you can ask and answer questions - because I am a big Quora fan! In his book, he shares some profound pieces of advice that have resonated with thousands and thousands of people. He came to Finland not too long ago, and I am still sad I missed the event - it sold out almost immediately, and I think that alone speaks for the book. Very recommended to people wanting to take ownership of their lives or to those who feel like they lack some purpose. As an extra mention, he is amazingly well-read, especially on classics, and is very interested in the stories humans have told to themselves and to others throughout the history of mankind. After reading his book, I had a long list of books to add to my ever-growing to-read list.

On my reading list for the near future, I have Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl and The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. If you are interested in what I am reading at the moment or perhaps what I have read in the past or want to read in the future, go follow my Goodreads account here! Also, if you have an account, add me! I have always dreamed of having a book club, so if anyone out there is interested, let me know.

I hope you enjoyed my favorite books published in 2018. What were some of your favorites this year? Which books do you have on your reading list? Will you be setting reading goals for the new year? I would love to hear from you!

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