by Monique Tamminga/Times Contributor
Every year for the past 10 years I have put together what I think are the best books of the year in hopes it will encourage people to unplug for a while with a good book.
Books calm you, steady your breathing and ground you in one place (hopefully your couch, with a favourite blanket and a glass of wine or tea).
I hope you give the gift of reading this Christmas.
Below, I have paired the best books of this year with some of the best locally made drinks.
Best 10 Books of 2018
1. BOOK WITH BUZZ: Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. Westover tells of how she went from growing up in the mountains raised by religious survivalist parents to earning her PhD from Cambridge. Like the memoir Glass Castle, this jaw-dropping book shows how one woman rose up from the challenges of her childhood – she is the true survivalist. Best fiction of the year. Even Bill Gates has read this one. Pairs well with Township 7’s merlot.
2. SELF HELP WITH A TWIST: Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. This is relatable, tangible advice to women still trying to do it all and be all to everyone. She tells you to stop it… now. She is the author of the popular website ChickSite and mother of four. Pairs well with Backyard Vineyard’s sparkling rose.
3. THRILL SEEKERS: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn is a Hitchcock-type whodunnit, as well as a study of human character and mental health. In this story, a woman with agoraphobia thinks she witnesses a murder from her window. This genre has produced some amazing books this year. I’ve been hooked since The Girl on the Train. Pairs well with Okanagan’s Wild Goose Autumn Gold.
4. SPEAKING OF GIRL ON THE TRAIN: Into the Water by Paula Hawking. The author of Girl on the Train has come out with another murder-mystery, leaving you on the edge of your seat until the very last page plot twist. (I actually gasped out loud at the ending). A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through a small English hamlet. A teenage girl met the same fate that year as did several other women throughout the years. Pairs well with Glass House Estate Winery’s viognier.
5. WORLD LEADERS: Becoming by Michelle Obama – in an era of Trump and his foul, crass existence wreaking havoc on human decency – I truly think Michelle’s book couldn’t come at a better time. She is smart, real, a champion of women and a class act. I can’t wait to read her memoir, which is flying off store shelves. Pairs well with Chaberton’s signature Bacchus.
6. LOCAL COOKBOOK: Eating Local in the Fraser Valley: A Food Lover’s Guide Featuring Over 70 Recipes from Farmers, Producers and Chefs by Angie Quaale. Produced by Random House Publishing, this visually stunning table book is a must have this Christmas. Quaale is the owner of Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store in Langley and a champion of buying local and supporting local food producers. This book pays homage to the bounty of food we produce in the Fraser Valley. Pairs well with Fraser Valley Cidery Company’s elderflower cider.
7. HISTORICAL FICTION: The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton. No one does historical fiction like Morton, and I can’t wait to read her latest that takes the reader to 1860s England weaving stories of generations of characters to present time. Pairs well with Krause Berry Winery’s gold medal winning cassis.
8. WHAT THE KIDS ARE READING: The latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown by Jeff Kinney. Another popular series is Dog Man by Dav Pilkey. As well, the Harry Potter series continue to enchant children and adults alike. Pairs well with The People’s Soda rootbeer (recipe circa 1841) based out of Penticton.
9. LOCAL CHILDREN’S BOOK: Olive and the Other Reindeer by Bruce Kilby. Just in time for Christmas, this Langley City firefighter and author has created his fourth children’s book. This one is about an inexperienced reindeer who has to go find Santa and his team of reindeers after they failed to return to the North Pole on Christmas. Pairs well with Dairyland eggnog.
10. WAR FICTION: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. This novel is based from actual interviews with Holocaust survivor Ludwig Sokolov who was forced to tattoo his fellow prisoners. Over two years Ludwig witnessed horrible atrocities and amazing acts of bravery including his own acts of courage. Pairs well with Vista D’oro’s D’Oro walnut wine.