Give the Gift of Reading: Best Books of 2018

Give the Gift of Reading:
Best Books of 2018

By Monique Tamminga

Give the gift of reading this Christmas. While meditation and yoga are wonderful ways to balance the mind and body, there is no better way to unplug than reading a good book. My recommendation is to put on a fire, have the Christmas lights on, grab yourself a big glass of your favourite wine, a blanket and sink into your couch with a good book.

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 rest their wired minds and escape for a while. I’ve paired each book with an Okanagan wine, because why not!

Best Books of 2018

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. Even Bill Gates has read this one. Pairs well with Quail’s Gate Cabernet Sauvignon.

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 Ruby Blues Peace & Love & Bubbles frizzante rose.

THRILL SEEKERS: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn is a thrilling 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 Wild Goose Autumn Gold.

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. 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 Sumac Ridge’s reserve Black Sage Zinfadel.

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 Obama’s book couldn’t come at a better time. Michelle 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 Lang’s Bravo table white.

CRIME WRITER DIES BEFORE FINDING OUT THE KILLER GOT CAUGHT: I’ll Be Gone In the Dark by Michelle McNamara: One woman’s obsessive search for the Golden State Killer. True crime blogger McNamara spent a good portion of a decade pouring over every inch of unsolved rapes and murders in California during the 70s and 80s, determined to help police catch the serial killer. In a twist of cruel fate, she died unexpectedly just before police caught the Golden State Killer. Her husband Patton Oswald, famed TV actor, helped promote the book. Pairs well with Little Straw La Petite Paille Sauvignon Blanc.

LOCAL COOKBOOK: Okanagan Table: The Art of Everyday Cooking by Rod Butters. Well known Chef Butters has created a visually stunning cookbook with easy but delicious recipes using Okanagan ingredients. Signed copies are available at all three of Chef Butters’ restaurants: RauDZ Regional Table, micro bar & bites in downtown Kelowna and Terrafina at Hester Creek by RauDZ. Pairs well with Hester Creek’s chardonnay.

HISTORICAL FICTION: The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton. No one does historical fiction like Kate 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 8th Generation 2016 Pinot Noir.


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 in Penticton. The recipe is from 1841.


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 Time 2017 Riesling.

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Monique is passionate about writing and wine. When she isn’t touring Okanagan wineries, you can find her writing, laughing and drinking copious amounts of coffee. She has been a newspaper journalist for nearly 20 years in Vancouver and now proudly calls the Okanagan home.


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