2018 was a great reading year for me. A lot of factors played into this: we finally sleep trained the baby and he takes 2-3 hour naps every day, my daughter is in full-time school and LOVING it, and I really cut back on TV (I kind of don’t miss it that much, who knew?) I finished the reading challenge I set out to finish, and according to GoodReads, I have read 109 books this year (that’s 32,688 pages!).
To get an idea what types of books I read, here’s a rough breakdown of the genres I read:
- Fiction: 44
- Young Adult/Middle Grade: 33
- Memoir: 11
- Nonfiction: 21
And here’s a roundup of my favorites of the year. Some of these are backlist books, ones I have had on my shelves for years and just picked up this year, and some are brand new.
5 6 Fiction Reads:
- Where the Crawdads Sing (Owens, 2018): I cannot say enough good things about this one; the story, the characters, the setting, the mystery, the poetry. It was so beautiful and my very favorite book of the year.
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (Honeyman, 2017): Eleanor is such a lovable character and her story was one of sadness and tragedy but also such great hope.
- The Great Alone (Hannah, 2018): Alaskan winters, teenage protagonist, Vietnam vet father, love story, all the things that make up a GREAT book. I couldn’t put this one down.
- This is How it Always Is (Frankel, 2017): The most lovable family with a secret that they have to work through. This book opened my eyes to a lot of the discrimination and hard choices families of transgendered children have to face.
- The Alice Network (Quinn, 2017): Post WWII woman searching for her lost cousin meets WWI female spy. I just loved every minute of this book; my favorite wartime book of the year for sure.
- Homegoing (Gyasi, 2016): Eight generations both originated from Africa; one stays and is married to white slave trader, one is shipped to America. This book was so unique and so, so good. Powerful narrative on how the institution of slavery still affects today’s generations.
Top 5 YA/Middle Grade Reads:
- Far From the Tree (Benway, 2017): Powerful YA story about adoption and finding true family. I just loved everything about this one.
- Harbor Me (Woodson, 2018): Students from all different backgrounds given time to spend together in school with no expectations or supervision. They bond and share so many sweet moments.
- The Wednesday Wars (Schmidt, 2007): A middle school kid, his teacher, the Vietnam War, and Shakespeare. This one was laugh-out-loud funny but at the same time so, so powerful of a story. I loved it.
- Restart (Korman, 2017): Big bully football star falls and gets amnesia, realizes he kind of hates the guy he used to be, things change. SO good.
- Hello, Universe (Kelly, 2017): Sweet coming of age story, lots of adventure, new friendship. Totally deserving of the Newbery Medal.
Top 3 Memoirs:
- Educated (Westover, 2018): Fundamental religion, controlled education, the author’s story of escaping her abusive upbringing and finally getting a real education. SO powerful.
- Born a Crime (Noah, 2016): Trevor Noah’s memoir of growing up in South Africa, his birth as a mixed race child quite literally “illegal”, but he finds his way and his place. It is SO funny and also heart-wrenching. Beautiful book.
- The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen (Gungor, 2018): A foundation, an unraveling, and a putting back together of faith. This book was so musical, and I loved every word.
Top 5 Nonfiction Reads:
- Essentialism (Greg McKeown, 2014): This one was so inspiring, made me think a lot about my priorities and what I should be spending/focusing my time on. It was a great book to read right at the beginning of the year to get me focused.
- The Read Aloud Family (Mackenzie, 2018): Reading aloud with my children is my absolute favorite and this book validates so many of my feelings and even backs up my passion for read-alouds with research. (Spoiler: Reading aloud is like really important.)
- Daring Greatly (Brown, 2012): Brené Brown defines what it means to be courageous and vulnerable and how those things relate back to kindness and compassion. She didn’t write this as a parenting book, but it’s one I think EVERY single parent should read.
- Bird by Bird (Lamott, 1995): This was my favorite book on writing that I read this year; so many honest and encouraging words.
- A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live (Freeman, 2013): Inspiration for my creative heart. It helped me to truly see myself as a real writer, and to view writing as an art.
For next year, I’m planning on reading as many books as I can from my own shelves (and Kindle TBR list)… I have quite a few!
Plus, I’ll be spending Christmas gift cards (squeeee!) to add to this beautiful stack, and still checking out the library for the newest bestsellers.
I’d love to know your favorite reads of the year, and I’d love to connect with you on GoodReads!
Thanks for reading and until next
time year, peace and love from my household to yours.