Y’all know how much I love reading. I frequently mention on my daily posts which books I’m currently reading or listening to, and often share photos and screen shots. Even still, I definitely don’t mention every single book on my blog. So for my fellow book lovers, I figured I would do a round-up of some of the best and worst books I’ve read in this past year.
There are a bunch of lists below, for favorites, least favorites, best audio, favorites of all-time, and even books I started but didn’t finish. There are also a bunch of links included. All of the book links take you to Goodreads, because I feel that’s where the best synopses are. If you’re interested, most Goodreads pages have links to buy the books as well, although a lot of them can be found at the library, which is where most of my books come from. There are a few other links for how & where I read, so you’ll know those when you see them.
So let’s start out with the stats, the numbers, the details… (You can see my full Year in Books stats on Goodreads here.)
- I read 103 books this year! (To be fair, about 15 of them were “short stories,” anywhere from 5-100 pages.)
- I read over 27,000 pages.
- The longest book I read this year was “Winter” by Marissa Meyer, at 827 pages. (I rated 4 stars.)
- The most popular book I read this year was “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, which 2 million Goodreads users have read. (I rated 3 stars.)
- The highest rated book I read this year was “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens, with a 4.51 star average rating. (I rated 5 stars.)
- The first book I read this year was “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery (I rated 5 stars.)
- The last book I’m currently reading this year is “Once Upon A River” by Dianne Setterfield. (I doubt I’ll finish before midnight NYE, but that’s ok…)
This is by far the most I’ve read in one year, ever. I started tracking my books on Goodreads back in 2014, and every year I set a goal as part of the Goodreads Reading Challenge. This year my goal was 75, but I far surpassed that! And honestly, I was very surprised I was able to read that much. At the beginning of the year, my goal was actually only 50 books, but sometime in the spring, I bumped it up to my “usual” goal of 75, when I realized how much I was reading. I was surprised though, because I assumed I’d read less being so busy with my baby girl, who is now a toddler and into everything. But what they say is true, “if it’s important to you, you’ll make time for it.” Reading is important to me, so I found time for it. Speaking of my baby, I have to throw at least one picture of her in this post, so I’ll tell you how much I’m hoping & praying she continues to love books as she grows up, so we can read together. (This below was from her first trip to the library the other day.)
Some of my favorites I read this past year were (in no particular order):
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (5 stars)
- The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (4 stars)
- A Man Called Ove by Frederk Backman (4 stars – also watched the Swedish movie adaptation, and it was really good.)
- The Last Jew of Treblinka by Chil Rajchman (5 stars)
- The life and Times of Persimmon Wilson by Nancy Peacock (4 stars)
- Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (4 stars)
- Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (4 stars)
- The Darkling Bride by Laura Andersen (4 stars)
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (4 stars)
- The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (4 stars)
- Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham (4 stars)
- The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (4 stars)
- Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (5 stars)
- Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (4 stars – there are 3 in this series so far, I read all this year, and gave all 4 stars.)
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio (5 stars – also watched the movie adaptation with Owen Wilson & Julia Roberts, and it was great.)
- Circe by Madeline Miller (4 stars)
- Make Something Good Today by Ben & Erin Napier (5 stars)
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (5 stars)
- The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (5 stars)
- The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrick Backman (5 stars – super short novella)
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel (4 stars)
- Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (4 stars – also really enjoyed the movie adaptation!)
Also, part of the reason I was able to “read” so much, is because I really got into audio books this year. Jeff and I first listened to an audio book together back in like 2014 (Eragon by Christopher Paolini), that we found super cheap on CD at Goodwill. But it wasn’t until late 2016 that I discovered you could check out digital audio books through the library, which I started doing after we bought our house & moved, and I was driving much more. (We used to live about 2 miles from my office, so I was only in the car for about 10 minutes a day, total. When we moved, I was in the car a total of about 45 minutes a day, instead of 10.)
Some of my favorite audio books this year were: The Lunar Chronicles, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Flavia de Luce mystery series(I love this narrator), Circe, The War That Saved My Life, Ready Player One, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, & The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson.
All of these (with the exception of Ready Player One which Jeff got from Google somehow), were available for free on the Libby app, through our Leon County Public Library. I use the Overdrive website (on the computer) to keep track of my digital “wish list” and holds, then use the Libby app to listen to the digital library audio books, and my (5-year-old) Kindle Paperwhite to read the digital library e-books.
Another thing to note about my reading life and bookish thing – I love following Anne Bogel. She blogs at Modern Mrs. Darcy, she has written a couple of books (I got to be on the “launch team” for her newest book back in September to help promote it), she has a weekly podcast called “What Should I Read Next,” that talks all about books with a new guest every week, and she’s just all around a great bookish influencer. I was introduced to her just this past year by a fellow book-lover-friend-Ashley, and I’m so glad. I get a LOT of book recommendations from Anne through her Instagram, her blog, and her podcast. I also participate in her yearly reading challenge (which has categories to read, instead of a goal or number.)
Also of note, the Chief Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. Up to this point, she has written 14 books in this series (#14 just published last month), and I have read through #5. The first one, “Still Life,” is okay (I rated 3 stars) but they really pick up speed after that, and I rated the next four all 4 stars. If cozy, complex, intriguing murder mysteries sound like your thing, you should definitely read this series. (But don’t worry, they’re not scary.)
Another note, I read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, just so I could watch the Netflix movie adaptation. I gave the book 3 stars, which means I liked it but wasn’t blown away by it, and the movie was a cute, typical teenage rom-com.
Some of my least favorite books of the year, which I rated only one or two stars:
- Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
- Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
- California by Edan Lepucki
- My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
- The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy
- The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais (watched the movie a few years ago & enjoyed it, but didn’t like the book)
- The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel
- I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg (this was disappointing, since I’ve read & really liked 2 of her other books)
The eight books in the list above are ones I didn’t like, but at least finished the entire book. A few I started this year but abandoned were: Fatelessness, The Shadow of the Wind (although I may re-try this one sometime), Survival in Auschwitz (abandoned once in 2016, & again in 2018), Hidden Figures (although the movie was great, the book was slow & I couldn’t get into it), A Place for Us, The Sun Does Shine and 4th of July Creek.
And even though this post is all about the books I read in 2018, I can’t help but also share some of my all-time favorites as well. These are about half of my books I’d consider my all-time faves, and it was hard to narrow it down to even this list! All of the below books I rated 5 stars:
- Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
- The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (and 2 other Kidd books: The Invention of Wings, and The Mermaid Chair)
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
- The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
- Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
- Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- Black: The Birth of Evil by Ted Dekker (Actually, all 4 books in The Circle Series)
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
- Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
- Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
- A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (the entire Gemma Doyle series)
- Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Nuevel (and the rest of the Themis Files series)
So in summary, I read 105 books; of those, I loved almost 25 of them, didn’t like 8 of them, and started but abandoned another 6. Overall, I have “shelved” 453 books on my “read” list on Goodreads (including but not limited to some books read all the way back as a 10-year-old), and I have over 30 all-time favorites. I really, really love to read, y’all. Anyone wanna talk books with me sometime? Also, I’d love to do some “buddy reads” (reading the same book at the same time), so we can discuss and chat about it together, so let me know if that sounds like something you’d be into.
Now tell me… what books did YOU read in 2018? Or what are some of your all-time faves? I’d love to add them to my TBR list! Happy reading!