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What a fun year of reading! I started the year with the goal of reading 50 books. (I had read 53 books last year.) I ended up increasing it to 70 in the summer and then to 75 in the last few months of the year. I ended up reading 76 books! I mention the books I read here and there on my Captivations posts but I thought it would be fun to do a full recap of my year of reading.
My Books of 2018
First, some stats!
- Books Read: 76
- Pages Read: 21,424
- Average rating: 3.7
- Audiobooks: 28
- Memoirs: 22
- Fiction: 31
- Graphic Novels: 4
- Books of Short Fiction Stories: 2
- Poetry: 1
- Self Help: 7
- Shortest Book: A Different Pond by Bao Phi (32 pages)
- Longest Book: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (489 pages)
- Average Length: 281 pages
Favorite Books of 2018 (Books I Gave 5 Stars)
Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan
This memoir was a surprise favorite for me. I didn’t like it at first but grew to love the simple lessons. With stories about her two teenage daughters, husbands, and friends, Corrigan takes everyday struggles and shares profound insight.
What Unites Us: Stories of Patriotism by Dan Rather
We are a deeply divided country and the divide seems to grow with every offense. Journalist Dan Rather shares stories of the U.S. he knows and what can be done to bridge the divide. This book was a good reminder that our bubbles protect yet hinder our growth.
The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs
Within a year of a thirty-seven-year-old wife and mother discovering one small spot of cancer, she receives the news that it is terminal. Riggs’ memoir is a heavy one as she prepares to leave her young sons and her husband of sixteen years. It’s strange how facing death can give
The Best We Could Do by Thi
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
The rich, colorful, and dramatic story Lee illustrates will have you feeling the pain and victories of the characters. This fiction novel follows three generations of one Korean family in Korea and Japan as they endure war, prejudice, and life’s hardships.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
I loved reading The Third Plate by Dan Barber last year and this book continues my journey of learning more what we eat, where it comes from, and what affects that has on our lives and environment. This Michael Pollan book brings light to different food sources – from fast food to his own hunting and gathering.
We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Stories from Syria by Wendy Pearlman
This was a hard book to read but it was powerful and impacting. I think being a world away from conflict and viewing events through the eyes of media can make us feel far removed. This book shares the voices of Syrians who have endured and still endure unthinkable hardships. (I shared more from this book in this post.)
Choose Wonder Over Worry by Amber Rae
I loved this book because it encouraged me to see things from a different perspective, just as the title suggests. I can worry about what’s to come or choose wonder about how these things can empower my life.
Educated by Tara Westover
Westover’s memoir has been winning awards and topping lists, and after reading it, I can see why. The author shares her compelling story about how she grew up in a survivalist Mormon family in the mountains of Idaho. Her father didn’t believe in public education and she didn’t start formal education until she was 17 years old, but her ambition and thirst for knowledge took her to Brigham Young University, Harvard, and Cambridge. Her ability and ambition to excel
Evicted by Matthew Desmond
Desmond spent years in the field doing research and getting to know eight families in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Milwaukee. The result is this detailed, beautifully written, and heartbreaking book that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2017. The weight of the book made it hard to read and it took me months, but the end, the epilogue where Desmond offers solutions and tells how he researched the subject, will remind you the future is not hopeless.
All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft by Geraldine DeRuiter
This memoir will make you laugh, gasp, and get the feels, all while effortlessly following along the stories. This book is full of entertaining stories from DeRuiter’s life, and it’ll make you wish for the travel mishaps from where the best adventures come.
Other Book Notes
Most Surprising Books
These books were hard to read at times because of the atrocities the authors as children had to face. I think of children as happy and cared for but their stories opened my eyes to the reality.
Books Worth the Hype
You’ve seen these books on
Books that Made Me Cry
I read a book by a widow and another by someone who died after writing the book. Both detailed fights against cancer and the precious moments and opportunities we take for granted.
- The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs
- It’s Okay to Laugh by Nora McInerny Purmort
Most Welcome Light-Hearted Book
I tend to read a lot of books with heavy subject-matter. I intentionally sought out something light-hearted and fun, and this book was it
Books that are a Wild Ride
These books have drama and *spoiler alert* plot twists I wasn’t expecting. I read all three books in the Crazy Rich Asians series this year and they’re all like that
This year I sought out books about immigrants, refugees, and Asian culture, especially books written by Asian authors. It was a year of insight and connection, and I hope to continue this in the new year.
Reading Goals for 2019
My goal is to read 70 books next year. I want to read more of a genre I don’t usually read – science fiction and fantasy. Perhaps I’ll tackle the Harry Potter series? (I had read up to book four when they first came out.) I also want to make sure I sprinkle in more light-hearted books because I tend to choose impactful yet heavy reads. Reading more fiction will help with that. I also want to read as many classics as possible. I haven’t read books like 1984, Pride and Prejudice, or The Scarlet Letter! If you have any book recommendations, I would love to hear them!
If you’re looking for book recommendations, see these lists:
What’s your favorite book you read this year or
P.S. If you’re curious about how I read so much (and how you can too), see this post I wrote last year.