I’m a little behind, but I couldn’t let 2018 go by without doing a Best Books of the year post.
I’ve been doing these posts since 2015 and I love looking back on everything I read from the year and remembering the books that had an impact on me.
I didn’t read as much this year as I have in past years (back in 2015 I read nearly 100 books!), but I still managed to read 40 books over the course of 2018.
This year was really the year of non-fiction for me. Around spring time I got really into reading self-improvement type books, and just never stopped. There were a few times I got burnt out and switched it up with a thriller or some other type of fiction, but for the most part I read what felt good to read at the time.
There were times I was reading like a crazy person and other times I’d go a few days – maybe even a week – without cracking open a book. I know I have a tendency to get completive with things, but I’m really striving to make reading something I do to enjoy. So while I read less this year I enjoyed it more than ever.
Best Books of 2018
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I know quite a few people who worship TJR and adore anything she writes. I personally had never read anything by her, but I heard good things about this book throughout the blogging and book communities so I decided to give it a shot.
I have to say: I now believe the TJR hype. I loved this book so much! It is light and easy to read, but still has substance and depth. I loved Evelyn as a main character and although she was definitely a flawed main character, I was rooting for her the entire time. I find at times when authors try to weave a story within a story it gets complicated or just doesn’t add anything, but this was so well done.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley early in 2018. Now that it’s really blown up and everyone is raving about it part of me feels a little maternal because I was so in love with it from the very beginning.
In some ways it reminded me of two of my favorite reads: Did You Ever Have a Family – in the deepness of the character development and the fact that I was rooting for literally every person in the book, and The Mothers – in the culture, the protagonists, and the love triangle.
It’s just such a good book. If you have’t read it yet, do it.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
The subject of this book was enough for me want to pick it up. Add in the fact that the city this book is based in is my college town of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and this was one of my most anticipated reads of the entire year.
This book was both fascinating and frustrating at times. The work the author went through to get the information and then piece it all together in an easily digestible way is absolutely magnificent.
My personal feelings about this book and topic run very deep. Somewhat because I know the city he’s writing about very well, and somewhat because I believe we as humans can create our own destiny no matter how shitty the cards we’ve been dealt are. Regardless of where the author and I differ in views this book was amazing and so well written.
If you’d like to read my more detailed thoughts of this book check out my Goodreads review here.
This book is so so SO good. It’s well-written, deep, heart-breaking, and spirit-lifting all at the same time. Beyond it just being such a work of literary genius, it brings to light an important message and starts a conversation about a large portion of America that continues to struggle.
Vance’s insights are so raw and honest. what I loved most about his journey and his point of view was that while he went through some absolutely horrible things at a young age, he stated that “you can only make excuses for your circumstances for so long before you need to take responsibility for the choices you’ve made REGARDLESS of your circumstances, childhood, or past”. It is truly phenomenal and inspirational read.
NOTE: In a lot of ways Hillbilly Elegy was the rural version of Evicted. I’m sure you can tell from my reviews, I obviously agree much more with Vance’s view of both problems and the way to remedy them. Read both books and you’ll understand what I mean by that.
The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer
2018 was the year I got super curious about spirituality. I’ve been a Christian my entire life and I pray and read my bible daily. Yet I still felt a strong desire to connect more, know more, feel more. I read a plethora of books to help me feed this curiosity and this was by far my favorite. This book was technical and woo-woo, but still very easy to understand and digest as someone who is not a spiritual master or guru. If you’re new to spiritually and easily intimidated by it all, start with this book.