2018 Recap: Top Books

2018Books

You can’t go wrong with any book in this photo.

One of my goals for 2018 was to read one fiction and one non-fiction book each month. I set this goal because I love to read, but 2017 found me watching a lot more Netflix instead of picking up a book. So my list of books to read kept getting longer while I got more bored with mindless TV. The books I counted toward this project were new to me – I didn’t count books I had read before.

Thanks to Goodreads, I have an easily accessible list of everything I read this year, so I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites… and maybe not-so-favorites.

Fiction

  • A Man Called Ove: I struggle to find fiction that I love, so this was an amazing early read for the year and set the bar high. The story revolves around a man who has given up on life, but a cat and some really annoying neighbors start to engage him back in the real world. It’s an absolute masterpiece in story telling with a perfect backstory reveal and great balance of funny and serious.
  • The Night Circus: How had I not read this book before? An amazing fantasy, you can see everything that happens in the book as you read.
  • No-No Boy: Set after the conclusion of World War II, this book follows a young Japanese-American man who refused to fight for the United States in the war. Not light, but an important book about identity in America. As relevant today as it was then.
  • Artemis: From the author of The Martian, Artemis is a must read! I read the whole thing in a weekend, and I loved the characters, most of which live on the moon, and the realistic feeling of logistics throughout the book. This is not Harry Potter and the Moon Adventure. No magic, just a lot of science.
  • Learning to Fall: For my horse friends, this one needs to be on your list. I struggle so much with equestrian-related fiction, but this one captured me and kept me for the whole book, wasn’t too corny, and had some actual twists and turns that were pleasantly unexpected.

Non-Fiction

  • A Stranger in the Woods: A journalist tells the story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years. Even in the winter. It is fascinating, and the perfect read if you’ve ever thought about giving freedom to your introvert soul and running away to the wilderness. Fascinating, well told, heartbreaking, funny… all the elements.
  • At Home in the World: Memoir of a woman who traveled the world with her family, including two small children for about a year. Really well told, lots of travel envy, and a great audio book listen.
  • How to Be Here: This was one of the first books I read in 2018, and, frankly, I need to read it again! My take away: read it. Then read it again.
  • Worth It: Money is not scary. How the stories we tell ourselves about money, especially as women, stop us from flourishing financially and how to take steps in the right direction.
  • High Performance Habits: If I have to recommend you read one and only one book from this list, this might be it. This book sat on my shelf for months after I bought, I think because I intuitively knew it was going to be a lot of hard work and also change my life, and I was afraid of being told some hard truths. Yes, yes, and yes. However, if you need a kick in the butt to level up your life, this book will tell you exactly how to do it. The author is honest that these changes are not easy, but there were so many moments through the whole book that had me staring wide-eyed at the page wondering if he had been spying on my brain while I sleep. If you want a taste of Brendon Burchard, I also recommend his podcast, The Brendon Show, which includes the book in audio format for season 4. However… buy the book so you can take notes in it! Trust me, it’s one you’ll want to refer back to.
  • Off Balance: Worthy of this list. I listened to this book on audio, and I’m interested in reading it again as a hard copy to maybe make notes as I read. Summary: work-life balance is a lie; aim for work-life satisfaction.

Skip ‘Em

I’m really happy to say that there weren’t too many books that I genuinely disliked. I’m not referencing the “it was fine” books I read because so much comes down to preference, style, and just what you’re in the mood for on that day. But there were two books I read that I genuinely would not recommend to anyone. #sorrynotsorry

  • Eligible: Maybe if you’re a die hard Jane Austen fan, you’ll enjoy this retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I found it very long and tedious. The person who gave it to me is no longer allowed to give me books that she was “just okay” with.
  • The Girl on the Train: I know, blasphemy! There were aspects to this book I really enjoyed, but there wasn’t a single character I actually liked. They were all kinda shitty in their own ways.

As always, the opinions shared here are mine. Take them or leave them.

What’s on your reading list for 2019? Are there any books you’ve read recently that you just couldn’t put down? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, or find me on Instagram @meganunedited

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