Usually, I post about children’s books and lesson plan ideas, but I had an urge to post a personal blog post today all about my favorite reads of 2018. This year, I began reading more often than ever before. And I found some great gems along the way. Please keep in mind, the book links you’ll find below are my Amazon affiliate links!
In January, I decided one of my 2018 resolutions would be to read more. I found a book club on the Meet Up website. It’s called Girly Book Club and there are ‘chapters’ all over the country. With my new book club and a reignited passion for reading, I got on GoodReads, too! That’s when GoodReads challenged me to a reading challenge. It prompted me to pick how many books I’d like to read for 2018. I decided to go all out and try to read 50 books in 2018. Well… I read 56! That’s almost 19,000 pages in one year. And I can’t wait for the next 50 in 2019. Add me on GoodReads if you want to be friends and keep up with each other’s books! Without further ado, here are my favorite reads of 2018!
My Favorite Reads of 2018!
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Let’s start with my top favorite book of the year! The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was one of the books we read in our book club. It has been on my bookshelf for about a year because I got it from Book of the Month Club. The story follows a famous Hollywood actress’s life. Her life has always been a fascinating story to the public, but she’s finally ready to come out with her own tell-all of her life. For this new project, she only wants a journalist named Monique to write for her. Throughout Monique and Evelyn’s weeks together, each of the women learns a lot of truths about themselves.
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
This book was a recommendation from a friend of mine. Although it took me about a third of the way through to really get into it, once I did get into it, I loved it! It all takes place at Camp Nightingale. In Emma’s childhood, her three cabin mates go missing. After years of therapy and trying to move past it, she’s invited back to the camp as an art instructor. She decides to go back, not only to teach painting but to try to figure out what happened to her three cabin mates.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
This was a book I would have never picked up and read on my own. It was a book club choice for one month this year. I’m very grateful, though, because I ended up really liking the book. It’s a slow read and not action-filled, but I felt very attached to the characters that the story followed through decades of their lives. It’s all about a Korean family and their journey through almost a century of war, working hard, enduring struggles, and raising children.
Link: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
One of the first sci-fi books I’ve read… It was very interesting for sure. It was another book club pick and isn’t a book I would’ve picked up on my own, however, I’m grateful for Girly Book Club for getting me to read books I wouldn’t choose on my own. This story follows a man named Jason through a time-traveling adventure, although it isn’t an adventure he chose on his own. He was abducted and woke up strapped to a table. Using different universes, he tries to find his way back home to his original life.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I listened to this book as an audiobook on OverDrive instead of reading it. It was an interesting look at families in suburban life. It follows several storylines throughout the book: a struggling mom hiding from a past, a group of teenagers hiding a secret, and a custody battle over an adopted child. Filled with drama and family secrets, this was a great read.
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
What a beautiful book. It covers hard material about a struggling family, but you feel so connected to the children in the story. JoJo is a thirteen-year-old boy, living with his grandmother and grandfather. This is due to his mother being addicted to drugs and his father being in jail. When his dad gets out of prison, his mother takes JoJo and his little sister on a car trip up the prison. Your heart is breaking while you’re rooting for these two children to survive their rough life. It’s definitely a heavy read, but very well done.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This was one of the books that everyone was talking about reading in 2018, so I eagerly started it. It was an addicting read and I couldn’t get enough of Starr’s story, the main character. It follows Starr’s life after her best friend Khalil is shot by a police officer while being unarmed. There are social issues discussed throughout the book and I find it to be a necessary read for all in 2019. It’s also now a movie, which I’m excited to see.
I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
This was January 2018’s book club pick, so I read this with a very eager mind. I think it’s why I liked the book so much! It’s a mystery that follows Ella’s story. The story begins with Ella overhearing two men harassing two young women. She wants to act on this and help the girls but decides against it. Then, the next day, one of the girls goes missing. The rest of the story covers the following year where Ella tries to figure out what happened to the girl, plus she is dealing with some threats herself, too.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I know, I know. I can’t believe it took me until 2018 to read this book, either. The book is about a little girl named Liesel, who started her book stealing when she found The Grave Digger’s Handbook. It takes place during a perilous time in Nazi Germany in 1939. Liesel’s life is forever changed when her family decides to hide a Jewish boy in their basement. It’s a long book, but worth the read!
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
This was a summer read for me and it was delightful. The charming story is about a man who lost his wife and is trying to piece together a secret life that she led. He finds a bracelet with charms, and he isn’t quite sure what each represents. So, he goes on a journey to try to figure out this mystery life that his wife was leading without him.
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
This book is another book club pick that I wouldn’t have read on my own, but I appreciate that it was chosen. It’s about a girl named Nikki. She lives in West London and is trying to figure her own life out, instead of the life that her Indian mother and father want her to live. When she starts teaching a class at a local community center to Sikh widows, she begins to lose control over exactly what she’s teaching them. She’s hired to teach them to write English, but it soon morphs into a storytelling class. While she’s shocked that these widows are creating erotic stories, she’s also motivated to help them break away from their modest traditional ways.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I believe I’ve had this book in my Kindle library for about five years. It was just one of those books that I started reading and never finished. This year, I was determined to finish it. It ended up a great read! Two young magicians, Celia and Marco fall in love, however, they are supposed to be competing against each other in the Night Circus. It is a behind-the-scenes look at the Night Circus and the two main stars.
Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
This Young Adult read was perfect for my summer. As soon as I got home from reading it at the beach, I watched Love Simon (the movie version of the book). Simon has not come out yet and is carrying this secret with him through high school. He has told no one except for a boy he’s emailing back and forth. Neither knows who the other is, but they help each other through issues they’re dealing with, such as the idea of coming out. This follows Simon’s journey of being himself, coming out, and finding his love.
Thanks for checking out my favorite reads of 2018! And here’s a peek at the books I’m most excited about in 2019…
I’m going to repeat my book challenge for 2019. This year attempting 55 books. I also found a fun Reading Challenge on PopSugar. There are 50 prompts for books to read through the year, plus a GoodReads group where people give book suggestions and ideas to match each prompt. Below are a few of the books I’ve added to my TBR list and the ones I’m most excited for!! Some aren’t even released yet.
Also, if you’re interested in buying these books (or pre-ordering them), hover over the images and there is an Amazon link ON the image. When you hover over these images, you’ll see a Pin It circle and a small Amazon affiliate link. Click the Amazon link on the image to follow and buy.
My Favorite Reads of 2018
My Favorite Reads of 2018
For a list of great mentor texts for the classroom, check out this post covering ELA standards.