Reading | 2018 Review and 2019 Goals

2018 has been my best reading year in a long time. At the beginning of the year, I set my Goodreads reading goal to 52 books. Goodreads is still my favorite tool for keeping track of the books I’ve read, and it’s quite satisfying to see the bar in the book counter grow as the year goes on. 

Anyway, as of December 29th, 2018, I have met that goal of 52 by reading…

52 Books

If you follow me or have me as a friend on Goodreads, you’ll see a different number reflected on my profile. I reread a couple of books that I likely did not record on Goodreads (but I went back and counted the books I recorded in each monthly wrap-up, and they added up to 52), and I did not [purposely] finish eight books. Goodreads should really look into an option to DNF a book, because while I did not fully read those eight books, they aren’t unread either. So I just marked them as read and created a DNF bookshelf for myself (you can see what they are here if you’d like).

Now for the books I did read. I went back and forth about creating a Top # Books of the Year list, but ultimately decided not to. I enjoyed so many of the books I read this year for different reasons, so it didn’t feel right to pit titles up against each other when my judgement of them varied. But as I look back on my monthly wrap-ups, there are definitely a few that stand out and deserve a special mention. So here is a list of books I recommend, in the order that I finished them. 

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller Read my book review here.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie – My second Agatha Christie novel and maybe my favorite out of the few I’ve read by now. 

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James  Read my book review here.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – This is a stay-up-all-night-to-finish kind of book.

The Watchmaker’s Doctor: An Erase and Rewind Novella by G.M.T. Schuilling Read my book review here.

Heavenward by Olga GibbsRead my book review here

Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry – Not only did I enjoy reading Maya Angelou’s words, but I loved reading her work in an anthology. Looking at how her style, subject matter, and form changed and/or stayed the same during her career was the best supplement to reading. I listed my favorite poems here

Small Country by Gaël Faye – This is a translation, and since I can only read English, I can only imagine how beautiful it is in its original French. I like what I said about it in my May Wrap-Up, so you can read my quick thoughts here if you’re interested. 

Circe by Madeline Miller – I didn’t think my experience with this book could get any better, but then Madeline Miller visited my local library to chat about her story, writing process, and what stories like this mean to her (and what they should mean to us). 

What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean – I was on the Blog Tour for this Pride and Prejudice “sequel,” so you can read my gushing post about the book here

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott – I read this for a Louisa May Alcott reading challenge this summer, and enjoyed it immensely. 

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty – The end of 2018 means the sequel (The Kingdom of Copper)is almost here!!

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – This was a reread, and I took so much more from it than I did during my first read. I’ll definitely be reading more Virginia Woolf in the new year. 

Foe by Iain Reid – I was lucky enough to be approved for this personally anticipated book on NetGalley. You can read my book review here

The Cast by Amy Blumenfeld – One of the best contemporary novels; you can read my book review here

The Cold Cold Sea by Linda Huber – Shocking from beginning to end. Read my thoughts from the Blog Tour here

Ponti by Sharlene Teo – I won the ARC of this book in a giveaway, and devoured it. An exceptional debut novel.

Ravens Gathering by Graeme Cumming Read my Blog Tour post here

We Have Always Lived in the Castle and Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson – Why did I never pick up more Shirley Jackson after reading “The Lottery” all those years ago? October may now officially be my “Shirley Jackson Reading Month.” 

The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey Read my book review here

A Break With Charity: A Story About The Salem Witch Trials by Ann Rinaldi – This reminds me: I need to read more Ann Rinaldi. 

A Murder of Crows (The Ravenscourt Tragedies #1) by Annie KirkeRead my book review here

Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver – 2019 will definitely have more Mary Oliver in it. 

This list ended up being longer than I anticipated, but why bother cutting it – I love all of these books. You can see what else I read by browsing my Wrap-Ups here

I spanned a few genres this year, which is both good and not good. Good because I got a taste of a variety of subjects and forms (prose, poetry, essays), not good because my TBR has grown exponentially since I realized I’m interested in more kinds of books than I thought.

I also connected with a number of authors this year through blog tours (thank you Kelly from Love Books Group!) and review requests, and got approved for a few books on NetGalley (and actually sent reviews for a couple of those books), which has made my entire reading experience all the more fun. Like I said at the beginning of this post, 2018 has been my best reading year in a long time. I’m excited to keep this trend going! Which brings me to…

What’s in store for 2019:

Taking into account the number of books I DNF’d this year, I want to increase the number of books I read in 2019, but only by a little. I’m hoping to read 55 books over the course of next year.

As for what specific books I’m going to be reading:

  • My Book of the Month backlist is a literal tower on my bookshelves. I want to read all of the BOTM books I received but have not read in the past year and a half (14 books).
  • I collect the floppy paperback Barnes and Noble Classics, but I’ve read very few of the ones I own. So I’d like to get through those I have before acquiring any more in 2019.
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and if time allows, other books related to the series.
  • Specific Authors:
    • Agatha Christie
    • S.A. Chakraborty
    • Lauren Willig (read why here)
    • Toni Morrison
    • Celeste Ng
    • Neil Gaiman
    • Louisa May Alcott
    • Victor Villaseñor
    • Ann Rinaldi
    • Virginia Woolf
  • Library books and books that I own

For those who don’t know, in 2018 I set out to read all the books I own. I failed tremendously, but in 2019 I am curbing my spending habits. I have more than enough books in my possession, and I am lucky enough to have a superb library so if I am going through a personal-book-reading-slump, I will more than likely find something on those public shelves to read.

I’m not going to draw up very many designated monthly TBR lists, because I’ve learned (over many trials and errors) that I don’t read as much when I do that. Some exceptions may be over the summer months, and I liked reading spooky books in October, so I may decide to do that again this year.

January will be all about catching up on my book review requests and NetGalley backlist, and not only creating the habit of making those books a priority, but acknowledging when I can’t take on more reviews. Wish me luck. 😉

That about wraps up my thoughts on my reading in 2018 and what bookish goals I want to accomplish in the new year. I would love to hear some of your reading and/or book related goals, so make sure to leave a comment below.

Happy reading!


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