favorite books of 2018

07 January 2019

2018 was one of the best reading years I've had in my whole life.

When the year started I had intended to set my reading goal at 50. It seemed like a nice, attainable number and I was ready to conquer it. However, I had a burst of ambition run through me as I, for some unknown reason, set my goal to 60 without hesitation. I don't know what came over me, but I went with it.

Now here we are. 2018 has come to an end, and I was not only able to achieve my lofty goal of 60 books, but I was able to exceed and finish with a grand total of 71 books.

One of my favorite parts of the new year is looking back specifically on my reading and how I've changed as a reader.

With everything that happened this past year, I honestly have no idea how I found time to read so much, but I'm so happy I did. With each year reading becomes more and more special to me. I think I  became an escapist reader this year. There were so many times when I turned to books to find stress relief, and it was so comforting to me.

I also had the opportunity to be apart of a book launch this year. I've attempted to keep a bookstagram account (I sort of failed at that though.) I also tried to be more creative with the bookish content I put out on my blog.

Each year I feel like I grow as a reader. I read more, I try different genres, I explore new authors, and I discover new all time favorites.

This year was no exception.

This whole year I've been anticipating making my favorite books wrap up list with so much excitement. It was hard to put them all together in a coherent list, but I've read so many amazing stories that need to be proclaimed from the mountaintops!

These are my top 10 favorite books of 2018.

1. A  T R E E  G R O W S  I N  B R O O K L Y N  -  B E T T Y  S M I T H

This is a book that has come to mean so much to me. I read it at the perfect time in my life, when things were shifting so fast and I wasn't able to process it all. I found such a kindred spirit in Francie Nolan, and I felt like I was coming of age with her. I felt for her family, and shared in their struggles. I cried with them and laughed with them. Reading this story was such a personal experience that I don't think I can do it justice. It has stuck with me since I finished it several months ago, and I think it might very well take the place as my favorite book of all time. 

2. U N B R O K E N  -  L A U R A  H I L L E N B R A N D

One of the first books I read in 2018, and one that I haven't stopped thinking about since. This book was the catalyst to my love of non-fiction in this year. I thought I knew what to expect from this book since I had seen the movie, but it turned out to be so so much more. It's a biography that reads like fiction. I cared so deeply about what happened, and the knowledge that the people in this book really lived, and that everything that took place really happened made me care even more. Louis Zamperini's journey is one of the most inspiring ones I've ever heard of, and his redemption story especially moved me. 

3. S O U R D O U G H  -  R O B I N  S L O A N

I picked up this book on a whim when I saw it at the library, and I'm so glad I did. It's one of the strangest books I've ever read. It was fun, but it also made me think a lot. Robin Sloan's books show how there can both be conflict and camaraderie between old traditions and the new. There's a lot of commentary on technology, and it's contrasted with the whimsical, magical realism aspect of the bread starter. It was an incredibly interesting book and I was able to read through it so fast!

4. T H E  O U T S I D E R S  -  S. E.  H I N T O N

I read this book in a single day. It's less than 200 pages, but in the short time I had reading it, I was able to become so incredibly attached to the characters and what was happening, which was so amazing. S.E. Hinton is a gifted writer and storyteller. I cried at the end. I felt like I could relate with the characters so much, even though I come from a completely different background than them. I haven't stopped thinking about the impact of this book, and I'm starting to believe it's one everyone should read.

5. W E  H A V E  A L W A Y S  L I V E D  I N  T H E  C A S T L E  -  S H I R L E Y  J A C K S O N

Another short book I read in a day. This book solidified Shirley Jackson as a favorite author, after I had already read some of her short stories. This is a dark book about a family who hide away in their house with their secrets. It has the same vibes of a thriller. It's twisted and strange, but I was so pulled in by the writing. The narrative of the unreliable main character makes you feel like you're insane, and as the secrets begin to come to light I couldn't put it down. It gave me chills, and I couldn't even think after it was done.

6. T H E  G I R L  W H O  D R A N K  T H E  M O O N  -  K E L L Y  B A R N H I L L

It's hard for me to find middle grade books that truly capture me, that I enjoy just as much as an adult as I would have if I had read it as a child. This book is so whimsical and unique, but yet, it still had some dark and deep elements that made it so much different than any other children's book I've read. This is a book I can imagine myself reading to my own children someday. It's equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking and I loved it so dearly.

7. A N D  T H E N  T H E R E  W E R E  N O N E  -  A G A T H A  C H R I S T I E

This was the year I decided to finally read an Agatha Christie book, and I was not disappointed! She truly deserves her title as the Queen of Mystery, and this book in particular deserves it's claim of being the best mystery novel of all time. I'm usually good at guessing the end of a book, but this one had my stumped. The revealing didn't come until the very last pages. It blew my mind. This plot was crafted so masterfully and I am in awe. I can't wait to pick up more from Agatha Christie soon. She has definitely become a favorite!

8. T H E  N I G H T I N G A L E  -  K R I S T I N  H A N N A H

I had put off reading this book because it's an extremely hyped book and I was afraid of not liking it. However, I didn't have anything to worry about. I'm almost exhausted on WWII books for awhile, but this one was able to surprise me and make me find more love for WWII novels. It's a slow burning book, but the ending packs a punch and it left a mark when it was finished. I learned more about the occupation of France during the war, and reading about the close sister bond between the characters was such a beautiful and personal experience.

9. T I L L  W E  H A V E  F A C E S  -  C. S.  L E W I S

I've been exploring more of C.S. Lewis' books beyond the Chronicles of Narnia, and it's been amazing. Till We Have Faces is his retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche, but he adds so much depth to the story. There are spiritual themes of how to have faith and believe in something even when you can't see it. The last chapter was especially impactful to me when I read it. I'm sure this is a book I will return back to at some point in order to fully comprehend it.

10. H O W  P A R I S  B E C A M E  P A R I S  -  J O A N  D E J E A N

A non fiction book I picked up in an attempt to learn more about French culture and history. I loved the organization of this book. Each chapter focuses on a certain stereotype about the city of Paris or a significant landmark, and then looks to history to show how that stereotype or landmark came to be. The writing and presentation of the information was so interesting. It was such a quick and easy read, and as a history and French lover, made me want to learn even more.

To see all of the books I read in 2018, as well as thoughts and stats for my reading year as a whole, you can see my year in review on Goodreads!

I can't wait to see what 2019 will bring to my reading, and what books will become new favorites.

I hope you also have an amazing reading year!

What were your favorite books for 2018? What do you recommend I read in 2019?


  1. Definitely have to put some of those on my never-ending TBR (I HAVE to have tons of options or I just don't read).

    I'm so escapist/stress-reading now that I want to reach for well-beloved books. I'm also picking than ever and have put down so many books recently. So I have no new fiction favs. A lot of my nonfiction favs were self-help and niche, nerdy, wouldn't appeal to everyone or only at the right time, but a fun (and deep) one I'd recommend to everyone is Sarah Clarkson's Book Girl: A Journey through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life. I'd seen enough of her blog writing to know I would love it and pre-ordered it (something I've never done, I almost always buy books I know and love).

    1. That sounds good! I'll have to check it out! And being picky isn't a bad thing when it comes to reading. You want to read good things and not waste your time on stuff you won't like!
      Happy 2019!

  2. Congrats on all your reading!! I haven't read Sourdough, but I absolutely loved Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore when I read it a couple years ago. And I'm not a big horror person, but We Have Always Lived in the Castle has nonetheless been on my TBR for a while now. I didn't read as many spooky books as I would have liked to last year, and I'm always on the lookout for novels that will relentlessly give you chills.

    Here's to a great 2019 reading year!

    Eleanor | On the Other Side of Reality

    1. Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore is also amazing. If you loved it I'm sure you'll like Sourdough! We Have Always Lived in the Castle is very light horror, so I'm sure you could handle it!

  3. Added some of these books to my TBR! They sound sooooo good. I'm especially DYING to read The Nightingale. :D

    Lila @ The Red-Hooded Writer

  4. The Nightingale is hyped but it is worth all of it! I hope you love it!

  5. I actually never read "And Then There Were None", but I watched a TV series about it & it was SO cool!! <3
    Khadija | October's Lallu

    1. Oh yeah I definitely need to watch a movie or mini series adaption of And Then There Were None!

  6. My library card (or maybe my TBR pile . . . or maybe me. I'm the one) is crying, but I'm definitely going to put some of these on hold!

    I'm looking through your year in review and I also read the A Series of Unfortunate Events last year, as well as several of the other books you read! And of course, I'm always down for some Agatha Christie.

    Good luck in your bookish endeavors in 2019!

    1. Haha sorry! I hope you enjoy all the recommendations though!
      I really love A Series of Unfortunate Events and hope to finish the series this year!

  7. This is crazy cool, but I read 4 of these books in 2018 too!! A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Sourdough were both suggestions from you, and I loved them. : ) The Nighingale is SO good. I watched the miniseries for And Then There Were None, and I’m looking forward to reading the book this year.


    1. Aw it makes my heart so happy to hear that you were able to enjoy the book I recommended. Your comment made my day!