A Look Back at My 2018 Reading Year
2018 has been a really interesting reading year for me. I thought 2017 was a good year because I read 81 books last year, so I set my goal for 2018 at 80 books. Then I discovered romance. That completely changed my reading life this year, and in the best way. As of now, I’ve read 180 books (and still have more to go before the end of the year). Of those 180 (and counting!), about 100 qualify as romance, but if you don’t include romance, then I’m roughly in the same spot as last year. I did not plan to read as much as I have, but nevertheless, it has been a super fun reading year.
Since I started reading romance, most of the books I’ve found have been because of recommendations. I follow a lot of romance writers and readers on Twitter, and they helped me discover new authors and books, and any time there is a really good deal (which is often!). I discovered that I’m a sucker for anything Penny Reid writes; her Winston Brothers series is incredible. I’ve probably reread the series three or four times this year. I was reluctant about historical romance, and then read Sarah MacLean’s Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake and fell in love with all of her books and characters (Callie and Ralston are everything.). I adored Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date and The Proposal; both were adorable and steamy. I read a lot of great romance, and read some not so great ones, but I realized that at the end of most days, reading about two people falling in love and living happily ever after makes me happy and a whole lot less stressed. And you know what? There is nothing wrong with that; no one should be ashamed to read romance.
One of my 2018 reading goals was to read more non-fiction; well that didn’t quite go as planned. I read some, but not a lot, mostly memoirs or essay collections. One of my favorite non-fiction books was Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. I read this shortly after his death, and was completely surprised by how great of a storyteller he is. His early culinary days were bonkers, but he wrote about them in such a compelling way. I also loved The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs; this is said to be the female version of When Breath Becomes Air (which is one of my all-time favorites and a book that everyone needs to read). I sobbed my way through it, but it was completely worth it. I also read a lot of Joan Didion this year and am so glad I did. She is prolific and so well-known, but I really enjoyed her two grief memoirs (Is enjoyed the right term? Probably not, but you know what I mean.), The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights.
I wanted to make an effort to read more diversely this year, and I think I made good progress on that front. I definitely could be doing more and will continue to seek out authors of color and authors with different experiences. I read Celeste Ng’s two books, Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You, and both were fantastic. Celeste Ng is a phenomenal writer; reading about Chinese-American kids in the 1970s or about interracial adoption in the 1990s could be difficult subject matter, but Ng handles these issues so beautifully. I also read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie; I had heard great things about it for several years, and it definitely lived up to the hype. Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient was delightful; not only is Michael Vietnamese, but the heroine Stella is autistic, like Hoang herself. I also loved both Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (gah, Peter Kavinsky) and Sherry Thomas’ Lady Sherlock series. Both series are amazing, and I cannot recommend them enough. English is not Sherry Thomas’ first language, and let me tell you, writing a Sherlock Holmes story in Victorian England in a language that isn’t your first is quite the accomplishment.
In 2018, I wanted to make my Unread Shelf a priority. You can find out how well that went here, here, and here. Long story short, it went okay. But in all seriousness, 2018 was my best reading year yet. I read a ton of great books, and be on the lookout for my favorites of 2018 coming to the blog shortly. Can’t wait to see what next year has in store; cheers to a great reading year in 2019!
What trends did you notice about your 2018 reading life?