Last year, in 2017, I read 36 books, which was way more than I normally read in a single year. So, because I like a challenge, especially a challenge against myself, I decided to round that number up to the nearest 50 and make 50 books my goal for the year. I am not a super-fast reader. I do most of my reading at night before bed, so 50 seemed like a reeeeally big goal.
But you know what? I did it!
The books of 2018 were all over the place for me and I definitely read some great ones and some….not so great books. I love reading about what people read for the year and their favorite books. This post is my list!
Learning Well LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Affiliate links from Amazon or other programs are used on this website. For more info, please refer to our disclosure statement.
I divided up my list into three sections: read alouds to the kids, fiction, and non-fiction. Some of the books on the list have (**). I joined a book club partway through the year and these were book club picks. Within the list, I marked some of my favorites and not-so-favorites from the year.
If you check out last year’s book list post, you can see how I squeeze in reading throughout the day.
Get the 6 Secrets to a Simpler Mom Life
The Books of 2018: What the Kids and I Read Together
- The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
2. The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket // My kids and I loved this series! We also love the series they’ve created on Netflix too, which is very true to the books. I will admit that the last three books in the series got a little long for me…hard to keep track of all the “schisms” and “treachery.”
9. Sophia’s War by Avi // My kids and I really loved this book. It was placed in the Revolutionary War time about a teenage girl who really has to do some hard things for her family…spying, sneaking around, go on a dangerous mission. It was a great story.
11. The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism and Treachery by Steve Sheinkin // My boys really enjoyed this book. It was actually quite brutal in some parts. It shows all sides of Benedict Arnold, which we really liked.
13. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters by Jeanne Birdsall // My ten-year-old, Sophia got totally hooked on these this year! We listened to the first couple together, which we really enjoyed, and she read the others herself.
More Read Alouds…
15. A Gathering of Days by Joan W. Blos // My kids and I were actually kind of bored with this book, which I hate to say! It just was not our favorite. It was set up in journal-style about a girl and her family living in Colonial times.
18. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM by Robert C. O’Brien // I was really excited to read this one and watch the awesome 80’s adaptation too! The book was actually a lot better than I thought it was going to be–it was so exciting!
19. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie // I am so sad that we didn’t enjoy this book. I love Agatha Christie, but this one just had so many characters and interviews with suspects that for us, it just got really long. We did enjoy watching the movie together at the end though.
20. James Harriot’s Cat Stories // This was such a delightful book! We had never read James Harriot before, but I’m so glad I grabbed this one on Audible. James Harriot lived in England on the countryside and was a vet. This is simply a compilation of all his cat stories! His writing style is just so lovely.
22. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson // Reread (x20ish) for us–one of our very favorites. 🙂
Fictional Books of 2018
My style for fictional books really falls into two categories: historical fiction and crime/suspense novels. I do deviate from that sometimes, but my go-to picks are usually those two categories.
23. O Pioneers!** by Willa Cather // I actually really enjoyed this book about a woman trying to make her way on the prairie in Nebraska. She was a tough woman and there was even a bit of suspense, which I loved!
25. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks // This book was about a woman, an ex-wife watching her ex-husband get ready to marry another woman. There were so many twists in this book, which I loved!
30. In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware // Of the two Ruth Ware books I read this year, this was my pick. It was about a woman who barely leaves her home, as she is a busy writer, goes to the bachelorette party of an old friend out in a cabin in the woods. Ya, you can imagine the set up here. Things get weird in a hurry.
More Fictional Books of 2018
31. A Tale of Two Cities ** by Charles Dickens // I’m sorry Charles Dickens, but I really did not like this book. It was set during the French Revolution and it just seemed to drag on and on…and on.
33. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine** by Gail Honeyman // This is not normally the book I would choose off the shelf, but I’m so glad I read it this year. Eleanor had a hard upbringing. She works a simple job, has zero friends, and leads a pretty sad life to be honest. But I loved this book because she meets a guy in her office who is just so kind and it really changes her life. Some reviews call this book “hilarious,” which I didn’t really see that part. She is very quirky and says some funny things for sure, but it’s actually a quite serious book. I loved it!
34. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah // This was another great read this year. A Vietnam-Vet, suffering from all kinds of problems, decides to take her daughter and wife to live in Alaska in the 70’s. The area they move to is barely developed and they’re living off the land with zero experience.
The dad already suffers from emotional stress and anger issues, so moving to this stressful location does not do great things for his psyche if you catch my drift. My only complaint with this book is that I don’t think the dad was suffering from PTSD. He was a horrible alcoholic and abusive before he went to war, so I didn’t like that they blamed all his crazy behavior on PTSD. This seemed like more than that, in my non-professional opinion.
35. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell // I love Lisa Jewell, and this book was one of my favorites from her. A mother’s life basically falls apart when her teenage daughter goes missing. There’s a lot of twists along the way, which I love.
Non-Fictional Books of 2018
38. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara // I really enjoyed this book! I had never heard of the Golden State Killer, even though I listen to tons of true crime podcasts. This book totally freaked me out, it was so detailed! The crimes happened from 1976-1986 around the Sacramento, CA area. This guy was so smooth and creepy and almost a professional! I am happy to report that about a month after I read this book, they actually finally found the guy! An ex-cop living a quiet life in a suburb in California. That was the best twist!
41. Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis // I am sorry to report that this book did not move me at all. To me, it was really self-promoting and shallow–maybe this is just not my thing. I read it for the hype, I usually know better.
I do agree though that washing your face is good practice. Twice daily is best.
43. You Can Stay Home with Your Kids! 100 Tips, Tricks, and Ways to Make it Work on a Budget by Erin Odom // Not a ton of new info for me, but some really great tips if you’re a work-out-of-the-house mom who doesn’t thing you can come home. You can!
45. Educated by Tara Westover // Oh my word, this book! One of my favorite of the year! It about a family living in the mountains of Idaho; “homeschooling,” prepping for Y2K, never being immunized, going to the doctor–ever, or basically giving any care to their children. I’m honestly shocked all of the children stayed alive! As Tara grew up and realized how whack her parents were, she was strong enough to have the initiative to do something different with her life. It was really an incredible story.
50. Body Love by Kelly LeVeque // I never read health books, but this one was really, really good. I actually bought it after I borrowed it from the library. Kelly lays out a really do-able plan for healthy eating and losing weight. Her ideas on health are so easy and doable–not a crazy diet that you could never stick to. I’ve been making the smoothies she recommends for breakfasts for months and loving them! I am actually reading through this again and applying more of her ideas to my life. She backs up all her writing with tons of research and science, which I love too. Great book!
Living Your Best Reading Life
How’d you do in 2018? Did you read a lot of great books? Overall, I think I had a really good reading year. Going into 2019, I think I’m going to stick to my 50-book goal. It pushes me to read a lot but doesn’t stress me out. Let’s see if I can hit it again!
I would LOVE to hear your best (and worst!) books of 2018! Let me know in the comments below!