2018: My Year in Skirt Sports
An Ode to Winter Hiking

My Year in Books: the 2018 Edition

I felt like it was a really great year for reading for me...I read a lot of books that left me thinking about some things in my life and I discovered books that held answers to questions I didn't realize I had until I found the answers.

2018 books

My goal for 2019 is just, as always, to read more. But I have also set myself the goal of reading at least one poem a day, not online or in my email, but a poem in a printed book. I'm starting with the current Best American Poetry (as soon as it arrives from Amazon; the last few years Costco has had it but, alas, not this year). I want to share more of my book reviews on my Instagram page and maybe get some more reading selfies.

But before I jump into 2019, here's the list of all the books I finished in 2018, with links to my blog posts. (There were many more I started but didn't finish, for different reasons.) This year I'm dividing what I read into genres, just for fun.

Young Adult

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway: adoption from two sides of the triangle. One of my favorite young adult novels I've ever read. Definitely my favorite YA in 2018.

Half-Witch by John Schaffstall: the last book I read in 2018, and it was just my type of YA fantasy.

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti: Dumb title, excellent, excellent YA novel about a girl who runs across the country (Seattle to Washington DC) to process a trauma.

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (sequel to Strange the Dreamer): very romantic fantasy, conclusion to the duology.

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor (a companion novel to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series): A quick read about Zuzana and Mik's first, magical date. Love!

The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby: girl abandons Instagram and hikes the John Muir Trail.

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman: I almost always enjoy books about a character taking a road trip. Fantasy that is a companion novel (but not a sequel) to Hartman's other YA books.

Wild Bird by Wendelyn Van Draanen: Wilderness recovery


The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: An exploration of Russian fairy tales. I wasn't sure I'd love it but it was fantastic.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro: I re-read this for our library book group, so I could lead the discussion, and I loved it just as much the second time around.

Circe by Madeline Miller: revisiting the witch of The Odyssey, except this is fully Circe's story. My favorite book of 2018.

Elevation by Stephen King. A man discovers that gravity's grip on him is beginning to dissolve. A fast, sweet read, not scary at all, it will make you consider mortality and what you are doing with yours.

What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine: more a magic realism/history blend than a traditional fantasy. I loved many things about this, but the end was anti-climatic. (Audio)

Science Fiction

Fledgling by Octavia Butler: Vampires in a science fiction vein; "read more by Octavia Butler" is high on my to-do list! 

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich: Dystopia/Post apocalyptic blend. Beautifully written but the end felt weak.

The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper: I continue to think about this, long after I read it. A post-apocalyptic novel in which the world after a nuclear cataclysm is rearranged: women control the cities, and men live in garrisons outside of them, training for war. This is thought-provoking and disturbing science fiction I wish more people had read so I could talk to them about it.

The Power by Naomi Alderman: I cannot stop thinking about this feminist apocalypse novel; I am not seeing everywhere the real effects of women's lack of power in our society. SO GOOD.

Contemporary Fiction

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones: an African American man is arrested for a rape he didn't commit. One of my 2018 favorites.

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy: parents lose their kids while on an off-ship cruise outing. Hit me right in the parent-terrors spot.

Heather, The Totality by Matthew Weiner: New York/Parenting/Adolescence. Hard to qualify, but I liked it.


American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrence Hayes: so good. One of my favorite poetry reading experiences of my whole life, let alone 2018. 

The Carrying by Ada Limon: the only book I finished this year but didn't write about. WHY??? I loved it, as I loved her previous book Bright Dead Things

Good Bones by Maggie Smith: restored my faith in poetry about motherhood.

Historical Fiction

Eternal Life by Dara Horn: I wasn't sure where to put this...it is sort-of historical fiction, but it's also contemporary, and it's magical realism, all rolled in to one amazing book. Rachel makes a pact with God that means she lives forever...Seriously. This was so good, on so many different levels, motherhood and faith and the power of story and what our lives even mean. 

The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman: I learned a part of history I didn't previously know, about Canada's process of putting orphans into insane asylums, whether or not the orphans actually had mental health issues. So sad. A little more fluffy than I usually read.

The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman: I loved this generational novel about the painter Pissaro and his family.

So: I only read 26 books this year, which is the fewest I've finished in some time. But there were very few I didn't really, thoroughly enjoy, so I'll still take this as a great reading year! What did you read and love in 2018?

If you're curious what I've read in previous years, here are some older lists too:






 Stephanie Howell

I see we have several faves in common! The Power is at the top of my list for this year!

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