Goodreads tells me that I read 62 books in 2018. I’m not sure how that’s possible, as I definitely did not read more than a book a week for the full year. I did have several trips built into the year, which always increases my page count. My May trip to Aruba with J. for busines was a particularly good reading week. This tells me that I should seek out more pleasant surroundings (and fruity cocktails) whenever I want to improve my reading habits.
It’s already nearly a month into 2019, but I guess it’s not too late to recap the previous year and highlight the best reads. Here is a list of the books I rated as five star reads (not including re-reads). A five star is usually a rare honor for me. It takes a special book to rise above the four star, a rating I tend to give super-generously. A five star read, in my book(!), is one that does what it is supposed to do in the best possible way. A thriller that actually thrills, a comedic satire that really gets the details right, or a young adult book I would rush to put in the hands of a student right this very minute. Five stars are also ones that really speak to where I am currently and find ways into my conversations and life choices. They are the ones that stick with me, and feel like “crap, I should have written that one,” or “hello there, old friend.” Each of these books did that for me in one way or another this year.
- The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
- Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
- Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
- Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
- Scape; Accompanied by Angels by Luci Shaw (two titles, but I inhaled them both at the same time)
- Circe by Madeline Miller
- Heating and Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly
8. Barking to the Choir by Gregory Boyle
Last year I did more re-reading than I normally do. The fact that three of those re-reads ended up also receiving five stars made me think I should revisit old favorites more often. I’m always worried a title might not hold up as well as it did when I first met it, but these three were just as lovely the second time around. Will be looking around my shelves to see if I can find any other candidates for re-acquaintance.
- The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
- State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
- Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo.
Looking back over my list, there were a few four star reads that rose to the top in my feelings of fondness for them. These, too, will stick with me into the future, I think. They may be a little more uneven than the others, or have some issue that just didn’t quite work, or maybe they were just a little on the lighter side than those mentioned previously. Either way, they are still honorable mentions in my reading life from 2018.
- The Good House by Ann Leary (great on audio!)
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
- Vox by Christina Dalcher
- Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence
- Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
- A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
- Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
- Sourdough by Robin Sloan