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book review, of interest

Best in Books – 2018 Edition

With the holidays just around the corner and 2019 a mere two weeks away, it’s the perfect time to look back at the year behind as well as look forward to the year ahead. I came across this survey via Never Enough Novels and couldn’t wait to get in on the fun! I also want to give a shoutout to The Perpetual Page Turner, who has been doing this annual year-end survey for 9 years now! Without further ado, my 2018 in review:

2018 READING STATS

Number Of Books You Read: 103 (as of 12/18)

Number of Re-Reads: None. I almost never re-read books, but I’m hoping to fix that next year by doing my best to re-read at least one book per month.

Genre You Read The Most From: Literary Fiction

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*A note: In most cases, the links below will go out to my full length review, if you’d like to read more of my thoughts on the book and/or a fun book-inspired recipe!

1. Best book you read In 2018? My favorite fiction is a tie between The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and The Dream Daughter — I gave them both 5 stars and loved them for very different reasons.

My favorite nonfiction was Educated by Tara Westover, which exceeded expectations by a bajillion. If you haven’t read it yet, you definitely should! (Plus, it’s awesome for book club discussions!)  

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t? A Spark of Light. I didn’t like the backwards structure, and I was overwhelmed by characters — unable to truly connect to any of them.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? I was surprised that I enjoyed Tommy Orange’s There There as much as I did. It was pretty dark and had a non-traditional format (which I’ve been accused of disliking in the past). I felt like I learned a lot about modern American Indians, and by the end, I was fully immersed.

4. Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)? Probably Evelyn Hugo. It was one of the first books I read this year, and I’ve talked about it non-stop. I’ve gotten several friends to read it (through being obnoxious about it and gifting copies) and helped it get picked for our office book club as well.

5. Best series you started in 2018? I don’t usually read series (except Harry Potter on repeat), but I did recently finish Marilla of Green Gables, which pairs nicely with the existing Anne of Green Gables series.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018? I finally read Louise Miller this year (The Late Bloomers’ Club) and can’t wait to pick up more by her! In fact, The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living just came in for me at the library. Her books combine quirky, lovable characters with a charming setting and wonderful food descriptions to boot.  

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? Killers of Flower Moon. I never would’ve picked this true crime nonfiction book if it weren’t for my office’s diversity book club (and actually actively campaigned for a different choice), but I LOVED it. Everyone should read this book, for sure.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? The Dream Daughter wasn’t action-packed or thrilling, but I couldn’t put it down. I was riveted beginning to end. Loved loved loved it.

9. Book you read In 2018 that you would be MOST likely to re-read next year? I don’t re-read as rule, but I am trying to work some re-reading into my schedule next year… That being said, probably nothing from this year because I just read it!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018? I thought Good Morning, Midnight had a beautiful cover.

11. Most memorable character of 2018? This might be a little influenced by recency, but I think Kya from Where the Crawdads Sing will stay with me for a while.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018? Fatima Farheen Mirza’s A Place For Us, hands down.

13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2018? If you’re not familiar with my blog, I’m a pretty obsessed with feminist dystopias. They’re a little scary (and sometimes infuriating) but also thought-provoking. I thought both Red Clocks by Lena Zumas and Vox by Christina Dalcher fit that bill perfectly.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read? Brave New World. I think this is often assigned reading for most, but somehow I missed it. I’m actually kind of bummed I didn’t read it for a class because I think I would have benefited from some sort of discussion/analysis to help me wrap my head around it. (Without, I wasn’t really a fan. It’s bizarre.)

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read In 2018? I normally don’t keep track of these things, but this year I did happen to jot down two quotes I stumbled upon. I love them both and can’t decide on just one favorite:

Books were, and always would be, something a little magic and something to respect.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

She told me the world was made of stories, nothing else, just stories, and stories about stories.
There There by Tommy Orange

16. Shortest & longest book you read In 2018?

Shortest = The Little Prince (93 pages) as part of The Literary Feast Reading Challenge, a childhood classic I’d never read

Longest = Night Film (624 pages) as part of The Book Challenge by Erin, books that start with the letter “N”… and to think I read it all in one day. Insane.

17. Book that shocked you the most (because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)? Bird Box — I can’t really give anything away, but I was shocked towards the end. I’m also mostly just shocked that I even read it! Thankfully, it wasn’t as scary as I anticipated.

18. Favorite book you read in 2018 from an author you’ve read previously Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, which I adored, even though I didn’t love the book I’d read by her previously: Commonwealth — also good, but just okay

19. Best book you read in 2018 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure/bookstagram, etc.? I don’t normally read romance novels, but I read two sort of “soft” romance (I call them rom-com) novels because of an intense number of online recommendations. I read The Wedding Date 100% because of Liberty Hardy gushing about it on the All the Books! podcast, and I read The Hating Game entirely because basically everyone in my online book club group on Facebook was obsessed with it. I thought both novels were super entertaining, and I’m glad I took the chance. 🙂

20. Best 2018 debut you read? This is super hard! 2018 was an amazing year for debuts. Some of my top choices would be: A Place For UsThere There, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and Where the Crawdads Sing (fiction debut)

21. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read? Relish: My Life in the Kitchen because as a graphic novel about food, how could it not?  

22. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2018? I am not a crier when I read — almost ever — so when I started tearing up at the end of A Place For Us, I was surprised to say the least. The aforementioned beautiful writing certainly helped the story and characters come to life for me; I definitely connected with this one!

23. Hidden gem of the year? The Coincidence Makers — I haven’t heard much about it before or since I read it, but it’s definitely worth picking up

24. Book that crushed your soul? Maybe Castle of Water? I still love it though.

25. Most unique book you read in 2018? I thought The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, which I just read for book club, was super unique in format and (after reading an author interview) origin as well.

 

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2018? I’m a huge fan of Never Enough Novels, and I’m so excited she led me to Literary Quicksand as well.

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2018? Probably The Dream Daughter + Copycat Mexican Pizzas, and mostly just because I loved the book AND the recipe. I’ve never been more excited to make a non-ice cream recipe and it turned out way better than expected. The whole experience was fun, from beginning to end.

3. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, etc.)? I need to try to get more real life bookish events, but until then, I absolutely loved participating in the Thanksgiving Readathon, hosted this year by Death by Tsundoku! It’s such a whirlwind, but so much fun.

4. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018? I was so excited to win the Unique Blogger Award this year, and incredibly humbled by all the love of followers and family and friends who helped vote me in.

5. Most popular post this year on your blog (whether it be by comments or views)? It’s probably no surprise — given the Netflix movie — but my most popular post this year was my review of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society with the Potato Peel Pie Recipe. It had almost 4,500 views!  

6. Post you wished got a little more love? The International Women’s Day collaboration. I was super excited to coordinate with 4 other female bloggers and share some of my favorite picks featuring strong women in fiction. I thought the topic was great, the other bloggers were great, and of course, the books were great.

7.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? I participated in two Book Challenges by Erin this year (one from January through April and one from July through October). I completed both of them and even won the July edition by finishing all 10 books in the first 10 days (which was nutso; I don’t think I need to repeat that marathon reading session ever again).

I also participated in The Literary Feast Reading Challenge and have so far completed every month except April, where I gave up because I picked a too-intimidating country (North Korea) and was too stressed out at work to power through such a stressful read.

 

Looking Ahead Banner

1. One book you didn’t get to in 2018 but will be your number one priority in 2019? I was really hoping to read Delicious! by Ruth Reichl, but so far haven’t gotten to it (though there’s still time!). If I don’t make it in the next week, it’ll be one of the first ones I pick up.

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2019 (non-debut)? Even though it’s gotten mixed reviews, I’m looking forward to picking up The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh. I can’t resist feminist dystopias.

3. 2019 debut you are most anticipating? I SO badly want to read The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray, and I was really bummed to find out the other day I wasn’t granted an ACR through NetGalley. I guess I’ll just wait patiently…

4. Series ending/a sequel you are most anticipating in 2019? Definitely Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale (per my obsession with feminist dystopias)

5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life In 2019? I really want to do a 6-part review and recipe series based on the book What She Ate. I was hoping to get to this year but instead got caught up in other things… I’m planning to make it a priority for next year.  

Share your answers to some or all of these book survey questions in the comments below!

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This post contains affiliate links. This does not increase the price you pay, but I may receive a small commission for any products you choose to buy. Purchases made through affiliate links help to cover my blogging costs. Full disclosure here.

 

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8 Comments

  • Reply Rachel @ Never Enough Novels December 18, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    I’m so glad you filled this out because this was a ton of fun to read. Louise Miller is probably the #1 author I want to read next year. You have convinced me to give Evelyn Hugo a shot too. I agree that being obnoxious can be a great motivator : ) I need to keep an eye out for real life bookish events, so if you find a good way to search for them or get notified when authors are in town let me know!

    • Reply Megan December 18, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      Rachel, you will love Louise Miller! Can’t wait to read your reviews 🙂

      And I’m so excited to hear what you think of Evelyn… except also a little nervous. (I hope you like it!)

  • Reply Sarah December 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    What a fun post! We enjoyed so man of the same books. I am so intrigued by The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls – looks great. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Natasha Stone December 22, 2018 at 11:20 am

    I could answer A Place for Us to so many of these questions!! Favorite fiction, a book that made me cry, a book I keep pushing people to read, most surprising, favorite new author. Hahahahaha

    • Reply Megan December 22, 2018 at 1:16 pm

      I’m with you there! It was so good. I’ve already been gifting it this year for Christmas – MORE PEOPLE READ IT!

  • Reply Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku December 24, 2018 at 10:15 am

    I love this survey! It’s quite long, but I learned so much about you and got some incredible recommendations. 🙂 What perfect timing for my 2019 book club selections…

    I’m with you on not wanting to pick up true crime non-fiction. Why did you enjoy Killers of Flower Moon?

    Hahaha! I am so excited to read your Potato Peel Pie recipe! XD That’s side splitting. Well, work with what you’ve got, right? 😉

    I love how you shared your posts with every answer. I won’t be able to pull that off, as I’ve read many more books than I’ve published reviews for. O_o But that’s okay! This really helped connect me with other posts of yours. I love that!

  • Reply ericarobyn December 24, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    I love this tag! It looks like you had a great 2018!! <3

    Erica | Erica Robyn Reads

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