Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 Books in Review

This year, I set out to read 17 types of books, the main goal being quality over quantity. As far as numbers go, I read 100. As for how many of those books actually met my reading goal, you’ll just have to read and find out!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to be talking about books I didn’t enjoy unless they happened to be a part of my goal. Books that earned a five-star rating are marked.

1) At least one poetry collection. (Not a novel in verse.)

A Boy’s Will, North of Boston, and Mountain Interval by Robert Frost.

Turns out I like selected poems from Robert Frost. There’s maybe one or two of the poems in these books that I remember aside from the famous “The Road Not Taken.” I prefer “Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening” from his New Hampshire collection, but I didn’t make it that far in the complete works.

2) Two rereads.

Yes, I own several books with movie covers, and yes, I like them. Judge me.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (5/5 stars), A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (5/5 stars), Methuselah’s Gift by Mary Elizabeth Edgren (5/5 stars), Stardust by Neil Gaiman, and The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis (5/5 stars).

I think I like rereading books! Maybe I can calm down now? What is this “calm” I write of?

3) Three nonfiction books.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery, Walking Home: A Poet’s Journey by Simon Armitage, The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper (5/5 stars), and the Bad*** Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer.

Since when do I enjoy philosophy books? 2018 apparently.

Also, I have very eclectic taste in nonfiction. I thought I’d read more serious stuff (like astronomy and art) and ended up reading about octopuses. Yep, it’s octopuses not octopi.

The House on Sugar Beach, A Philosophy of Walking, and The Bad*** Librarians are pretty serious though.

4) Four classics.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (American classic), Kindred by Octavia A. Butler (sci-fi classic; totally counts), The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (children’s classic), Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada (German classic), and Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs (American classic).

There I go with the sea creatures again! The Old Man and the Sea explores the joys and trials of fishing, and The Jungle Book even features a story about a sea lion.

5) Five indie-published books.

The Beast of Talesend, The Tomb of the Sea Witch, and The Stroke of Eleven by Kyle Robert Shultz; Colors of Fear and Flames of Courage by Hannah Heath; Embassy by S. Alex Martin; The Crystal Tree by Imogen Elvis; and The Lake of Living Water: A The Firstborn’s Legacy Short Story by Beth Wrangler; Antiheroes by by Kyle Robert Shultz, E.V. Dawson, Hannah Heath, Beth Wangler, Nate Philbrick, J.E. Purrazzi, and K.L. + Pierce; and Masters and Beginners by Daley Downing.

I didn’t mean to pick such short books: the shortest being 19 pages, the longest 356. It just sorta happened. I also think it’s a trend for the indie authors whom I follow to write compact books and short stories. *shrugs*

6) One book published before 1800.

Paradise Regained by John Milton.

Yes, only one. I started it near the end of November, so can you blame me? Having read and wrote on its predecessor, Paradise Lost, for my dissertation, I thought it appropriate to finally pick up this one. Though I wasn’t as drawn to the story as I was in Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained certainly has some excellent principles.

7) One book over 1,000 pages long.

Soooo… I didn’t quite make this one.

Perhaps the longest book I read was Obsidio at 615 pages. The book that felt the longest was probably The Final Empire at 541 pages, and those pages were long. I know neither are thousand-page books, but I did read a total of 29,400 pages this year. In 2019, I’ll start my bigger goals a little earlier, like I did in 2017 with Moby-Dick (Jan. 1 through Aug. 24) and Les Miserables (Oct. 6 through Dec. 12).

Considering how many of my challenges I actually met, I’m pretty proud of myself. Next year maybe I’ll fully meet each goal.

Bonus: Novels in Verse

Audacity by Melanie Crowder, Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough, Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu.

I read my first novel in verse back in 2016, and I’ve been hooked ever since. This one wasn’t an initial goal, but I wrote a whole post on why I like this type of poetry, and I eventually want to write a novel in verse. So I had to read more of them! 

Other Books I Enjoyed

The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen (5/5 stars; see book review)
Ender’s Saga by Orson Scott Card (especially Xenocide; bought the series)
A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole (see book review; bought it)
A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews (see book review; pre-ordered)
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (see book review)
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan (see book review; want to buy)
The Art of Feeling by Laura Tims
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
Beren and Lúthien by J. R. R. Tolkien (bought it)

Looks like I read 16 out of 17 target books. Maybe next year I’ll challenge myself to read more books I actually own. Seriously, not checking out books from the library and forcing myself to read books on my own shelves was hard. Rewarding, but hard all the same.

Let’s chat! What kind of books did you read in 2018? Do we share any books read? What are your reading goals for 2019?



  1. Congrats on finishing all those goals! Getting all but one is pretty impressive.

    I've been on a huge poetry kick this year, especially in the last few weeks. I prefer less traditional poetry than you do, I think; my favorite collections I read were Phantoms as Euphemisms for Disaster by N.L. Shompole and This Way to the Sugar by Hieu Minh Nguyen. I've also been reading a lot more indie this year! My favorite was probably The Reluctant Godfather by Allison Tebo. If you haven't read it yet, I really think you'd like it.

    Eleanor | On the Other Side of Reality

    1. Thanks, Eleanor! I'll be setting my goals a little more realistically next year. Those sound like some interesting books! I'll be sure to check them out.

  2. Thanks for reading "The Bad @ß Librarians of Timbuktu!" It gives you a small venue into what I'm dealing and working with . . . each and every day.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Dad, and thanks for getting the book signed!

  3. Oh that is so cool that you made specific reading goals to tick off! I love that idea! And congrats on getting through them so awesomely (I would fail at the 1000 pages for sure 😂I avoid super long books ahhhh oops😂) And YES for rereads! I'm so addicted to them now and I'm onto my 3rd reread of the year already lmao. My TBR hates me, yes for sure. *whistles innocently*

    Also afjdkslad I'm so happy and flailing that ATPN made your list!!

    1. I had a lot of fun with my goals! Wow, I haven't even finished one book yet this year. Way to go, Cait!