Thursday, July 25, 2019

2018 Reading // Wait, It's Already 2019?

I know it’s a little late for a 2018 reading recap, but I am moving at my own pace, so fight me. Last year, I didn’t read as many books as I had planned. In fact, I ended up changing my Goodreads challenge from one hundred books to eighty. I spent the majority of 2018 (and 2017, but I digress) in a reading and writing slump, and it wasn’t until around September that I felt like I was picking up speed on either front. After work, sometimes the easiest thing was just to climb into bed and let myself get thoroughly distracted by Youtube. 

But I did end up reading a lot of books that were new to me, and I branched out from my typical genres. I read more adult books, especially thrillers, and I even developed the taste for nonfiction.

As far as I can break down the numbers in my current coffee-induced trance, I’m pretty sure I read:

Forty-eight books on Kindle

Twelve books on audio (although five of those were rereads of the same book, Wolf in White Van, which requires a post of its own)

Twenty physical books

Those numbers are a little weird for me. For one, I never used to listen to books on audio. I’m still picky about narrators, but I’m becoming more comfortable with that platform. I did have to switch my A
udible subscription to once every other month, though, because I have a backlog of over thirty audiobooks. (They were on sale, okay.) 

Since I’ve always been a physical book person, why did I read more on Kindle last year? Primarily for convenience. It’s a lot easier to travel with your phone or your Kindle if you’re the kind of person who a) worries about damaging your physical copies, and b) would prefer to carry multiple books at once. There’s also the small matter that I don’t like reading books in public. I’m still too nervous about being judged on what I’m reading, even though that’s not really something I should worry about, and there’s also the fact that people often take what you’re reading as a conversation starter when you just want to be left alone.

There’s no way to talk about every single book I read last year—the post would be too long. But I want to highlight a few of the ones that stood out for various reasons.

The Man From the Train, by Bill James, was my first serial killer book in a while, and probably you are going to call the police on me for saying this, but it was so good. The research was thorough and impressive, and the psychology was fascinating. In fact, I liked it so much I decided to read another of James’ books, Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence, which I ended up finding pretty disappointing. As far as the material goes, a lot of it was interesting, from the cases he covered to his ideas for reforming the prison system. But I couldn’t help but notice how, when critiquing popular crime books, he always comes down harder on female authors, even going so far as to call one a bimbo. Most of his criticisms weren’t actually helpful for determining whether or not I would want to read those books. Stuff like that leaves me a little sick to my stomach, not because I don’t think he’s allowed to have an opinion, but because I have encountered too many men like that who take it even further.

Moving on to happier things, A Thousand Perfect Notes was my first chance to read a full novel by Cait @ PaperFury, and I loved it. She did an excellent job handling the sensitive topic of abuse while balancing out her story with moments of light and beauty. Right now, I'm halfway through her second book, The Boy Who Steals Houses, which is phenomenal as well. Her blog posts are generally humorous and easy going, and you can see that same stamp in her novels as well, but they are also darker and deeper and so much more emotional. Just yeah, go read them. Please. 

Of course we can’t forget about Obsidio, the conclusion to the Illuminae Files, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It, too, was amazing. I mean, I’m not going to lie, there were several plot devices they used in the other two books which robbed some of the suspense, but I give Kaufman and Kristoff a pass because their writing was stellar, as always. I don’t know what it is about that duo, but they’ve got it going on. Obsidio was full of snark and humor and heartbreak, and I enjoyed reading the physical copy as well as the audio version.

Usually I set my own pace in reading. I make my TBR based on the books that look good to me. If someone recommends a book, I put it on the list and then, usually, it gets buried by other books I would prefer. But last year I started prioritizing recommendations, and I discovered a whole new side to reading. It’s been a great way to broaden my horizons, and even though some of these books were not ones I would ordinarily pick up, it gave me a chance to appreciate stories outside my comfort zone. That’s how I ended up reading Twilight Eyes, by Dean Koontz, and Floating Dragon, by Peter Straub, two of my coworker’s favorite books. They weren’t something I would ordinarily pick up in a bookstore, but they were still enjoyable, and it was fun trying something new.

I also read the Southern Reach trilogy after Maggie Stiefvater recommended it on Twitter, which turned out to be really good timing, considering the movie came out as I was reading book two. (If you’re wondering how they compare, the movie was okay, but the books were better—weirder and more cerebral.) I’m in the middle of rereading the trilogy, because they feel like the sort of stories you need to reread to fully process. Also, the writing style is weird and intricate and amazing.

As far as everything else I read in 2018, you can find the full list here.

What were some books that stood out to you last year? Have you ever had a favorite book ruined by the author? What are some books you hoped to read last year, but didn't? 


  1. OOOHHH The Southern Reach Trilogy. I haven't had the pleasure of checking that out yet.

  2. Oh also...I googled Out of Coffee...and was immediately offered a ton of coffee maker's by Amazon.

  3. I have Cait's first book, but I still need to read it. I think it might be my next. I'm really excited for it, but I have this bad habit of putting off the books I most want to read. -_-

    Also, The Southern Reaches sounds really good. I might have to add that to my list.

    I'm super picky about audiobook narrators too which is why I don't listen to them often. But when I find one I like, I love audiobooks. Neil Gaiman reads some of his own, and he did all these different British accents in The Graveyard Book. Loved that one! I've always wanted an Audible subscription, so maybe sometime I'll get one. (I listen to this podcast called Writing Excuses, and they're always advertising it.)

  4. Wow! 80 is few for you?! I can barely read 20 books a year. I’m such a slow reader. XD