DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. READ THE FINE PRINT.
This year, I made it a personal goal to read 36 books. (In all honesty, my new goal is to read as many words as are necessary to beat my two coworkers’ word counts, but books seems like an easier goal to manage on a day-to-day basis.)
I’m a little behind at this point, a fact that Goodreads likes to remind me of every time I log in to update my progress, but I think 16 books read is still pretty respectable for the year I’ve had so far. You can see all the books I’ve read on Goodreads (and if we aren’t friends yet, go ahead and add me!), but today I thought I would highlight the five best books I’ve read to far in 2018.
Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend
Nevermoor was the first book I read this year, and I was absolutely smitten! I read it for work as part of the Bee’s Bookshelf book club. I was expecting “just a children’s book” despite reviews calling it “the next Harry Potter,” and I was quickly captivated by the engaging writing, inventive plot, and memorable characters.
Morrigan Crow is a fun, refreshingly flawed heroine, and her mentor Jupiter North is mysterious and scatterbrained. I’d recommend this book to kids, teens, and anyone who enjoys unique, witty fantasy writing.
IT by Stephen King
I am not a fan of horror movies. Let me say that again so maybe my husband will hear it. I am not a fan of horror movies. However, when IT came out last summer, it had just enough adorable adolescence and dorky humor to make me forget there was a creepy, man-eating clown in the sewers. Then when I heard they were making a second movie based on the rest of the book, I decided I’d have to read it.
IT is weird. That’s honestly the first word that comes to mind. It’s long, and the writing is unlike anything else I’ve ever read (and that’s including On Writing, one of my favorite writing books). The character development is unreal, and the switching POVs, from when the characters were kids and then adults, really gets you invested in their stories early on. So to summarize, IT is more weird than scary, and it’ll take you a while to read it, but you probably won’t regret it.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
I decided to read this book as part of a list of books for writers that I’ll be debuting on the blog later this year. I’d heard good things about it, and I was excited to find a book from a successful author that focused on writing themes like creativity and inspiration instead of plot structure and getting published.
My first recommendation would be to listen to the audiobook if you can. Gilbert herself reads it, and it makes all of her advice sound motherly and that much more personal. She gives real examples from her life about the struggles writers face and empowers everyone to take their creative outlet by the reins and go! It’s super inspirational and totally worth the read (or listen).
A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
Why yes, I am that girl who watched all seven seasons of Game of Thrones before deciding she needed to read the books. That is typically the opposite of what I strive for, but sometimes things happen for a reason. Case in point, when I got major GoT withdrawals at the end of August, the books were there to help me through it.
I’m taking my time with these since the most recent book came out almost seven years ago, and we don’t yet have a publication date for Winds of Winter. (And did you hear? I’m also a George R.R. Martin when it comes to writing!) I read books one through four in rapid succession, which makes it difficult to differentiate between them, but the one thing I will say is that they just keep getting better. More characters, more narrative arcs, more points of view, but I can’t stop coming back for more.
Next up is A Dance with Dragons, and while it’s been difficult to keep up with in my sporadic reading schedule of late, I’m determined to finish it by the end of the summer.
Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman
(Before you get any ideas, Mom, I’m not pregnant.)
I don’t remember where I first heard about this book, but I thought it sounded like a fascinating cultural study, and it definitely was. I imagine parenting books are generally overwhelming with lots of “no” and “don’t” and “that’s how you ruin your child forever,” but this was like discussing kids over a cup of coffee with a good friend. Pamela is not perfect, and she doesn’t attempt to be. She’s just there to guide you through whatever you want be interested in using from her vast knowledge of French parenting.
Things I will definitely consider whenever I decide to have children of my own: the French method for getting children to sleep through the night at four months old, the process for introducing young kids to a variety of foods, and their whole take on discipline, structure, and what children need from their parents to be successful and secure. Spencer will definitely have to read the short addendum with 100 tips taken from the book.
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What are the top five books you’ve read so far in 2018? My tbr pile is itching for a few more titles!