Greetings couch explorers and book readers. What were your favorite books of 2018? The ones you hated, liked, or loved? Share them in the comments and let’s talk about it. I’m excited to hear what everyone has been reading!

For me, 2018 became the year of unfinished books. In The Book Whisperer, a teacher shares how she created a culture of literary obsession in a classroom. Want kids to love reading? Teach them it’s okay to drop books and start new ones. I took the lesson to heart. But the few books I did end up finishing this year were amazing. Here are my favorite books of 2018.

You can see all the books I read in 2018 on Goodreads.

Favorite Nonfiction

The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats

Food Explorer is not only my favorite nonfiction this year, but may also be my favorite book of 2018. Daniel Stone’s tribute to David Fairchild is eye-opening and inspiring. Before the age of 30, Fairchild spearheaded – and led – a new branch for Department of Agriculture: the Office of Seed and Plant Introduction. By the end of his career, David Fairchild introduced a head-spinning list of vegetable and fruit varieties he scoured the world for. And Fairchild knew everyone: presidents, Alexander Bell, Thomas Edison…the list goes and on. Fascinating read!

Read more about The Food Explorer >>>

Runner-up: The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History

Nazi Germany stole millions of pieces of art during World War II. The Monuments Men’s task? Get an entire continent’s cultural legacy back before it’s all destroyed. The book is long and detailed, often getting bogged down in information overload, but it’s worth it. And what the Monuments Men discover at the end of the war is mind-boggling…

Favorite Fiction

Mortal Engines

With Mortal Engines hitting (and bombing in) theaters this winter, I decided to read the Mortal Engines Quartet. After reading all four, the first introduction to the world is my favorite. Thousands of years after the 60-minute war, predator cities on wheels hunt each other down. When Tom Natsworthy, a historian apprentice on London, chases down an assassin, he realizes the assassin is a young girl. And Hester Shaw’s smashed-in, hideous face will change his life forever. It’s the perfect mix of fantasy and dystopia, transcending the YA genre and becoming one of my favorite fictional worlds. Mortal Engines is crushingly violent and electrifying gorgeous.

Have you watched the movie yet? Did the movie flop because it really is bad? Or simply because audiences weren’t interested?

Runner-up: The Bear and the Nightingale

I would be hard pressed to find a book I’ve read that’s darker than The Bear and the Nightingale. Gothic and gripping, very few books have put chills down my spine like this one. Vasya can see creatures and spirits that nobody else can, but as the vicious Russian winter sets in, something much darker lurks in the woods. The first book in the Winternight Trilogy, it’s fantasy, folklore, and frightening all at once. Unfortunately, the book builds to such a crescendo, only to end a bit flat. I think if The Bear and the Nightingale was a standalone book – not apart of a trilogy – it would have been much better.

Favorite “Convicting” Book

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

“Convicting” is a weird name for this category, but it works. A sweeping exploration of the internet and it’s consequences, The Shallows made me stop and think about my relationship with the web over and over again. One of the best books I’ve read so far about the relationship between humans and our computers.

Favorite Author (and Illustrator)

Shaun Tan is my favorite discovery this year, and I need an excuse to hype his stuff. My best friends are incredible artists. Although my craft of choice is writing, every time I see incredible drawings, I feel a tinge of…well, shall we call it envy? And nobody gets my envy stoked like Shaun Tan. He not only draws evocative, surreal images but also writes incredible stories to match. Just looking at his work gets my creative juices flowing. Seriously. If you’ve never read or seen anything by him, do yourself a favor and check his work out.

Instagram: @shauncytan
Official website: shauntan.net
Tan’s Books on Goodreads

Turn Over a New Leaf Page

I keep a long “To-Read” list on Goodreads, but here are ten books I’m pumped to crack (in no particular order). What books are you excited to read next year? Something on your list that’s missing on my list?

  1. Educated – I started reading this book at Barnes and Noble, and it looks so so good.
  2. The Last Samurai
  3. Into Thin Air – I found this book at Goodwill and it’s sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. Someone recommended this back last year on My Favorite Books of 2017. Thanks!
  4. Red Rising
  5. Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter – A friend had this book on his coffee table and the title intrigued me. What else can I say?
  6. The Evaporation of Sofi Snow
  7. Murder on the Orient Express
  8. The Book Thief – My cousin highly recommended this book. She promised I would love it, so I’m excited to check it out.
  9. When Breath Becomes Air
  10. The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Join the Conversation

3 Comments

  1. I started the Glass Cage a few months ago, but never finished. 😅 Ah, well, I didn’t read near as much as I would have liked to this past year, so, no books come to mind right now. 😄

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