2018: My Year in Books
My goal for 2018 was to read 50 books by today, December 31. A combination of having a lot going on and my bad habit of reading multiple books at once led me to finish a grand total of 41 books this year, only nine books shy of my goal. While I have several books in the “almost done” stages, I’d rather spend the last day of 2018 relaxing and enjoying my time with family rather than scrambling to speed read the final pages of a stack of fiction and nonfiction. I’m happy with my reading achievements this year, and I’ve read so many great books along the way.
Favorite Reads of 2018
If you’re looking for something to read in the new year, here are my top picks from what I read in 2018.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
If you like whimsy, magic, and intrigue, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a great choice. I listened to the audio book narrated by Jim Dale, and I struggled to press “pause,” even to have family meals or go to bed. I just wanted to keep listening to learn more about the quirky, magical world of the Cirque du Rev — the Circus of Dreams that serves as the main backdrop of the story. In a world where few people truly believe in magic, two old magicians put on a competition to see which of their pupils can out perform the other in a vague yet all-encompassing test of magical abilities.
A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney
A modern retelling of the Alice in Wonderland story, A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney introduces us to Alice, a 17-year-old black girl who gets caught up in the conflict between the Nightmares of Wonderland and the people trying to keep Earth free of those terrors. As if dealing with other-worldly terrors isn’t enough, Alice must also confront personal loss, friend and family drama, and systemic racism and violence. I also listened to the audio book edition of this YA novel, and it didn’t disappoint. Alice comes across as a real, multi-dimensional teenage girl who is flawed and relatable despite her special abilities. The only downside to finishing this book is that the sequel comes out sometime in 2019, so you’ll have to wait to find out how the story continues.
The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
Amanda Palmer’s memoir and self-help book, The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help, is a great read for the new year. I listened to the audio book, which is read by Palmer herself. A perk of reading the audio book edition is that several of Palmer’s songs are featured in between chapters or sections of the book. Through her reflections on her life experiences as an artist coming into her own, she reinforces the idea that it’s okay to ask for help when you need it — and you don’t need to feel guilty or inferior for asking. As an added bonus for Neil Gaiman fans like myself, she includes several anecdotes about their relationship. The Art of Asking is memoir and empowerment manifesto combined.