My Favorite Books of 2018

by - Wednesday, January 02, 2019

2018 was a good year of reading for me. In total I read 70 books, across a variety of genres. I expanded my reading horizons this year in large part thanks to one of the reading challenges I did that encouraged me to try books I normally wouldn't.

According to my Goodreads account, most of the books I read this year, I ranked with four stars, generally meaning I really enjoyed my reading selections. Eight books were duds (ranked two or below).

Goodreads 2018 summary

I ranked 13 books as five stars. To be honest, I was surprised to see that because I'm usually pretty stingy with my five-star reviews. But in looking at those with five stars, there are a handful that are a a cut above the rest.

So here's how I'm breaking this down. First will be my absolute favorites -- the books I keep telling people about, begging people to read, and in general, word-vomiting about in a semi-ridiculous and embarrassing manner. These are the books that clearly left the biggest impression.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee -- My favorite book of 2018.
This is a beautifully written book and I'm so glad I finally got off the waitlist for it at the library. The story follows a Korean family over decades as they try to build a life in Japan. It starts in the 1930s and ends in 1989. The author uses the game of Pachinko as a perfect parallel for the way fate intervenes in this family's life -- sometimes for good, sometimes not. This is a story of a family struggling to pull themselves out of poverty and make a home in a foreign land where they may never be accepted or treated as equals.

The Power by Naomi Alderman -- Please read this book and talk to me about it!
This book was so thought-provoking, and I'm dying to find some friends who read it too so I can discuss it with them. The general premise is that women suddenly discover this weird new power that tips the current societal power struggles in their favor. You get to follow a handful of different characters over the course of a decade and see how their lives and the world change as a result.

Educated by Tara Westover -- I still can't believe this is a true story.
I'm pretty sure about 3/4 of the time I was reading this book, I couldn't believe that a fraction of the stuff Westover lived through was actually true. Every time she wrote about how her brother abused her, breaking her wrist or shoving her head in the toilet, and how her parents didn't believe her and did nothing to stop it, I was appalled. The fact that this girl, who grew up in an abusive, survivalist family, somehow managed to break free and build a place for herself in the "regular" world, while earning her PhD along the way, is honestly pretty incredible. Definitely go read this book.

These are the rest of the books I gave five-stars on Goodreads this year. They were all excellent for their own reasons and are worth a read. I just probably haven't talked your ear off about any of these unless I was specifically asked. (Links go to my review on Goodreads).

And so that wraps up another great year of reading. If you're curious to see what else I read (and liked or didn't like), here's the link to my full Goodreads summary

What was your favorite book of 2018?

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