Best of 2018 Books

I love to read. In recent years, I haven’t made reading a priority. But this felt like the year that should change. And so I made it happen, little by little.

I set a (lofty) goal to read 26 books. Essentially, that meant I had to read a book every other week. It felt doable, though I still surprised myself when I turned the to the last page on my 26th book this year.

Instead of simply sharing a long list of the books I read this year, I thought it would be fun to highlight five books that really stood out to me and why, some insight into how I managed to hit my goal this year, and my plan for 2019. (In case you are interested in the complete list of books I read in 2018, you can find me on Goodreads!)

Top 2018 Reads

I highly recommend adding these books to your reading list:

A book that helped me develop my daily gratitude practice – something that has truly changed my life: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

A book that challenged me in many ways (as all my favorite books do!): Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

A book that shared extremely practical wisdom on how to keep technology from distracting us from the most important stuff in life: The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy Crouch

A book you can curl up with on the couch and devour in a day: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The book that taught me the most about myself (and other people) this year: The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron, Suzanne Stabile

A Few Reading Tips and Tricks

Feel overwhelmed by the thought of reading 26 books in a single year? Or maybe even one or two? Here are some strategies that helped make it happen.

First, as with any goal you want to stick, know your why (thanks #PowerSheets!). Why do you want to read X books? Personally, it wasn’t about the quantity of books, but how much better I felt after reading rather than passively spending my time doing something like watching Netflix. So, reading equated to intentionality with my time. And when I remembered that I read because I love it, the choice between Netflix and a book was often a simple one.

But at times, even knowing my why, I just didn’t feel like picking up a book. During periods that was the case, I sought to implement these strategies:

  • Focus on reading only 30 pages a day OR read for 30 minutes a day (essentially they end up being about the same). It’s amazing how quickly you can get through a book!
  • Turn off screens 30 to 60 minutes before you plan to go to sleep. (Bonus: studies show this helps with better sleep.) When the screens were off, it wasn’t a difficult choice to pick up a book.
  • Read more than one book at a time. This is something I never did until this year, but I found balancing one fiction and nonfiction book actually helped add variety and kept my interest. If, on a given day, I simply wanted a light read, I could grab the book that best fit how I was feeling.

Hopefully some of those ideas help you in case you get in a rut!

Books to Read in 2019

I’m keeping the same goal for next year: 26 books. A few books I’m eager to read in 2019 include:

  • Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist
  • The Year of Living Happy: Finding Contentment and Connection in a Crazy World by Alli Worthington
  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  • God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School by John Cortines, Gregory Baumer
  • Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff by Myquillyn Smith

What other suggestions do you have? I’d love to know what you are reading in 2019!

One thought on “Best of 2018 Books

  1. Pingback: 2018: The Year of Gratitude | Thursday Thoughts

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