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!