2018 Year End Wrap Up: Another One for the Books

I’m not sure how it happened… but tomorrow is the first day of 2019, which means it’s time for another year end wrap up. This year really flew by for me, but it was another top9 2018great one when it comes to reading and my bookish life. I didn’t read as much as last year… I’m finishing out the year with 67 books read compared to the 80 I completed last year, but I purposefully set my goal lower this year and I am perfectly happy with that number. I’m not sure I found any new all time forever favorites this year either… unlike last year, which was ridiculously full of them (check out 2017’s wrap-up here if you’re wondering what an actual perfect year of reading looks like). Still, I read some spectacular books this year; read on for my top 10 of 2018!

But before we get there, a few highlights from 2018 that are bookish but not strictly books, that made this year truly amazing:

  • I continued partnering with publishers and working with authors. These partnerships got stronger and I feel like I found my niche in the bookstagram/book blogging community.
  • I hit 10k followers on Instagram in February.
  • I traveled to bookstores in San Diego, Kansas City, New York City, Fayetteville, Houston, and Minneapolis. 

  • I FINALLY got to meet so many of my online book friends in person at Book Con in NYC in June and it was actual dream come true.

 

(Friends in photos: Heather, Morgan, Anthony, CaseySimone, Josh, Meghan, Renée, Katharine, Katie)

  • Another online book friend — Madeleine —  came all the way to Springfield from CaliforniaIMG_8784 to meet me in person and spent a 4-day-weekend talking life and books over coffee here in Missouri and it was another dream come true.
  • I hit 20k followers on Instagram two days ago– just in time for the New Year!

I never thought I’d be the kind of person to have a following on social media or make friends on the internet. And yet here I am… I’ve found my people and I am all the better for it. These friends I’ve made are real and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Talking books with you every day is my favorite and I am so thankful for our corner of the internet.

And now that I have sufficiently gushed about all the ways Bookstagram makes my life wonderful, let’s actually talk about books! Here are my top 10 favorites for 2018. Aside from the fact that I did narrow them down to my top 5 for Instagram, they’re not in any particular order. I liked so many of these IMG_7821for such different reasons that I had trouble this year ranking them. If I wrote a review, either here on my blog or on Instagram, I linked to it– so feel free to check it out for a more detailed description.

  1. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee — A beautiful and sweeping multi-generational story of Korean immigrants living in Japan. I learned so much from this book and felt completely caught up in it from the very beginning.
  2. The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles — A tale of music and friendship and rivalry that begins in Brazil’s sugar plantations and takes you into the Golden Age of Hollywood.
  3. My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley — This book completely took me by surprise with its wit, humor, and charm. I wholeheartedly loved it.
  4. The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar — Historical fiction with bits of magic that swept me away. Sort of gave me a similar feeling to reading The Luminaries, my favorite book of 2017.
  5. To Shake The Sleeping Self by Jedidiah Jenkins — An incredible memoir of cycling from Oregon to Patagonia… also a memoir about family and self-discovery and understanding one’s beliefs. This book found me exactly when I needed it and I am so incredibly glad I read it.
  6. Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller — A haunting, atmospheric slow burn that left me completely speechless at the end.
  7. The Bell Jar by Silvia Plath — Bought a gorgeous anniversary copy at Book Culture in NYC and I am so glad I finally read it. A spectacular book that was smart and compulsively readable.
  8. A Lite Too Bright by Samuel Miller — A complete cover buy for me that ended up being such a delight. A tale of family and finding meaning in one’s life. I loved this coming of age story.
  9. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstances by Ruth Emmie Lang — A truly magical story that felt like a modern day fairy tale. Not at all what I was expecting but one I couldn’t stop thinking about.
  10. Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce — I couldn’t leave this book off this list. I’ve waited 15+ years for it. If you’ve followed me for a while, you may remember how much Tamora Pierce’s Tortall novels mean to me. This one was a prequel story of one of my favorite characters and it was everything I had hoped it would be.

A few honorable mentions: I also adored Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras, The Seas by Samantha Hunt, and Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes. 

So there you have it. My top bookish moments of 2018 as well as my top 10 books. It was a great year but I’m even more excited to be heading into 2019. Books are piling up around my house, begging to be read, and I know there are some new favorites among them! And I can’t wait to meet even more of you book friends in person. Cheers to the New Year!

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