Books: 2018

    1. The Twelve by Justin Cronin
    2. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
    3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
    4. The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
    5. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
    6. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
    7. Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
    8. The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
    9. The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
    10. The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon
    11. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
    12. Faithful by Alice Hoffman
    13. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
    14. The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
    15. The Mothers by Brit Bennett
    16. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
    17. The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
    18. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
    19. The Selection by Kiera Cass
    20. The Secret Place by Tana French
    21. The Elite by Kiera Cass
    22. The One by Kiera Cass
    23. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
    24. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
    25. Still Life by Louise Penny
    26. Artemis by Andy Weir
    27. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
    28. The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
    29. The Heir by Kiera Cass
    30. The Crown by Kiera Cass
    31. Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
    32. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
    33. A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay
    34. The Assistants by Camille Perri
    35. A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
    36. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
    37. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
    38. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
    39. Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane
    40. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
    41. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
    42. PS. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
    43. The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson
    44. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
    45. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin
    46. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
    47. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
    48. My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
    49. Less by Andrew Sean Greer
    50. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
    51. The Lost Island by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
    52. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
    53. Educated by Tara Westover
    54. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
    55. One Day in December by Josie Silver

2018 was one of the best reading years I’ve had in a looooong time. I looked back at all of the years I’ve logged my books here (going back to 2005), because I was convinced I’d read more books this year than ever, but back in the pre-kid days, I did have a few other days of reading 50+ books in a single year. However, I did read more in 2018 than I have since 2011, and that is certainly an accomplishment. My goal was to read 43, and I exceeded that by quite a lot.

I’ve written in previous year-end reading summaries that reading a lot is what makes me feel like myself, and realizing that and prioritizing reading in my life over the past year and a half has made such a difference, especially as life has gotten difficult. Reading does so much for me and especially as I have next-to-no time for any of my old hobbies, I’m glad that I’ve found a way to make time for so many books. It’s my primary stress reliever, and I’m happy to have realized that and done whatever I can to make space for it in my life.

Over half of my total 55 books for the year were audiobooks. For anybody wondering how I have time to read so much – I spend 2ish hours in the car every weekday, and in 2018 I chose audiobooks over podcasts or music almost every time. Most of the audiobooks are through the library’s apps (Overdrive and lately, the newer app Libby), but we joined Audible (Dan and I are sharing an account) over the summer. That has been nice, too, as there’s a limit to what I can find from our county library on audio.

My favorite books of the year were Ready Player One, The Almost Sisters (both spectacular on audio), the first two Louise Penny books, and the first two books in the Court of Thorns and Roses series. I adored To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and its sequels, as well. I even read a few nonfiction books this year, and Educated was astonishing, and I still think of it often.

For 2019, my goal will be to keep up this approximate reading pace, and read 52 books. Looking back at my reading goals over the past ten or so years, I very frequently resolve to read classics and very infrequently actually read them. But I would like to actually read a classic I haven’t read before in 2019. I’d like to read other books by authors I’ve enjoyed over the past year and a half (Liane Moriarty, Louise Penny, Joshilyn Jackson, Kristin Hannah, Tana French) and mostly continue to spread my reading over lots of genres to keep from getting into a rut. What was your favorite book of 2018?

 

 

In Previous Years…
Books Read in 2017
Books Read in 2016
Books Read in 2015
Books Read in 2014
Books Read in 2013
Books Read in 2012
Books Read in 2011
Books Read in 2010
Books Read in 2009
Books Read in 2008
Books Read in 2007
Books Read in 2006
Books Read in 2005

2018 in seconds

For a second year, I’ve been using the 1 Second Everyday app to document our lives. Although I’ve documented a lot of my years with daily photo projects, it got a lot harder to keep up once Ben and Jojo were part of our lives… while also being more important than ever to capture these fleeting moments. I could not love this project more, and seeing these little tidbits brings so much joy. 2017 and the first half of 2018 were more difficult than anything I’ve ever faced, and this project has made it so much easier to really SEE how very much there is to be grateful for, even when things feel so dark. It sort of kills me to see how little the kids are in the first half of this video (don’t even get me started on 2017’s video!) but it’s just so mindblowing how much they’ve grown and learned and blossomed this year. I can’t wait to keep going with this in 2019.

Books: 2017

 

  1. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
  2. Sabriel by Garth Nix
  3. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  4. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  5. Chiefs by Stuart Woods
  6. Cress by Marissa Meyer
  7. The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
  8. Winter by Marissa Meyer
  9. 11/22/63 by Steven King*
  10. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  11. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  12. Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson
  13. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
  14. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater*
  15. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater*
  16. The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
  17. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare*
  18. Come Sundown by Nora Roberts
  19. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  20. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare*
  21. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  22. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  23. Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare*
  24. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  25. Runaways, vol. 1 : Pride and Joy, by Brian K. Vaughn
  26. Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
  27. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult*
  28. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow*
  29. Emma by Jane Austen*
  30. Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty
  31. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
  32. Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki
  33. Heartless by Marissa Meyer*
  34. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare*
  35. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  36. The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney*
  37. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple*
  38. The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman
  39. This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel*
  40. Turtle Moon by Alice Hoffman

Well! My goal was to read 40 books in 2017, and I did exactly that. I went back to work (and to my lengthy commute) in March, and started listening to audiobooks again (marked in my list with a star, 13 in total). Apparently I hadn’t listened to a single audiobook in the three years I was home with the kids!

It felt good to get back into a place where I’m reading a LOT. I always feel more like myself in the years of voracious reading. And this year, one of the hardest years I can ever remember, I absolutely wouldn’t have survived without books. Between the audiobooks to prevent my mind from cycling during the long hours in the car, inspiring stories of people overcoming crazy obstacles, funny stories about impossible things, mysteries and magic… yeah. In 2017, I finally got a Kindle, because reading on my iPad/phone was bothering my eyes too much, and I am absolutely looooving it. I’ve been slowly amassing a collection of kindle books when there are sales, which is, of course, expanding my already infinite “to read” list by leaps and bounds.

But I read a few really outstanding books this year – my absolute favorite was This Is How It Always Is, which was so full of wonderful quotes about life and parenthood that I want to buy a copy to underline it all. Everything I Never Told you was heartbreaking and tore me apart but I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks afterwards. I loved Turtles All the Way Down, and I’m SO glad that I read the biography of Alexander Hamilton (which was great on audio, too).

My goal for 2018 is to read 43 books – more than my average but not an unattainable goal, either. Last year, I resolved to finish the series I’ve loved in the past (Justin Cronin’s The Passage series and Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad)… neither of which I got to. So those are definitely on my 2018 list. I’d like to read one classic I haven’t read before. If you’re reading this, tell me a book you think I should read this year!

 

In Previous Years…
Books Read in 2016
Books Read in 2015
Books Read in 2014
Books Read in 2013
Books Read in 2012
Books Read in 2011
Books Read in 2010
Books Read in 2009
Books Read in 2008
Books Read in 2007
Books Read in 2006
Books Read in 2005

2017 in seconds

I started documenting our lives using the 1 Second Everyday app in February, and I couldn’t have known then how much would happen this past year. It was the hardest year I can ever remember, for so many reasons, and this project made it so much easier to remember how much there is in our lives that is still so, so good. I’ll be forever grateful to it for that reason. It’s crazy how something that sounds so simple and small- one second of video every day, all mashed together at the end- can be so happy and hopeful and wonderful. I’ve shared each month’s video as I made them, but wanted to save the full video here for posterity. It’s absolutely astounding how much can change in a year, and I can’t wait to continue this project in 2018!

Books: 2016

  1. Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
  2. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy
  3. The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancy
  4. The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
  5. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  6. On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle
  7. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  8. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
  9. Montana Sky by Nora Roberts
  10. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
  11. Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich
  12. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  13. Through the Grinder by Cleo Coyle
  14. Wonderfully Dysfunctional by Buffi Neal
  15. The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp
  16. The Passage by Justin Cronin
  17. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  18. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
  19. The Last Child by John Hart
  20. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  21. Leave Me by Gayle Forman
  22. The Vacationers by Emma Straub
  23. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
  24. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  25. The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
  26. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  27. 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith
  28. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  29. My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
  30. Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich

2016 was a really good year for reading. I wasn’t sure at the end of last year how reading would fall into my life as a mom of two, and I’m really glad that I found a way to make it work. I was hopeful in setting my 2016 reading goal at 30 books, and although I had to read 5 books in December to get there, I’m really pleased to report that I accomplished it (with a few days to spare, even!)

I still stand by my preference for reading during naptime; reading is one of the things that really makes me feel like myself, and while there’s ALWAYS something else I should be doing, taking a little time (when I can) to sit with my coffee and a book is never something I regret. I’ve been struggling with a lot of my other hobbies (photography, scrapbooking, hell anything crafty whatsoever) this year, and in 2016, reading was the one thing I returned to. I probably say it every time I write this year-end post, but reading a lot of books is a big part of my self-identity, and it helps to remember that when I start to feel a little bit lost. (Two and a half years into this stay at home mom life, and I’m still trying to figure it out in so many ways. It’s too bad I don’t have a blog where I could write about it 😉 )

I read some really good books this year! And some other books I really didn’t care for. I started a few new series, including the Stephanie Plum series, which I never read way back in the day, and those have been great when I need something fun and quick that I can just finish. I started a few new YA series that I’m looking forward to finishing (The Raven Cycle and the Lunar Chronicles), and I read way more adult fiction than I EVER do…. wondering the whole time if adult fiction is so dark and/or depressing and/or full of affairs and awful people, if I’m really missing anything at all by largely avoiding the genre.

My favorite books of 2016 were by far The Nightingale (if you haven’t read this, you really should), Big Little Lies (late to the game on this but it was different and interesting), My True Love Gave to Me (such a sweet collection of YA holiday-themed stories; I’ll definitely come back to this year after year), and Cinder. Some of the adult novels (The Vacationers, Leave Me, Fates and Furies) were super well written but full of characters I disliked, and therefore I have trouble recommending them.

So! What will my goal for 2017 be? To be honest, I sort of want to go big and set my goal at 52 to have something to work toward… but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I don’t have THAT much time on my hands. My average is 40 books, so I think I’ll aim to read that many, and maybe even a few more. I’d like to finish some of the series I’ve started (including the 3rd novel in Justin Cronin’s the Passage series and the next by Tana French), and look for some of the other books written by authors I enjoyed this year (Liane Moriarty, Kristin Hannah). It’s been a while since I’ve re-read Harry Potter… it’s been a while since I’ve read a classic… but we’ll see. Happy reading!

In Previous Years…
Books Read in 2015
Books Read in 2014
Books Read in 2013
Books Read in 2012
Books Read in 2011
Books Read in 2010
Books Read in 2009
Books Read in 2008
Books Read in 2007
Books Read in 2006
Books Read in 2005

Ben in February

5/52
Taking posed photos of Ben is more and more difficult, as this was the best we could get when we tried a Valentine’s Day photoshoot. His love for Big Bunny is epic lately.

6/52
Something about toddlers sitting at the real table like they’re people makes them seem soooo much bigger.

7/52
This is Ben’s “UGH why aren’t you complying to my demands without question?!” expression.

8/52
This was a regular weekday morning for us, and we had a lovely chat about blueberries during breakfast, and it was so freaking adorable I always want to remember it.

In 2016, I’m taking a photo of Ben each week with my real camera.

Ben in January

Although I only halfway succeeded at my 2015 attempt to take a photo of Ben once a week with my real camera, I couldn’t resist starting the project again for 2016. Because the whole point is that I need to be taking more photos of him with my actual camera. So here are the weekly photos of Ben from January!

1/52Thanks, I think, to my dad, Ben totally cheeses for the big camera now. I think it started as a reaction to the flash, but who even cares when he’ll smile like this for you on cue?

2/52
As much as he’s still my baby, the glimpses of Ben as a kid are way more frequent lately. Like when he was sitting in the kitchen, just reading the NutriBullet manual.

3/52
Sit him in a snow drift almost as tall as him? No thank you. Let him run up and down the shoveled path in the driveway? All day forever. This kid LOVES being outside. Even in really cold weather with wet feet, apparently.

4/52Ben’s new favorite game is dragging a kitchen chair to the sink to play. Which means there’s an entirely new area that is no longer a safe place to leave things that aren’t for toddlers.

In 2016, I’m taking a photo of Ben each week with my real camera.