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With the start of a fresh year comes a new list of fresh reads. In 2017, I actually read/listened to more books than ever before, but many of them were not on my 2016 or 2017 reading lists. I’ve talked about how I use my library’s selection to work through my reading lists, and if they don’t have a book, I usually don’t get to read it. That’s because I loathe paying for books (especially audio and electronic versions).
I’m not backing down though. This 2018 reading list contains my heftiest reading goal yet – 30 books – PLUS the leftovers from 2016 and 2017. This year, I will attempt to read 39 books, in addition to whatever crosses my fancy on Hoopla’s recommended list.
Is it attainable? Absolutely. Will it be difficult? Yes. Much of my success will depend on if I get accepted into nursing school and the NECP. If I don’t, there is no doubt in my mind that I can finish all of these books.
Something special about this list is that when choosing books, I pushed myself to pick things I am interested in, but don’t typically read. I’ve added more non-fiction, more trash (your basic quick reads), and more “best-sellers.” I am trying really hard to push the boundaries of my traditional genres, and I’ve done a pretty good job. I can’t explain how excited I am to get started.
Women Like Us by Erica Abeel
I hope this novel follows the likes of Commencement and Superior Women. It starts out at a girl’s college, and each of the four friends are determined to be brilliant and successful. The book follows them as they grow into the women they always hoped to be. Will they all make it?
The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
I have no idea what this book is about. The Goodreads summary is long and convoluted. I know it is a mystery novel, which is why I added it to my list. I also think it takes place in another time. Historical fiction/mystery? Why not? This is one way I’m expanding my reading list. For those that don’t know, I am not a fan of mysteries.
The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis
Basically, a guy falls in love with a girl named Rachel. That is the gist I got from Goodreads. Not much to go on, but it sounded cute. This is the light reading needed when in the midst of heavy classics and thrillers.
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Goodreads describes this book as “a deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.” It combines magic, science fiction, and traditional romance to create a novel that I’m sure will be entertaining. It also addresses climate change as the reason for the world’s impending doom. Reviewers describe it as quirky and genre-less. Sound interesting?
Speak Easy, Anne by Brandy D. Anderson
I can’t hide my love for the Golden Age in New York City. Bootlegging. Prohibition. Flappers. It calls to me, and Speak Easy, Anne promises to deliver it all. It seems like a low-budget book, but that won’t stop me. This list is about pushing boundaries, right?
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
This selection was based purely on the book cover. I mean, look at it. The cover is stunning. It also combines fantasy and historical fiction in Russia. My excitement to read this book cannot be contained.
Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg
It’s the Jazz Age in New York City. I don’t need to know anything else about this book to be excited about it. It also spends some time in the Great Depression. This historical piece follows Mazie, a vibrant young woman who is always looking for a good time. However, when the Depression hits, life changes for everyone and Mazie finds a way to help where she can.
I am so looking forward to this book based on this woman’s diary from the 1920’s and 30’s.
Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
I’ve been trying to read more classic novels and Go Tell It On the Mountain has been on that list for years. It’s about a 14-year old boy working to discover who he is in Harlem, 1935. I am anxious to read this book, as it really is out of character for me. I am sure it will not disappoint, and I hope it adds some perspective to my life.
The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin
A historical fiction piece about the tiniest of heroines. Many of us know the story of Tom Thumb, but what about his wife? Melanie Benjamin uses her skilled imagination to show us the world from the perspective of two feet tall. Right on the heels of the new movie “The Greatest Showman,” I am genuinely excited to see how this story reads. It has been on my Goodreads list for a long time.
The Dream Lover: A Novel of George Sand by Elizabeth Berg
This book caught my eye when I read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. George Sand was a famous female novelist who had many lovers. She spent her time in Paris during the period when all the prominent writers and artists flocked there for creative pursuits and unbridled passion. This novel follows her scandalous behavior and most prolific moments.
In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
This book has a mermaid on the front. That is a core reason I added it to my list. It is a young adult fantasy novel of mermaids and elves. What’s not to love? We’ll see if it holds up.
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
My sister is one of my closest friends, so I love reading sister stories. This book follows three sisters who return home to care for their dying mother. There’s more to their prodigal return though. Each carries a secret and a burden, and their time spent at home reveals more than they expected. The story seems like it could have a happy ending and I love happy endings.
The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking Want to Read by Oliver Burkeman
People have always called me a pessimist. I consider myself a realist. See where I’m going here? This book could be the life-changing magic I’ve been looking for. Goodreads says this book turns decades of self-help advice on its head.
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
I don’t know how I found this book, but I am genuinely terrified to read it. This book should not be read electronically or with audio. House of Leaves is an experience that must be read in its tangible book form. Something is very wrong in this house that a young family moves into. This creepy, twisted book may actually give me nightmares, and I am mentally preparing myself for that.
Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
In an attempt to read more non-fiction and better my reading comprehension, I added this book on the recommendation of a friend. Diamond is an excellent non-fiction writer, recounting the history of all people’s throughout time. This book shines light on how humans have moved through centuries of change. I am sure an in-depth review will be necessary, as it is a very large book.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I have tried to read this book so many times I have lost count. This is the year I will read the whole thing, no matter how dry and slow it may be.
Illusionarium by Heather Dixon
A book about illusions and the plague – it seems like the perfect amount of mystery and fantasy to peak my fancy. We shall see how it goes!
This sounds like a cute chick lit read about best friends. I’ve already started reading it, and now I’m beginning to think it’s a knock-off of Something Borrowed. If that be the case, I probably won’t enjoy it, but we will see.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
First, it’s Neil Gaiman. I have only read American Gods, but I have heard so many praises about this man’s work. I chose The Ocean at the End of the Lane because the cover is beautiful. How else do you choose which book to read next from a fantastic author who has multiple works?
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg
Because I was raised in middle America where the white trash of America thrive and find success (I can say this because some would define my own family as white trash), I found this non-fiction piece intriguing. In an effort to continue pushing myself to read things I normally wouldn’t, I added this book to my 2018 list. This follows the lower classes and the social injustices they have endured throughout history.
To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
Set in Alaska, a Colonel is charged to brave its wilderness and find the gold everyone is intent on finding. With just a few men and his newly pregnant wife, they endure intense hardships along the way. It is said to have some magical elements weaved throughout and has positive reviews. I think it’s going to be a beautiful and possibly tragic read.
Kraken by China Mieville
In what seems like a birth story of the Kraken, this novel takes place in a London we do not recognize, where a different kind of magic runs deep and a battle is brewing. I thought the book cover was lovely, and I think the fantasy side of it will be interesting.
The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble
I am very excited to read this tale of three orphan children brought together as siblings and bound by unique circumstances. Each arrived to their “Auntie” by different means. Specifically, one sister arrived in a seashell, and at the age of 16, is now growing scales. Together, they must get her to the sea or she will die.
Nothing is ever as easy as it seems though, and their journey is full of dangerous surprises. What will they learn about each other as they try to save their sister?
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
One woman, the widow of a Nazi resistor, returns to her grand castle after WWII. She is determined to keep the vow she made to her husband of protecting the other wives of his fellow resistors. Through shared pain and grief, the characters come together to heal from the devastation World War II wrought on the world and their lives.
The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
A small town in England lives through the perfect summer. Follow their stories before the perfect summer is about to end in war and broken nations. A touching story about pre-WWI England, this historical fiction piece is sure to be a heartfelt read.
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
All the Crooked Saints is set in Colorado and circles the Soria family. Each of them has the ability to perform miracles, but are also trying to escape their own abilities. Published in October 2017, I have wanted to read this since it popped up on my Goodreads recommendations.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler
I don’t talk about relationships, sex, or childbirth on this blog much because it doesn’t seem relevant to my readers. However, I recently embarked on a journey of learning more about my body and what makes it tick. For those that do not know, I am not a huge fan of hormonal birth control. I believe it can work for some people, but it was not good for me.
With that disclaimer out of the way, this book is one I have wanted to read since deciding to pursue alternative birth control options and learn about the female body’s inner workings. I first heard about it on Blair Blogs as she discussed her own experience with hormonal birth control.
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
This is a story about six art students who meet during the summer of Nixon’s resignation. The plot finds them in adulthood. Will they all find success as artists? Can their bond be broken by greed, love, and a changing world? I always love stories like this (see Women Like Us), so I hope it is as fun to read as others of its kind.
A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright
This book could be terrifying because it is based on fact.
“Wright illustrates how various cultures throughout history have literally manufactured their own end by producing an overabundance of innovation and stripping bare the very elements that allowed them to initially advance.”
Based on what we know about climate change and other environmental factors, this book sounds truth-bearing and scary. I pride myself in not living as ignorant in bliss, so I’m sure I will enjoy this read, even if it gives me night terrors.
Internal Time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag, and Why You’re So Tired by Till Roenneberg
Roenneberg explores our biological clocks in this non-fiction book about time. I am an early bird. My roommate is a night owl. It is fascinating that I can wake up at 5 a.m., feeling chirpy and lighthearted, while his favorite time is after the sun goes down. Why are we like this? I look forward to reading Roenneberg’s explanations of our internal timepieces and how we can better use them to our advantage.
Books from 2016 & 2017 to Read
I’m proud to say that I actually finished a couple of books from my 2016 reading list (Beneath the Surface & The Gemini Effect), but there are several that I didn’t get to. I am prioritizing those over my 2018 list because I want to knock them out and it seems like the list never gets shorter. This year, I’m determined to finish all of them (even if it means sacrificing my 2018 reads)!
- The Magicians by Lev Grossman
- Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
- Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik
- Night of the Animals by Bill Broun
- A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
- The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
- The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee
- The Instructions by Adam Levin
Have you ever read any of the above books? I’d love to hear if you enjoyed them! If you do decide to read any of these, please let me know so we can discuss them! Let’s be friends on Goodreads, too!