Monday, December 31, 2018

My Top 25 Reads of 2018 (Plus 2019 Reading & Blogging Goals!)

As 2018 draws to a close, I'm wrapping up my reading for this year and looking ahead to my reading and blogging goals for 2019. This past year, I read just over 500 books, including over 100 books for adults, about 20 YA books, 100 middle grade books, 15 chapter books, 11 easy readers, over 200 picture books, and over 40 board books. (See more on these stats in my post from last week.) In today's post, I'll round up my top 25 reads of the year (listed in chronological order based on when I finished reading them), and then list my goals for the new year. 

Read-at-Home Mom's Top 25 Reads of 2018

Amahl and the Night Visitors (1952)

Chapter book adapted by Frances Frost from the opera by Gian Carlo Menotti
Illustrated by Roger Duvoisin
Finished reading 1/9/18
My blog review

Hooper (2018)

Young adult novel by Geoff Herbach
ARC from Edelweiss+
Finished reading 2/7/18
My blog review

I Know What You Bid Last Summer (2018)

Cozy mystery by Sherry Harris
ARC from NetGalley
Finished 3/2/18
My Goodreads review

The Little Oratory (2014)

Catholic guidebook by David Clayton and Leila Marie Lawler
Finished reading 3/9/18

The Wonderful Farm (1951)

Middle grade fantasy novel by Marcel Ayme
Illustrated by Maurice Sendak
Finished reading 3/9/18
My blog review

Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth (2018)

Middle grade historical fiction novel by Sheila O'Connor
ARC from publisher
Finished reading 3/11/18
My blog review

The Perilous Gard (1974)

Young adult historical fantasy novel by Elizabeth Marie Pope
Newbery Honor 1975
Finished reading 3/18/18
My blog review

All Things Bright and Beautiful (1973)

Memoir by James Herriot
Finished 3/30/18

Dandelion Cottage (1904)

Middle grade novel by Carroll Watson Rankin
Finished reading 4/18/18
My blog review

Ender's Game (1985)

Science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card
Finished reading 5/6/18
My blog review

Wild Blues (2018)

Middle grade novel by Beth Kephart
ARC from Edelweiss+
Finished reading 5/15/18
My blog review

Front Desk (2018)

Middle grade novel by Kelly Yang
ARC from Edelweiss+
Finished reading 6/6/18
My blog review

Save the Date (2018)

Young adult novel by Morgan Matson
ARC from Edelweiss+
Finished reading 6/7/18
My blog review

One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both (2018)

Catholic memoir by Jennifer Fulwiler
Finished reading 7/3/18
My Goodreads review

Big Stone Gap (2000)

Women's fiction novel by Adriana Trigiani
Finished reading 8/25/18

Reading Together: Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read (2009)

Reading handbook by Diane W. Frankenstein
Finished reading 8/28/18
My blog review

Bury Your Dead (2010)

Mystery by Louise Penny
Finished reading 9/10/18
My Goodreads review

The Diva Runs out of Thyme (2008)

Cozy mystery by Krista Davis
Finished reading 9/21/18
My Goodreads review

Louisiana's Way Home (2018)

Middle grade novel by Kate DiCamillo
ARC from NetGalley
Finished reading 10/2/18
My blog review

My Name is Asher Lev (1972)

Novel by Chaim Potok
Finished reading 10/5/18
My Goodreads review

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (2018)

Science fiction novel by Hank Green
Finished reading 10/27/18
My Goodreads review

The Spying Heart: More Thoughts on Reading and Writing Books for Children (1989)

Essay collection by Katherine Paterson
Finished reading 11/10/18

Astrid the Unstoppable (2018)

by Maria Parr
ARC from NetGalley
Finished reading 11/18/18

The Winged Watchman (1962)

by Hilda van Stockum
Finished reading 11/28/18

Kersti and Saint Nicholas (1940)

by Hilda van Stockum
Finished reading 12/6/18

Reading and Blogging Goals for 2019

  • Allow breathing room. The past couple of years, I have been reading a lot, trying to get as many books read each week as humanly possible. This meant that I never felt like I could take a night off to focus on something else, and that if something else came up, I felt guilty for all the reading I wasn't doing. This year, I want to slow the pace of my reading a little bit more, both by reading fewer books (my Goodreads goal will be 400, down from 500) and by only reporting what I've read at the end of each month, instead of every week. This means I'll be participating in It's Monday, What Are You Reading? only at the end of each month, and I also plan to join Feed My Fiction Addiction's Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up
  • Devote more time to reviewing books and writing blog posts. To go along with my first goal, I also want to really focus more on writing book reviews and reflection posts this year. I fell way behind in reviewing books toward the end of 2018, partly because I was spending too much time reading, and partly because I was scrambling to post a weekly update about my reading. I hope that by reporting on my reading only once a month, I will free up time to work on writing other types of posts. 
  • Re-read the Harry Potter series over the entire year. I have never re-read this series in its entirety, and I have only ever read the first three books one time each. I have made myself a schedule so that I will read a few chapters every week, and by the end of the year, I will have completed the series at a nice leisurely pace. I haven't decided yet whether I will blog about each week's chapters.
  • Read books by Katherine Paterson. In 2018, I did an author challenge where I aimed to read 16 books by Betsy Byars. Though I've decided not to participate in that challenge again, I did like the idea of choosing an author to spend the year with. After enjoying her essay collections (Gates of Excellence and The Spying Heart) so much, I chose Katherine Paterson. We own a bunch of her books that I've never read, so I should be able to read about one per month. 
  • Complete reading challenges. I was more intentional about selecting my challenges for this year. I'm repeating Alphabet Soup, Cloak and Dagger, Craving for Cozies, and Library Love, and adding in Alphabet Soup Author Edition, CathLit, Mount TBR, and the RMFAO Audiobook Challenge. Many of the books I read will count for multiple challenges. All the details about the challenges and my goals can be found here.
  • Simplify challenge record-keeping. In 2018, I tried to keep track of my reading challenges in too many ways - on paper, here on the blog, and on Goodreads. In 2019, I'm sticking with just Goodreads shelves. My mom also gave me a cute reading log book for Christmas that I'll be using to track the novels that I read, but not to track individual challenges. 
I'll be sharing this post in the link-ups for It's Monday, What Are You Reading? at Unleashing Readers/Teach Mentor Texts and Book Date and Top Ten Tuesday at Artsy Reader Girl. 

What was the best book you read in 2018? What are your goals for the new year?


  1. It's always good to reflect & revise goals to fit one's needs NOW. I've enjoyed almost all of the books you shared, wish you a wonderful year ahead reading, plus other adventures!

  2. It is always good to have goals. I'll be looking forward to your monthly posts. I love the variety of books that were "bests" for you this year. Come see my week here. Happy reading and happy New Year!

  3. I really appreciate your list and noticed a few titles I really enjoyed, too. I'll have to check out some that I'm not yet familiar with. I plan to sit down and make some blogging goals, but I'll probably do that closer to my blogging anniversary in February. I've enjoyed getting to know your reading through the #imwayr group and look forward to keeping up in 2019!

  4. Wild Blues was definitely one of my favorites from this year. I still need to review it on my blog. My last update for the year

  5. I like just doing the once a month reading round up post. It helps me keep track of progress on reading review copies and stuff without being overwhelming. I'm still impressed with a goal of 400 of books. I'm thrilled when I read over 100! See what I read at Girl Who Reads

  6. Many of the bests on your post here are also best on my lists.
    I too have been contemplating reading less in the new year. It’s really hard to savour a book when there is a pile of them that must be read!

  7. I have heard a lot of people talk about Louise Penny's books, but I have not read them yet. They do sound interesting. Glad you were able to read some good books last year!

  8. What an awesome post! Congratulations on your reading journeys in 2018 and here's wishing you the best for 2019! :)