THE BEST BOOKS I READ IN 2018
I read a lot. Like 100 books a year. Yeah. I know. It was hard for me to narrow this list down to top 10. I’ll adding some book recommendations for you here.
These books did not all come out in 2018, these are just the top 10 books that impacted my life this year or I just loved them and would read again. These are also in no particular order, don’t make me do that.
To get a full list of all the books I read this year, check out my Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge.
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Self-help, Spirituality, Writing
This book seriously changed my life. My spiritual life, my creative life, my single life. It defines your desire to create, whether that be writing, painting, cooking, gardening, (name your passion) and connects it to your desire to connect with your Creator. There are three things it teaches you to do and a chapter per week. If you can start here, do it.
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein
Self-help, Spirituality, Inspirational
This book also changed my life. It’s one thing to know The Universe has your back but it’s a totally different thing when you actually believe it. I would start my morning pages and mediate after I read a chapter of this book. It would make me open my eyes to the day ahead, take things one step at a time and got me into some pretty deep meditative states.
Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field
If you’re a writer and have been struggling with figuring out your writing process or need some guidance on outlining, this book is for you. It’s not just for screenwriters. I used Field’s scene card exercise and draft process to get a jump start on my novel.
The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar
Historical Fiction, Contemporary
I remember finishing this book outside on a park bench with tears streaming down my cheeks. This is a beautiful story about a modern-day Syrian refugee and a medieval mapmaker apprentice. Their stories are separated by 800 years but their connection is flawless. Zeynab also has poems that are laid out in the shape of countries throughout the novel to give the reader a sense of place. Honestly, this book is a work of art.
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) & Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) by Diana Gabaldon
Historical Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction (Time Travel)
I started reading this series on my way to Ireland. I know that was the wrong setting but I had to start somewhere. The second and fourth books in the series are my current favorites. Contrary to common belief, this series is way more than Romance. Sure Jamie’s lines pull your heart’s strings but it’s about a strong ass woman pushing boundaries in her time and in the past. When her daughter comes into the picture more (Outlander #4) I was drawn to her curiosity and venture into finding herself and who she was both in the present and in the past.
Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
This is the best memoir I have ever read. The organization alone makes it worth reading. You’re provided with political context and learn about the state of South Africa as Noah narrates a story from his childhood. You’re given a sense of place so you can understand the state of a person’s life. His humor educates you and I couldn’t put it down. I read this in three hours and I wanted more. Binge read for sure.
Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch
Young Adult Contemporary, Romance, Travel
This book took me back to Ireland. Had I had this book when I was in Ireland, I would have balled the same way but books like this come to you when you need them most and I needed a reminder of my trip and Evans healed me all over again.
It’s about this girl who is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s wedding who continues to punish herself for something she did that has left her heartbroken. She discovers a guidebook to Ireland in the library of her hotel that was written just for her (and me). Her travel plans change and she’s taken around the Emerald Isle with the guidebook to help her along the way. The trip and guidebook help heal her broken heart and her relationship with her brother.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Young Adult Fantasy
I. Know. This book surprised me the second time around. This year my sister and I reread the Harry Potter series together. I hated this book the first time I read it. I loved it the second time. It has a certain flow to it and the tone feels different. A labor of love for sure and a set up to another reminder that you must always save yourself.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Historical Fiction, World War II
I joined a book club this year with a group of lovely random people I didn’t know. They invited me into their home, cooked a meal and we drank wine while we talked about the book of the month. I recommend the experience. This was the first book they had chosen.
I love World War II stories and felt that this one had a unique angle telling the stories of two sisters. A brave soul wanting to do something to make a change and a strong loving mother who just wanted to protect her family. This book had me sobbing at the end and had me asking myself what I would have done, what sister was I?
The Shack by William Paul Young
Christian Fiction, Spirituality
This was the first book I read this year. I saw the movie over Christmas and was fascinated by the theology. I was introduced to God through Catholicism when I was young and have been chasing different ways to find God ever since. Whether that be in spiritually, through a different religion, or simply in the world around me, this book realigned the Holy Trinity for me. I have my own Papa, Jesus and Sarayu now and I’m truly grateful for this book. It aligns with how I view Christianity to be and teaches us the hardest lesson of forgiveness.