2018: A Year in Books


As 2018 ended, I finished my seventy-second book of the year. It was the second year I was aiming to hit 100, but didn’t, so in 2019 I am not setting any number goals—just going wherever the reading journey takes me. I can’t tell you enough about what books mean to me. I have started a whole Instagram just devoted to my reading @bookandbird and am thankful on a daily basis for the comfort, inspiration, and perspective books provide. Without further ado, here’s my 2018 list in the order each was read. Any books with a * are re-reads for me and I will give more thoughts at the end about my favorites and other reading notes.


  1. The Axe Lectures by Brianna Johnson

  2. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

  3. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

  4. Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

  5. Women & Power by Mary Beard

  6. The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman

  7. The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller

  8. The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

  9. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

  10. A Baker’s Year by Tara Jensen

  11. Come in and Cover Me by Gin Phillips

  12. Reframing Organizations by Bolman & Deal

  13. River of No Return by Bee Ridgway

  14. Arcadia by Lauren Groff*

  15. Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

  16. Hekate Her Sacred Fires by Sorita D’Este

  17. I am, I am, I am by Maggie O’Farrell

  18. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

  19. The Changeling by Victor Lavalle

  20. Garments Against Women by Anne Boyer

  21. Full Woman, Fleshy Apple, Hot Moon by Pablo Neruda*

  22. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

  23. Circe by Madeline Miller

  24. The Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan

  25. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

  26. One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

  27. The Thorn Necklace by Francesca Lia Block

  28. Still Lives by Maria Hummel

  29. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

  30. Wild by Cheryl Strayed*

  31. The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

  32. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

  33. The Hope of Floating has Carried Us This Far by Quintan Ana Wikswo

  34. Kings Cage by Victoria Aveyard

  35. War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

  36. Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

  37. King Kong Theory by Virginie Despentes

  38. M-Train by Patti Smith*

  39. The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe

  40. The Mermaid by Christina Henry

  41. The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

  42. The Empath Experience by Sydney Campos

  43. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

  44. The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch*

  45. The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

  46. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

  47. Sightlines: a Conversation with the Natural World by Kathleen Jamie

  48. Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

  49. Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

  50. Getting Free by Melinda Alexander

  51. Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

  52. Educated by Tara Westover

  53. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

  54. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

  55. The Electric Woman by Tessa Fontaine

  56. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

  57. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

  58. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

  59. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

  60. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

  61. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

  62. Untwine by Edwidge Danticat

  63. The Clockmakers Daughter by Kate Morton

  64. Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake

  65. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

  66. Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

  67. Stormwake by Lucy Christopher

  68. The Third Hotel by Laura Van Den Berg

  69. My LIfe in a Cat House by Gwen Cooper

  70. Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey

  71. Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

  72. Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

In 2018, I only had five re-reads. Of my seventy-two read, six were written by men. This is because I have an ongoing commitment to read work by women as much as possible. That said, I will still read books by men when I am truly interested in them—and I loved the ones I read and reread by male authors in 2018. As usual, fiction dominated. What was new this year was the sudden and unexpected appearance of Young Adult literature. I think I needed the escape and the magic the genre gives. I feel like this trend may continue in 2019 and I’m not mad at it! I didn’t read much poetry, though I originally planned to. I am completely up for bookish surprises in 2019—so, I am eager to see what will come. I’m already into my first book of 2019 as I write this.

My top books of 2018 (in no order)

  1. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

  2. I am, I am, I am by Maggie O’Farrell

  3. The Changeling by Victor Lavalle

  4. Educated by Tara Westover

  5. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

  6. Circe by Madeline Miller

  7. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

  8. Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey

  9. Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

  10. Sarah J. Maas—both series

Coming up with a top list is a challenge because I could easily have said ten others on a different day/in a different mood. But, the ones above stayed with me. In a list of over seventy, I think that makes them worthy of mentioning twice. It also is “cheating” to choose Sarah J. Maas as a writer and not just one book, but I read two series of books from her and was completely engaged in both. They are YA fantasy fiction—a complete change for me as a typically die-hard literary fiction reader, as I mentioned above. I am completely ready to go with building my 2019 list. If you have any suggestions, please come find me on Instagram at @bookandbird and let me know! Happy reading!