20 Books to Read in 2018
Disclaimer: There are some Amazon Affiliate links throughout this post. If you click the link and buy a book, I would get a small commission. Just enough for me to indulge in my favorite guilty pleasure, Taco Bell. This post was not influenced by my craving for Taco Bell at all. All opinions are my own, as always.
When money is tight and you love books, sometimes you will spend the little bit of spending money you have just on books at a used book store or garage sales. Other times, if you are like me, you reread old favorites, even entire series. You could go to the library, but sometimes that costs more than buying books if you, also like me, are bad about returning books.
I’ve done all the above. In fact, I’ve gotten so used to rereading books that when all I read are new books, I feel a bit lost and overwhelmed. That’s what happened to me last year in my goal to finish my reading list. While I did read 12 out of the 17, by summer, I had to stop. The idea of reading no longer excited me. (Gasp!) I thought that rereading old favorites might inspire me, but it didn’t. The constant thoughts of not finishing my goals bothered me more. Then, with other life events, I no longer wanted to read.
That isn’t to say I didn’t try. I did, many times. But nothing worked to get me excited about reading. Now, after several months off, I’m ready to read again. This time, though, I’m going about creating my list a bit differently. Instead of focusing on books on my Goodreads “To-Read” list, I decided to look in my house for every book I’ve bought but have never read. I also decided to include a couple of books and book series I want to reread.
So, without further ado, here are my books to read in 2018:
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I’ve heard about this book since I was in college, not too long after it came out. It has been on my reading list ever since, but was never motivated to read it until now. After hearing from so many friends reading this book after the election, I needed to know what everyone was talking about. In the 90s, I heard about how scary and disturbing this book was. Now I keep hearing how it seems prophetic.
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
Last year I read Larson’s book The Devil in the White City. I enjoyed it, and, as luck would have it, the author came to my town to speak. While in line to meet Erik Larson, I bought this book because it caught my attention. This nonfiction book highlights the life of William E. Dodd and his family, who found themselves in Berlin in 1933. At first, they enjoy Germany but soon they realize that the rumors of Jewish persecution are true.
Gathering Prey by John Sandford
The Prey series of books by John Sandford is one of my favorites! I started reading them in 1995 with the first in the series Rules of Prey. The main character is Lucas Davenport, former Minneapolis detective and a senior officer for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for Minnesota. What I love about the series is that you not only see the book through the eyes of Davenport but also the perpetrator of the crime (usually murders). Gathering Prey is the 25th book in the series as Davenport helps his adopted daughter out with a friend.
The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
While I do love Sherlock on PBS and Elementary, modern-day spins on Sherlock Holmes, there isn’t anything like the original books. I’ve read a few but have yet to read this one. It starts with a cipher message and horrible murder that Sherlock investigates while going up against Professor Moriarty.
The Angel by Carla Neggers
Private investigator Simon Cahill is enlisted by a Boston police detective to find his niece, Kiera, who has gone missing in Ireland. Simon finds her and when they return to Boston, violence that happened in Ireland follows them home.
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
I bought this book at a garage sale for 50 cents. I keep trying to read it, but fail to start. I hope by putting it on my list, I will finally read this book which held a lot of attention when it was released in 1997. It is a historical fiction book about a geisha working in Kyoto, Japan before and after World War II.
Stolen by Nora Roberts
While I’m not normally into romance novels, there is something about Nora Roberts and her writing that draws me in as a reader. I believe it’s because she will write a romance tied to a mystery, and I love mysteries. This book is actually two different stories, “Nightshade” and “Night Smoke.” Both involve a mystery with a hot man to help the heroine.
The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan
I love Amy Tan! She won me over years ago with The Joy Luck Club and The Hundred Secret Senses. I picked up The Bonesetter’s Daughter with the full intention of reading it immediately. Now, probably close to 10 years later, I will read this novel about a daughter who learns secrets of her mother’s life in China through old letters.
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
I found this book last spring at a garage sale. It was a find at only 50 cents for a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. In the book, we see a slice of life in blue-collar America through the eyes of Miles Roby.
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
Yes, this book was on last year’s list. Obviously I never got around to reading it. It’s in my purse though, ready to read if I need reading material. I do want to read about Piper Kerman’s experience in prison, I do. Hopefully I actually read it this year.
Under the Dome & The Green Mile by Stephen King
As I mentioned last year, I love Stephen King. The first book of his I read was The Dead Zone. From there I was hooked. I’ve read several, the last one being 11/22/63. No I plan on reading not one, but two Stephen King novels this year: Under the Dome (about the residents of a town that suddenly find themselves unable to leave because a “dome” rests on their town) and The Green Mile (a death row supervisor discovers an inmate with special abilities).
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Yet another book I plucked from a garage sale, I’ve been fascinated by the premise. I started to watch the movie and decided I should read the book instead. It follows the love and relationship between Henry, a time-traveler, and his wife Clare.
Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
With my love for historic novels, you would think that I would have read this the moment I bought this book over 10 years ago. I don’t know why I’ve let it sit on my shelf for so long but the time is now to read it. Taking place in 1865 Boston, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes (member of the Dante Club–a group of professors, poets, and a publisher, working on an American translation of The Divine Comedy) and detective Nicholas Rey investigate a series of murders mimicking scenes from Dante’s Inferno.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark
Another historic novel, this one gets into the world of magic in 1806 England. Jonathan Strange becomes a pupil to Mr. Norrell, famous for his abilities, and they join forces in a war against France.
Julie & Julia by Julie Powell
This novel is a non-fiction account of Julie Powell and her goal to cook every one of Julia Child’s 524 recipes, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, in one year. It later became a movie starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep.
There are a few books on my reading list that I intend on rereading.
Chloe Neill Chicagoland Vampire series
13 books. All with a strong female protagonist. Oh, and she’s a newly turned vampire in this alternate Chicago.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The first time I read this book I sobbed. It’s powerful and amazing at the same time.
The Alienist by Caleb Carr
I read this book in graduate school. I intended to only read one chapter a night, instead I read it in two nights. Now it’s a TV show, but that can’t compare to the book.
Archangel series by Sharon Shinn
I picked a book from this series on a lark. I fell in love and read all the books (5 total). I’ve read this series a couple of times. It’s time to revisit them.