I’ve read over 20 books so far in 2018, and I am jazzed! With a goal of 50 for the year, I feel like I’m at a pretty good pace to hit, and possibly surpass, that goal for the first time since I set it a few years ago. Setting monthly TBR (to-be-read) lists has been revolutionary in my reading practice. It takes the indecision out of picking the book I am going to read next, and it encourages me to really reach my goals.
For the most part I’ve enjoyed the books I’ve read this year, but these stood out for one reason or the other. Let’s get started!
1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Girl on the Train was the first mystery novel I have read since reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in 2015. I was long overdue for a thriller, and Hawkins story was just the ticket. This book follows the perspectives of three women as the reader tries to piece together a murder. Rachel, Anna, and Megan seem to have nothing in common, but readers soon come to find out that nothing could be farther from the truth. While a mystery on the surface, The Girl on the Train also tackles themes of emotional manipulation, substance abuse, and female connection. Read my full review of The Girl on the Train.
2. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
I read The Phantom Tollbooth forever ago, but when I picked it up this year it felt like a totally different book. I loved every single thing about it from the puns to the life lessons. Juster writes about a boy, Milo, who receives a magical tollbooth one afternoon and is taken on the adventure of a lifetime. He’s sent on a mission to save a pair of princesses that will in turn save the kingdom, and along the way he meets Tock, a watchdog, encounters a land dedicated to numbers, Digitopolis, and interacts with a variety of characters that teach him important lessons. It’s a book written for children, but it can be read at any age.
3. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
I think I read this book at the perfect time for me. I’m in a new city, trying to make friends, and because I’m an introvert, that can be really hard sometimes. This book is exactly what it sounds like — a book about the power of being an introvert in a world that praises extroverts. While I did have some qualms about this book, overall I enjoyed the light Cain cast on introverts in an extroverted society. Cain helped me rethink the way I view my introvertedness, and gave me some new methods of tackling life. Read my full review of Quiet.
4. Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption by Jennifer Thompson and Ronald Cotton with Erin Torneo
Are you sick of hearing me talk about this book yet? Because I might be. Picking Cotton has been one of the best books I have read in quite some time that teaches readers about forgiveness and friendship. It’s the true-life story about how Thompson sent Cotton to jail for 11 years after wrongly identifying him as her rapist. The story is told from both Thompson and Cotton’s perspective, and it gives readers an understanding of the injustice of the legal system in America, the power in believing in yourself, and the beauty that can come from such an unlikely friendship. Read my full review of Picking Cotton.
5. First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
I marathon read this book in give-or-take 8 hours, which is a new thing for me. I don’t think I’ve marathoned a book since reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when it was first released. I took this book out from the library on a whim, and immediately fell in love with Giffin’s writing style. I don’t typically read contemporary romances, which is probably why I read this one so quickly. It follows the perspectives of two sisters who don’t get along. Their relationship has been further strained by the untimely death of their older brother. Giffin picks up with the sisters 15 years after the brother’s death, and follows them as they deal with the other struggles life throws their way. Between marriage problems and a desire for motherhood, two things I haven’t experienced myself, I still felt like Giffin’s characters were relatable, and I craved a happy ending. (Spoiler alert: Giffin didn’t disappoint!)
All in all, I’ve had a pretty good year of reading so far. I’m excited to see what the next six months hold. What are some of your favorite reads of this year so far? Let me know in the comments below.