I’m still working on a post about my favourite books of 2018, so here I am instead to write a recap of the year! I’ve never done one of these end-of-year posts before but Goodreads has this thing where it shows you all your reading statistics for the year and I am a number nerd.
Reading wise, this year has been exciting. It’s been my most ambitious reading year to date, I’ve fallen in love with the stories of many new authors, and I’ve started getting back into reviewing books and reading advanced copies again. This year has also been pretty tough. My mental health has been the worst it’s ever been and I’ve fallen a bit out of love with writing, the one thing I’ve loved for a huge proportion of my life.
But this blog isn’t going to focus on that: it’s going to focus on all the good books I’ve read this year and how I suddenly need to buy a new bookshelf because I’ve filled my third one.
This post might be long. Let’s begin!
This year, I chose my reads more carefully, focusing on making a dent in my TBR pile and exploring authors I’ve seen a lot about and never read before rather than rereading the same stories that I know I’ll love. Almost half of my reads this year were eBooks instead of physical copies, something which has been a relief to my bank account and the lack of space on my shelves.
My reading goal for the year started at 24 books. I remember wanting to set it higher, but then I tried to take into consideration that I’m a full time student and should probably have a low target so I would have time for work and hobbies and life instead of just cramming words into my brain. Two books a month seemed like a sensible amount. But then I hit that goal very quickly and decided to double it to 48, then add a few more because 52 books = one book a week. Very sensible.
Also, I just checked my reading challenge for 2017 and I only read 23 books / 8830 pages. Do with that what you will.
I found this graph the other day on Goodreads and I wish I could change it to just books I read this year, but it’s still exciting. Here’s a quick breakdown of how many books I read each month this year (a more detailed version about which books and my opinions can be viewed here on my YouTube channel):
- January: 4 books – started the year with two very good and two very bad books
- February: 5 books
- March: 11 books – mostly read eARCs
- April: 11 books – mostly reread my ‘childhood’ books which are all very short
- May: 7 – books
- June: 2 – books
- July: 9 books – was on holiday and read an eBook every two days
- August: 5 books
- September: 4 books – a new year at college led to the reappearance of mental health concerns
- October: 2 books
- November: 1 book – deadlines were looming
- December: 2 books
I am someone who usually feels awful about giving books low ratings and will give one star books two stars instead. However, I was lucky enough to not read any genuine one star books this year, although there was one that was extremely close.
I am also someone finishes reading an averagely good or a good (but not great) book and instantly goes “yes!! very good!! five stars!!” and has to read the reviews to see if it was actually worthy of a full five stars or just a very high four. Even looking through my Goodreads shelves now, I can recognise that there are books that were incredible in the moment but the rating has gone down slightly as time has passed. I’ve tried to fix those so that chart is as accurate as possible.
This year, I gave out a lot more three star ratings than I have in the past as I’ve tried to be harsher and rate books on the story arcs and character development and other aspects instead of just my enjoyment.
I made a chart to see how many of the books this year were standalones, or if they were part of a series and I actually read the entire series or at least more than one book. I’ve done a few reading tags now with the question about preference between standalones or series and I can never decide which, so I tried to work it out mathematically and that failed. It turns out that I am almost equally a lover of both.
I also noticed that most of the series I read this year were by authors I’ve read in the past, no matter if it was one book or several. In contrast, most of the standalones I read were written by authors that were completely new to my shelves.
Best and Worst
I’m trying to do a more detailed blog post and video on my favourite and least favourite books of the year (focusing more on favourites), so I’m going to keep this section short and sweet. These are all books I read this year but I don’t think they were all written this year.
Best of 2018
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I got this book because reading Rick Riordan’s books gave me an obsession with Greek mythology and this is a new take on the Iliad, an epic poem about some of the significant events of the Trojan War. This book broke me.
- To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. I have a huge soft spot for books revolving around the ocean, whether it involves pirates, mermaids, sirens, sea creatures, or any mix of those things. This story was so much more than just a retelling or something inspired by something else: it took an idea and it something new.
- A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews. I’ve followed Paper Fury (the blog behind the author) for a while now so her debut novel was my most anticipated read of 2018. She did not disappoint. It was the most unputdownable book I read this year, full of thrills and feels, and a beautiful musical heart that mine was breaking for.
(Full reviews of all three of these books can be found on the blog, and video versions are uploaded from my YouTube channel)
Worst of 2018
(more like books I thought I’d love but didn’t)
- Show Stopper by Hayley Barker. I got this because it was beautiful and golden and shiny and about circuses. It was arguably one of the worst books I’ve read (world built around racism and just a poor plot) and it’s the book I almost gave one star.
- The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. I got the eARC of this from NetGalley and was tempted by how beautiful the covers of the physical ARCs were. I thought I’d love it because of the dark fairy-tale vibes but they hardly appeared in the story until the end. Full review here.
- The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X. R. Pan. I thought I’d love this because everyone else loved it. That’s all. Full review here. This isn’t ‘worst’ because it’s a bad book (it’s actually a good book), I just didn’t enjoy it much as I was expecting and that disappointment clouded by decision.
Those covers together are an aesthetic. I thought I’d add a little section looking into next year and what books I’m most excited to read. These are also the ones you’ll see me obsessing over in a blog just like this at the end of the year.
- Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare. I literally didn’t even know this book existed until the cover was revealed and I still have no idea what it’s about or who could possibly be in it, but I’m already invested. I love Cassandra Clare and I’ll read anything she writes.
- King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. I became fully obsessed with her books this year and I’m so happy that Nik gets a duology focused on him. Also, more Nina.
- The Boy Who Steals Houses by C. G. Drews. I already know that I’ll be talking about this book a lot next year. Be ready.