I finished 44 books this year and I started or made some progress on many more that I never finished. That’s not counting any of the books I read aloud to the kids, though I certainly thought about them and they do form a large part of my reading life these days. But I put them into a different mental bucket. Maybe I shouldn’t
I’d like to average a book a week, but my reading is really irregular. Some months I read only one or two books. One month I didn’t finish any. Other months I finished more than one a week. It depends what kinds of books I’m reading and how I’m reading them.
I like keeping count every moth. It’s reassuring to see that bottom line number and to say to myself: see, I’ve still got a life of the mind. I read and I write and I think. In the years when I don’t write a monthly books I’m reading list I start to feel listless and flabby.
So here’s a quick overview of what I read and liked this year.
Hands down my favorite work of fiction this year was Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge. Such a beautiful story of redemptive grace and self sacrifice in marriage that I think was one of the truest books I’ve ever read about the sanctification of married life.
I also loved The Borrowed House by Hilda van Stockum, a juvenile novel about the German occupation of the Netherlands in WW2. A beautiful story for young readers about how love and friendship can help people to come to know the truth even when they’ve been taught lies and a warped worldview.
Honorable mentions to:
1. A.S. Byatt’s Ragnarok , about an English girl reading German myths during thesecond World War, gorgeous poetic language.
2. Meriol Trevor’s Shadows and Images, a historical novel about a woman who becomes Catholic and gets to know Blessed John Henry Newman.
3. Rosamund Hodge’s Endless Water, Starless Sky (the second part of her dark fantasy adaptation of Romeo and Juliet)
4. Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver —a gorgeous fairy tale retelling of the Rumplestiltskin story that reimagines the protagonist as a Jewish moneylender in a fantastical Russia. I’m astonished, looking over my reading lists for the year, that I did not finish a non-fiction this year, though I started Salt and kept reading in several ongoing books like Hamilton. I think one of my goals for this year will be to read more non-fiction. And to finish a bunch of my in-progress books that I can’t seem to finish.
What were your favorite books that you read in 2018?
Here’s the complete list. You can click on the month name to see my short reviews of the books:
Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files binge:
1. Death Masks
2. Blood Rites
3. Dead Beat
5. White Night
6. Small Favor
7. Turn Coat
9. Ghost Story
Nine books in one month. I love this series.
10. Ragnarok by A.S. Byatt
11. Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge
12. Endless Water, Starless Sky by Rosamund Hodge
13. In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
14. Lights in a Dark Town: A Story about John Henry Newman by Mariol Trevor
15. Edmund Campion: A Life by Evelyn Waugh
16. Shadows and Images by Meriol Trevor
17. The Samurai and the Tea: A Legacy of Japan’s Early Christians by Cathy Brueggermann Beil
18. The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig
19. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
20. The Borrowed House by Hilda Van Stockum
21. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
22. The Rose Round by Meriol Trevor
23. Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
24. Cold Days by Jim Butcher
25. Skin Game by Jim Butcher
26. The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
27. Listen to the Nightingale by Rumer Godden
28. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
No books finished in June. I was reading Green Dolphin Street and East of Eden and finished both in July.
29. Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge
30. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
31. The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein
32.Crossbows and Crucifixes by Henry Garnett
33. Brief Cases by Jim Butcher
34. Endless Water Starless Sky by Rosamund Hodge
35. The Witch’s Brat by Rosemary Sutcliff
36. Flame Colored Taffeta by Rosemary Sutcliff
37. Spinning Silver by Naomi Nov
38. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
39. Recursion: Wearing the Cape #7 by Marion Harmon.
40. The King’s Achievement by Robert Hugh Benson
41. By What Authority? by Robert Hugh Benson
42. Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers
43. Hapax by A.E. Stallings
44. Olives by A.E. Stallings
Books I read some parts of, but did not finish this year:
1. God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism by Abraham Joshua Heschel
2. He Leadeth Me by Walter Ciszek, SJ
3. 1776 by David McCullough
4. The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander
6. Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master by Fr. Robert Barron
7. Death of a Hornet: And Other Cape Cod Essays by Robert Finch
8. Finders Keepers by Seamus Heaney
9. Stages on the Road by Sigrid Undset
10. A Noel Perrin Sampler by Noel Perrin
11. Through a Screen Darkly by Jeffrey Overstreet
12. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
13. All Through the Night: Night Poems and Lullabies edited by Marie Heaney
14. The Italian Story by Geoffrey Trease
15. St. Nicholas Owen by Tony Reynolds.
16. Salt:A World History by Mark Kerlansky
17. Building the Benedict Option by Leah Libresco
18. Wooster Proposes, Jeeves Disposes by Kristin Thompson
19. Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery
20. Nella Last’s War edited by Richard Broad and Suzie Fleming
21. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
22. Omeros by Derek Walcott
23. The Bear and the Nightingale