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If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you know that I read. A lot. And, even that may be an understatement! This year I read 81 books–not including books that I reread.
So, it was a little hard to choose my favorites of the year. I am sure that I left something off the list and will want to add it in another month of two! Also, please note that these are books I read in 2018, regardless of publication date. In no particular order, here are:
My Favorite Books of 2018
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
A classic in the mystery genre that still enthralls audiences today. Inspector Hercule Peroit is traveling on a train that becomes stuck in an avalanche. To make matters worse, a murder has been committed–one in which the murderer might have gotten away had it not been for the avalanche. With a captive group of suspects, the inspector uses his usual insightful understanding of human nature to solve the case. Such a fun read!
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
This creepy ghost story chills without devolving into violence. When a young lawyer is sent to a remote village to put a deceased client’s affairs in order, he comes face to face with a mysterious woman in black. The haunting soon becomes more personal and sinister as he discovers the truth behind legend. I read this in October and had to stop reading one night when my husband was away!
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
A classic ghost story/ psychological thriller that I wanted to reread immediately upon finishing. James is a genius who manages to write a story that can be legitimately read in two different ways. Critics have been debating it for years! Read it for yourself to determine whether it is a ghost story or the musings of a troubled woman.
The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris
The subtitle to the book says it all, “Laundry, Liturgy, and ‘Women’s Work.'” Norris beautifully describes the interplay between the daily, mundane (the quotidian) and the mysteries of the spiritual and liturgical. A very slim book that can be read in a day but will impact you for a lifetime.
This is Where You Belong by Melody Warwick
As someone who has lived in 4 different towns in the last ten years, I completely resonated with this book. Warwick writes as a member of a generation that will move, on average, at least four times in their lifetimes. With all of this moving, how can we put down roots and feel at home in a community? Warwick gives research-based answers (walk the city, buy local, and more) while sharing her personal experiences. A truly fascinating book.
Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
Martin’s memoir has, justifiably, gotten a lot of buzz over the past few years. This isn’t your typical name-dropping, self-aggrandizing celebrity memoir. Instead, it is an insightful look into someone who studiously focused on the art of their career, working hard to excel. Martin describes how he, and you, can become “so good they can’t ignore you.”
Everyday Saints by Archimandrite Tikhon
This was my favorite spiritual read of the year, and I cannot say enough good things about it. Each chapter in the book tells of a different spiritual elder in Russia, or relates a story of God’s work during the time of Soviet persecution, or gives encouragement by showing how God transforms the life of everyday saints. I found it incredibly encouraging, inspiring, and humbling.
North by Scott Jurek
Scott Jurek is a celebrated ultra-runner–a category that I didn’t even know existed until I read this book. Jurek set out to set the through record on the Appalachian Trail, running from south to north. This meant that he would be running around a marathon a day with little or no recovery time in between. I was fascinated by this peek into the mindset of a dedicated athlete and drawn into the suspense as his dreams of breaking the record come down to mere hours.
Letters to Saint Lydia by Melinda Johnson
This young adult book had been on my radar for several years, so I finally just hit “order” on Amazon. I am so glad that I did! Lydia is a seventeen-year-old girl whose family has just converted to Orthodoxy. She is wary of her parents’ choice and chooses to make her own decision. However, she is drawn to the icon of St. Lydia that she receives, and she begins writing letters to the saint asking questions, sharing her life, and seeking advice. Unbeknownst to her (though the reader can see), St. Lydia answers with letters of her own. A beautifully written story of a spiritual journey.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Finally, one evening while my husband was working in the library, I watched the Netflix movie version of this book. I was charmed by the sweet story and decided to check out the book. Happily, the book is just as (if not more) charming and enjoyable. Lara Jean is a sixteen-year-old girl who writes letters to boys she has been in love with–but she would never tell them, so she doesn’t mail them. When the letters mysteriously get mailed, Lara Jean has to deal with the consequences. Friendship and love follow.
What were your favorite books of 2018? Let me know in the comments. I would love to add them to my list of books to read in 2019!