The Best Books I Read in 2018

The Best Books I Read in 2018

2018 is the year I completed chemo. That’s why I started off listening to most of my books via Audible (try it with my link and get 2 free books) and then switched to print or Kindle the more distance I put between me and that final dose of Gleostine.

I had a Goodreads goal of reading 20 books this year, and got all the way to 25 books before completely crapping out at the end. Some books were better than others, so I want to highlight my faves first. Then, if I’m not completely exhausted, I will list the rest of the books at the end.

The Best Thing I Read This Year

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot

If you haven’t yet? READ. THIS. Just read it.

“Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more.”

My Top 8 Reads of 2018

Coming Clean
by Kimberly Rae Miller 

This is the really touching memoir of the daughter of a hoarder. I was emotionally wrapped up from the beginning, and I feel like reading this book made me a better, more understanding person. What you see of the lives of families on the show Hoarders, for example, is just the tip of the iceberg.

A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L’Engle

Believe it or not, I hadn’t heard of this delightful book until it became a movie. (I know, I know.) So to keep my Book Nerd card, I decided that I must read it before seeing it. I loved it. Then I heard from friends that the movie was disappointing, and I decided not to watch the movie at all. Did any of you see the movie?

by Andy Weir

This book is by the same guy who wrote The Martian, which I also loved. Space books make me feel dreamy and happy, and Artemis involves a heist that takes place on the moon. Super fun!

Beautiful Exiles
by Meg Waite Clayton

I loved this book based on the real-life affair between Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway. (OMG, he was such a jerk.) Anyway, I’m always fascinated by people who (in my estiation) make destructive decisions, and these two definitely did. Whooooeee.

The Paper Magician
by Charlie N. Holmberg

This is some fun YA fantasy right here. (It’s part of a series–as you’ll see, I read three other books by Holmberg back to back to back to back.) Ceony Twill, our protagonist, is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic and crushes on her mentor. (It’s not gross though.) And they have to fight bad magic with good magic.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
by Hank Green

(Full disclosure, in the mid-aughts I worked for Hank’s brother, John.) I liked this book, and then I got really irritated by some things, and then I liked it again, and then I was like, “HOW DO I FEEL ABOUT THIS BOOK?” It’s like this: a bunch of robots show up on earth mysteriously, and then the main character accidentally gets YouTube famous because of it. And then fame makes her kind of horrible.

Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship and Purpose
by Joe Biden

This memoir was good, but it ran me through the wringer emotionally because: brain tumor. I love Uncle Joe, and I really admire his ability to hold on to his HUMANITY, even as a politician. If you have a brain tumor or love somebody with a brain tumor, you should be prepared to feel your feels.

The Art of Memoir
by Mary Karr

You know I’m writing a memoir, right? That’s why I picked this book up at the Champaign Barnes & Noble toward the end of the summer. It’s got some great advice for writing memoir but also wonderful suggestions for us as we read memoir. I scribbled several notes in the margins of its pages as I contemplated how I wanted to write and organize my own book.

Everything Else

So, that’s my list. What books did you read this year that really stick out for you?

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