My Year in Books (2018): Top 15 Recommendations

Every year, I list out all the books I read in a blog post. Since I consume vast quantities of text, I don’t get a chance to highlight the best books. This year I decided to pick 5 from each category to recommend. While these books have all come out at different times, they are all books I read in 2018.

Top 5 Fiction (Non-Series)

1. A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles

You may remember this book from the full post I wrote on how much I love this book and why you should read it: Why You Need To Meet ‘A Gentleman In Moscow’

2. The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. – Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland

While not for the casual reader, this book is a hefty (752 pages) time travel based story with solid characters, humor, and an easy plot to follow. The authors propose a compelling reason as to why magic no longer exists in our modern world.

3. A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman

The humor and character-centric storyline make you laugh out loud and feel compassion toward Ove, a cantankerous curmudgeon. If you like either of the Grumpy Old Men movies, you will love this book.

4. The Mountain Between Us – Charles Martin

DO NOT JUDGE THIS BOOK ON THE MOVIE. THE MOVIE WAS AN AWFUL ADAPTATION. The novel has humor, character development, and a good heart at the center of this plane crash story. It is not some stale love story that the movie made it out to be.

5. Jane Steele – Lyndsay Faye

If you thought Jane Eyre was okay but needed more murder, this book is for you. Jane Eyre and Jane Steele have similar lives, but Miss Steele takes matters into her own hands to shape her future. However, if you have not read Jane Eyre, it won’t affect your enjoyment of the story.

Top 10 Non-Fiction

1. Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian’s Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life – Annie Spence

You will laugh. You will find books to add to your “to read” list. You will laugh some more and then you will wish you could hang out with the author.

2. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration – Ed Catmull

No matter what you do for a living, the story of Pixar gives great advice by showing all their successes and failures. The book deals with both business and creativity by intertwining everything together.

3. The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century – Kirk W. Johnson

If you like true crime but need a break from murder investigations, look no further. This extraordinary tale of a theft of a bunch of birds from a museum contains some fascinating tales of history. I found it to be a nice break from murder, business books, or military history.

4. Educated: A Memoir – Tara Westover

A peek into a very different kind of life from your own and how she overcame it to find her calling in education. She takes you on the rollercoaster ride that is her life, and you hang on her every word.

5. Procrastination: Why You Do It, What To Do About It – Jane B. Burka

If you ever wondered why you procrastinate on certain things, this book will tell you. You may feel a bit violated by the accuracy of the description at times, but it shows how very human we all are. Once you understand why you do it, you can figure out how to stop it.

Top 5 Fiction (Series)

1. The Black Echo (Harry Bosch #1) – Michael Connelly

I’m a big fan of the Amazon TV series, Bosch, but I hadn’t started reading the books until this year. While the series takes place now, the books were written in the 1990s. They changed a few things, but you can read, watch, or both without any significant cross-contamination. The series follows a Los Angeles homicide detective with a bit of an attitude but always gets the job done.

2. In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1) – Tana French

Set in Ireland, the series follows one member of the homicide division in each book. The main character is always a minor character from the previous book. Each book can stand on its own with a murder investigation that has a beginning, middle, and end.

3. The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot #1) – Agatha Christie

If you ever wondered if Agatha Christie deserves her status as the master of murder writing, read any of her work starting with Hercule Poirot. Her style holds up nearly a century later and for a good reason.

4. Girl Waits with Gun (Kopp Sisters #1) – Amy Stewart

The story, set in the early 1910s, follows a headstrong woman and her sisters as they get entangled with the law. The first book sets the main character, Constance Kopp, on her way to being one of the first female deputy sheriffs. If you like historical fiction that doesn’t revolve around a love story, you will enjoy this series.

5. Lock In: A Novel of the Near Future (Lock In #1) – John Scalzi

If you like more science-fiction with your murder investigation, you are in the right place. The author doesn’t tell you if the main character is male or female. If you pick up the audiobook, there are two versions: one read by a man and one narrated by a woman. The works because the gender of the character has no effect on the story. The author builds a vast world, characters, and a plot that keeps you fully engaged.


Have you read any of these books? Let us know in the comment section.

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