Reading Challenge 2018 – What Books Did You Read This Year?

It is the love of books that made me want to write one of my own.

I am one of those writers who firmly believes that reading is essential to good writing, even if the books you read are purely for research and education. For the past several years (I’ve lost track) I’ve been participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge and setting a goal for the number of books I’d like to read within the year. This year’s goal was 26 books –one for every two weeks of the year. I surpassed it easily, reading 39 books in 2018. However, that figure represents a decline in the amount of time I’ve spent writing –not exactly the goal I had in mind. Call me easily distracted!

I always vary the types of material I read: fiction, non-fiction and poetry. For  the exhaustive list of all the books I read this year, you can follow the link above to Goodreads if you want to have a look.  Here are some of the highlights of this year’s list:

In my ongoing research into World War One I read:

  • A Short History Of World War One – James L. Stokesbury
  • Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania – Erik Larson
  • The Spy – Paulo Coelho (about Mata Hare, alleged spy for the Germans)

In the realm of psychology and philosophy I read:

  • The Conspiracy Against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror – Thomas Ligotti (a real downer, let me tell you…)
  • The Divided Self: An Existential Study In Sanity and Madness – R.D. Laing (fascinating!)

And the other assorted non-fiction I read included:

  • Fear: Trump in the White House – Bob Woodward
  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil DeGrasse Tyson (fabulous read; very disappointed to hear the news regarding the author’s behavior)
  • In Cold Blood – Truman Capote (reads like a novel, but the story is true)
  • The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way – Bill Bryson (this author makes everything he writes about interesting!)

I indulged in several works of science fiction this year:

  • The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood (my new hero)
  • Artemis – Andy Weir (big disappointment)
  • Ubik – Philip K. Dick
  • A Pack of Dogs – Andrick Schall (fellow blogger and indie author)
  • The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick (nothing at all like the TV series, but I love both)
  • The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick (my favorite of the three works by this author; a real mind bender)

Finally, I read a few classics that I never got to in required reading for school:

  • The Trial – Frank Kafka (such an excellent but frustrating read)
  • Metamorphosis – Frank Kafka (prompts pity and self examination)
  • Waiting for Godot – Samuel Beckett (so oddly compelling… nothing really happens)
  • Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
  • Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes (broke my heart)
  • The Golden Ass – Apuleius (translated from Latin, the only work of fiction to survive in entirety from antiquity and totally readable and entertaining!)

I am assembling my list for 2019 and setting my goal at 30 books. So tell me what books you read and enjoyed (or despised) this year.

Happy reading and writing in 2019!

14 thoughts on “Reading Challenge 2018 – What Books Did You Read This Year?

  1. Philip Dick is great! I’ve mainly read alt history books this year, and not too many. Andrew Collins ‘The Cygnus Key’, Barry Fell’s ‘Saga America’. Some mainstream books, too: Thomas E. Ricks’ “Churchill and Orwell” and “Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd” by Nick Mason.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post–and great reading list. 39 books is substantial! Erik Larson is wonderful, isn’t he? I heard him speak a few years ago–a really likeable guy in addition to making nonfiction more exciting than most fiction! Like you, I divide my reading time. There’s reading for research for the WIP, on Finland’s Winter War, lately. Then there’s reading around the Rust Belt for the blog. And then, I like to read historical fiction for comparison to the manuscript I’m querying, and I read short stories that inform my short fiction. However, it’s all going to have to take a backseat to my No. 1 resolution for 2019, which is to find an agent!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is one of my goals this year – to educate myself on traditional publishing and the best way to find an agent. But first I need to finish the manuscript I want to query! Lots to do! Thanks Rebecca! Here’s to reaching our goals in 2019! 🥂

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  3. You’ve listed a few I’m going to check out, thank you! I read a lot more this year, too. Some of my favorites this year are:

    *The Nightingale and The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
    Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
    *Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
    The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
    Educated by Tara Westover
    Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kuar Jaswal
    *The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman *definitely on my all-time favorites list

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely! It’s a great idea. I used to do that on the treadmill….because I hate the treadmill. Lol. I may have to give it another go outside! Music is great, but books are more engaging for walking. Happy new year, Meg!

        Liked by 1 person

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