Books Read (and Listened to) in 2018

Another year is behind us and so I'm clearing my blog sidebar and starting a new year of reading.  I've spent a bit of time over the past few days ruminating on my literary patterns and goals and reflecting on the stories that were painted in my mind last year.  These annual reading reports are a happy marriage of my infatuation with personal stats and my obsessive reading habit.
Goodreads is my enabler.  😉

2018 Annual Stats
Number of young adult or children's books: 68
Number of adult books: 40
Number of audiobooks (both adult and YA/children): 20
128 Total Books (compared with 119 total books for 2017)

This was the first year since I started tracking that I completed more adult books than audiobooks.  That was a loose objective that developed this year--trying to cut back on the audiobooks and use my eyeballs, turn more actual pages.  It was, apparently, successful.
Christmas Staycataion at its finest:  Cozy quilt, cuddly cat, hilarious book.
There were five titles that I read twice last year.  So, my list is actually only 122 unique titles.  The five books I enjoyed enough to read twice were:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner and other stories, The Mincing Mockingbird's Guide to Troubled Birds, and The Little Book of Hygge.  Harry Potter is a force in my life.  I am so enthralled with the story, just as much now as the first go-round.  I love it.  Just love it.  I am almost certain it will appear again on my list for 2019.  I, er, may have already started book one this week.  Maybe.  Just a little.  😁
As always, it was hard to narrow down my top ten, but here goes:

Top Ten Reads of 2018 (in no particular order)
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (again!)
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
The MaddAddam series by Margaret Atwood (again!)
The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner and Other Stories by Terry Pratchett
Ginger loves reading time because it is laps-and-petting time.
My least favorite book last year was one of the Newbery winners--Shadow of a Bull.  It was too hypermasculine and bull fighting is just not a cultural relic that I can appreciate so it really had very little to appeal to me as a reader.  It is a book I'd have never picked up if I weren't on this Newbery kick.

Only one single Newbery Award book--Island of the Blue Dolphins--made a five-star rating with me last year.  Most land in the three star or four star rank.

[Have I ever mentioned my rubric for ratings?
*****= Awesome,
****=Very Good,
*=I Didn't Like It]

I was pleased to note that between 2017 and 2018 I reduced my volume of one and two-star books while simultaneously increasing my number of four and five-star books.  I've been trying to be a tad more selective and thoughtful when I choose my reading material.  I used to just grab any ol' thing that crossed my path at the library.  The star ratings indicate that this also has been a successful endeavor.
I set myself a few literary objectives for 2018 and feel they were well met, for the most part.
  • I re-read a bunch of books just because I loved them so much.  I learned to ignore the fact that there were other new titles on my To-Read list and just embrace the whim to return to these old friends:  The Stupidest Angel, Food Rules, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Mark Twain, Margaret Atwood, Holidays on Ice, Beauty Queens, The Butter Battle Book.  It is a bit like slipping into a really comfy sweater to revisit these stories I'd previously enjoyed so deeply.  I failed to read a single Kurt Vonnegut book all year though and that was an oversight that must be remedied.
  • I am still working my way through all the Newbery Award winning books--an endeavor now entering its fourth year.  I enjoy the project thoroughly, if not always the books.  It has offered a very interesting cross-section of cultural values and history.  I've found some real gems.  I've realized I actually do like fantasy novels.  Still, I eagerly await hitting the 1990s.  Soon.  I am currently on the 1985 winner, a book written the year of my birth!
  • Hannah and I maintain our book club of two--reading and then chatting online about the books we share.  We'd set a goal of reading a book set in each of the 50 states....and we're not there yet, but we're both enjoying the roadtrip through the pages.  Well, maybe not A Thousand Acres.  I don't know that either of us enjoyed that one much. 😏  Hannah and I have been close since college and though we live hours apart nowadays this online book club is a wonderful way to foster and continue our deep and meaningful friendship.  She offers such insightful comments on our books and adds another dimension to reading that I just adore.  Reading used to be a totally solitary activity for me and now it is not.  I wish more people saw reading as a group activity, but hey, I've got Hannah. 
  • I decreased my consumption of audiobooks.  I'd started to feel I used them to plug every gap.   Doing the dishes, tidying the house, walking to work, in the car, etc.  I wanted more time with my thoughts.  I tried to abstain entirely for the month of November at Matt's suggestion, but couldn't resist listening to one.  But only one.
  • I participated in the public library's Summer Reading program, but not the one at MSU-B.
My goals for the new year are to carry on with the 50-States-Challenge and the Newbery-Winners-Challenge, hopefully bringing at least one of them to completion.  I will also take part in Summer Reading again.  I will try to read more books than I listen to.
After an evening of admiring Christmas lights we turned the greenhouse into our Christmas Clubhouse and Memo gave us a (hilarious) dramatic reading of the classic holiday tale The Gingerbread Man.
Below is the full record of the books that I read in 2018, listed in reverse order with the most recent at the top of the list.

Books Read (and Listened To) in 2018.
                      * indicates an audiobook
  • The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror (Christopher Moore)
  • Fight Club (Chuck Palahniuk)
  • Beauty Queens (Libba Bray)
  • Future Home of the Living God (Louise Erdrich)*
  • The Gingerbread Boy (Merrigold Press)
  • The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate (Janice Cohn & Bill Farnsworth)
  • Dear Mr. Henshaw (Beverly Cleary)
  • A Thousand Acres (Jane Smiley)
  • The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)
  • Dicey's Song (Cynthia Voigt)
  • Baker's Magic (Diane Zahler)*
  • A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for the Innocent and Experienced Travelers (Nancy Willard, Alice Provensen, & Martin Provensen)
  • Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village (Laura Amy Schlitz & Robert Byrd)
  • Jacob Have I Loved (Katherine Paterson)
  • Food Rules: An Eater's Manual, Enhanced Edition (Michael Pollan & Maira Kalman)
  • A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-32 (Joan W. Blos)
  • The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner: And Other Stories (Terry Pratchett)
  • The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women (Kate Moore)*
  • Into the Wild (Erin Hunter)
  • FastExercise: The Simple Secret of High-Intensity Training (Michael Moseley & Peta Bee)
  • The Dilbert Future: Thriving on Stupidity in the 21st Century (Scott Adams)
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner: And Other Stories (Terry Pratchett)*
  • The BFG (Roald Dahl)
  • The Heart Goes Last (Margaret Atwood)
  • The Westing Game (Ellen Raskin)
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)
  • The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World (Michael Pollan)
  • The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You (Eli Pariser)
  • Marwan's Journey (Patricia de Arias & Laura Borras)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (J.K. Rowling)*
  • I am Jazz (Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings, & Shelagh McNicholas)
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain)
  • Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson)*
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Mildred Taylor)*
  • The Grey King (Susan Cooper)
  • M.C. Higgins, the Great (Virginia Hamilton)
  • The Home for Unwanted Girls (Joanna Goodman)*
  • I Quit Sugar: Your Complete 8-Week Detox Program and Cookbook (Sarah Wilson)
  • The Slave Dancer (Paula Fox)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling)*
  • Julie of the Wolves (Jean Craighead George)
  • Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (John H. Ratey)*
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (Robert C. O'Brien)
  • The Summer of the Swans (Betsy Byars)
  • Sounder (William H. Armstrong)
  • Ada Twist, Scientist (Andrea Beaty & David Roberts)
  • Town Mouse, Country Mouse (Carol Jones)
  • A Poem for Peter (Andrea Davis Pinkney, Steve Johnson, & Lou Fancher)
  • Sugar (Deidre Riordan Hall)*
  • Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac (Ed Young)
  • Swamplandia! (Karen Russell)
  • Nimoshom and His Bus (Penny Thomas & Karen Hibbard)
  • The Butter Battle Book (Dr. Seuss)
  • Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life (Brian Wansink)
  • The Story of Ferdinand (Munro Leaf)
  • Elton John (Katherine White)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K. Rowling)
  • Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family (Amy Ellis Nutt)*
  • The Mincing Mockingbird Guide to Troubled Birds (Matt Adrian)
  • The Bairn Books: The Book of the Zoo (Walter Copeland & Charles Robinson)
  • The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor (Mark Schatzker)*
  • The High King (Lloyd Alexander)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (J.K. Rowling)
  • Camping Adventure (William R. Gray)
  • She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World (Chelsea Clinton & Alexandra Boiger)
  • Library of Souls (Ransom Riggs)
  • The Simpsons Family History (Matt Groening)
  • 14 Cows for America (Carmen Agra Deedy & Thomas Gonzalez)
  • The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story (Marie Kondo & Yuko Uramoto)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (J.K. Rowling)
  • Hollow City (Ransom Riggs)
  • The Death of Stalin (Fabien Nury & Thierry Robin)
  • Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm (Thich Nhat Hanh)*
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
  • Going Bovine (Libba Bray)
  • Images of America: Sidney, MT (Kim Simmonds, Leann Pelvit, & MonDak Heritage Center)
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne)
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg)*
  • Up a Road Slowly (Irene Hunt)
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (Fannie Flagg)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling)
  • I, Juan de Pareja (Elizabeth Borton de Trevino)*
  • MaddAddam (Margaret Atwood)
  • The Year of the Flood (Margaret Atwood)
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling)
  • The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove (Christopher Moore)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J.K. Rowling)
  • Oryx and Crake (Margaret Atwood)
  • Shadow of a Bull (Maia Wojciechowska)*
  • It's Like This, Cat (Emily Cheney Neville)
  • A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Madeleine L'Engle)*
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (J.K. Rowling)
  • A Wind in the Door (Madeleine L'Engle)*
  • The Case Against Sugar (Gary Taubes)
  • The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
  • The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well (Meik Wiking)
  • The Sermon on the Mount (Lawrence Hertzberg, ed.)
  • Tidy (Emily Garvett)
  • The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well (Meik Wiking)*
  • This Bridge Will Not Be Gray (Dave Eggers & Tucker Nichols)
  • Breathe (Scott Magoon)
  • One Was Johnny: A Counting Book (Maurice Sendak)
  • Alligators All Around (Maurice Sendak)
  • Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue (Maurice Sendak)
  • Chicken Soup With Rice: A Book of Months (Maurice Sendak)
  • The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness (Dave Ramsey)
  • Flowers for Sarajevo (John McCutcheon)
  • A Short History of Women (Kate Walbert)
  • The Thank You Book (Mo Willems)
  • Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed (Leslea Newman & Amy June Bates)
  • Milk and Honey (Rupi Kaur)
  • This is Not a Photo Opportunity: The Street Art of Banksy (Martin Bull)
  • How to Be Married: What I Learned From Real Women On Five Continents About Surviving My First (Really Hard) Year of Marriage (Jo Piazza)
  • A Wrinkle In Time (Madeleine L'Engle)
  • The Bronze Bow (Elizabeth George Speare)
  • Leaf (Sandra Dieckmann)
  • A Boy's Will (Robert Frost)
  • Her Right Foot (Dave Eggers & Shawn Harris)
  • Holidays on Ice (David Sedaris)
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins (Scott O'Dell)
  • Stone Mattress: Nine Tales (Margaret Atwood)
  • Onion John (Joseph Krumgold)
  • The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body (Cameron Diaz)
  • The Mincing Mockingbird Guide to Troubled Birds (Matt Adrian)
  • How Full Is Your Bucket? (Tom Rath & Donald Clifton)
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Elizabeth Speare)
  • Rifles for Watie (Harold Keith)
Christopher Moore and the Ginger kitty.
And since, as previously established, I get a kick out of personal stats and people are perpetually surprised by how many "great" movies I've never seen I again kept track of the movies I watched last year.  It was actually quite a lot for me with a grand total of 29.  I finally decided to watch the Harry Potter movies which bumped up the numbers considerably--accounting for ten of them.  I'd hoped it would temper my burning desire to read the series again, but it actually had the opposite affect.

Movies Watched in 2018
  • The Secret Life of Pets
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • The Crimes of Grindlwald
  • Inside Out
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Yellow Fever: Uncovering the Navajo Uranium Legacy
  • Rango
  • Moana
  • Bender's Game
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
  • The Incredibles 2
  • For Richer or Poorer
  • The Incredibles
  • The Greatest Showman
  • The Death of Stalin
  • The Lego Batman Movie
  • Downsizing
  • Jumanji
  • Coco
  • The Land Before Time
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1
  • Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone


  1. What an AWESOME list!
    ~Have a lovely day!

  2. Grapes of Wrath is one of my favorite books, and the 1940 movie version with Henry Fonda is a excellent to watch after reading the book.

    Fried Green Tomatoes - I read this book because I really enjoyed the movie. Oddly it is one of the few movie (only??) versions of a book where the movie seems to have way more depth than the book. But both are enjoyable, Fannie Flagg has written some good stuff.


    1. I don't know how I managed to get through my whole life without reading Grapes of Wrath at some point. I am sure glad I finally did last year though.

      My friend Hannah is about to watch Fried Green Tomatoes after finishing the book recently (at my suggestion). I just told her that though the movie and book are rather different I truly like both of them. Usually that isn't the case when one differs widely from the other. It is the only FF book I've read though.

  3. You're way ahead of me in number, but I think I did well. I love the Ginger kitty! I can tell she also enjoys reading. You should make her a library card.

    1. I really should!!! ;)

      [I can't tell if you're being a really good influence or a really bad influence on my cat-enamored-soul.]

      I hope you read some good ones. Any favorites I should add to my ever growing list?


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