All this month, I’ve continually realized and re-realized that it is ALREADY December, and I simply can’t believe it. I’ll stand in front of my mirror incredulously pondering the fact that, yes, 2019 is here. I’ve tried to wrap my head around it again and again–that somehow the span of a year has passed in what seems like a week. I must have gone through some x-file-ish time loop or something because I can’t grasp it.
Whether I believe it or not, 2018 is ending, which means it time to review my top reads of 2018. It’s been a good year of reading. I started off slow, then caught up by reading several quick children’s books (see post here), and then stayed on track the rest of the year. I’m currently reading The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. I thought I might be able to finish it before the New Year, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’ve been too distracted by (sadly) putting away Christmas decorations and finding places to store the new books I’ve gotten over the break.
I’ll put it off no longer. Below, in no particular order, are my top 10 reads of 2018.
1. The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers
Francine Rivers came out with a book in February and–since she’s one of my favorite authors–it was a mandatory read. The main characters of the book are Roman, a wealthy artist who is secretly a graffiti artist, and Grace, a single mother struggling to get by. Both characters come from tragic backgrounds, and this book tells the story of their healing. Of course, their paths cross, and there is a love story (always a plus), but Francine Rivers doesn’t leave it at that. She always highlights the fact that only God can fulfill us, not another person. This wasn’t my favorite read by Francine Rivers (that would be A Voice in the Wind and Redeeming Love), but I did enjoy the read.
2. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
This book took me ages to read through, but it was very interesting. It talks about self control, will power, and how habits work. It goes not only into personal habits, but also researches how historical events were driven by habits and also how companies thrive or fail through habits. I don’t have a very scientifically-driven mind, but I find this kind of stuff very interesting–how the brain works and why people do what they do. The stories in this book provide loads of conversation starters–at least for me. I like to bother people about what I’m reading, even if they’re not interested at all. It also provides practical information on how to make or break habits, which has proved useful.
3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Completely by coincidence, the newest Little Women is currently playing on PBS. I grew up watching the 90s version. It’s always a must-watch movie during Christmastime. It’s amazing that it took me so long to get to reading this book. I’m glad I finally did. I wrote a post about it for Mother’s Day in May. Check it out here!
4. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
My brother got this for me last Christmas. I knew what it was because I had previously watched the computer animated movie with him and that was…interesting. But the book is different. It’s much better. It’s a fanciful, magical read. It’s simple, not overly complicated, and original. I don’t want to say too much about it so I don’t give any twists away. I’ll just say that it takes place in a fantasy land. By unhappy chance a hat-maker’s daughter has a spell cast upon her which turns her into an old woman. In the following adventures, she finds herself in the home (or should I say moving castle) of the wizard Howl.
5. Anne of Green Gables (series) by L.M. Montgomery
This was a reread for me, but any of you who have been keeping up with my blog will know this. This series is one of my favorites ever, which is why I wrote The Quotable Anne series over the past summer/autumn. In these posts, I talk about some of the major themes in the Anne series and highlight some of my favorite quotes.
6. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
This was a good read for me because I am very much an introvert, and I resent this fact in some ways. It makes life so hard sometimes. But this book look at introverts from a different perspective. The first chapters discuss the extrovert ideal that has been built up in western society and talks about how other societies function differently. Most importantly, this book highlights some of the strengths introverts have that others might not have, also pointing out that everyone’s strengths are useful in different ways. This book is similar to The Power of Habit. Some of the same historical figures are mentioned, and both books delve into how the mind works. A very interesting read, though it did take me a little while to get through.
7. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
This book is simply written and can be quickly read, but it deals with tragic content. In the events of World War II, a Lithuanian girl and her family are taken from their home in the night and shipped off to a camp in Siberia. This story tells about the suffering experienced by many under Stalin and how some were able to survive it. This is a good read, but heartbreaking. There will be a movie coming out soon, but under the name Ashes in the Snow. I just found the trailer for it. Watch here!
8. The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien
This book has been out for several years now, and I’ve been wanting to read it ever since it was published. I at last got to it! An accomplishment! This book does not have the same black vs. white, good vs. evil element that The Lord of the Rings has. I describe it as the Oedipus Rex of Middle Earth. Read Oedipus Rex and then read this. You’ll know what I mean. Nothing goes right for Húrin’s children, mainly because of Morgoth (Sauron’s predecessor) and the dragon Glaurung. If you thought Smaug was bad, he’s nothing compared to Glaurung. I’m in the middle of Beren and Lúthien now. I love that story. And after I finish that, I’ll move on to the recently released The Fall of Gondolin. Hooray for Christopher Tolkien!
9. The Warrior by Francine Rivers
Another Francine Rivers book, but–unlike The Masterpiece–it is not a romance. This is part of the Sons of Encouragement series, which consists of five books, each one telling the story of a man from the Bible. The Warrior tells the story of Caleb, who escaped Egypt with the rest of Israel, roamed the desert for 40 years, and was able to enter the Promised Land. Of course, the Bible doesn’t give a lot of detail about Caleb’s life, so there are fictional elements in this book, as in the others. The actual story from the Bible is also included, along with study questions. I have also read the first book about Aaron, and I look forward to reading the stories of Jonathan, Amos, and Silas in the future. There is also another series about the five women listed in the genealogy of Jesus: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. I enjoy rereading these from time to time.
10. None Like Him by Jen Wilkin
I’ve been through studies about the attributes of God, but this one is a little different. It describes attributes that ONLY God possesses, and which we–as humans–were never meant to possess. These qualities describe God as infinite, incomprehensible, self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and sovereign. Each chapter defines one of these qualities and also shows how we often try–and fail–to own these attributes for ourselves. This is a very insightful read, and I highly recommend it! Just look at all the post-its I had to mark it with!
Thanks for reading! Happy New Year!