2018 Reading Review

In some ways, 2018 was a great year for reading.  But it had its downsides, too.  I was once again able to read approximately 100 books this year (not counting re-reads).  But being a parent has really changed how and what I’m reading, which is disappointing to me.  Here are some notes from my reading this year and my goals for next year.

The Great American Read

PBS’s Great American Read was the highlight of my reading year.  I had great fun reading four of the books on the Top 100 list, bringing my total read to 36, and voting for my favorites in the contest.  To Kill a Mockingbird was the big winner, but many of my favorites rounded out the top five.  You can read more about it here.

Author Discovery: VE Schwab

When I was getting back to reading earlier this year, I picked up the A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy by VE Schwab and fell in love.  You can read my longer review here.  I then went on to read Vicious, which I may love even more!  I’m still working my way through the rest of her repertoire, so expect to see more about her other novels next year.

Audiobooks

I tried listening to some audiobooks for the first time this year and had a mixed reaction.  I listened to two romance novels and VE Schwab’s Venegeful (sequel to Vicious).  I did enjoy listening to them on my commute, but I actually like listening to music just as well.  Mostly, I felt very impatient with them.  I was listening to them on 1.5 speed, and it still took hours longer to listen to them than it would have to read them.  I also didn’t really like the voice performance aspect, because when I read of course I never do different voices for characters in my head, so that was a bit weird to me to hear that.  What do you guys think?  Should I keep trying?  Do you have suggestions for books that are really good as audiobooks?

Blogging Book Reviews

One of my goals at the end of last year was to review more of what I am reading here, and I’m happy that I did review a lot of my genre reads here on the blog.

Now for the downsides…

Although I read about 100 books, about 80 of these were Regency romances, and I would say only about half of those were worthwhile reading.  So I hit the mark for quantity but not quality.  Hence I want to change a few things in my reading next year.

  1. Read from more genres.  Although I did read a good mix of sci-fi and fantasy, as well as evenly from adult and YA, I barely read any manga or comics and no nonfiction at all this year.   I also want to read more short stories and historical fiction.
  2. Finish Heyer’s romances.  I’m not giving up Regency romance entirely! I mentioned last year that I began reading through the works of Georgette Heyer, and I was able to read several more this year.  I have yet to be really disappointed by a single one of her stories.  I want to finish reading her oeuvre of historical romances (I only have about five left) and maybe try some of her mysteries.
  3. Read books I already own.  I have shelves and shelves of books and people keep giving me more.  Yet I’m constantly requesting books at the library, and then I have to finish them first because there’s a deadline!  Which leads me to…
  4. Finish the books I started.  I started 11 books this year that I was unable to finish before they had to go back to the library.  Eleven!!  I would check out too many books on my Kindle, then not get to one until it was almost due, then be unable to finish it.  I couldn’t renew because they all have long wait lists.  It was a vicious cycle I want to break next year.  Because my reading time is more limited now, I need to be a little more focused in my reading and maybe not check out every single ebook that looks vaguely interesting.  I’ve also discovered that I can “suspend” holds, so instead of a library book just showing up on my Kindle when it comes available, it won’t come until I’m ready for it.

What books did you enjoy most in 2018?  Do you have reading goals for 2019?

14 thoughts on “2018 Reading Review

  1. Luther M. Siler December 27, 2018 / 8:27 pm

    My 10 best post is coming in the next couple of days– as soon as I’m sure the book I’m reading now isn’t going to make the list, basically. I’m going to try and do more rereads next year, because my bookshelves are getting too damn crowded. How many books do you think you read if you count the rereads?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mei-Mei December 27, 2018 / 8:33 pm

      Maybe another 5 re-reads? Not a lot, and they tend to be YA. Many times I just skim my favorite parts from books I’ve already read instead of doing a full re-read.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. jenchaos76 December 28, 2018 / 5:34 am

    I need to start suspending holds. I have a problem as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Michael J. Miller December 29, 2018 / 12:13 am

    Oh my gosh, 100 books!!! You’re my hero. My total was probably around half that. But I devote a lot of time to comic reading for material for the blog and because comic books make my grading go faster. I tuck one in every so many exams or papers as a little break/reward for working :). So if I was to add trade paperbacks (or enough single issues to equal the trade) my total would be admittedly higher. This year I struggled more with reading when I’m teaching than I have in years past so maybe a goal would be to find a better balance next year.

    As to specifically defined reading goals, presently I have just one. I started this fascinating collection of essays on the history of the relationship between science and religion. I’ve been reading it off and on (meaning slooooooooooooooooowly) since June. So, come hell or high water, I want to finish this before the year ends! I only have about 200 pages left to go….

    OH! I’d also like to steal your goal of reading from more genres too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mei-Mei December 29, 2018 / 7:43 am

      Well, as you see it was quantity over quality. I have missed reading comics, I haven’t even kept up with Saga. I totally count trades in my total, or would if I’d read any this year 🤣

      I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on that essay collection when you are done. The intersection of science and religion is definitely an interest of mine.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michael J. Miller December 29, 2018 / 10:04 am

        It’s a good book! I’ve just been reading it slowly. The authors who contributed certainly have their academic credentials and most of the pieces are very readable/engaging. I love this area too. In fact, I team-teach a course with one of my best friends (who is a biology teacher) on science and religion. It’s a lot of fun.

        Also, I totally appreciate your counting trades! It makes me feel more impressive with my overall total too :). I’ll be excited to see what comics may join your reading for 2019. Also also…can you believe I’ve never read ‘Saga;?? A friend of mine gave me the first trade as a gift so I’m getting ready to jump. But it feels like this HUGE hole in my pop culture knowledge, like before I started watching ‘Doctor Who.’

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mei-Mei December 29, 2018 / 12:59 pm

        I’ve never seen Doctor Who! 🤣Guess that’s my hole!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. saraletourneau December 30, 2018 / 5:29 pm

    Aren’t V.E. Schwab’s books incredible? 😀 I hope this means you’re planning to read her Monsters of Verity Duology? That was a good series. Dark and violent, but really good thematically speaking.

    If I had to list a few books that were my absolutely favorites this year… I’d say that my favorite brand new books were Circe by Madeline Miller and Starless by Jacqueline Carey, and my favorite previously published books were Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson and American Street by Ibi Zoboi. Two of my January blog posts will be a longer list of 2018 favorite reads and one on my own reading goals for 2019. And one of my reading goals for 2019? Finish at least a couple of the series whose first books I’ve already read. I’m afraid I’ll never finish them if I keep putting them off!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mei-Mei December 30, 2018 / 6:20 pm

      Yes, I am definitely planning to read the Monsters of Verity! I need to start reading some Brandon Sanderson, too. Looking forward to your posts!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Xen January 1, 2019 / 12:13 am

    You read 100 books? Wow, that’s awesome. I really should read a lot more than I do, I tried to do the book challenge on Goodreads one year and failed miserably.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mei-Mei January 1, 2019 / 8:36 am

      Well, most of them were the literary equivalent of candy haha. In past years I haven’t read nearly that many because I was reading more worthwhile stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Xen January 1, 2019 / 3:17 pm

        Ah I see haha – well, anything read even if its a comic is still technically reading I guess 🙂 I have read a lot of comics and text from books but I haven’t read a book cover to cover in a while 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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