Best Reads of 2018 | Bookish Year Review + 2019 Goals

Hi everyone! Wow, it’s been a while since my last bookish post — sorry about that. This fall was just a really big milestone in my life, so naturally, lifestyle posts took over for a few months there. Anyway, here’s my last bookish blog post of 2018!! It’s insane to me because I feel like I remember writing my best reads of 2017 post not that long ago!

If you’ve been keeping up with me from the end of last year/beginning of this year, you’ll know that I dramatically decreased my Goodreads challenge for the year with the anticipation of beginning college. I went from reading 27 books in 2017 to a goal of just 15 books this year. Let me start by giving 12-month-ago Cierra a pat on the back, because even though I didn’t want to admit it, the decrease was very necessary. By the time this post is published, I will have juuuust skidded past the finish line and completed my 15 book goal with Catcher by Kalyn Nicholson (which I’m almost done with and has been incredible so far, by the way).

So let’s do it! (In order from books read at the beginning of the year to most recent).

#1: Seriously…I’m Kidding ~ Ellen DeGeneres

. I’m Kidding ~ Ellen DeGeneres

I remember getting this book as a 2017 Christmas present last year and thinking it’d be a perfect way to begin 2018. I’m honestly including this book in my lineup simply because it is a very lighthearted and fun book to read if you’re ever looking for a break from the heaviness of dystopia or realness of other nonfiction works. And also because…Well, it’s Ellen. Enough said, right?

GR rating: ★★★★

#2: When the Emperor Was Divine ~ Julie Otsuka

I liked this book so much I ended up writing a review for it! It can be found here.

As I wrote in my short Goodreads review, this book was both fascinating and heartbreaking. It breeches the subject of Japanese American Internment during World War II, and it shows the lives of a Japanese American family both before, during, and after internment. Part of me resonated with this book as I talked about in my full review…and even a year later I can still say that I think this book is very important and would definitely recommend.

GR rating: ★★★★

#3: In the Time of the Butterflies ~ Julia Alvarez

I read this book not too long after I read WTEWD, and it is yet another important semi-historical book. This one breeches the subject of totalitarianism in the Dominican Republic under the infamous dictator Rafael Trujillo. It follows the rebellious icons known as Las Mariposas, (“The Butterflies”) AKA, the Mirabal Sisters and how they played a role in the underground conspiracy to overthrow Trujillo.

*Sigh* everytime I read this book I get sad because I wish it wasn’t based on real events. Yet another heartbreaking yet essential book. Would definitely recommend the book (and the movie!)

GR rating: ★★★★

#4: Radio Silence ~ Alice Oseman

If I could go back and review this book the second I finished it, I would. This book came at just the right time in my life, where I was looking for a plot to get sucked into in attempt to escape the ever cascading anxiousness I felt anticipating the moving day for college. It was a very simple read, but I remember being pulled in so fast and being very attached to the characters and their relationships. I also love the plot of the infamous podcast that started the whole book?? *happy sigh*

No outstanding moral message, just some light-hearted mystery and memorable characters. I think I might reread this and review it someday.

This was also my longest book of 2018! 400+ pages!

GR rating: ★★★★★

#5: Big Magic ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

I absolutely loved this book. It was just the right combination of Hope Jahren’s humor in Lab Girl and the whole “succinct life lessons” out of The Four Agreements by Don Ruiz. Although most people are introduced to Gilbert by her hit work Eat, Pray, Love, this is the first work of her’s that I have ever read and I was totally enthralled with her stories and tried to consume the lessons she learned at the end of every one as much as possible. Would recommend if you’re looking for something that screams “wake up, you are the author of your own life.”

GR rating: ★★★★★

Annnd last but most definitely not least:

#6: Catcher ~ Kalyn Nicholson

Sooo, I began this post on December 26th and I’m now finishing it on December 30th (*nervous laughter because procrastination*) However, like the version of me a few days ago said, Catcher was the last book of 2018 for me, and can I just say *wow* I loved this book. Maybe I’m a tad bit biased because Kalyn is actually a YouTuber that I’ve been watching for the past 2 years now, but I think the love I have for this book’s plot, characters, and message extends way past just me knowing who she is in front of a camera. In fact, I have made it a plan that Catcher will actually be the first book I review in 2019! So if you’re curious to know more about why I loved it so much, keep an eye out ❤

GR rating: ★★★★★

So now that you know what I really loved in 2018, here’s to my bookish goals in 2019!

2019 reading goals:

#1: Goodreads pledge: 20 books. I’m going to shoot for a slightly bigger push than 2018, but still less ambitious than 2017 while I continue to navigate and establish my work-play balance for college.

#2: No rereading. Or if you do reread a book, it does not count for your GR challenge. This one is very ambitious because it totally requires me to find at least 20 new books and read 20 completely new stories. I have to admit, I fell into a habit of gravitating towards rereading old books as we started getting closer to the end of the year. I was about half way through with rereading Lab Girl and I was going to call it the final read I needed to complete my GR challenge this year. But as I glanced over at my stack of untouched books and saw Catcher, a book I ordered on Amazon a whole five months ago and was still unread, I figured: what’s stopping me? So, I reluctantly put Lab Girl on the back burner and tentatively began reading Catcher while hoping that my last minute decision wouldn’t cost me the chance of completing my challenge this year. Little did I know, I’d finish Catcher in just 3 days because I was so engrossed in the story (again: review coming soon!)

So in short, this goal/challenge should lead me to some new interesting worlds, and I’m excited for it!

#3: One fiction, one nonfiction. Either simultaneously or rotating. This challenge is interesting to me because I know I read a totally skewed proportion of fiction books compared to nonfiction books. This should allow me to satisfy my infinite love for a good YA fiction book, while also learning something new from nonfiction books. Or at least, that’s the plan.

And lastly, #4: write more book reviews!! Although they are sometimes a time consuming and tedious process, the foundation of this blog was made by writing book reviews. And don’t get me wrong, I love doing them! It really just comes down to how much time it takes, but this year I want to commit to dedicating more time to both reading and bookish blogging in general.

So let’s do it, shall we?

Thank you for reading!! Next post: #Lifestyle year review + 2019 resolutions/goals!

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