2018 was a great year for my reading goals — I read the most I’ve ever read in a year. Here are my Top 10 Favorites (plus a couple extra because I couldn’t decide)!
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Every year, I set a reading goal. That goal has always been 52 books in a year — a book a week. And until this past year, I had yet to actually reach my goal, though I came close in 2017.
Related Post: My Top 10 Favorite Books of 2017
In 2018, however, I finally got my home run — 77 books in total (not including all the read-aloud chapter books Aidan and I have been enjoying together lately).
For 2019, I’m committed to making reading an even bigger priority, and I’ve set a few new reading goals for the types of books I want to read. But I’m not setting a specific book number goal because… well… I have a baby coming this spring!
But I’m pretty happy with my reading this past year, and in this post, I want to share with you my top 10 favorites.
Enjoy and happy reading!
My Top 10(+) Favorite Books From 2018
I’m trying something a little different this year. Rather than simply giving you a list of my favorite books, I’m organizing them by category. I thought this might make it easier for you to find something you’re interested in. (And I had a hard time narrowing down my list to 10, so I snuck in a couple extra this way.)
Favorite Self-Help Books
I could NOT decide between these three books, so I’m lumping them together under the banner of “My Favorite Self-Help Books.”
I love everything Michael Hyatt, and this book was no exception. It was everything I could have expected from a motivational goal-setting book, and then some. 2018 was my year of “courage,” and this book was just what I needed to go after some of the big goals I set for myself. It was a kick in the pants with a ton of practical advice to get me going. Even if you think you’re a goal-setting expert (but especially if you don’t), this book is one you’re going to want to read if you’re ready to make this your best year ever.
I read this one right after reading Your Best Year Ever, and it turned out to be a rather amusing choice because their advice was quite different. At times it was even completely contradictory. But I think it’s often a good idea to read differing perspectives on an issue to develop a well-rounded approach.
I loved the premise of this book — it’s for people who have a history of starting things but who struggle to follow through to the end. In the book, he addresses the most common reasons people have for not following through with their goals, and it spoke straight to my fear-driven, avoidance-loving, perfectionist self. It may have been very different from Michael Hyatt’s approach, but it was also exactly the book I needed to read.
Plus, if you’ve never read Jon Acuff before, he is absolutely hysterical, and I had a lot of fun reading this book.
I’ve read quite a few self-help, motivational, and leadership-type books, so I thought I was going to read a lot of the same old material I’ve heard before. But I didn’t. This book was truly unlike any other book I’ve read, and it was FULL of powerful ways to improve your performance and change your life.
At times his advice was a little too new-age-y for me, but aside from those few times, it fit well with a Biblical worldview. And don’t think that this book is only for corporate ladder-climbers or world-class athletes. All of these habits can be applied to anyone who wants to make the most of his or her life, whether that’s in business, sports, parenting, or homemaking. That’s the beauty of the book.
Favorite Marriage Book
Dr. Chapman is best known for his book, The 5 Love Languages (for good reason — it’s a must-read for all couples!), but this book is just as valuable. I’ve recommended it to several people I know. It illuminated many sources of miscommunication and blockages to intimacy, and I had several epiphanies while reading it. At times it got a bit dry, and he went on several side trips that I thought were beyond the scope of the book, but the insights I gained from it more than made up for the extra pages.
Favorite Parenting Book
This book was one of the most inspiring books on parenting I’ve ever read (and I’ve read quite a few!) I was blown away by their intentionality and creativity in their parenting, and I took notes like a madwoman so I could use some of their ideas.
But more than anything I was deeply motivated to be more intentional about creating a home that points my children to the living God. This book definitely revealed some areas where I had become a bit tired or lazy, and reading it was just what I needed to put it front and center in my priorities again.
Favorite Inspirational/Faith Books
This book was phenomenal. It spoke so profoundly to where I am in life, and it settled a lot of issues for me. It helped me be more content with my present as I trust God with my future, and it reminded me that God is always, ALWAYS at work preparing me for my destiny and my destiny for me. I highly recommend this book to anyone feeling confused, frustrated, disappointed, hurt, or in any other way discontented with his/her present circumstances. This is a must-read!
This book was incredible, and just the book I needed. I’ve asked a lot of “why her” questions in my life (as I’m sure we all have), and these six truths spoke to the core of the insecurities, doubts, and fears behind the question. Unlike some books that over-promise and under-deliver, this book did exactly as promised on the back cover.
Read more about the book and my struggle with comparison in this post!
I have loved everything I have ever read or heard from Priscilla Shirer, so it’s no surprise that one of her books made my list again this year. This book packs a powerful punch that fights our doubts and insecurities and reminds us that God is able. Able to go far beyond our problems, and able to exceed our expectations. And He’s always working in our lives and on our behalf, even when everything around us says He’s not. If you’re looking for a book to strengthen your faith or boost your confidence in God’s power and love, this is it!
I’m a big Annie Downs fan, so I eagerly picked this one up when it came out. I had heard her talk about it, so I knew it was going to be different from her other books. Different from most other books, really. I knew it was going to be real and honest and vulnerable, and I knew it wasn’t going to have a neat, tidy ending. But that is exactly what I loved about it.
I’ve read books by people who have come out the other side of their struggles and their questions and their wrestling with God. And those books are definitely encouraging! But I loved that this book was written in the messy middle. It was so refreshing and encouraging to hear someone say, “I don’t have the answers. My story is not finished. My prayers and my dreams have not been realized. And yet… I continue to trust and believe that God is who He says He is.”
I’ll be honest, at times the book jumped around a little too much, and I had a hard time following some of her stories. This was especially true in the beginning. But I loved how much her personality and her heart came through in her writing, and everything she said was 100% real and authentic. No facades, no acts, no pretenses. Just Annie. And it was exactly something I needed to read right now.
**I received a complimentary copy of the book from B&H Publishing to review. All opinions are my own.**
Favorite General Nonfiction Book
This book tells the story of the integration of Little Rock’s Central High School directly from one of the students, and it was incredible. I couldn’t believe what I was reading half the time. I’ve always known that it was hard for those first few integrated students — I knew there was a lot of pushback, verbal harassment, and even mobs — but I had no idea the extent of the threat to their physical safety. It was unbelievable to me the things they endured and the venomous hatred they faced — and not even just from the white community! It was definitely an eye-opening read, to say the least.
Favorite Books for Moms
I’d been hearing moms rave about this book for a long time, and once I finally read it, I had to agree with them.
The first chapter or two were honestly just okay for me, and I was starting to think maybe the book wasn’t going to be as much of a winner for me as it was for others. And then all of a sudden, it got good. Really, really good. Like, piercing-my-heart, water-to-my-thirsty-mom-soul good.
I have to admit, part of why I love this book so much is because Sally Clarkson admits a lot of her own struggles in it. And I gotta say — it was kind of a relief to learn she’s human, too. It endeared me to her, and to be honest, it made me soak up her advice even more. Her parts of the book were definitely my favorite.
This is hands-down one of the most helpful books I’ve ever read. It’s full of not only inspiration for simplifying your life but also real-world practical ways to help you actually you do it. I LOVED some of the tips she gave, and I’ve been working on implementing them in my own life. This is a must-read for busy moms or anyone looking to live life more intentionally.
I’ve been trying to put into words what this book did for me since I read it three months ago, and I can’t do it justice. It spoke to so many things I’ve been struggling with this year — feelings of inadequacy in motherhood, frustration in my attempts to work from home, and guilt and confusion about pursuing personal passions. I can’t overstate how much this book encouraged me this year, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to any mom wondering how to say yes to both motherhood AND personal calling.
You all know that I’m a HUGE fan of reading, an advocate for literacy, and a champion of books. But even I didn’t fully realize the enormous benefits of reading to our kids — even after they can read for themselves!
I learned some really fascinating tidbits from this book about the cognitive, behavioral, and social benefits of reading to kids. But let me assure you, it was more than just a study on why we should read aloud to our kids. It was also full of super practical tips for how to effectively do it, as well as suggestions for fun read-alouds for kids of all ages.
Related Post: 7 Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Love for Reading
Favorite Fiction Book
I had a really hard time deciding, but my favorite fiction book this year was probably A Song Unheard, by Roseanna M. White. It’s the second book in her Shadows Over England series. You can read my full review of the book, as well as why I love Roseanna’s books, in general, in this post.
I also discovered several other Christian fiction authors this year that I really enjoyed and will read more of this year, including Jocelyn Green, Kristy Cambron, Elizabeth Camden, and Katie Ganshert.
I did read several non-Christian fiction books this year, and some of them I really enjoyed. But a lot of them were just okay for me. So if you have any recommendations of amazing fiction books you think I should read this year, let me hear ’em!
Those are my 10(+) favorite books from 2018. Now it’s your turn! What are a few of your favorite books you read last year? Share in the comments below!
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- My 2018 Ultimate Gift Guide: Favorite Books for Kids!