Books & Reading

The Best Books I Read in 2018

I’m an avid reader.

It’s always been one of my favorite hobbies. According to Goodreads, I read over 130 books last year. (My husband is pretty sure I have a problem, and he might be right). But of all those books, a few stand out as really incredible. I’ve limited myself to 12 total: four novels, four works of nonfiction, and four children’s books. So you can be sure that I really thought they were great.

Best novels

The Masterpiece, Francine Rivers – Francine Rivers has long been one of my favorite authors. Redeeming Love has always been my favorite book of hers, but this new one might be a close second. It’s that good.

The Almost Sisters, Joshilyn Jackson – Heads up: this book has some language and some adult themes (the main character gets pregnant out of wedlock). But there are also some powerfully redemptive messages in it, enough to suggest to me that maybe the author is a Christian? Plus, it’s a really good story.

The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Stetterfield – I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a mystery so thoroughly. I couldn’t wait to figure out the twist, and the setting and characters were very reminiscent of the Bronte sisters’ work. If you love Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, this is a book you’ll want to read.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Patti Callahan – This is a fictionalized retelling of how C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman met and fell in love (though Joy’s son says it’s very much based on the truth). It’s a wonderful picture of the life of one of my very favorite authors.

Best nonfiction

Martin Luther, Eric Metaxas – This book is long, but it’s worth your time if you like biographies. I loved learning so much about a man whose life I knew very little about—and whose work had such a profound impact on the church today. If this is too long for you, I also highly recommend his book, 7 Women, which is seven mini-biographies of important female historical figures.

The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel – My husband, Jason, has devoted much of his time to the study of apologetics, and for someone just starting out, this is one of the first books he recommends. Now I can see why. The book’s compelling narrative, in which author Lee Strobel diligently searches for the truth, serves as a framework for a lot of detailed information concerning the historical and scientific evidence for what we believe as Christians. The movie is also superb.

The Road Back to You, Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile – This was not my introduction to the Enneagram, but I wish it had been. This is a great place to start if you’re just discovering the nine types, and still trying to figure out your own.

Letters to the Church, Francis Chan – This book encapsulates a lot of what God has been stirring in mine and Jason’s hearts regarding the church as we have pondered what is next for our family. But it was also deeply personally challenging, as Francis Chan looked honestly at the discrepancies between the New Testament and modern American church, and encourages believers to pursue a closer walk with Jesus.

Best kids books

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, Maryrose Wood – Imagine Jane Eyre meets Jungle Book. This terrific series had my kids (and me) engaged from the first book to the last.

The Green Ember series, S. D. Smith – I’ll be honest, the first time I read The Green Ember, it wasn’t my favorite. I didn’t dislike it, exactly, but I didn’t love it either. But reading it aloud to my kids has given me a whole new perspective on this series. As a mom of boys, I love stories that encourage them to be brave and selfless, to see themselves as warriors for everything that is good and true, and these books do exactly that. We’re currently reading the second book in this series and loving it.

Bob, Wendy Mass & Rebecca Stead – This is a sweet book about a girl and her forgotten imaginary friend. It’s beautifully written, and I hope it wins the Newbery award.

Now We Are Six, A. A. Milne –While I was familiar with Milne’s Winne the Pooh stories, this year was the first time I’d ever read his poetry for children, and I adored it. We read these aloud over the course of several Monday afternoons, when we have a weekly poetry teatime.


I hope you enjoy these book recommendations, and find something on this list you think you might enjoy. If you want to keep more up-to-date on what I’m reading, I post a picture of books I’m trying almost weekly on Instagram (the photo above is one I posted about a month ago), and you can always see  everything I’m reading on Goodreads. But please note that my picking it up is not an endorsement: there are many books I read last year that I would not recommend to someone else. Some I just didn’t enjoy, in some cases I blatantly disagreed with the author, and some I couldn’t even finish because I disliked them so much.

If you’re curious about a particular title, please ask me.

Also, if you love book recommendations as much as I do, a couple of my favorite bloggers just released their “favorites of 2018” lists on their own blogs. You can see The Lazy Genius’s list here, and Emily Freeman’s here. I’ve added several of their recommended titles to my own list for what to read next year.

**Some of the links in the post are affiliate links, which means that I get a small commission off anything you purchase  at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting me!

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