My Favorite 100 Books Read in 2018

I read 100 books in 2018. Here’s a look at my overall favorites that you should check out along with a few tips on how to read more in 2019.

Written by Adam on 2019-01-07. adamfortuna, Blog, Goals, personal. 8 comments. Find out how I make money.

One thing I focused on doing last year was reading. Or more specifically listening and reading. Anyone who’s encountered me in person for too long as no doubt seen me with AirPods in deep in a story.  In 2018 I was able to listen to even more books in the past – somehow reaching 100 books! I trace this back to a few changes since I moved to Utah:

  • Taking public transportation to work most days (1 hour 30 minutes)
  • Walking my dog everyday (30 minutes)
  • Going for a long hikes (2-6 hours)
  • Listening to fewer podcasts
  • Becoming faster at listening (turning the speed up as high as 3x depending on the book and narrator)
books from 2018
books from 2018

Add to that the rise of Libby, which allows for free library rentals of audiobooks and I was able to keep my queue well stocked all year long!

I also buy books from Audible by snagging 24 credits at a time and spending them over the year. I’ll supplement that with the occasional Audible 2-for-1 deal where you can get 2 books for 1 credit. Whenever one of these deals goes live I jump on it and see if there’s anything I want that’s not available on Libby. /r/audiobooks on Reddit usually posts about these deals if you want to stay in the know.

In 2018 I also switched to Apple AirPods as my primary headphones for listening. These have been AMAZING. The batteries never seem to run out. Even if one does, you can go down to 1-ear for a while while the other charges then alternate from there.

I originally set a goal of 75 books for 2018, but due to some life changes I had a bit more time on my hands. When I realized I might hit 100 books in December (an arbitrary but downright cool milestone), I decided to get there on a technicality and add a few comic trades I read, a few short stories and wrap up a few books I was in the middle of.

Related Articles:
How to Listen to 100 Audiobooks a Year
My Favorite 66 Books Read in 2017

This post is a look back at everything I read in 2018 – including a bit of analysis, recommendations on some of my favorites and a few things that worked for me this year.

Before getting into my overall favorites, let me touch on a bit of what I personally like to read. I tend to lean towards a few specific genres: science fiction, fantasy, self improvement, biographies and various other non-fiction that catch my eye. I’ll pick up the occasional mystery or suspense fiction if it gets great reviews, but I don’t seek them out in the same way.

I use Goodreads to track what I’m reading and some custom programming to pull down the data and sort it into a spreadsheet.

Numbers by Category

Ok, time for some numbers! If you know me by now, you know I love diving into data and seeing what happens. For me it helps understand where I’ve been and improve in the future. Even for reading that helps understand what kind of books are really making my happy and expanding my horizons.

Books by Type

I tend to favor full-length books for the most part. The short stories I read this past year were mostly follow-ups that happened in the same world as the full-length books I was reading. For example: Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson, Dresden Files short stories or ones by Ann Lecke in the Imperial Radch series. 

Format Count
Book 85
Short Story 10
Comic 5

I only read two comics this year – Attack on Titan (technically a manga) and The Walking Dead. I’m caught up on both and looking for a next series to get into. I’m almost caught up on Saga, so that’ll be next. Any recommendations after that?

Books by Gender

A few years ago I realized almost every book I read was written by a man. For 2017 I read 14 books by women, 52 by men (21% women). Compared to 15 women/60 men in 2016 (20%) when I began making an effort to widen my horizons. In 2015 the number was single digits, so I’m at least headed in the right direction.

Gender Count
Men 73
Women 27

At 27% of total books, that’s still not great diversity of thought, but it’s an improvement! If you look at only the 85 books and leave off short stories and comics, then the numbers change a bit to 26 books by women, 59 by men (30%).

Books by Genre

I mentioned before that I tend to focus on nonfiction, science fiction, fantasy and biographies as my primary genres.

When it comes to biographies, I love growth stories – ones focused around someones journey towards a specific goal, or with some set change. That includes books like Wild, which is a biography intertwined with hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, or Cork Dork, which is a biography told through one woman’s journey to become a sommelier.

Here’s a look at the distribution of genres for the year. 

Genre Count
Nonfiction 47
— Business 11
— Self Improvement 8
— History 8
— Science 7
— Spiritual 4
— Lifestyle 4
— Food 1
— Technical 2
— Crime 1
Fantasy 26
Science Fiction 15
Biography 9
Fiction 3

I have a feeling the “business” section will be going down for 2019 as I shift my focus away from strategy, OKRs and team development.

I was surprised to see so many more in fantasy than in science fiction this year. There were only a few sci-fi books I loved this past year, but overall I didn’t find as many hits as I hope.

Books by Consumption Method

I mentioned that I primarily listen to books rather than read. Turns out it’s somewhere between a 9:1 ratio and a 20:1 ratio. I’m not the fastest reader so audiobooks tend to go much faster and tend to hold my attention more.

Medium Count
Read 11
Listened 89

If you limit this to only full-length books, then the numbers shift even farther towards audiobooks.

Books by Medium Count
Read 5
Listened 80

I have never had a great habit of reading, and it shows in these numbers. Now that I have a bunch more free time, I’ve been starting to read in bed every morning which has been amazing! I’ve always struggled to concentrate while reading, but I’ve found that if I turn on some white noise I can concentrate for much longer. I expect this number of read books to increase in 2019.

Side note: If you have an Alexa, try using “Alexa, play rain sounds”. We started going to sleep with that white noise and now we’re completely addicted to it. Even when we’ve traveled recently we put those same sounds on through our phone. It reminds me us of being back in Florida on a rainy day.

Books by Rating

I rate books on a scale of 1-5, which is the same as on Goodreads.

Rating Count
1 – Everyone Should Avoid 2
2 – A Bad Book 9
3 – Ok, but not great 25
4 – A Good One 28
5 – An Amazingly Great Book 36

I had a good year in terms of what I picked. A full 36% of books were Amazingly Great! I’d break it down into 1-3 being “eh”, 4 being entertaining and then 5 being the ones I really loved for the year. 

Books by Year

One of my life goals is to read the top 100 science fiction and fantasy books ever written. 2018 wasn’t a year where I made significant progress on that goal – leaving me another 55 books still to read. Some of those 55 are entire series too.

This years books tended towards the recent side. 98 books I read were written since 2000. In 2017 I read a bunch of older sci-fi and wanted a change towards something more recent. I have a feeling I’ll be digging more into the classics again in 2019.

By Year Count
2018 32
2017 18
2016 7
2015 5
2014 4
2013 5
2012 5
2011 4
2010 3
2009 2
2008 1
2007 1
2006 2
2005 2
2004 3
2003 1
2002 2
2001 1
1996 1
1990 1

Favorite Books of 2018

OK, that’s enough numbers. Time to get into my favorites from the year! Last year I had one mega-list from top to bottom with my favorites. This year I’ve decided to try something different and organize them into a few categories. This is mostly because I really don’t want to try sorting 100 books from best to worst and writing a review for each of them. It’s a lot easier, and arguably more useful, to sort them into specific genres or groups and pick my favorite in those.

At the bottom I’ve also included every book I read for the year with it’s rating from 1-5.

My Overall Top 10 Favorite Books of 2018

Here’s the overall list across all genres of my favorites. There’s not a single fantasy book in the top 10 this year, but after The Kingkiller Chronicle was #1 last year there was a high bar to live up to.

5 out of the my top 10 books this year are written by women. 3 are sci-fi, 3 are biographies and 4 are non-fiction. To my surprise, 4 of the books on this list I read in January – a strong start to the year! 

1) Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Sci-fi)


This was the first book I read in January 2018 and it ended up becoming my bar for the entire year. 

The premise is this: Earth is in the process of terraforming a new planet to make it habitable. The plan is to contaminate this new world with a genetic virus that will cause the monkeys there to become more sentient in the far future. Something goes wrong (we’re still in chapter 1 here) and instead a planet of insects are grown.

The most impressive part of this entire story is the focus on insect chemistry and what it would look like for a planet of intelligent spiders to rise. This may sound like a horror story, but it’s not that at all. Spider society faces many of the same issues we do in our society today – gender rights (although the main issue is to allow males to NOT be eaten after mating), societal structures, trust, communication, and math. The approach to solving these issues is entirely insect-based, and some of them blew my mind.

2) Educated by Tara Westover (Biography)


I didn’t know anything about Educated when I started it – other than that it was a memoir.

It’s much more than that though. It’s a memoir from a rarely seen segment of society: Mormon fundamentalist. In this case it’s not the multiple wives kind, but the homesteader/government controls everything/everyone who’s not us is evil side.

Educated follows Westover’s journey growing up in a fundamentalist household where it wasn’t essential to teach her anything, to a bright future that I wouldn’t even have anticipated at the beginning of her journey.

Having just moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, reading this book that focuses so much on Mormon culture (even the fringe side) was immensely interesting. It led me to read Under the Banner of Heaven soon after – a further look into Mormon Fundamentalism and as one way religion is used to control and oppress.

3) Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty (Sci-fi)

six wakes

Every year when the Hugo nominations come out I scour the lists for interesting science fiction books I otherwise missed. While this has been hit or miss, I have found some gems from those list – including Six Wakes.

The premise of Six Wakes is simple: in a distant future, a ship is on route to colonize a new world. All of the passengers are in deep sleep except a six-person crew. The trip is set to take multiple generations, but these six crew members continuously have their memories saved digitally then re-imaged with new clones of themselves when they die.

The problem comes when all six crew members wake up (after dying) at the same time – with significant memories missing. This makes for a whodunnit style novel, in a sci-fi setting where even the perpetrator doesn’t remember doing it.

I remember listening to this book on a hike. I ended up going a few extra miles just because I didn’t want it to end!

4) Grit by Angela Duckworth (Nonfiction / Self Improvement)


When it comes to getting things done, there are many takes on where to put your focus. There are systems to help plan your time (12 Week Year, Miracle Morning). There are ways to help organize your routine (Atomic Habits, Focus). There are systems to help you think differently (Kaizen, Beginners Mind). But if you want to get something done it always comes down to one thing: you have to actually do it.

Grit, perseverance, follow-through – whatever you want to call it – is THE most important thing to getting things done. People who have it are the ones that toil without reward to complete what they see a vision in. They have a passion and are dead-set on turning it into a reality.

I think Grit is one of the most under-appreciated qualities in a person. All of the biggest successes in my life I can relate back to some obstacle that I needed to overcome and make it through.

At different times in my life I’ve felt like I had more grit than others. At times, I’ve felt long-hours meant I had grit, or if I overcame some hard problem. Those are a few examples of grit, but this book dives much deeper than that. It has a focus on growing grit. The same way you may want to grow a habit, or increase your focus, growing your grit helps so many parts of your life. It’s only possible by being uncomfortable, and being OK with that. 

There aren’t many books that I have lined up to read in 2019, but re-reading this one is on the list for when I want to really start working hard on something.

5) Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany by Norman Ohler (Nonfiction / History)


I wasn’t expecting a book about drugs in Nazi Germany to be so fascinating! I can’t think of another history book that has elaborated and added so much information to something I thought I knew about than Blitzed.

Blitzed focuses on something left out of high school and college textbooks – the prevalence of drugs throughout Germany during World War 2. This went all the way to the top with Hitlers personal doctor prescribing and administering drugs (via injection) nearly everyday.

While I’ve never considered myself a WW2 buff, this look at the war added another dimension I wasn’t aware of. By understanding the drugs used and their side effects, it makes it easier to understand motivations for much of what was happening at Germanys highest levels – namely how they became increasingly paranoid and isolated as the war went on.

6) The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod (Nonfiction / Self Improvement)


The full title for this one is: “The Miracle Morninmiravlg: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8 AM)”.

For much of 2018, I woke up at 5:40 AM. Before reading Miracle Morning, I never woke up before 7:30 AM. I think that tells you most of what you need to know about this one.

This is an area I’ve been curious about for a long time. For some of my most productive years, I woke up promptly in the morning and went to the gym for an hour. That morning workout gave me a lot of strength for the rest of the day – more self-control, more optimism, more sense of accomplishment to start the day.

I’d always presumed that was specific to what I was doing (working out). After reading this book, I believe I was off on that presumption. Instead, doing anything productive to start the day can lead to these benefits. This limiting belief – that I’m a night person and that I can’t do it – was quickly shut down, and now I’m hoping to give this early riser thing a try.

7) Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1) by Sylvain Neuvel (Sci-fi)

sleeping giants

While most books on my top 10 list are serious – this one is just old fashion fun. Here’s a quick description from Amazon:

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

So what is this huge metal hand? Where’s the rest of the body? Why is it here? Who put it here? What can it do? All of these questions and so much more are explored in The Themis Files trilogy of books.

You can probably guess by now (and by the title) that there are some giants involved (I’ll leave it vague on what a “Giant” is). One side I appreciated from this book was that it goes into the global politics of the situation – moving this from a straight sci-fi novel to a political sci-fi story spread out over decades. Add to that a sense of comedy sprinkled in and you have a memorable world.

8) Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker (Biography)


The full name for this one is: “Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste”.

Ever since I watched Somm on Netflix, I’ve been fascinated by sommeliers. The amount of work and dedication needed to become a Master is nothing short of crazy. While the movie Somm focuses mostly on the test for those already experienced, Cork Dork follows a path from pure curiosity to career.

For those who want to “break in” to the wine world, it’s no small task. It’s painted as completely unrealistic to do it on your own unless you happen to have a few million extra dollars lying around. Instead, the way to do it is to get a job at a restaurant with a notable wine list and use every chance you have to start tasting wines and learning.

The process that upcoming somms go through is far more painful than I thought. Restaurant work aside (which has its own issues), trying to do that while ALSO becoming a master in taste, service, and knowledge is something I’m good not pursuing – but hats off to people who make it their calling.

If nothing else, I got better tips on how to speak to somms as a drinker to communicate what I’m looking for. Tip: start with your price range.

9) The Year of Less by Cait Flanders (Biography)


The full title for this one is “The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store”.

I’ve been reading Caits blog for longer than I can remember. Before the finance community was something I knew about, Cait’s approach to heartfelt stories about minimalism and consumption was what drew me to read more. This book dives deeper with a narrative that winds through a difficult year.

Going much deeper into personal stories than I expected, the common thread is a story of growth – both towards having less stuff, but also for better understanding what leads to happiness. Editing down a life to focus on what matters is no small undertaking, and many of these stories have inspired me to look at areas of my life that could use a little editing.

10) Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (Nonfiction / Fitness)


I’ve never considered myself a runner. I was born with asthma and spent many nights as a kid in emergency rooms, emergency clinics or at home hooked up to a nebulizer. Running, or any endurance event, would spark me to wheeze painfully.

By the time I was 18 I had mostly grown out of it, but my endurance was never a focus. In my late 20s, I started taking exercise more seriously and really started trying to improve my endurance. There was one area that I always struggled with though – long-duration workouts (like those 30-minutes+). 

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen takes aim at this subject head on. I was gripped by the different explorations of runners around the world as well as human beings unique ability to run long distances.

Between reading Born to Run, Grit and Shoe Dog (a memoir by Nike’s founder) I was left wanting to put my shoes on and get going. I’ve been running more in 2018 than ever before and only plan to increase my runs.

Top Lists

Those are my top 10 overall, but there were a bunch of other books that I’d still recommend for the year. Here are a few other lists of my favorites in other categories.

Top 10 Books by Women

  1. Educated
  2. Six Wakes
  3. Grit
  4. Cork Dork
  5. The Year of Less
  6. Something in the Water
  7. I Am Malala
  8. Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley
  9. Meet the Frugalwoods
  10. Making Work Visible: Exposing Time Theft to Optimize Work & flow

Top 10 Books by Men

  1. Children of Time (Children of Time #1)
  2. Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany
  3. The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life: Before 8AM
  4. Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1)
  5. Born to Run
  6. Refactoring UI
  7. The President Is Missing
  8. Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals
  9. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
  10. The Singularity Trap

Top 7 for Personal Improvement

  1. Grit
  2. The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life: Before 8AM
  3. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
  4. One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way
  5. Making Work Visible: Exposing Time Theft to Optimize Work & flow
  6. The 12 Week Year
  7. Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals

Top 6 for Fantasy

  1. White Sand
  2. Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive, #2.5)
  3. Summer Knight (The Dresden Files, #4)
  4. A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)
  5. Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, #3)
  6. The Boy on the Bridge (The Girl With All the Gifts #2)

Overall List

Whew, that’s a lot of top lists. But wait, there’s one more! Here’s my overall list of everything read from 2018, sorted by rating. This isn’t in order from favorite to least favorite, but grouped by its 1-5 score.

Note: You can sort by any column by clicking on it.

Image Title Rating Author Main Genre Year Written
book cover A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership 5/5 James Comey Biography 2018
book cover Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection 5/5 Brandon Sanderson Fantasy 2016
book cover Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones 5/5 James Clear Nonfiction 2018
book cover Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany 5/5 Norman Ohler Nonfiction 2016
book cover Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen 5/5 Christopher McDougall Nonfiction 2009
book cover Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley 5/5 Emily Chang Biography 2018
book cover Children of Time (Children of Time #1) 5/5 Adrian Tchaikovsky Science Fiction 2015
book cover Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste 5/5 Bianca Bosker Biography 2017
book cover Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive, #2.5) 5/5 Brandon Sanderson Fantasy 2017
book cover Educated 5/5 Tara Westover Biography 2018
book cover Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House 5/5 Michael Wolff Nonfiction 2018
book cover Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rule-breakers, and Changemakers 5/5 Dave Gray Nonfiction 2010
book cover Grit 5/5 Angela Duckworth Nonfiction 2016
book cover Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies 5/5 Jared Diamond Nonfiction 2005
book cover Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1) 5/5 Dan Simmons Science Fiction 1990
book cover I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban 5/5 Malala Yousafzai Biography 2013
book cover Making Work Visible: Exposing Time Theft to Optimize Work & flow 5/5 Dominica Degrandis Nonfiction 2017
book cover Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living 5/5 Elizabeth Willard Thames Biography 2018
One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way 5/5 Robert Maurer Nonfiction 2004
Refactoring UI 5/5 Adam Wathan Nonfiction 2018
book cover Six Wakes 5/5 Mur Lafferty Science Fiction 2017
book cover Skyward (Skyward, #1) 5/5 Brandon Sanderson Science Fiction 2018
book cover Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1) 5/5 Sylvain Neuvel Science Fiction 2016
book cover Something in the Water 5/5 Catherine Steadman Fiction 2018
book cover Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals 5/5 Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic Nonfiction 2015
book cover The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months 5/5 Brian P. Moran Nonfiction 2013
book cover The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life: Before 8AM 5/5 Hal Elrod Nonfiction 2012
book cover The President Is Missing 5/5 Bill Clinton Fiction 2018
book cover The Singularity Trap 5/5 Dennis E. Taylor Science Fiction 2018
book cover The Walking Dead, Book Fifteen (The Walking Dead #169-180) 5/5 Robert Kirkman Fantasy 2018
book cover The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store 5/5 Cait Flanders Biography 2018
book cover Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith 5/5 Jon Krakauer Nonfiction 2004
book cover When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing 5/5 Daniel H. Pink Nonfiction 2018
White Sand 5/5 Brandon Sanderson Fantasy 2016
book cover 進撃の巨人 25 [Shingeki no Kyojin 25] (Attack on Titan, #25) 5/5 Hajime Isayama Fantasy 2018
book cover 進撃の巨人 26 [Shingeki no Kyojin 26] (Attack on Titan, #26) 5/5 Hajime Isayama Fantasy 2018
book cover A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1) 4/5 V.E. Schwab Fantasy 2015
Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania (Mistborn, #4.5) 4/5 Brandon Sanderson Fantasy 2016
book cover Awakening (Infinity Blade, #1) 4/5 Brandon Sanderson Fantasy 2011
book cover Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup 4/5 John Carreyrou Nonfiction 2018
book cover Dao De Jing 4/5 Lao Tzu Nonfiction 2016
book cover Dead Beat (The Dresden Files, #7) 4/5 Jim Butcher Fantasy 2006
book cover Do I Make Myself Clear? Why Writing Well Matters 4/5 Harold Evans Nonfiction 2017
book cover Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less 4/5 Greg McKeown Nonfiction 2014
book cover Fascism: A Warning 4/5 Madeleine K. Albright Nonfiction 2018
book cover Fear: Trump in the White House 4/5 Bob Woodward Nonfiction 2018
FILE NO. 002 (Themis Files, #0.5) 4/5 Sylvain Neuvel Science Fiction 2017
book cover Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, #3) 4/5 Jim Butcher Fantasy 2001
book cover How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence 4/5 Michael Pollan Nonfiction 2018
book cover I'm Fine...and Other Lies 4/5 Whitney Cummings Biography 2017
book cover Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1) 4/5 Amie Kaufman Science Fiction 2015
book cover Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, #1) 4/5 James S.A. Corey Science Fiction 2011
book cover Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail 4/5 Dave Arnold Nonfiction 2014
book cover Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea 4/5 Barbara Demick Nonfiction 2009
book cover On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft 4/5 Stephen King Nonfiction 2002
book cover Out of Spite, Out of Mind (Magic 2.0 #5) 4/5 Scott Meyer Fantasy 2018
book cover Summer Knight (The Dresden Files, #4) 4/5 Jim Butcher Fantasy 2002
book cover The Boy on the Bridge (The Girl With All the Gifts #2) 4/5 M.R. Carey Fantasy 2017
book cover The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative 4/5 Florence Williams Nonfiction 2018
book cover The Walking Dead, Book Fourteen (The Walking Dead #157-168) 4/5 Robert Kirkman Fantasy 2017
book cover Waking Gods (Themis Files, #2) 4/5 Sylvain Neuvel Science Fiction 2017
book cover Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail 4/5 Cheryl Strayed Biography 2012
book cover Working for Bigfoot (The Dresden Files, #15.5) 4/5 Jim Butcher Fantasy 2015
book cover 進撃の巨人 27 [Shingeki no Kyojin 27] (Attack on Titan, #27) 4/5 Hajime Isayama Fantasy 2018
book cover Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military 3/5 Neil deGrasse Tyson Nonfiction 2018
book cover Act Accordingly 3/5 Colin Wright Nonfiction 2013
book cover Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1) 3/5 Robin Hobb Fantasy 1996
book cover Blood Rites (The Dresden Files, #6) 3/5 Jim Butcher Fantasy 2004
book cover Counting Backwards: A Doctor's Notes on Anesthesia 3/5 Henry Jay Przybylo Nonfiction 2017
book cover Death Masks (The Dresden Files, #5) 3/5 Jim Butcher Fantasy 2003
book cover Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace 3/5 Jessica Bennett Nonfiction 2016
book cover Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism 3/5 Fumio Sasaki Nonfiction 2017
How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye 3/5 Financial Samurai Nonfiction 2012
book cover I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer 3/5 Michelle McNamara Nonfiction 2018
book cover Iron Gold (Red Rising, #4) 3/5 Pierce Brown Science Fiction 2018
book cover Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs 3/5 John Doerr Nonfiction 2017
book cover Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter 3/5 Liz Wiseman Nonfiction 2010
book cover My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding 3/5 P.N. Elrod Fantasy 2006
book cover Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century 3/5 Jessica Bruder Nonfiction 2018
book cover Only Human (Themis Files, #3) 3/5 Sylvain Neuvel Science Fiction 2018
book cover Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility 3/5 Patty McCord Nonfiction 2018
book cover Principles: Life and Work 3/5 Ray Dalio Nonfiction 2011
book cover She Commands Me and I Obey 3/5 Ann Leckie Science Fiction 2014
book cover Sixth of the Dusk 3/5 Brandon Sanderson Fantasy 2014
book cover The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency #1) 3/5 John Scalzi Science Fiction 2017
book cover The Thank You Economy 3/5 Gary Vaynerchuk Nonfiction 2011
book cover Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader's Guide 3/5 Grant Hardy Nonfiction 2010
Vignette (The Dresden Files, #5.5) 3/5 Jim Butcher Fantasy 2008
book cover Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Enlightenment 3/5 Robert Wright Nonfiction 2017
book cover Astrophysics for People in a Hurry 2/5 Neil deGrasse Tyson Nonfiction 2017
book cover Blood Lite III: Aftertaste (Blood Lite #3) 2/5 Kevin J. Anderson Fantasy 2012
book cover Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path 2/5 Erin Loechner Nonfiction 2017
book cover Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress 2/5 Steven Pinker Nonfiction 2018
book cover Getting Back to Happy: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Reality, and Turn Your Trials Into Triumphs 2/5 Marc Chernoff Nonfiction 2018
book cover Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10) 2/5 Agatha Christie Fiction 2007
book cover Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire #1) 2/5 Yoon Ha Lee Science Fiction 2016
book cover The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth 2/5 Michio Kaku Nonfiction 2018
book cover You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life 2/5 Jen Sincero Nonfiction 2013
book cover Redemption (Infinity Blade, #2) 1/5 Brandon Sanderson Fantasy 2013
book cover The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth, #3) 1/5 N.K. Jemisin Fantasy 2017

Final Takeaways

Whew, that’s a lot. In organizing and reviewing all of these books from the year, I realized a few things:

Having the next 2-3 books lined up ensures that I’ll quickly transition from one book to the next.

Getting good earphones has helped a ton. Not being able to continue a story because of a dead battery is annoying.

I should write reviews immediately after I read a book when it’s still most fresh in my mine. Trying to do it months later is no fun.

Read more in the morning. That’s been amazing so far grounding my day.

Having some white noise helps me stay focused when reading.

Reading comics has been a ton of fun. Find one or two new series to read.

If you’re on Goodreads and want to stay up to date with what I’m reading/listening to, feel free to add me on there.

How did your 2018 reading go? What are your favorites of the year? Do you have any recommendations? Any books on this list you’re surprised by? Let me know in the comments.


Hi, I'm Adam! I help millennials invest to reach financial independence sooner than they ever thought possible. Want to see what you could do to reach FI sooner? You're in the right place!


Why not add to the conversation below? Your voice is welcome!
Sameer Desai

Sameer Desai

January 7, 2019

Yes!! Was looking forward to this. Look forward to poring over this ?

Yay! Thanks for the reminder to do this one. 🙂

Nicole Stanikowski

Nicole Stanikowski

January 7, 2019

Thanks for the list, I ‘m definitely going to work some of these titles into my own ‘to read list. I also appreciate the self-awareness you have for adjusting to bridge the gap of how many male/female authors you choose to read. Perhaps the next challenge would be to try for 50/50, and include some benchmarks for persons of color, etc?

Thanks Nicole! That would be a good thing to include next year for sure. Even without analysis, I know my leans isn’t that diverse in terms of background.

Wow, what an accomplishment and what a varied list! I participate in an online sci-fi / fantasy book club – 1 book a month – and that keeps me pretty occupied in terms of reading… Working my way through Ninefox Gambit right now.

Next time I need something to read, I’ll come back and look at your list – there is a lot to pick from!

Nice! I heard a lot of good things about Ninefox Gambit leading up to it. Being nominated for Locus and Hugo awards is telling enough! I’ll be interested to see how you like it. People tend to either love it or miss it.

OK, you got me beat. I only read about 20 last year .Showoff!

20 books is seriously solid. Considering I only actually read 5 books, I’m amazed to hear when people read a bunch.

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