2018 Bookshelf

I had a goal of reading 57 books in 2018. I read 63 books this year, an average of over one a week with four still in the 'current read' list (usually one is an audiobook, a kindle book, an Apple book, and I’m reading a book to my daughter).

Like 2017, I read 16 non-fiction books (25% of my read), roughly split between history and writing, with business, biography, and strategy in the mix.

Top of the non-fiction heap:

Grit I’ve mentioned when I read it before, and I am biased when I say how much I enjoyed Melissa Schilling’s book Quirky—I’m a former student of hers and enjoy her studies on business strategy and innovation. If you want to get past Forbes Listicles of How to Be Like an Entrepreneur and into the traits of past innovators, this is worth it.

Top of the fiction heap (I have a lot at the top, but this book is also highly regarded):

I’ve mentioned what I’ve enjoyed about this book previously, but I’m now excited that the sequel, Children of Ruin, will be out in May 2019. This is in TBR pile for sure.

I read even more science fiction this past year, which was a goal of mine - 25 or 40% up from last year and that was largely because I read into the military science fiction sub-genre. Most were new authors. In 2018, I challenged myself to read the entire Dune Chronicles — I’ve only achieved half that goal, with 3 more books to go. The rest were a new series and new authors. I read indie and former indie authors, and it’s been hit-or-miss.

I read two of John Scalzi’s sequel novels, Head On and The Consuming Fire. They were excellent and enjoyable, but also felt rushed and much shorter than they could have been.

Of the remaining 19 fiction books: I reread one Ian Fleming favorite and I’m reading JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series to my daughter. We’re on the fourth book now and she’s enjoying it. The rest is fantasy, two thrillers, war-time fiction, and a few YA through recommendations or books sitting on my TBR pile too long, and two books outside my normal reading genre. If you like Victorian steampunk fantasy, check out Vennessa Robertson’s Arcane Adventuress series. You might like it.1 VE Schwab’s Vicious didn’t grab me as much as I thought it would, but because I could not relate to the characters nor could I find anything likable about them.2 Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings was good but a slow burn with little payoff to justify such. He has incredible world-building and excellent characters, but the story felt protracted. At 1,007 pages, it’s probably the longest book I’ve read in some time. Like Iain M. Banks, I will definitely continue with the Stormlight Archives in measured doses.

In the military science fiction sub-genre, I reveled reading the first two of David Weber’s Honorverse novels. On the indie side, while heavy with military jargon and character issues, Thomas May’s Sword Into Darkness was an enjoyable read.

So looking ahead, what to read in 2018’s bookshelf?

1. I only achieved 1.5 of the 2 goals for 2018 — the Dune Chronicles are only half finished, and there are still more Culture novels to tackle and haven’t touched Jemisin’s remaining series just yet. So I’ll keep this goal for 2019. I read more indie titles, mostly in the military science fiction sub-genre and in genres I don’t normally read.

2. I have books on my TBR that have been there since 2016. I will clear and update my list.

3. Read 70 books in 2019, upping my 2018 achievement by 10%.

What are you reading? Did you make a goal this year? What did you enjoy most fiction wise and non-fiction wise?

Here’s my complete 2018 Bookshelf.

  1. Vennessa is friend and fellow author. She’s revising her first novel, so give it a couple of months, dive in and enjoy the story.

  2. I feel part of this is how her novel is marketed by the publisher as YA though it contains multiple murders and a teenager with a gun, but also how do you write two villains where one is just ‘less evil’ than the other? She walks that line well, though I personally found it hard to like either the protagonist or antagonist.