2018 in Books

I set my challenge at Goodreads for 200 books but I’m not going to make it this year — I’m going to probably finish around 160. I’m at 155 at the moment, but there are a few releases left in 2018. I had no problem reaching 200 last year, so I never thought I wouldn’t get there in 2018. I really didn’t take into account just how exhausted I would be after student teaching and losing my grandmother in the middle of my semester. It honestly took me a few months to bounce back and I’m not really sure I did all the way.

Still 155 books is nothing to sneeze at and I’m going to set my target for 175 next year to be a bit more realistic.

My favorite books this year:

  1.  Aggressive Nationalism by Richard E. Ellis. I read this for my Early Republic graduate class, and apparently, I was the only one who didn’t find it blindingly boring. I LOVE legal history. I love anything to do with the law. I could watch episodes of Law & Order for hours and true crime podcasts that focus on the law are my catnip. This book was about the rise of the Supreme Court and the battle with the Second Bank of the United States. Incredibly fascinating.
  2. The Highlander by Kerrigan Bryne. This was the year I found Kerrigan Byrne, and the Highlander was my first. I was looking for new Scottish romances because I am completely obsessed. I had the entire house to myself for a weekend, I had finished what I needed to do for classes and student teaching — and I read this book in about two hours. Then I immediately bought everything else in this series. I love her so much!
  3. Slavery and the American West by Michael A Morrison. Another read for the Early Republic class. It was really interesting to read about American expansion through the lens of slavery. Political history is one of my favorite nonfiction genres, so this was a really good read.
  4. A Fine Passion by Stephanie Laurens. During this summer, I did a reread of the Bastion Club and I was stunned by how much I loved this book even when I held up under intense criticism. Not all of the series survived this kind of scrutiny, but this book emerged as my favorite of the series.
  5. Slavery and the American Historians by Peter J. Parish. Historiography is so fascinating to read — so much about what we know about history depends on the construction of the narrative. I really liked seeing how the study of slavery has shifted and transformed in the last few decades.
  6. Barefoot in the Dark by Suzanne Enoch. RICK AND SAM ARE BACK. That is all.
  7. Japan at the Crossroads by Nick Kapur. This was assigned for my global history 1945-Present — and my professor actually wrote it, so that’s always fun. I know almost nothing about Japan after WW2, and that really opened my eyes to areas of history that I need to know more about. This analyzed the 1960 Anpo protests in Japan and how the event set Japan on a certain trajectory for the future.
  8. Give Us the Ballot by Ari Berman. I’ve never studied voting rights after the 1960s, but I’m hyper aware of them in the current time period. This book did a great job at filling in the gaps about how we got here.
  9.  Marrying Winterbourne by Lisa Kleypas. After the semester ended last week, I started myself on a little LK reread marathon. I reread most of the Ravenels and Devil in Winter to get myself ready for February — and I also started rereading the Hathaways but I don’t have all of them in digital format. Anyway, rereading Winterbourne gave me a new appreciation for it. I was worried it would be too similar to Tempt Me at Twilight but it went in a new direction, and I enjoyed Helen more this time around.
  10. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara. I don’t read as much true crime as I used to–podcasts have just made it easier for me to get my true crime while I’m doing other things. Reading this book was bittersweet–the portions McNamara finished are so truly amazing that I am even more sad that we lost her before the book was completely visualized. An incredible book by a soul we lost way too soon.

I wasn’t completely blown away by a lot of the books I read this year but honestly, that’s probably more about me than it is the books I read. This was an incredibly difficult year, personally and professionally. Books were there to distract me, but I wasn’t really able to lose myself in reading the way I used to.  I’m hoping for better next year.

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