It’s been a great reading year; probably the best one I’ve ever had. I managed to read 107 books in 2018, slightly below my 2017 total but the number of books isn’t so important. What is important is that I discovered new favourite authors, explored new genres and stepped outside of my comfort zone.
Best books of the year
Please note, these are books that I read this year, not books that were released this year. Also note, it was too difficult to pick just one.
The Heroes – Joe Abercrombie
One of the best fantasy books ever, his best yet. Abercrombie, in my opinion, is up there with Stephen King at creating memorable characters. His entire First Law universe is worth reading but this standalone novel set in that world is superb. He is the master of the genre right now and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next set of books set in this world.
Dandelion Wine – Ray Bradbury
Amazing book, which manages to bottle up summer feelings. A classic from a master of the language of story. It’s such a short book, too. There was a mixture of emotions running through me as I read this. It made me want to be a kid again.
Wrath – John Gwynne
What a phenomenal end to one of the best fantasy series ever written. This series is getting more hype these days, but it deserves more. It deserves all the accolades and is masterfully written and so alive with character. I will be re-reading this series very shortly before jumping into book one and two of his new series set in the same world.
Best short story I read this year
Without a doubt, Rocket Man by Ray Bradbury is the best short story I’ve ever read. It is packed with emotion and beautifully written. More than all the cool stuff and wonderful language he used, Bradbury simply understood what it meant to be human. If you want to get into short stories, Bradbury is one of the best ever.
Finds of the year
If you love words, you’ll love Mark Forsyth. His Etymologicon and Elements of Eloquence books are well worth the read. If you like word porn, buy his books and check out his blog, the Inky Fool. You won’t regret it.
Also, how in the blue grapes did it take me this long to read a book by Robin Hobb? I’ll be racing through all of her stuff soon. She is fantastic!
Thoughts on 2018 reads
I think everyone should step out of their comfort zone and try new genres. This year, I read a lot more historical fiction than I ever have and I’m the richer for it. I also read a few very boring reference books for work that I regret. I read non-fiction books, too, which weren’t really my thing before.
Especially now that I’m a writer, I understand why you can’t just read the kind of books you want to write. It’s important to taste new things and see different ways of writing.
There were a few disappointments along the way, but 2018 was a reading year to remember.
2019 reading goals
I don’t expect to read nearly as many books in 2019 than I did in 2018. Ever since I took the plunge to become a writer my reading time has been reduced significantly. I still read loads, but I spend a lot of time reading short stories that I won’t review on Goodreads.
The fact that I go back to work in January might actually help my reading as I can get a lot of reading done on the train to and from Edinburgh. Since I’ll be editing my novel in April, and continuing to write short stories all year, my reading time will go down. I will aim to read about 50 books and I need to start reading more “new” books.
What were your favourite reading moments from 2018? Don’t forget to add me on Goodreads if you want to see what else I’m reading.