Last year I made it a goal for myself to read 25 books and when I fell short, reading only 21 books I was overly dramatic with myself and put myself down for not having reached my goal. Reading 21 books in a year is still an accomplishment and I decided I had to put myself down about it.

This year I decided that that would not happen again so I vowed to read 25 books this year. And great news, I did it! I was so eager to not fail myself that I finished 25 by July! So I attempted to tackle 50 books but fell behind when travel took over for 3 months. Still, I squeezed in 38 and have more to go!

This year I tried to read more than just travel books to become a more well-rounded reader. While travel books are still my favourite on this year’s list you’ll find more self-help books, memoirs detailing tragic events, a biography of a creative genius and teen dramas that broke up the seriousness of heavy novels.

If you want to see what I’m reading through the year and read my reviews or just chat about books then we can connect on Goodreads! I’ll also be joining Pop Sugar’s 2019 reading challenge and the group on Goodreads too.

In no particular order, here are my favourite books of 2018!

My Favourite Books of 2018

North of Normal

This was easily my favourite book of the year. I haven’t read anything like it before. This memoir details Cea Sunrise Pearson’s childhood after her family’s decision to move to the Canadian wilderness from their comfortable home in California as part of the counter-culture time in the 1960’s. They lived in a tipi, learned how to survive off of what they could find in the wild and avoided society as we know it today.

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Another favourite of mine this year, Susannah Cahalan puts together the pieces of her past year as she retells the story of her medical mystery that caused her to go insane completely out of the blue.

Bella Figura: How to Live, Love and Eat the Italian Way

My guilty pleasure is Eat, Pray Love and I am always searching for a memoir to top it. Bella Figura was close on doing just so. This memoir follows Kamin Mohammadi who ditches the streets of London for fabulous Florence where she discovers herself, romances and learning to love life from the Italians.

The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country

Another memoir, The Year of Living Danishly explores Danish culture as writer Helen Russell learns the in’s and out’s of life in rural Denmark. There are so many things this book touches on that I think all people should learn about and adopt into their daily lives.

The Goddess Revolution: Make Peace with Food, Love Your Body and Reclaim Your Life

The title is pretty self-explanatory. As someone who has struggled with food and my self-image since I was a pre-teen (I blame it on all of my years of competitive dance) this self-help book was a refreshing read that reminds you just how amazing you are and why dieting needs to be a thing of your past.

Twilight Over Burma: My Life as a Shan Princess

Who doesn’t want to read a memoir by an actual princess? Inge Sargent, an Austrian woman, travels to Myanmar after meeting her now husband while attending school in the US. She arrives to unexpectedly learn that she’s married a prince. Inge does a wonderful job of describing her life, the Myanmar of the past and the events that lead her to where she and her children are today.

Steve Jobs

I am not one to read biographies but I bought this years ago and told myself I had to read it because it was expensive. I did and I adored it. Steve Jobs has one of the most fascinating minds of our time and reading his biography made me realize how much he shaped parts of my childhood and adult life with his involvement in Pixar and Mac.

In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom

In an attempt to learn more about North Korea and to read books by more global authors, I chose to read the detailed account of Yeonmi Park’s escape from North Korea that brought her across multiple borders, through tragic events and shaped her to be the inspirational woman she is today.

Hungry for More

Mel Wells’ second book after The Goddess Revolution is another self-help book but is not geared solely towards food like her previous book. Hungry for More is for anyone who wants to be more comfortable in their skin, figure out what they want to do in their life and learn to love themselves now and always.

The Signature of All Things

I am very fond of Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing and this was the first book I picked up by her after Eat, Pray, Love which I read years ago. This fiction novel follows the path of Alma, the daughter of an Englishman who made his fortune with South American trade in the 1800’s. The story involves tales of love, heartbreak and exotic travels and is one of the oddest books I have ever read but one that I couldn’t put down.

Other Books I Read in 2018

A few goodies and a few not so good.

Books I Liked But Didn’t Love

These books were good and well written but they just didn’t make the cut for my absolute faves of the year.

The Yellow Envelope: One Gift, Three Rules, and a Life-Changing Journey Around the World

Though I enjoyed reading this one it wasn’t one that truly captivated me. A couple was given an envelope containing money from friends of theirs asking them to give the money away through their trip around the world. It’s a heartfelt look of how the little things can make a huge difference.

Indonesia Etc.

I do my best to read books about destinations I visit and earlier this year I spent 4 months living in Indonesia. Indonesia Etc. explains how a country of 300 ethnic tribes and thousands of islands does its best to make it work after independence was declared in 1945. It’s a lot of politics but touches on so much that made me understand the country more as a whole.

Last Train to Istanbul

Another book by a global author (Turkey), the Last Train to Istanbul shares the story of a young couple who moves to Paris to pursue their own lives away from the shadow of their families. When the Nazis take control of France during WWII the couple is forced to flee back to Turkey in pursuit of safety and freedom.

Yoga and Vegetarianism

I picked this up while I was at a yoga retreat in Bali as a quick read. It explains how yoga and vegetarianism lifestyles go together, working hand in hand to transform individuals.

10 Women

This book is a translation by a Chilean novelist who creates the stories of nine women who are united by their therapist. Each woman has a vastly different story compared to the last and yet they all have something in common. Each woman’s story is used to represent the social groups of Chile.

Girl Gone Greek

Written by a fellow travel blogger, Girl Gone Greek is the story of an Englishwoman who moves to rural Greece to teach English. Girl Gone Greek is a light and easy read but I found myself craving a deeper connection with Rachel, the main character.

The Measure of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Misery and Paris

This memoir follows Jackie Kai Ellis, a woman who thought she had it all but woke up every day feeling miserable. So she gave it all up, got divorced and created the life of her dreams, learning baking skills in Paris and opening her very own shop to showcase her passion, good food.

Kitchen Confidential

Sparked by the death of the beloved Anthony Bourdain, I picked up Kitchen Confidential to see what all of the hype was about over his books.

While I already admire his show Parts Unknown, reading Kitchen Confidential was a way for me to connect with his blunt and truthful tongue once again. Kitchen Confidential holds true to Anthony Bourdain’s style and reveals the unknown world of what goes on behind kitchen’s closed doors.

AdriftA True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea

This memoir was one that I couldn’t put down. I was constantly gripping my Kindle wondering what nature was going to throw at Tami Oldham Ashcraft next. After losing the love of her life at sea during one of the most destructive hurricanes in history, Tami recounts her days on the water until hitting land once again and coming to terms with life after tragedy.

The Hate U Give

Author Angie Thomas received star-studded reviews with her story of a 16-year-old girl named Starr who witnesses her best friend get killed by a cop. At a time when hatred is boiling in America, The Hate U Give stands as yet another example of the truth that some have to face every day.

I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

It doesn’t get any more realistic than this, a first-hand account of the destruction that the Taliban are enforcing on women. The courageous story of Malala is retold by herself, a survivor of violence who is wise beyond her time.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

I read this after having it recommended by a friend to help me better my sales on this blog. It takes you through the process of how people think and how to better sell to them and there were definitely some interesting and eye-opening techniques.

The Zookeeper’s Wife

Now a movie, The Zookeeper’s Wife is a well-told tale of the courage of one family that helped saved countless people during WWII in Poland by snuggling Jews in through cages in their once precious zoo.

Crazy Rich Asians

I read this because I wanted to before I watched the movie that came out this year. It ended up being a more satisfying read than I thought it would be, following the lives of three super-rich Chinese families in Singapore. It’s basically Gossip Girl but in Singapore instead of New York.

Where’d You Go Bernadette

This has got to be one of the quirkiest books I’ve ever read. Bernadette is an opinionated genius who hides in a crumbling house while her husband works at Microsoft at one of the top levels. When their child asks to go to Antarctica both parents have to work themselves up to the trip, ultimately the stress causing chaos and misunderstandings to fall upon them all.

When Life Gives You Lululemons

A good giggle, When life Gives You Lululemons is by the same author with some of the characters from The Devil Wears Prada. A perfect read for those who love a book with drama that’s similar to Desperate Housewives, this is your next easy read.

Murder on the Orient Express

Another book I read for the hype of the movie, I enjoyed it but wouldn’t pick it up again.

Books That Just Weren’t For Me

These books were a combination of me just not liking the author’s writing style, being disappointed in a book by an author I like or just craving more.

I’d love to hear some of your recommendations (especially if I can use them for Pop Sugar’s reading challenge!) or hear about your favourite book of the year in the comments.

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