Today I wanted to talk BOOKS! In 2018 I read the most books I’ve ever read in a year – a grand total of 7 (not that stellar, I know). I started a few others but never finished them… I’ll break out the books I did finish and the ones I hope to return to in 2019. Last, I’ll share the books I am looking forward to reading in 2019.
I’ve linked to all of the books on Barnes & Noble. For the books I finished in 2018, I am going to give a super brief summary of my Top 3. Books 4-7 are in no particular order. For the books I didn’t finish in 2018, I will give a couple sentences on how I think about them. For the books I am reading in 2019, I’ll share where I heard about the book or why I’m reading it.
Books I Actually Finished in 2018…
1. Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
This is definitely one of my favorite books of all time actually and I am so excited for the next book coming out in 2019. The plot alternated between 1950s Cuba during Fidel Castro’s reign and present day in Cuba. The book opens as 19-year-old Elisa Perez and her family are leaving Cuba for Miami after being exiled by Castro. The rest of Elisa’s plot line is about her life (largely romantic life) leading up to her family being exiled. It alternates with the plot line of her granddaughter, Marisol Ferrera, visiting Cuba -from Miami- to scatter her grandmother’s ashes. While in Cuba, she stays with her grandmother’s childhood best friend. There was romance, heartbreak, history, and twists and turns. Overall, I cannot recommend this book enough!
2. From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein
This book also had romance, heartbreak, history and many twists! A memoir of her time as a stenographer during the Obama administration, Beck Dorey-Stein gives a behind-the-scenes look at life in Washington D.C. and on the road. After working at Sidwell Friends school, Dorey-Stein applies to a job she found on Craigslist that turned out to be a job as a steno at the White House. I read this book just after living in D.C. for a month and taking a picture in front of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) thinking the architecture was wild but not knowing exactly what the building housed. Turns out – that’s where the stenos’ offices are! Dorey-Stein and I have a similar sense of humor and a mutual feeling on cover letters.
3. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I couldn’t tell you where I heard of this book but it was a commitment honestly. It was another historical fiction story and over 400 pages. Set during WWII, this book also had two parallel plot lines. One story was of a 12-year-old girl, Marie-Laure, living with her father in Paris. She is blind and her father is the key-keeper at the Museum. When the Nazis occupy Paris, she and her father flee to a town by the sea called Saint-Malo. En route, they get separated but Marie-Laure makes it to her uncle’s house. The other plot is of a young boy named Werner. He and his little sister are orphans living in a home. Werner and other boys from his orphanage were picked up and taken to a school for Hitler youth. Their story lines run parallel until the end of the book. The ending was heartbreaking yet what I can only imagine to be a pretty accurate reflection of this period of time.
4. The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
5. Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
6. The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee
7. The Dazzling Heights by Katherine McGee
Books I Abandoned in 2018…
1. The Watergate by Joseph Rodota
This is a historical nonfiction book I found while I was living in D.C. over the summer. It starts at the very beginning of what the plot of land was before it became the Watergate we know today. So it’s a little slow in the beginning to weave through the debate of what the land would become. However, I do want to pick up this book again this year because I think once the plot gets moving, it will be so interesting!
2. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Also a historical nonfiction book, I found out about this from Bad On Paper Podcast (one of my favorite podcasts for my fellow bookworms and fashionistas!). This podcast is where I get the majority of my book recommendations and have a very similar taste in books to the two hosts of the show. This book was highly praised by one of the hosts so I thought I would really like it. It is about a murder at the World’s Fair in Chicago in the 1880s. So I think this could be a really interesting read. However, like Watergate, the beginning is a little slow – to me. I also want to give this book another chance in 2019 but we will see what happens!
Books I Want to Read in 2019…
1. Becoming by Michelle Obama
If you haven’t heard of this book, it is likely you live under a rock to be honest. This book had an insane launch and shattered charts. I am so interested in reading what shaped Michelle into the powerhouse woman that she is. Her initiatives – Let Girls Learn, Let’s Move, and Joining Forces – all hit home with me. As a young woman who comes from a military family and truly values nutrition, these initiatives were fantastic to me! I also think that the Obama administration faced a truly difficult phase in American history – adapting to how the rapid increase in social media influenced politics. I am also interested to learn more about the behind-the-scenes of life in the White House and on the road as the President and First Lady of the United States.
This is the third and fourth book, respectively, in the Charlotte Holmes series. I think I just picked up the first book (A Study in Charlotte) one day at Target during my senior year of college just to have a fun read. This series is actually so great. Jamie and Charlotte are the great-great-grandchildren of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson living in Connecticut and London. They solve a series of mysteries, battle it out with the Moriarty family, and there’s even a little romance. I am really looking forward to reading these two!
4. Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza
I heard about this fictional book from Bad on Paper Podcast (y’all really need to listen!). I am waiting for the paperback version to come out this summer but the plot is about Charlotte Walsh and her tumultuous journey to be elected to the Senate. This book was given high praises on the podcast and would be so interesting to read.
5. The Towering Sky by Katherine McGee
This is the third and final book in the trilogy and I am waiting for the paperback version to come out later in 2019.
6. Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling)
I thought the Cormoran Strike books were only a trilogy but the fourth was recently released in late 2018. The other books I have from this are in paperback so I am waiting for the paperback version of this book as well so that they look better on my bookcase (I’m the worst, I know). I also found the first book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, at Target during college and wanted to give them a try since they are by J.K. Rowling. These books are a wildly well-written murder mystery series that I highly recommend!
7. When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
This book comes out in April and I am beyond excited to read about what happens next for Marisol and Elisa!
8. Feeding You Lies by Vani Hari
I heard about this book and #10 on The Skinny Confidential podcast (Lauryn is a total boss babe!). I am super interested in nutrition and want to be a better consumer. Vani Hari goes behind-the-scenes and deep dives into the nitty gritty of the food industry. I’m definitely looking forward to what she exposes in her book!
9. Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson
This was also on Bad on Paper. It’s a light-hearted romance so I want to rotate between some educational reads and fun fictional books!
10. The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry
Another nutrition exposé book from The Skinny Confidential. This focuses on food from the molecular level – discussing the different proteins, sugars, and other compounds in the food we eat and how they impact our digestive system.
What books are you reading? I want to hear about your favorites and not-so-favorites in the comments below!