2018 Reading Challenge Recap

This was the first year I a) tracked my reading and b) took part in the Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge, and both ended up doing good things for my reading life. As the calendar year is winding down, I thought it would be fun to take a peek back at what I read for my 2018 reading challenge.

Reading Challenge 2018

To be clear, these were not the only books I read this year — after looking back over my reading log, I’m on track to have read 52 books before January 1! Since this was my first year tracking my reading, I’m not sure how many books I usually read in a year, but it seems likely this was more than I’ve read in at least a few years. The simple act of tracking my reading helped keep books in the forefront of my thoughts throughout the year…which led to watching less Netflix and picking up more books. Hah!

Now, on with the books…


A classic you’ve been meaning to read.

Persuasion by Jane Austen

I was gifted a big stack of Austen’s novels last Christmas, and I’ve been slowing making my way through them.

Little Fires

A book recommended by someone with great taste.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Was I the last person to read this book? It sure felt like it considering the number of people (both online and off) who recommended it to me! When I finally picked up my mother in-law’s copy, I devoured it.

The Odyssey

A book in translation.

The Odyssey by Homer, as translated by Emily Wilson

This is the one book from 2018 that I want to press into everyone’s hands. Emily Wilson’s translation of this classic work is shimmering in its simplicity, and the story reads like a thrilling page turner.

There There

A book nominated for an award in 2018.

There There by Tommy Orange

This was already on my TBR, and we scored a copy for Christmas, so it just moved to the top of my list. I’m currently reading it, but I expect to be done by Jan 1!

Holidays on Ice

A book of poetry, a play or an essay collection.

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

A few of the stories in this collection are worth the price of the entire (slim) volume.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

A book you can read in a day.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli

In preparation for writing my NaNoWriMo story (a YA novel which involved time travel) I gulped down this book in a single afternoon and then moved on to Rovelli’s recent release, The Order of Time.

The Witch Elm

A book that’s more than 500 pages.

The Witch Elm by Tana French

French is one of my favorite authors, and while I didn’t love this as much as the books in her Dublin Murder Squad series, it still came together in that signature twisty way of hers that I love.

Kingdom of the Blind

A book by a favorite author.

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

Reading Louise Penny feels like coming home to a cozy house with the fire blazing and a big mug of something hot to drink. This year’s book was quite possibly my favorite of all.

I'll Be Your Blue Sky

A book recommended by a librarian or indie bookseller.

I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos

When the indie bookseller squeals as she hands you a copy of a book, saying, “I loved this so much!!!” you know you’re on the right track. This was my first de los Santos, and it didn’t disappoint.


A banned book.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

I read this as part of my prep for writing a YA NaNo novel…I swear!

I Am I Am I Am

A memoir, biography or book of creative nonfiction.

I Am I Am I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

One of the best books I read this year, I couldn’t put O’Farrell’s memoir down for a second.


A book by an author of a different race, ethnicity or religion than your own.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I had to step away from this novel about halfway in, but when I picked it up again I was so glad I did — the second half had me completely engrossed.

Have you ever participated in a reading challenge? If so, what was your experience like? Are you planning any challenges for 2019? I’d love to hear!