Everything I Read in 2018, Ranked by Genre.

everything I read in 2018

I am not sure if this is something to be proud of, or ashamed of but… I read 81 books this year! Unclear. I’m sort of a shut-in and just love to read. Since starting to date someone more seriously I haven’t read as much as usual, but I was still a bit shocked by the number! I went through every single reading list from the past year and decided to rank them all by genre for a “best books of the year post.” I broke it down by category but if asked, I would say that the best books I read this year were probably Educated (Tara Westover’s memoir)  and Matchmaking for Beginners, by Maddie Dawson. And Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly which STILL haunts me. Circe was pretty amazing too. Ugh it was really hard to choose favorites, there are so many stars on this list!

Looking at this list informs also informs one of my big intentions for 2019. Reading for me is oftentimes about escaping and doing something mindless. Brain Candy. Which is why I read 21 thrillers, 23 light reads, and 20 YA reads. But only 5 historical fiction books and 2 self improvement books. I’ll still always love my brain candy but need to work in some smarter books too.

To keep this post from being an actual novel, I didn’t include any descriptions as I’ve already done that in the individual reading list posts which are linked at the bottom of the post. You can also browse my Book Club page which has shorter descriptions of each book!

Edited to add – memoirs are double starred below. Next year maybe I will make a separate category for those. I shouldn’t have lumped them in with fiction!

The Best Historical Books I Read This Year.

These are ranked in order, but honestly you should read them all – they are SO GOOD. As I mentioned above, Lilac Girls is still haunting me, months after finishing it!

  1. Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
  2. The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn
  3. Next Year in Havana, by Chanel Cleeton
  4. Waiting for Snow in Havana**, by Carlos Eire
  5. The Masterpiece, by Fiona Davis

The Best Thrillers I Read This Year.

Trashy thrillers are my genre. On the podcast Becca basically defined it as Gone Girl rip-offs and I would totally agree. I like to be kept up all night, wondering who killed who or trying to guess the big twist. Playing amateur detective. But I definitely read too many. If we’re being honest, I would say that 1-10 are must-reads but you could probably skip everything after that. (15-21 were not great/just meh)

Also I have starred The Last Mrs. Parrish and The Wife Between Us as they are basically the same book. So you probably only “need” to read one of them, in which case I would probably choose The Last Mrs. Parrish. They are both great, though!!!!

  1. The Last Time I Lied, by Riley Sager
  2. The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn
  3. The Good Liar, by Catherine McKenzie
  4. Then She Was Gone, by Lisa Jewell
  5. The Last Mrs. Parrish, by Liv Constantine*
  6. The Wife Between Us, by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen*
  7. Two Girls Down, by Louisa Luna
  8. The Girl Before, by JP Delaney
  9. All These Beautiful Strangers, by Elizabeth Klehfoth
  10. Social Creature, by Tara Isabella Burton
  11. Something in the Water, by Catherine Steadman
  12. People Like Us, by Dana Mele
  13. Not That I Could Tell, by Jessica Strawser
  14. If I Die Tonight, by Alison Gaylin
  15. A Double Life, by Flynn Berry
  16. The Perfect Nanny, by Leila Slimani
  17. Our Kind of Cruelty, by Araminta Hall
  18. Fashion Victim, by Amina Akhtar
  19. Mine, by JL Butler
  20. Do Not Be Alarmed, by Maile Meloy
  21. The Favorite Sister, by Jessica Knoll

The Best More Serious Books from 2018.

Honestly you should read all of these books. Except maybe The Oracle Year, which I wanted to love (the concept is brilliant!) but fell flat for me. Everything else on the list is an absolute must-read!

  1. Educated**, by Tara Westover
  2. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
  3. The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion
  4. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
  5. The Heart’s Invisible Furies, by John Boyne
  6. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
  7. All We Ever Wanted, by Emily Giffin (just felt wrong classifying this one as light!)
  8. The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
  9. Therapy Mammals, by Jon Methven
  10. The Oracle Year, by Charles Soule

The Best Light Reads from 2018.

Kk this is also my genre. I made fun of Becca mercilessly over Matchmaking for Beginners and then read it myself and sobbed the whole time. Despite the cheesy name, it is one of the best books I’ve read all year. I also started reading Christina Lauren + Sally Thorne – they’ve become two of my favorite authors.  This list was hard to make and rank as 1-16 are all really, really good. The others (besides Nine Perfect Strangers, still mad) are great too. It’s hard to rank Jasmine Guillory’s books as 11 and 12 (loved them both so much) but this list had so many stars on it!

  1. Matchmaking for Beginners, by Maddie Dawson
  2. Love and Other Words, by Christina Lauren
  3. The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne
  4. 99% Mine, by Sally Thorne
  5. Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win, by Jo Piazza
  6. From the Corner of the Oval**, by Beck Dorey Stein
  7. The Underwriting, by Michelle Miller
  8. Ghosted, by Rosie Walsh
  9. The Secret to Southern Charm, by Kristy Woodson Harvey
  10. The Dinner List, by Rebecca Serle
  11. The Wedding Date, by Jasmine Guillory
  12. The Proposal, by Jasmine Guillory
  13. When Life Gives You Lululemons, by Lauren Weisberger
  14. The Identicals, by Elin Hilderbrand
  15. Marriage Vacation, by Pauline Brooks
  16. Waiting at Haydens, by Riley Costello
  17. Still Me, by Jojo Moyes
  18. The Paris Wedding, by Charlotte Nash
  19. A Nantucket Wedding, by Nancy Thayer
  20. Beach House for Rent, by Mary Alice Monroe
  21. The Intermission, by Elyssa Friedland
  22. The Stylist, by Rosie Nixon
  23. Nine Perfect Strangers, by Liane Moriarty

Young Adult, Ranked

Okay so for this list, please note: 5-10 are terrible (so bad) but amazing. I’ve talked about the Paper Princess and Selection books here quite a bit but if you haven’t gotten involved (and lost days out of your life) then you should probably drop everything and order them. These books are pure trash, but absolutely addicting! 1-4 are no miss. I loved Circe and Ready Player One so so so much! Also I feel like maybe I’m being unfair to Children of Blood & Bone but it was just so long and I was in a rush to read it for the podcast. I know so many people really loved it.

  1. Circe, by Madeline Miller
  2. Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
  3. The Towering Sky, by Katherine McGee
  4. A Million Junes, by Emily Henry
  5. The Selection, by Kiera Cass*
  6. The Elite, by Kiera Cass*
  7. The One, by Kiera Cass*
  8. Paper Princess, by Erin Watt*
  9. Broken Prince, by Erin Watt*
  10. Twisted Palace, by Erin Watt*
  11. Famous in Love, by Rebecca Serle
  12. Truly, Madly, Famously, by Rebecca Serle
  13. Children of Blood & Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
  14. One of Us Is Lying, by Karen M McManus
  15. Royals, by Rachel Hawkins
  16. The Summer of Jordi Perez, by Amy Spalding
  17. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han
  18. Vicious, by V.E. Schwab
  19. Save the Date, by Morgan Matson
  20. Listen To Your Heart, by Kasie West

The Best Self-Improvement Books I Read This Year.

I hate calling these kind of books self-help because I think of terrible books about “snagging a man” and things like that. I want to read more books like this. A goal for 2019 is to read one self-help or business book every month. Something that will make me a little bit smarter, better at my job, a better writer, and so on and so forth. I only read two this year (both of these are amazing and total game-changers) and would like for this list to be much longer next year!!!

  1. 10% Happier, by Dan Harris
  2. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson

Links to all of this year’s reading lists: January // February // March // April // May // June // July // August // September // October // November // December

photo by Trent Bailey.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. I love that you have so many recommendations of so many genres! I really look up to you, Grace, I wish I read half as much as you! ❤️

    Hope you’re having a lovely Christmas! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    12.26.18 Reply
  2. Elle:

    THANK YOU for your amazing list. I swear I only go to the library to check out books after you’ve reviewed them! xo elle

    12.26.18 Reply
  3. Elise:

    The Selection series was my guilty pleasure. Circe and 99% Mine have been on my TBR list for a while too

    12.26.18 Reply
  4. Such a fun way to rank books! I got a lot of great ideas this year from your podcast and reading lists, and am proud that I read 55 books in 2018. Happy new year, grace!

    Rachel | http://www.rachelstriving.wordpress.com

    12.26.18 Reply
  5. Mollye Oler:

    Grace, love your reading lists. I downloaded a few of these this morning! Have you read “One day in December”? I finished it in a day and loved it. Check it out!

    Happy Holidays!

    12.26.18 Reply
  6. Sara:

    I get so many books from your reading posts and generally like what you do (reading the second 1000th floor book now).

    Just wanted to point out that Educated is a memior and not fiction!

    Happy 2019 reading 🙂

    12.26.18 Reply
  7. Sarah:

    Educated and From the Corner of the Oval are most definitely not fiction… they’re both memoirs.

    12.26.18 Reply
  8. Rachel Seidman:

    Hey, thanks for compiling this list. I just requested Lilac Girls at my library. One note, Educated by Tara Westover is non-fiction, but you’ve currently listed it under “Fiction.” I realize you don’t have a separate non-fiction category (besides self-improvement), but I do recommend distinguishing that it is a memoir.

    12.26.18 Reply
    • Yes I know, sorry about that!!!! Same with Corner of the Oval. I think I was so concerned with ranking them and put things by serious vs more light!

      12.26.18 Reply
  9. I love your reading lists so much, Grace! Many of these books have found their way on my own “to read” list. And never, ever be ashamed for how many books you read! Don’t perpetuate the thought that reading is “nerdy” and we should be embarrassed/ashamed to do it so much. We should be proud of how much we read! 🙂

    12.26.18 Reply
    • I’m so glad you love them!!!
      And Im not ashamed – sometimes I think I just need to get out into the world a bit more 😉

      12.26.18 Reply
  10. samantha david:

    You read SO many books this year!! I’ve been meaning to get my hands on the subtle art of not giving a fuck so I think I’ll need to!


    12.26.18 Reply
  11. Gabi:

    I always love your recommendations, Grace! Thanks for being so thoughtful in your reviews. I’ll be using this list for reference as I start picking books in the new year. Happy reading!

    12.26.18 Reply
  12. Aly:

    Loved many of the same books this year, probably because of your recs!

    Curious why you classify Circe (my fave book of the year!) as YA? Haven’t it seen it labeled that way anywhere else and was wondering if you have a different way of categorizing what’s Young Adult?

    12.26.18 Reply
    • Hi Aly,
      I don’t really know – maybe I’m wrong, but I considered it a YA book!!! I’m definitely no expert, just someone who really loves to read. We considered it YA for the podcast, which is why I listed it as that here. Regardless of how you classify it, it is one of my favs!

      12.26.18 Reply
  13. Julia:

    Thank you so much for this post! Just added so many books to my Goodreads “want to read” list!!

    12.26.18 Reply
  14. Lauren Shaber:

    Love this kind of list – please make it an annual thing!! The “self-help” book that I loved the moved (I usually avoid that genre, too) was actually my top book of the year out of 100+: The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. It’s like a mix between a memoir and a self-help book, but reads like a novel. I know you’re blog is all about shopping so it might be hard to resonate with, but it completely shifted my perspective and helped me remove “need” from my vocabulary. Highly recommended. I just started To Obama: With Love, Joy, Anger, and Hope. OMG. I’m only a few notes in but you HAVE to read this since you’re an Obama fan. It’s a collection of the letters from everyday citizens that he responded to during his presidency (10/day). It’s AMAZING. I’m actually going to buy it and I rarely buy hardcovers anymore. Can’t wait to see what you pick up next!

    12.26.18 Reply
    • Thank you so much for all of these suggestions!!!! The Obama book sounds amazing!!!

      12.26.18 Reply
  15. Nicole:

    So happy to learn I’m not the only shut in that would prefer a night with a book over going out. 🙂 I agree with the top reads and would also include A Gentleman in Moscow. If you haven’t read it, I recommend checking it out in 2019.

    Happy reading!

    12.26.18 Reply
  16. Alison Shanahan:

    This is where I wish I could leave an audio comment … cue the song from the movie Beaches …. “Did you ever know that you’re my hero …. you’re everything I wish that I could be …”! I love that you make reading such a priority! I read a lot, but I don’t write down what I read. 2019 goal it is! Lilac Girls is next now for me thanks to this post … I will put it right on the top of my stack. Keep up the great work with everything, Grace! Cheers to a healthy and happy new year!

    12.26.18 Reply
  17. Lisa:

    Love your reading lists!! My goal in 2019 is to just read anything…(new mom here!) But, I have a question about format….how do you read these? E-reader, library check outs or buying the physical book? I actually love reading a physical book, something about holding it makes it more special to me. But that can get expensive! What do you recommend?

    12.26.18 Reply
    • Haha I hear that. My sister just had a little one and she is struggling with reading!

      I read physical books. I buy a lot but am also very lucky to get a lot of advanced copies (which I often then pass along in our Facebook group!) and share books with my mom and sisters!!!

      12.26.18 Reply
  18. Not that it matters, but I had no idea Circe was considered a YA novel! Such a beautiful book. I’m impressed by your having read 82 books 🙂 My goal was fifty (which I’ve done for the past few years) and I ended up reading 56 (might get to 57 this week), so I’m increasing next year’s goal to 70.

    briana | youngsophisticate.com

    12.26.18 Reply
    • I really don’t know if it’s YA or not; someone else commented that. Becca and I considered it YA (maybe just because books like Circe were what I really loved when I was young). We could totally be wrong.

      I don’t want people to get hung up on the genres, but more just the books themselves!

      Amazing job with your list – my goal is 50 for this year! XO

      12.26.18 Reply
  19. I always love visiting your site for book recommendations 🙂 My favorites that I read this year were: All the light we cannot see, The light we lost, Eleanor oliphant is completely fine, A hundred summers and Along the infinite sea. Can’t wait to follow all your books in 2019!

    12.26.18 Reply
  20. Diane Davis:

    I discovered your blog about a month ago and I’m SO glad I did. Thank you for putting this list together! I’m sure it wasn’t easy to remember back and rank everything. I like how you separated out “serious” and “not serious.” I wish libraries and book stores did the same thing. Merry Christmas!

    12.26.18 Reply
  21. I have read about 80 books too and my whole family thought I was werid but I thought I was pretty proud of this achievement! So you’re not alone! I loved Matchmaking for Beginners too and this year i’ve Got so many book recommendations from your blog and the podcast!

    12.26.18 Reply
    • Yay! I’m glad I’m not the only one!! It’s a great achievement! I wish I hadn’t read so much fluff, but the more serious ones made up for it.

      Gosh I still think about Matchmaking for Beginners – such a great book!

      12.26.18 Reply
  22. Emily Anderson:

    Great post! Thank you for doing all this work!!! Amazing. If you haven’t read it… you MUST read ‘Where The Crawdads Sing”. Honestly at first I thought no way am I going to like this… a girl living in a marsh, not my cup of tea at all but then I got so hooked I didn’t want it to end… I literally saved the last 10 pages because I wanted it to keep going forever and I STILL want to keep reading it. Highly, highly recommend!

    12.26.18 Reply
    • Oh this comment is so funny for several reasons!

      First of all, I just bought it and can’t wait to read it! Second, Becca and I were talking about this as a potential podcast book and she had that exact reaction. So I’m going to tell her to keep reading based on your comment!

      12.27.18 Reply
  23. Have you read the Alienist by Caleb Carr? It reminds me of Devil In the White City, which I also loved.

    Also the Great Believers was one of my favorite books of the year, especially if you liked The Hearts Invisible Furies and A Little Life!

    12.26.18 Reply
    • I haven’t! But based on that rec, I would love it! Thank you for the suggestions!!!

      12.27.18 Reply
  24. Yay! What an amazing list—and an incredible reading year for you! Thank you SO much for reading The Secret to Southern Charm ❤️❤️❤️ I appreciate it so, so much!! Happy New Year to you! xoxox

    12.27.18 Reply
    • Aw thanks so much Kristy!!! Cannot wait for your next book -such a massive fan of you and everything you write!!! xoxo

      12.27.18 Reply
  25. C.:

    Hi! I’ve loved seeing your recommendations each month and have checked out several you’ve enjoyed. Don’t feel bad about reading “too” much or books that are “too light,” etc. I think during different seasons of life we need different types of books and reading in general is always a good thing. I see it as a form of rest and self care too, as well as a hobby. I had a few traumatic things happen a year ago and found YA books to be a beautiful relief for me. At first I felt like I had to rationize it but I don’t think I actually do. Anywho just wanted to encourage you and say I’ve been loving the blog lately! (Rediscovered this fall and check multiple times a week- thanks for great content!)

    12.28.18 Reply
  26. Great recommendations. My book group has enjoyed several on the light and more serious reads. My pick is coming up in a couple of months, so looking at a few of these to select from.

    12.29.18 Reply
  27. Jenn:

    I have read so many of the books on this list thanks to you and Becca!! I’m currentky reading Love and Other Words right now, and can’t put it down. Can’t wait for your new picks in 2019!

    12.29.18 Reply
  28. Maybe you should refer to that last section as Nonfiction rather than self-help. Less stigma that way.

    12.30.18 Reply
  29. Jenna:

    I love your book recommendations…thanks so much for devoting so much time and energy to giving us great reviews! Just curious about one thing – I thought you and Becca read The Royal We this year for the podcast, but I didn’t see it on the list? I read that when it first came out and absolutely loved it. I keep hoping they’ll write a sequel!
    Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

    1.2.19 Reply
    • Hi Jenna,
      I read it when it came out. We re-read it for the podcast, but I didn’t include it as I already reviewed it on the blog several years ago! (If you search for it, the post will pop up but it’s quite old!)

      1.2.19 Reply
  30. Lacey:

    81 books is amazing. I read 46, even though my goal was 50. So close. I just finished No Exit, which is a thriller. I HIGHLY recommend you pick it up ASAP if you love thrillers.

    1.3.19 Reply
  31. Kelly P.:

    I love this list, lots of great recommendations for me to read in 2019. It would be great if you could link some of the books back to local book stores, its so important to shop local(when you can!).

    1.4.19 Reply
    • Thanks Kelly!

      Out of curiosity – Do you know of any local bookstores that have easy to purchase from websites? I have to be able to link directly to the book so that my readers can easily purchase!


      1.4.19 Reply
  32. Hello Grace,

    I’ve just started following you–everywhere (although I still need to listen to a podcast). I found you via both Krystal and James. I’m a blogger by night, but by day I’m a high school librarian in Hong Kong.

    I’ve just picked the top five of each of your genres to order for my library. I trust you. You are a reader through and through. (Fist pump!!) Some we have–which makes me feel good!

    Tonight I’m hosting a book club; we read Where the Crawdads Sing which I highly recommend! It was very, very good. I think you’d like it. Next month we read Educated–which you’ve already read. Come to HK and join us!!

    Ok, nice to meet you Grace. I’m Ann from Kremb de la Kremb:D


    1.16.19 Reply
  33. Hello Grace,

    I’ve just started following you–everywhere (although I still need to listen to a podcast). I found you via both Krystal and James. I’m a blogger by night, but by day I’m a high school librarian in Hong Kong.

    I’ve just picked the top five of each of your genres to order for my library. I trust you. You are a reader through and through. (Fist pump!!) Some we have–which makes me feel good!

    Tonight I’m hosting a book club; we read Where the Crawdads Sing which I highly recommend! It was very, very good. I think you’d like it. Next month we read Educated–which you’ve already read. Come to HK and join us!!

    Ok, nice to meet you Grace. I’m Ann from Kremb de la Kremb:D


    PS I forgot to mention, I just checked out Circe…

    1.16.19 Reply
  34. Marie:

    Thank you for this list! Adding so many of them to my que.

    If you liked Educated, I highly recommend Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. One of the best books I’ve read…ever.

    3.1.19 Reply