Tuesday, December 18, 2018

best reads of 2018

How can it be only one week until Christmas? I'm pretty much ready except for wrapping gifts, which I always procrastinate on since I dislike it so much. How about you - are you done with everything?

I had a goal of reading 50 books this year. I've read 46 so far, so I have four more to go in less than two weeks. We'll see! I read more non-fiction than fiction this year, but my favorite novel was Three Floors Up by Eshkol Nevo. The story is in three parts; each story is about the residents on each floor of a three-story apartment building in Tel Aviv. This author draws you in right away and grabs you by the heart. His writing is deep and compelling. Brian read this book after me and he was immediately hooked, too.


Anne Lamott is one of my favorite authors. She writes about the hard stuff ~ but at the same time, is laugh-out-loud funny. I didn't care for her book before this one (Hallelujah Anyway), but Almost Everything was back on track with what I expected from Lamott. I was flagging pages with sticky tabs as I was reading and by the time I was done with this book, it looked like the book had grown little feathers.

My dear friend, Dewena of Dewena's Window recommended this book to me, as we have a lot of the same tastes in reading. The author weaves tales of her mother and friends and relationships as she finds comfort and comraderie in her kitchen. It's like you pulled up a chair in your best friend's kitchen.

Who doesn't love Susan Branch, the American author and watercolorist? You're probably familiar with her paintings on notecards and calendars and journals and maybe you've even seen some of her cookbooks, but have you read any of her books? Her trio of stories: The Fairy Tale Girl, Martha's Vineyard - Isle of Dreams, and A Fine Romance - Falling in Love with the English Countryside are so enchanting and home-y, that I wanted to crawl inside the books and never leave. I rarely pay full price for books, but I did with these three, as they are books to be treasured over again. The best part is that she's in the middle of writing book four in this series! I can't wait to add it to my collection. And if you're not familiar with Susan's blog, you can find it here. It'll give you a little taste of her writing and illustrations. You'll want to pay a visit to Martha's Vineyard and knock on her door. 

Please share your favorite reads of 2018!


  1. I think I would really enjoy that first book. I'll see if my library has it. I can't think of many books that really stood out for me this year. I liked suspense novel The Woman in the Window. I also liked Kelly Corrigan's essay collection Tell Me More.

  2. You are so good about reading....I am terrible. I need to work on that in 2019.
    I also hate wrapping presents. I put it off until last minute as well.

    Merry Christmas, to you and Brian! Sending much love!!

  3. I know what you mean about those books that look like lots of feathers are growing out of them! That's the true sign of a good book, isn't it? I'm so glad you enjoyed the Kitchen Congregation, Melanie. And I've enjoyed the Hanff books you sent me. And the Reichl book! I must try the new Lamott book next year too. I've been concentrating on reading books from my Christmas book collection this month, many of which I meant to do a post on but it just did not get done.

    Thank you so much for leading me to Susan Branch! I don't know what kept me from her so long because I'd heard that she is a fellow lover of all things Gladys Taber. I love her rare but lengthy posts and save them for a night that I can savor them slowly. And her books are a goal of mine in 2019.

    We went to a local antique mall the other day and one booth had books 50% off. I came home with six of them! Here's to lots of good reading in 2019, Melanie!

  4. My goal was to read 100 books and I have three more to make that goal. I will do it I think. Many good books this year and several 5 stars (which I don't give out easily). Some of my favorite authors like Lee Child and Michael Connelly and others that were new to me. Reading fiction is one of my favorite pastimes!

  5. These books all sound great! I like Anne Lamott, but wasn't crazy about Hallelujah Anyway, either. The Susan Branch series sounds lovely (did you ever read Jan Karon's Mitford books? Love them!) Some of my favorites from this year: The Lake House by Kate Morton, The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, Unbound by John Shors.

  6. These all sound wonderful. I love Susan Branch books and own a few. Enjoy relaxing and sinking into these good reads.
    Sounds like you love them all.

  7. I have not been reading as much as I used to. In fact, reading is at the top of my 2019 goals. My favorite book of 2018 also goes on my list of Top Ten Favorite Books. In fact, when reading it, I purposely slowed down my reading toward the end because I did not want it to end. The book was A Gentleman From Moscow.

  8. I'm signed up to Susan Branch's blog. Really enjoy all her illustrations. Might have to see if I can get those books at some point. I can't even remember all the books I've read this year. One that I really enjoyed was called Unseen City. I learned a lot, especially about ants. :)

  9. Uggghhh my library has none of these!! My favorite book of the year was The Great Alone, followed by Educated. I read a ton of books this year, it was awesome! Audio books have changed my life - I can get my 'reading' in and still get my chores done!! Merry Christmas Melanie!

  10. Wow...you are quite a reader! I'm ashamed to say that I haven't read a book is ages. I do so much reading and writing that by the end of the day the last thing I want to see is more words. I need to get another audio book. I really do enjoy those...a goal for 2019!! Merry Christmas Melanie!! And good luck with your books!


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