MY Favorite Books of 2018

I thought very seriously about writing a post about the books the boys loved the most this year, but then I thought, “Nah.”

Feel free to click around to see some of the boys’ favorites – I write about them all.the.time! This one is great, and this one, and this one, and THIS one. But today as I was reflecting on my year and taking more time for myself, I decided to make it about the moms. So, here is the list of MY favorites from 2018. Admittedly, I don’t have as much time as I would like to read for fun, but my favorite solution to that problem is definitely audiobooks. My audible subscription is genuinely one of my favorite things! I listen in while I put away dishes, fold the laundry, go for a run, or drive somewhere solo (even if it’s just the five minutes between daycare drop-off and work).

  1. Easily my favorite book of 2018 – Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be – by Rachel Hollis

This book was just so empowering. As I reflect on 2018, one of the things I honestly feel is that this year is one of the first where I truly followed through with many of my resolutions, plans, and goals. Not all of them of course – let’s not get crazy here – but many of them, more than ever before. My Passion Planner (if you haven’t checked these out yet, you TOTALLY need to!) is hugely helpful at keeping me on track, but another huge help was Girl, Wash Your Face. I am not exactly sure why – maybe it was the fact that she mentioned giving up Diet Coke, a challenge I had just taken on when I first read the book (it has now been a year since I have had any soda with artificial sweetener!), as a spark for her success; maybe it was the fact that she shared her struggles with motherhood; maybe it was the fact that she was just so dang honest about it all – but whatever it was, it stuck. I can’t wait for her new book – Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals – to come out in March (you can pre-order it through the link above if you are as excited about it as I am)!

2. Educated – by Tara Westover

2018 was definitely a year of nonfiction for me, and this was one of my favorites! Tara Westover beautifully tells the story of her upbringing in the mountains of Idaho. She was born to survivalist parents who were convinced that the government was after them, denied their children much of their education, and lived through some amazingly dangerous situations without professional medical intervention. Her story was just another reminder that you never know where a person comes from and what they have been through. I have been reminded of this lesson many many times in my life, but this story was one of the most powerful. It was also a great reminder of the power of education, which, as a teacher, is so nice to hear from someone who is not in education themselves.

3. The Other Wes Moore – by Wes Moore

Another nonfiction piece, this one is actually one that I have started teaching to my freshman English classes and absolutely fallen in love with. Wes Moore grew up on the streets of Baltimore, without his father, and with plenty of influence from his friends. There just so happened to be another Wes Moore who lived a few blocks away and in very similar circumstances. Somehow, the author grew up to be a, “Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader.” The other Wes ended up in jail for life. The book explores where their paths diverged and how we might help other teens from falling into the same traps so many have fallen into before. It is a must read!

4. Turtles All the Way Down– by John Green

I love John Green! I love how he incorporates Indianapolis, the city I live in and love, into so many of the books he writes. I love his honesty and his ability to make me ugly cry while reading a book. His love of language and storytelling is so evident in each book he writes, and I just can’t get enough.  This book was admittedly a little hard for me to read from time to time, but I am so glad I did. I don’t struggle with anxiety myself, but I know many people who do. This book was a sometimes painful glimpse into the struggle of a brain that you often can’t control. By sharing some of his own struggles through his characters, John Green has let others know that they are not alone and let those of us who love them feel a little more empathy for what is sometimes happening inside their head. That is the power of a good book, and I am so thankful for good writers who share that gift.

5. The Hate U Give – by Angie Thomas

This book is powerful and poignant and so important for our time. Again, this one helped me to remember that everyone comes from somewhere and we have to really know a person’s situation before we can judge the choices they make. The book reminds its readers that neighborhoods and families are often the hardest to stand up to and sometimes even harder to leave, especially if you are trying to fight for them while also fighting for yourself. It shows an entire community’s response to the wrongful death of an unarmed black teenager while also showing how his death affects the people who knew him best. The book shows that your voice can be powerful and just how scary it can sometimes be to use it. It has so much to offer, I am so glad I read it, and I cannot recommend it highly enough! Angie Thomas has a new book coming out in February called, On the Come Up , and I can’t wait to read it as well!

I read a few other books throughout the course of the year as well, but these were the ones I loved the most. I am hopeful that I will get to read even more in 2019, and will try to keep you updated on what I get to and what I love. I just started One Day in December by Josie Silver, and am loving it. Winter feels like the right time for a romance book. It was recommended by Reese Witherspoon’s book club, Hello Sunshine, which I have loved since I started following it early last year. I read a fun 2019 Literary Horoscope (I have ALWAYS loved horoscopes) by Read it Forward where I found a new book that I can’t wait to read called, Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Have Only One – by Raphaelle Giordano. You should totally check it out to see what it recommends for you.

As always, thanks for reading! I would love to hear about your favorite books from the past year in the comments below or on social media. You can find Raising Boys with Books on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. We would love to hear from you!


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