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The 20 Books I Read in 2018

The 20 Books I Read in 2018

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In 2018, I set my Goodreads challenge to 24 books, two a month on average. I wanted to spend less of my spare time watching YouTube, scrolling through social media, and generally wasting time, and spend more of it reading books, plus I LOVE to read and wanted to get back into it.

I always have multiple books on the go at once, because sometimes I feel like reading something about business while other times I want to get stuck into a good novel or a self-help type book, so there’s quite a mixture in here!

I didn’t quite make it to 24 books, but here are the 20 that I did read and some brief thoughts about them!

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post which means that if you purchase any of these books as a result of clicking the links, I'll get a small token of thanks. You won't ever pay more for purchasing through my links and please be assured that I only share things I have personally tried!

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo

★★★★★

Funnily enough, before all of the current hype around Marie Kondo and her Konmari method, I actually read her book this time last year, over the holidays and loved it! It was the first book I finished of the year and I think set a really great tone for the rest of 2018. I managed to get my boyfriend on board and we tidied the heck out of everything we owned. I think we’re about due for another session so I’ll be pulling this book back out sometime soon I’m sure! I definitely prefer the book to the TV show, and it really worked for me. Her folding method changed my laundry life and I still do it exactly like that to this day so I call that a win!

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The Intruder – Håkan Östlundh

★★★★

After some full on self-improvement with Marie Kondo, I was ready for a good old fiction book and thanks to the Wellington Library book sale, I stumbled upon The Intruder. I’d never heard of or seen this book before but I read the synopsis when I picked it up and it seemed interesting so I got stuck in. The Intruder is a thrilling crime novel about a family who is being threatened and stalked. It’s gripping, scary and suspenseful, so it was an intense but great read!

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Yes Please – Amy Poehler

★★★

A score from the local Salvation Army, I tackled Amy Poehler’s autobiography next! I’m a big fan of Amy so I was looking forward to hearing about her life and experiences and while I loved this, it didn’t massively blow me away. I loved hearing about SNL and Parks and Rec, and it was inspiring to see her journey to where she is now, but that was kind of it I guess. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great read and definitely interesting if you’re a fan of hers, I just can’t say it’s anything to rave about! I do recommend if you’re a fan or are wanting to be a comedian, because her story is definitely interesting and inspiring!

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Before I Die – Jenny Downham

★★★★

Before I Die was another Sallies find, and an easy read for me. I think I was looking for a nice weekend story at the time and this fit the bill. I’ve seen the movie, Now is Good, based on the book, so reading it was a nice, easy reminder of the story and made it a perfect chill read. It’s a sad story about Tess who has just months to live and the things she wants to do before she dies, so be prepared for tears, but it’s also beautiful, real and heartwarming at the same time. Probably a great option if you liked The Fault in Our Stars, My Sister’s Keeper or similar stories.

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Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

★★★★

I had wanted to read Ready Player One for a while so when the movie was announced, I decided then was the time to give it a go so that I could finish before the movie came out. I read it on my Kindle and really enjoyed it! It’s a dystopian book about virtual reality and pop culture and the story is SO good. The whole world is on a virtual treasure hunt, completing puzzles to find clues that will lead them to the ultimate prize left by the creator of the virtual world with Wade Watts, the main character, competing too. I 100% recommend this book and please, read this instead of watching the movie – it is infinitely better and much more exciting!

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Disclaimer – Renee Knight

★★★

Okay we’re back with another creepy thriller/mystery book that I scored at the library sale! Disclaimer is an interesting story where the main character begins to read a book before realising that it’s about her and her hidden past. Someone knows her secret and has published it. A super interesting premise and a relatively easy read but I only rated it ⅗ as it wasn’t anything amazing in my opinion!

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The Carrie Diaries – Candace Bushnell

★★★

Okay you’re getting to see a bit of my trash side here! My brain goes at a million miles an hour and a lot of the time, the only way to slow and calm it down is with trash TV and easily digested stories. In the past I’ve watched Sex and the City, and the prequel, the Carrie Diaries, and loved them both. I love the clothes, the drama and the fun stories, so I thought it would be fun to read the book. Again, because I’d seen the show, I knew the premise and the plot, so it wasn’t a challenging read at all. To be honest, I’d probably rather watch the Carrie Diaries than read the book, so there you go!

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Women & Power: A Manifesto – Mary Beard

★★★★★

Bringing it back to reality and something a bit more hard-hitting, I next read Women & Power: A Manifesto and far out was this good. Even though it’s a relatively short book, it took me a while to get through because it was such a heavy read, in the best way. I found it so interesting reading Beard’s stories of powerful women throughout history and how that has led us to the state of society today and it really challenged my understanding of power. I definitely recommend picking this one up and giving it a read.   

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The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty

★★★★

Wow, I didn’t realise how many mystery/thrillers I read but here’s another that I think I also got at the Sallies! It’s kind of hard to to describe this book without sharing spoilers but essentially the main character, Cecilia, discovers a letter from her husband to be opened only in the event of his death, revealing a secret he’s been keeping for years. He’s still alive and is lying to his wife. The story is so much about the relationships between partners, friends and family, and the consequences of your actions. I really enjoyed it, and you might too!

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I Am Pilgrim – Terry Hayes

★★★★★

This was the longest book I read in 2018 and boy was it a mission to get through but I’m glad that I did. There are a lot of conflicting reviews of this book but it was high in the book charts for a long time so at the bookshop I picked it up at the airport before a flight and decided to give it a go. The book is so interesting in the way that it tells different stories from people in Manhattan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and other parts of the world that seem to be unrelated, but they all come together in the end. I found it a bit difficult to get into, but I loved the way the stories intertwined when they did and when the action kicked in, I was hooked. This book is about crime, terrorism, culture and more heavy topics so don’t expect an easy read, but I definitely recommend it if that’s your jam and you’re open to reading about these topics.

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

★★★★

I read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine on my Kindle after seeing a lot of buzz and reviews about it and ended up really enjoy it. I didn’t quite get the massive hype around it as I didn’t find it THAT amazing, but it was really good. I love that Eleanor is so unapologetically her, and seeing her warm to Raymond and others was heartwarming. The way you learn about her past throughout the book really helps you to understand her more as a person and is just one of the ways that I ended up really liking Eleanor after not really warming to her at first.

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Oh Sh*t What Now – Craig Oldham

★★★★

I’m not going to lie, I mostly picked up this book because I loved the design. The cover is a super thick cardstock embossed with fluro typography and the inside is just as beautiful so I was sold straight away. I only rated this book a 4, not a 5, because I just didn’t find it SUPER relevant for me right now.  I did, however, lend it to my flatmate who was a fourth year design student at the time and I think it’s perfect for designers at that stage in their careers. It’s a super insightful, funny and practical look at what to do once you’ve graduated, with sections about education, portfolios, process, freelancing and more, and would be a super valuable guide for a student or recent graduate, or someone moving into the design field.

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The Circle – Dave Eggers

★★★★

The Circle is another book I read after seeing the movie, and I read it in a weekend. I already knew the story but enjoyed reading more detail than the movie provided, and reminding myself of what happened. The Circle is a Dystopian Science Fiction story about technology, social media, and identity and their impact on our relationships and lives. It centres around Mae, a new employee at the Circle, who makes her way up through the ranks via her social media participation but suffers the consequences as her life becomes more and more public. It’s a scary story as the idea is one that could quite possibly become reality, so while it doesn’t add many new thoughts to the discourse surrounding these topics, it does force you to think about your own use of social media, cyber security and technology in general.

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Just My Type: A Book About Fonts – Simon Garfield

★★★★★

Okay team, I’m about to get nerdy on y’all. If you’re at all into typography, this book is SO good. It is a book of stories about different fonts, their designers and their history and it’s so interesting. I learnt so much about typography and why so many of our favourite fonts are what they are. The writer is not a typographer, but a historian, telling witty, historically accurate stories of fonts, foundries and fellow designers. If you’re a type fan, please read this book, I think you’ll love it!

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Traction – Gino Wickman

★★★★★

This month, an accountability group for creative business owners that I’m in started a book club and this was our first book and omg did it change our lives. That might sound dramatic but it’s actually completely changed how I run my business and will continue to in the future. I really enjoyed the practical nature of this book and the way that it walks you through real life steps to get a grip on your business. As a very small, new business of one, I did find it quite difficult to relate to much of the talk around million and billion dollar businesses, as well as running a team, but it is relatively easy to translate each step to my current situation and save some things for the future. I’ve implemented so many steps since reading this and have already seen so much progress in my business. If you’re running a business of your own, or in management at another business, I definitely recommend reading this.

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Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur

★★★

Oh I wanted to love this book so much but I just didn’t as much as I thought I would. Maybe it was too over-hyped, I don’t know, but I just wasn’t blown away. Rupi’s story seems incredible, she’s clearly passionate about healing and growing through poetry which I love, and there were a couple of poems in there that I really enjoyed, but the majority I could honestly take or leave. I did appreciate her openness, discussion of important topics like trauma, race, sexuality and gender, and the therapeutic nature of her writing. A lot of people LOVE Rupi Kaur so it’s probably worth a read if you’re curious!

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The Sun and Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur

★★★

I bought Milk and Honey and The Sun and Her Flowers at the same time so read them one after the other and my thoughts are much the same. I did enjoy more of The Sun and Her Flowers than in her previous book, I think because I related a lot more to the themes, which is no fault of the author but affected my relationship to the poems I suppose. Again, possibly worth reading if you’re curious. Don’t let my experience discourage you!

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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing – Hank Green

★★★★★

This was my favourite book of the year, hands down! I had wanted to read the book for a while, having read most of John Green’s books, and following Hank on social media, plus the story seemed so cool, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it. A friend of mine, Ariel, is someone I wholeheartedly trust for book recommendations and she raved about the book on social media so I went down to the bookshop that day, bought it and read it in one day! It was SO good! It was so easy to read, I felt like I related to April so much, the commentary on social media, virality, internet fame and art was amazing, and the premise was incredible. All round fab book and I CAN’T WAIT until the next one!

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QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability in Work and in Life – John G. Miller

★★★

Another book club pick, QBQ is a short book about personal accountability was a good reminder to shift perspective from blame to ownership. I don’t think this book is anything groundbreaking and the message is really hammered home quite repetitively, but it does serve as a push to rethink the questions we ask and that message is really clear. I’m glad I read it, but probably won’t be rushing to re-read or recommend!

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Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women – Otegha Uwagba

★★★

I’d seen the Little Black Book floating around on the internet for a while and finally got around to reading it as my last book of 2018. Again, I didn’t find it revolutionary and most of it felt like common sense to me, or at least wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before, but I think it’s a great book to have on hand when you need to get back to basics and refresh yourself on all the things a creative woman should be thinking about. The most valuable part was the last section with wise answers from various successful women to a lot of popular questions about being a creative, working woman and I’ll go back to this book for that chapter alone.  

Alright team, those are all the books I read in 2018 and some thoughts on them! Told you there would be a mixture! Have you read any of these books too? What did you think? And please fire any recommendations for books you think I should read in 2019 at me! I’m always open to suggestions

Here’s to more books in 2019!

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