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My Year of GoodReads

I used to be a voracious reader when I was much (much!) younger. It wasn’t unusual for me to have five or six books going at the same time. I’m a fast reader, too; always have been.

Somewhere along the way–I think it was when I finished college–I stopped reading books almost entirely. Instead I favored by-hand creative pursuits like cross stitch, sewing, and other miscellaneous craft projects. I had time to read; it’s just that I didn’t choose to do it. When my kids came along I got into scrapbooking, and I wrote. And even later I worked, a lot. In any given year I read only one book, maybe two. MAYBE.

Last year I read a few books, and that was a big deal to me. I rediscovered the pleasure of curling up on the couch and losing myself in someone else’s story. I became active on GoodReads, and found it to be a perfect tool for me to keep track of what I was reading and what I wanted to read. At the beginning of this year I created a Reading Challenge for myself: 26 books.


It was a lofty goal to be sure, for someone who hasn’t read more than two books in any given year for at least a decade. That said, it’s called a “Challenge” for a reason, and I was all in.

2018 is over tomorrow, and I’m proud to say that while I didn’t complete 26 books this year, I did finish an astounding (to me, anyway!) 22 books.


If you did some quick math just now you’ll have already realized that I read more books this year than in the last ten-ish years combined. If that’s not an accomplishment, I don’t know what is. Here are the titles I completed this year; see if you can figure out my genre preference. (Spoiler alert: it won’t be hard to do.)

“This is a Book About the Kids in the Hall” by John Semley

“Dave Grohl: Times Like His” by Martin James

“The Last Black Unicorn” by Tiffany Haddish

“Young Elizabeth: The Making of our Queen” by Kate Williams

“Bossypants” by Tina Fey

“Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology” by Leah Remini

“The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince” by Mayte Garcia

“I’m Your Biggest Fan” by Kate Coyne

“To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of a Machine” by Judith Newman

“Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape” by Jenna Miscavige Hill with Lisa Pulitzer

“A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages” by Kristin Chenoweth

“Marry Me” by John Updike

“Road Map for Revolutionaries: Resistance, Activism, and Advocacy for All” by Elisa Camahort Page, Carolyn Gerin, and Jamia Wilson

“The Help” by Kathryn Stockett

“Lonely Planet Maui” by Lonely Planet

“Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook” by Andrew Doughty

“You’re on an Airplane” by Parker Posey

“A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like” by Ashley Graham

“Hindsight: And All the Things I Can’t See in Front of Me” by Justin Timberlake

“The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo” by Amy Schumer

“Okay Fine Whatever: The Year I Went From Being Afraid of Everything to Only Being Afraid of Most Things” by Courtenay Hameister

“Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand In the Sun, and Be Your Own Person” by Shonda Rhimes

My very favorites books out of the bunch were the ones written by Tiffany Haddish (laugh-out-loud hilarious), Justin Timberlake (fascinating plus gorgeous design), and Shonda Rhimes (motivating, so uplifting). The one that was most difficult to get through was, shockingly, Parker Posey’s. (It was quirky, just like she is, but I found it hard to stay focused on it. I enjoyed it, just not as much as the others.)

For 2019 I’m doing the Reading Challenge again, and once again I’m shooting for 26 books. I’m ready to go starting Tuesday, too: on my last visit to the library my eyes were bigger than, err, my eyes, so I have a stack waiting for me. It’s pictured above, if you want to see what I’ll be working on first.

What was the best book you read in 2018? Do you have any book recommendations for me, especially in the Memoir genre (OOPS I GAVE IT AWAY)? Drop them in comments!