Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved to read. One of my earliest Christmas memories was choosing a huge pile of books to place beside my bed, so when I woke up two hours after going to bed, I had something to keep me occupied until morning. And I do mean a STACK of books.

Nowadays, I’ll be honest, I don’t actually READ as many books as I used to. I listen to a large majority of my books with very few exceptions. Luckily, there are plenty of apps for my reading habit. My favorite app of the year has allowed me to finish off the year reading over 3 dozen books. If you are looking for a way to read more, but don’t really have the time to read-read, check out Scribd.

Scribd was a game-changer this summer when I was a park aide for the state parks. I did a LOT of solo work- cleaning bathrooms, weed eating, and staffing the park office. Listening to books helped the time pass quickly on those long nights I closed.

Most of these books (except for #4 and #1) are available on Scribd. They are also available through your local library.

My Top Ten Favorite Books from 2018-

10. Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel: What was interesting about Sleeping Giants wasn’t just the story, although it is a great one, it’s the format of the story. Rather than just tell you what’s happening as it happens, Sleeping Giants is mainly told through the course of interviews between a mysterious observer and the main characters. It’s a sci-fi fantasy where we on earth find a gigantic robot and put it together. It’s politics, science, military, and adventure wrapped into one. Sci-fi/Fantasy is my favorite fictional genre and it had been some time since I had read a fiction book just for fun. Sleeping Giants was an amazing way to get back into an enjoyable habit of mine.

9. 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny by Phillip Done: I chose this book because it sounded humorous and a close comparative title to my memoirs I am writing about my time as an educator in the zoological field. I wasn’t far off. It’s an older book, published in 2009, so it’s a stretch to make it a current comparative title. But it was a fun read. The stories are super short. Done did a decent job stringing related topics together, but it was very obvious to me he wasn’t a born writer. I will say he sounds like an AMAZING teacher, and a good story-teller. But writing can be a little more difficult than sharing funny anecdotes among co-workers and friends. I still may use it as a comparative title, since most of the others I’ve read this year fell through in terms of not fitting the part.

8. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: At the beginning of the year, we started a book club which didn’t get super far because people started summer jobs, and others went on insanely long vacations…Anyways one of the first books we discussed was this one, The Hate U Give. As far as books we read for our discussion group which I had never read before, this was the best one. It’s powerful, upsetting, and uplifting, all at once. The movie came out in the fall but I haven’t had a chance to see it. I have become something of a book to movie snob lately. The movies rarely do the book justice, but I have heard many people talking about the message in The Hate U Give, so I will likely give it a try soon.

7. A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren: I don’t usually talk too much about politics on my blog. I’m pretty sure most people can take a healthy stab at my political stance by reading a few of my blog posts, though. I’m not trying to hide it, it just doesn’t come up in my conversations about fitness and conservation very often. But in case you weren’t certain, I’ll lay it out for you. I’m a democrat. I vote democrat, I think democrat, I pretty much live the life of a democrat. So when I stumbled upon Elizabeth Warren’s memoir (this is way after the “She persisted” debacle), I wanted to give it a go. Warren did not disappoint, and if you are looking for a reason to love her even more, I urge you to check it out as well.

6. The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo: I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this book when I started listening to it. Except Jeremy Irons has the voice of a god, and I could listen to him read a telephone book and stay engaged. But the story is such a beautiful fable/moral, it stayed with me for a long time. I finished it in record time, too, because I couldn’t stop listening. If you haven’t read this book, I implore you to hurry to Scribd, or the library and pick up a copy. It’s insane.

5. Food, A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan: This title shouldn’t be as high up on my list as it is, but it’s like my guilty pleasure pick. OMG, I LAUGHED so hard while listening to Jim Gaffigan read this book aloud. I had to repeat sections because I was laughing so hard I couldn’t hear the rest of the story. Tears were running down my cheeks as I drove. At one point I was in line for the ferry, and the people next to me were probably wondering if I should be drug tested. This book is HILARIOUS. Gaffigan is SPOT ON about some eating establishments and favorite foods in America. It was one of the most enjoyable reads I’ve had in a super long time. If you want a fun book to read, this is the one I recommend.

4. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow by Erin Bagwell: This was the first book read this year. I got it a couple years ago back home from a local author. The complete review of this book can be found here. Basically, I found the book fascinating because most of her points were what I write about in my fitness book, (currently titled) What Animals Taught Me About Health and Fitness. I just wish Erin had traditionally published her book instead of self-publishing, so I could use it as a great comparative title for my own. There are some great words of wisdom in her program. And with the end of the year coming, many people are looking for ways to meet their goals in 2019. Perhaps Here Today can help.

3. Strong is the New Beautiful by Lindsey Vonn: I wrote a review for this book when I read it over the summer as part of my “10 Books in 10 Days”. I really loved Vonn’s take on fitness and health. It’s a great comparative title, except Vonn is one of those “famous” people who agents feel I would struggle to compete with. But it doesn’t change that I think this is a great book, really helpful for those wanting to change their physical fitness and appearance.

2. The Renegades by Marissa Meyer: If you are like me, the whole “obvious good guy” and “obvious bad guy” in books and television feels so trite. Apparently, Meyer is like me. Writing a superhero book where the villain is one of the protagonists is absolutely genius. This young adult story had me looking for reasons to go to the gym, to Oak Harbor, and to other places so I could listen some more. And when it finished, I immediately ordered the sequel, Archenemies, from the library. And then I finished THAT one in three days. To me, there hasn’t been a book that has gotten me to completely neglect my other duties so much since Harry Potter. Yes, it’s that good. If you liked Firefly television series, Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog, and Dark Knight, this series is perfect for you.

1. Reuse, Recycle, Reduce Your Waist by PJ Beaven: I know, it’s a cheap shot, but I SHOULD be placing my own book on my top ten list, honestly. I mean, I’m freaking proud of it. And, it’s a good book. It’s literally “change the world” good. Reduce your trash while losing weight. It’s a win-win. Almost everyone who has read the book has been thoroughly impressed, which is great for me, but would be better if those people followed me on Facebook, Twitter, and subscribed to my blog. Baby steps. I got a couple of books out this year, and I’m hoping by next year to have 4 or 5 more.

What were some of your favorite books of the year?