Gems of 2018 and Year End Survey

Well, this has been a year. Due to the emotional roller-coaster of my personal life (now thankfully settled down), I did not get as much reading done as usual. But when I was able to muster up the time and energy to open them books were always there for me, with their messages of wisdom, meaning, and hope, widening my perspective, helping me learn and grow. I’m so grateful for them and for all of  you in the book blogging community, who reminded me of a greater world connected to the things I care most about.

Here are the books that stood out for me this year. Below, I answered some questions from the year-end survey hosted at The Perpetual Page Turner. (I omitted many of them — the full list is a quite extensive!) Please feel free to join in and link up with TPPT here, or share some of your own responses in the comments.

Also linked in Top Ten Tuesday at That Artsy Reader Girl

2018 Releases –
Fiction: Circe
Nonfiction:  A Primer for Poets and Readers of Poetry

Other books read in 2018 –

Historical Fiction: The Blood of the Martyrs
Multiple Time Periods: The Maze at Windermere
Books everyone should read: I Don’t Want to Talk About It
Science and Nature: Animals in Translation
Reread: The Earthsea books
Fantasy (among other genres): Jane, Unlimited
Fiction in Translation: Les Miserables
Children’s: It’s Like This, Cat, The Ghost of Thomas Kempe
Activism: The Art of Waging Peace
Spirituality: The Kingdom Within
Book Design: Uncle Silas
Classics: Invisible Man



Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

The Left Hand of Darkness – I was surprised at the lack of feminine experience in this “feminist” novel (shows how different things were back in 1969)

Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Circe – at least a lot of people have said they want to read it!

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

The Populist Explosion

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Uncle Silas – it got silly at the end but still kept me compulsively reading.

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

I Don’t Want To Talk About It

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read? 

The Left Hand of Darkness

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?

Shortest – Octavio’s Journey, 95 pages

Longest – Les Miserables, 1330 pages

Book That Shocked You The Most

Invisible Man

Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

The Art of Waging Peace – based on a Facebook comment

Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Nero’s Rome in The Blood of the Martyrs

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Good Omens

New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2018?

What’s Nonfiction

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

Seeing an event I created (Witch Week) get taken up by two other wonderful bloggers

Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Do you re-read? (56 comments)

Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Walking with Our Children

One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

Born a Crime

Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

The Winter of the Witch (Sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower)

39 thoughts on “Gems of 2018 and Year End Survey

  1. Well, what a wonderful summation of a bookish year, Lory, and especially as you had other things on your mind (which I’m glad to read have been resolved). I’m one of those readers who intends to read Circe in 2019 after your praise of it for Witch Week, and I know that Lizzie will be as chuffed as I am to read the your “best moment of bookish/blogging” was when we took up the mantle for this inspired event! I hope that 2019 sees your enthusiasm for bookish matters and general reflections continue and that all will eventually be well with your world.


    1. Thank you Chris. This year is off to a good start, and the light will continue to increase. I can’t imagine my enthusiasm for bookish matters ever diminishing, and I’m so glad I have other friends with whom to share this passion. Onward we go to new discoveries and challenges and goals.


  2. You pushed me to read Circe, so you get credit for that! Congrats on finishing Les Miserables, that’s a book I hope to turn to in 2019. Wishing you a very happy new year!


  3. Circe is great, isn’t it? It was one of my favourites of the year too. I have read The Winter of the Witch and thought it was even better than the first two in the trilogy.


  4. I was so disappointed in The Left Hand of Darkness. I built it up in my mind, but….I could not finish it. Ack. Oh well….And Circe looks so promising. I hope that one doesn’t disappoint!


    1. It was not my favorite Le Guin, for sure. I was glad I persevered, though, because I found the final journey across the ice to be the best part.

      I wouldn’t say Circe is an immortal classic, but it was certainly enjoyable and well written. I expect you will find it more readable than LHOD!


  5. I haven’t yet managed to get to Circe yet – but it is high on my list for 2019. Thank you for the apt reminder! A great list – I really enjoyed reading this:)


  6. Inspired by your review, I read Circe in November, and enjoyed it thoroughly. A wonderful view of the distaff side of Homer’s epic. I also finished Left Hand of Darkness before WitchWeek, in case it came up. It was a difficult read, but worth it. I haven’t yet dropped by your other blog, but I’ll be there soon. Best wishes and happy reading (and blogging) for 2019.


  7. All the books that you mention here look interesting. In particular I want to read Circe. I have heard such good things about it. I really liked Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad. It seems that there are some obvious similarities with this book.


    1. Atwood’s perspective is much more acerbic I’d say, and there was more post-modern playing around with narrative structure. But I do think you’d enjoy Circe as well.


  8. Wonderful summary! I really want to re-read Invisible Man. I read in for High School English (decades ago now) and recently heard some one compare it to Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer…

    The Maze at Windemere is also on my list to read this year. I was really hoping it would make the Tournament of Books short list for 2019 but alas it did not. But your review combined with other favorable notices makes me think I really really love it!


  9. I just hated Invisible Man in high school. I think it was our token multicultural book and the teacher didn’t know how to teach it. But I doubt I will ever reread it (although I am a rereader) – there are too many new books out there waiting for me – like Circe!

    Happy New Year!


    1. I am so glad I didn’t read Invisible Man in high school. I’m still not sure I’m mature enough to read it, but I’m glad I finally did.

      Hoping 2019 brings you many wonderful reads, new and old.


  10. The Maze at Windermere does have a striking cover! I know you didn’t have the strongest reading year, but it’s great to see you were still able to read so many good books. Here’s to many more good books read in 2019 – Happy New Year.


  11. I really love this survey to recap your year end! I used to do it but this year was so terrible for reading for me that I’d have nothing to put in it. It was such fun reading yours! I’ve heard such great reviews of Circe and that cover is gorgeous! I hope you have an even better reading year in 2019!


  12. Everyone keeps telling me to read Circe! I guess I should. 👍✨

    I am reading The Winter of the Witch right now and it’s going too fast! I sat down and when I looked I had already read 25% of the story. I don’t want it to end. 💜✨


  13. It sounds like you were able to turn your love of reading into a successful year of finding books to help you heal and grow. I find this awesome. I also love the artsy and clever cover of The Maze at Windermere. Here’s to a healthy and happy 2019 for you!


  14. I think when I read fewer books, the books were more memorable. Now I’m reading over 100 each year and half the time I can’t remember what I read (it could be a sign of age too). See what I read in December at Girl Who Reads


    1. Blogging really helps me remember! The ones I wrote reviews or posts about stick in my memory much better. Unfotunately, I can’t do that for everything.


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