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Top 9 Books of 2018

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As we inch closer to a new year, I’m sharing my top 9 books of 2018 with all of you!

In between wedding photography, testing and photographing recipes, writing blog posts, playing video game with the man spouse, and lifting weights at the gym, I consider myself a fairly avid reader.

Around 3rd grade, I declared to my parents that I wanted to be a book editor simply because I wanted to read for a living. That ship sailed once I realized that reading isn’t all a book editor does!

Top 9 Books of 2018 - woman reading on bed with face obscured by book |

Still, even as a 20-something adult, I make an effort to read. This year, I read a pretty even mix of fiction and non-fiction, trying to both entertain myself and continue to learn new things.

I devoured a total of 23 books (so far!) this year. Considering my goal was 20 books, I’m proud! To some readers, that might be pretty low…but I’ll refer you to paragraph 2. (Hint: running 2 solo businesses is hard.)

9 Favorite Books of 2018 |

As I look back on the books I’ve read this year, a handful of them are clear favorites. Fantasy is definitely my preferred genre, but part of the reason I wanted to write this post at all is because a couple of the nonfiction books I read this year have impacted me profoundly. Like, change the way I live my life sort of profound.

So let’s get into it. In no particular order, here are my favorite 9 books of the year!

The Art of Gathering: How We Gather and Why It Matters by Preya Parker

This book. This book has impacted me more than any other book this year. I was expecting a psychological- and science-based read, but that’s not at all what this book is. Nor is it a Martha Stewart-esque guide for etiquette and decoration.

Instead, this book is all about transforming your gatherings, even the most informal ones, into something that matters. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves the idea of bringing people together, but always feels like “hanging out” just falls short of something meaningful.

Check out The Art of Gathering.

Top 9 Books of 2018 |

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink

This book is all about doing things at the right time. From how you structure your day, to how beginnings and endings affect our decisions and how to sync up groups.

I enjoyed Daniel Pink’s engaging, conversational way of tackling this topic and all of the scientific and psychological studies. When isn’t a way to make you busier, but instead tries to make life easier and more efficient by giving practical, science-backed advice for when.

Check out When.

Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary

I picked this book up on a whim because I liked the cover. I resonate deeply with the topic of slow living, but I hadn’t read much about it. McAlary’s book was an excellent, easy-to-digest introduction.

Honestly, the topic still resonated with me and I’ll likely be reading and writing more about it in 2019!

Check out Slow.

Top 9 Books of 2018 - the books that made the biggest impact |

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The book the movie’s based on. I haven’t seen the movie, and I likely won’t. But the book was awesome. I can’t believe how much nerdy knowledge and Easter eggs the author crammed into this book. Overall, it was a fun read!

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Fantasy is by far my favorite genre, but I don’t read it too often anymore because each series is so dang long. This is one series, however, I’m very glad I started.

Dennard built a vibrant world with an immersive story and beautiful flawed characters. Any book that surprises me or catches me off guard captivates me, and Truthwitch completely grabbed hold of me from the start.

Check out Truthwitch.

Top 9 Books of 2018 |

Windwitch by Susan Dennard

Yeah, this is a bit of a cheap inclusion because it’s the second book in the Witchlands series after Truthwitch. But I’m not kidding when I say I fell hard and fast for this series. I always worry that the second book won’t live up to the first, but Windwitch only enthralled me further.

The next book comes out in February of 2019. Thrilled!

Check out Windwitch.

The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

Absolutely worth the read! Many bloggers and influencers I follow mention The Four Tendencies at one time or another, so I finally decided to pick up the book to read about the Tendencies and find out which one I am.

I read the whole book and then took the quiz. I’m an Upholder. A little surprising, but it also explains a lot about the way I approach life.

Check out The Four Tendencies.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Hannah paints such a lovely picture of Alaska that I nearly demanded that my husband get on board with moving there. 

This book reminded me of a post-apocalyptic novel, but without the apocalypse. Even though I lean towards fantasy when I read fiction, I found myself entrapped in the Alaskan frontier when reading this book. It’s lengthy, but I couldn’t put it down. I woke up in the morning and immediately returned to this book, reading for hours a day until I read the final sentence.

Check out The Great Alone.

9 Favorite Books of 2018 |

168 Hours: You Have More Time Thank You Think by Laura Vanderkam

If you’ve found yourself starting more and more sentences with “If I had 5 more minutes a day…” or “I’m just too busy for…” or “There’s just not enough time in the day…”, this is a totally worth reading.

Vanderkam writes a lot about tracking your time, and I haven’t exactly done that. But reading 168 Hours has made me significantly more cognizant of where I’m spending my time. Whenever I start to excuse an unproductive day with “there’s just not enough time in the day!”, I stop myself and re-analyze how my day was spent. Usually, there’s more than enough time. I just have to structure my day more efficiently or make conscious choices to take time away from work.

So, if you’re a business owner or you have big goals you want to achieve, this book is well worth the read. Because you do have more time than you think.

Check out 168 Hours.

What are your 2018 favorites?

Now it’s your turn to weigh in!

  • Did you read any books this year? If so, what were your favorites?
  • Have you read any of my favorites? If not, did I pique your interest?

Feel free to leave a comment below or message me on IG to share your thoughts!

Top 9 Books of 2018 Pin |


I'm Chelsea, the author behind Do You Even Paleo! I believe life should be full of flavor. I enjoy creating recipes that are nourishing, flavorful, and satisfying. When not experimenting in the kitchen, I usually have a camera, barbell, or mug of coffee in hand. My posts may include affiliate links, which means if you click through a purchase something, I make a small commission at no cost to you. It helps me fuel my coffee habit and pay rent!

2 thoughts to “Top 9 Books of 2018”

  1. I have a handful of books that I read almost every year. Then another handful that I end up reading every few years… they’re my friends that pull me out of my anxiety, and put me back together when I’m overwhelmed.

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