10 Favorite Books of 2018

I was browsing the discount book section of a store (one of my favorite past times) the other day. As I was intently examining the cluttered shelves , a woman approached me and said, “People think I have a problem, but I just LOVE looking for books. My kids don’t understand why I buy books and then just put them on the shelves without reading them - and I can’t really explain it to them. I just like doing it.”

My response to her was this -

“Books represent a world of possibility when I look at them. I love having lots of possibilities in my life. Keep buying those books!”

In that moment I forged a connection with a total stranger.

Reading has dramatically changed my life over the past two years. When my mom passed away in the summer of 2016 I lost my best friend - and gained a large chunk of time. At the same time, I was a full-fledged mom of teens, which meant they spent less time needing (or wanting) my attention.

To put it bluntly: I found myself more alone than I had been in a long time, and I had to do something about it!

Reading books helped me escape to different worlds while I was grieving. Reading books became a way to fill the time I had normally chatted with my mom on the phone. I committed to a robust reading life - not only for the betterment of myself, but also to become a better homeschool parent.

The time you spend reading is not wasted. I encourage you to carve time out of your schedule to READ. It is of immense value to you and your children!

10 Favorite Books of 2018 — for moms!

In 2017 I committed to read 50 books.

2018 brought increased reading enthusiasm and MORE books completed - 102 to be exact - and while it isn’t about the number of books I read, it IS about the knowledge I gained, the friends I made (I even started my own #bookstagram account!), and the beautiful hobby I continue to cultivate.

To put it simply,

I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.
— JK Rowling

I joined the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club and a local book club. I was honored to be selected for the I’d Rather Be Reading Book Launch Team.

Favorite Books of 2018

Any time we visited a new city I went to their best bookstore. I found myself haunting our local Goodwill and thrift stores.

I hung out at the local library just for fun.

I became the book recommender and lender for many of my friends.

It was a GREAT reading year.

Ten Favorite Books of 2018

It was an arduous task to narrow the list to TEN favorite books, but I’m confident and pleased with my choices. After the ten favorites, I have also included the list of all of the books I read in 2018.

They are ALL worth reading (with the exception - in my opinion - of The Handmaid’s Tale - which I read out of curiosity - and did not like at all), because I have no qualms putting down a book I am not enjoying. Life is too short to read books that don’t resonate with you!

My favorites quite obviously reflect the genre I enjoy most (historical fiction), but I did enjoy The Library Book and Fearfully & Wonderfully Made (nonfiction).

Cold Sassy TreeThe Library BookMark Of The Lion Boxed Set-3 Bks (Repack)A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)Amy Snow: A NovelBefore We Were Yours: A NovelThe Remains of the DayBecoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. LewisFearfully and Wonderfully MadePeace Like a River


All Books Read in 2018

I tried to read across all genres and get out of my comfort zone in 2018.

This list also includes books we read aloud in our homeschool - something I adore doing.

I hope you can find some books to add to your 2019 reading list!

Cold Sassy TreeThe Library BookMark Of The Lion Boxed Set-3 Bks (Repack)A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)Amy Snow: A NovelBefore We Were Yours: A NovelThe Remains of the DayBecoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. LewisFearfully and Wonderfully MadePeace Like a RiverThe 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas MiracleThe Great Alone: A NovelGirl in the Blue CoatOne Day in December: A NovelA Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail)Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses: A feel good Christmas romance novelThe Spectator Bird by Stegner,Wallace. [1990,4th Edition.] PaperbackA Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-1918A Grief ObservedThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Brave Art of Motherhood: Fight Fear, Gain Confidence, and Find Yourself AgainA Fall of MarigoldsOne-in-a-Million BoyThe Graveyard BookAs Bright as HeavenThe Clockmaker's Daughter: A NovelThe Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell: A NovelThe Undoing of Saint SilvanusThe ImmortalistsOur Beating HeartsSmall Great Things: A NovelEndurance: Shackleton's Incredible VoyageThe 49th Mystic (Beyond the Circle)The WilloughbysA Place for Us: A NovelLabor DayThe Handmaid's TaleCrazy Rich AsiansThe Widows of Malabar Hill (A Mystery of 1920s India)Garden Spells: A Novel (Waverly Family)Same Kind of Different As MeThat Kind of Mother: A NovelI Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with DeathA Well-Tempered Heart (Art of Hearing Heartbeats)The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A NovelA Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s WorldI'll Be Your Blue Sky: A NovelThe Almost Sisters: A NovelAn Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and MadnessThe Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called EelThe Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-DiscoveryLittle Fires EverywhereThe Mothers: A NovelThe Bronze BowThe Beach HouseBreaking Stalin's NoseThe Stolen Marriage: A NovelPeter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes (Peter Nimble Adventure)Truly Madly GuiltyUnwritten: A NovelWhat I Saw And How I LiedMy Name Is Lucy Barton: A NovelAn American Marriage: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club 2018 Selection)Bel Canto: A Novel by Ann Patchett (2001-05-22)Listening for LionsEleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A NovelHome Fire: A NovelWinter in Thrush Green (Thrush Green, Book 2)A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True StoryThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Tom Sawyer's ComradeBeartown: A NovelTell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to SayStay with Me: A novelThe Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your KidsThrush Green (Thrush Green Series, Book 1)Lilli de Jong: A NovelEvery Note PlayedWhere You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions ManiaMalagashEducated: A MemoirConsider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical TraditionThe Rosie Project: A NovelThe Music Shop: A NovelThe Giver (Giver Quartet)I'm Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred RogersBeautiful Ruins: A NovelNearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing WellBraving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand AloneMrs. DallowayDeath Comes for the Archbishop (Vintage Classics)Gift from the Sea: 50th-Anniversary EditionThe Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of DistractionWinter GardenWe Should All Be FeministsThe Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel


I’d love to know some of YOUR favorites from 2018.

Share them with me in the comments below!

Favorite Read Alouds for Teen Boys

Be honest. Reading aloud is something we think most teen boys are NOT going to enjoy.

I'm here to tell you they ARE and that it is IMPORTANT to continue to read aloud to our boys as they enter their teen years. 

Especially if you homeschool, I don't want you to miss tending to your teen's heart - and reading aloud is the perfect way to make connections, spark conversation, and simply spend time together.

Reading aloud is also one of many ways I'm fighting for my son's heart - and it's turning out to be such a blessing.

Favorite Read Alouds for Teen Boys

I'm sure you've had that magical read-aloud moment, haven't you? The one when a fabulous connection is made, or when everyone is laughing out loud and you look around and realize how wonderful this time you are sharing together is.

Those moments matter. They seem to matter MORE as our children age, because we realize they are precious few. 

Read-aloud to your teen boys. You won't be sorry you did!

Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN -- I love searching out lovely bookstores to find recommendations for read-alouds!

Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN -- I love searching out lovely bookstores to find recommendations for read-alouds!

How to Encourage Reading Aloud

I've had to be intentional about reading aloud. From carving out the time to researching and choosing engaging books, it's been an investment well worth making. 

  • Set a time each day to read aloud.  We read aloud each morning during breakfast. It's a way to ease into the day - the house is quiet and there is something conducive about early morning and reading.
  • Make reading aloud a team effort. My son and I take turns reading aloud. He's a bit of a goof (as am I!) and we love reading books where we can use our best voices and ham it up. When my son reads aloud it is also a good chance for me to train him in his speaking habits. (If you have younger children in the house perhaps your teen can read aloud to them.)
  • Give your teen a choice of books and play to their interests. I have a few stacks of books (that I have already researched) and allow my son to choose which books we will read. I've included books that I know will interest him - based on his current obsession. Ownership is huge at this age! Don't be afraid to include some "meaty" books, too - we tackled The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn last year and my guy loved it! Include biographies, fiction and nonfiction, and other genres, too.
  • It's all about the food. Yes, I know, this is bribery. But it works. Food is my son's love language, so if there is a steady supply of food the read-aloud time goes well. I have lots of different breakfast foods on hand - when the kids were younger I always had some fun snack that was just for read-aloud time.
  • Model reading. You know I'm a HUGE reader, as is my husband. Reading is a lifestyle, so it isn't anything out of the ordinary to sit down and read a book together.
Our current stack of read-alouds!

Our current stack of read-alouds!

Included below are many of the books that have been a HIT in our house, including some that are in the TBR (to be read) stack as well.  There are probably a bazillion more titles that would captivate your teen boy; these are just a few to get you started.

I hope you find some books that bless your time with your teenage son. 

I'm cheering you on! 

Oh -- and here's my teen boy in case you were wondering. He's now 6'2" and eats like a horse (sometimes we read aloud with donuts!). 

Favorite Read Alouds for Teen Boys


Do you read aloud to your teen boy? Is there a book you can add to our list? Leave it in the comments below!

The Wednesday WarsOkay for NowPeter Nimble and His Fantastic EyesThe Giver Quartet boxed setA Long Walk to Water: Based on a True StoryThe Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called EelListening for LionsFearfully and Wonderfully MadePaul Brand: Helping Hands (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)Nate Saint: On a Wing and a Prayer (Christian Heroes: Then & Now) (Christian Heroes: Then and Now)Jefferson's Sons: A Founding Father’s Secret ChildrenWords in the DustBreaking Stalin's NoseBabe & Me: A Baseball Card AdventureRocket Boys (The Coalwood Series #1)A Land of Permanent GoodbyesHomeless BirdThe Rise and Fall of Mount MajesticAdventures of Huckleberry FinnThe Hiding PlaceThe Librarian of Auschwitz