My Literary Year – 2018

Another year has passed which means another recap of what I read this year. I love helping people find the right book and justify all of the time I sit by the fire or at the pool reading as a means of helping others. Plus reading is my favorite way to procrastinate when I should be grading essays.  The list below contains the books I read in 2017 along with genre and ranking (five stars possible) and links. Paragraph reviews for each book can be found in the four quarterly posts posted after each quarter.  But first the top choices of the year are:

Top Fiction: Homegoing Honorable Mention: Little Fires Everywhere, Station Eleven

Top Young Adult: Salt to the Sea Honorable Mention: The Hate U Give

Top Poetry: Counting Descent Honorable Mention: Brown Girl Dreaming

Top Memoir: Hillbilly Elegy, Hope Heals Honorable Mention: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Top Nonfiction: Just Mercy Honorable Mention: Braving the Wilderness

Top Professional: Talk Like TED

Here’s how my reading year looked. I don’t count books until the end of the year and didn’t realize until yesterday that I read 52 books this year – an average of one per week. I was pleased with this since I made reading a priority for 2017.


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn ★★★★★ (Smith, 1941, historical fiction) *Reread from middle school

Persepolis ★★★★★ (Satrapi, 2004, graphic novel)

The Language of Flowers ★★★☆☆ (Diffenbaugh, 2011, contemporary fiction)

Unstuck (Gravitt and Webster, 2017, business fable)


Gilead ★★★★☆ (Robinson, 2004, fiction, Pulitzer Prize winner)

The Handmaid’s Tale ★★★★★ (Atwood, 2006, dystopian)

Brown Girl Dreaming ★★★★★ (Woodson, 2014, children/middle school, National Book Award, Newberry Honor Book, prose poetry)


Who’s Doing All of the Work? How to Say Less So Readers Can Do More★★★★☆ (Burkins and Yaris, 2016, education)

Ethan Frome ★★★☆☆ (Wharton, 1911, fiction)

Station Eleven ★★★★★ (Mandel, 2014, dystopian)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks ★★★★★  (Skloot, 2010, biography)

Jan – March 2017 Reviews


Hope Heals ★★★★★ (Wolfe, 2016, Memoir)

Everything, Everything ★★★★☆ (Noon, 2015, Young Adult)

The Circle Maker ★★★★★ (Batterson, 2011, Christian)

Hillbilly Elegy ★★★★★ (Vance, 2016, Memoir)

A Doll’s House ★★★★★ (Ibsen, 1879, Play)


Counting Descent ★★★★★ (Smith, 2016, Poetry)

The Zookeeper’s Wife ★★★☆☆ (Ackerman, 2008, Nonfiction)

Shakespeare Saved My Life ★★★☆☆ (Bates, 2013, Nonfiction)


All the Bright Places ★★★★☆ (Niven, 2015, Young Adult)

The Underground Railroad ★★★★★ (Whitehead, 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner, Fiction)

Gods in Alabama ★★★☆☆  (Jackson, 2005, Fiction)

Homegoing ★★★★★★★★★★ (Gyasi, 2016, Fiction)

In Order to Live ★★★★☆ (Park, 2015, Memoir)

Black Movie ★★★★☆ (Smith, 2015, Poetry)

April – June 2017 Reviews


Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ★★★★★ (Riggs, 2011, Young Adult)

Disruptive Thinking: Why How We Read Matters (Beers and Probst, 2017, Professional)

Beloved ★★★★★ (Morrison, 1987, Fiction)

Digging into Literature: Strategies for Reading, Analysis, and Writing ★★★★★ (Wolfe and Wilder, 2016, Professional)

52 Things in 52 Years ★★★★★ (Peeples, 2017, Inspirational)


Salt to the Sea ★★★★★ (Rupa, 2016, Young Adult)

The Pocket Instructor: Literature: 101 Exercises for the College Classroom★★★★★ (Fuss and Gleason, 2016, Professional)

The Glass Castle ★★★★★ (Walls, 2009, Memoir)


Feedback the Moves Writers Forward ★★★★☆ (MeGee, 2017, Professional)

Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions★★★★★ (Luiselli, 2017, Essay)

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Returning to the Church ★★★★★ (Evans, 2015, Memiorish)

Citizen: An American Lyric★★★★☆ (Rankine, 2014, Poetry)

My Name is Lucy Barton ★★★★☆ (Strout, 2016, Fiction)

New Morning Mercies (Tripp, 2014, Devotional)

July – September 2017 Reviews


A Land More Kind than Home ★★★★★ (Cash, 2012, fiction)

Small Great Things ★★★★★ (Picoult, 2016, fiction)

Talk Like Ted ★★★★★ (Gallo, 2014, nonfiction)


Little Fires Everywhere ★★★★★ (Ng, 2017, fiction)

Inside the O’Briens ★★★★★ (Genova, 2015, fiction)

The Hate U Give ★★★★★ (Thomas, 2017, young adult)


Braving the Wilderness ★★★★★ (Brown, 2017, nonfiction)

Murder on the Orient Express ★★★☆☆ (Christie, 1934, mystery)

Comfort and Joy ★★★★☆ (Hannah, 2005, holiday fiction)

Their Eyes Were Watching God ★★★★☆ (Hurston, 1937, fiction)

A Redbird Christmas ★★★★☆ (Flagg, 2005, holiday fiction)

Peace Like a River ★★★★★ (Enger, 2000, fiction)

Just Mercy ★★★★★ (Stevenson, 2015, nonfiction)

October – December 2017 Reviews

Next year I hope to read more young adult books and keep a reading journal – something I’ve not done before. Now, most importantly, what would you recommend I read in 2018?

3 responses to “My Literary Year – 2018

  1. We share a lot of titles, Susan! Some great books on your list.

    Here are some very good books that are popular with students, too:
    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
    The Serpent King
    The Berlin Boxing Club
    Dear Martin
    The 57 Bus
    Far From the Tree


  2. Susan,

    I do not know if you remember me, Sandy Martin. My husband Steve and I attended Crossroads for a while years back. My daughter and I went on a Brazil missionary trip with your husband as the leader while attending Crossroads. I have been in education for over 30 years. I am now retired but I wanted to let you know I have been enjoying your Teach with Class posts for years now. You do a terrific job and I have been a benefactor or your talents, creativity, and discipline as you regularly create your posts.

    Thank you for sharing,


    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    • Of course I remember y’all!! (I just don’t go through my blog comments as often as I should). Thanks for the encouragement!!! Hope you are doing well and enjoying retirement!

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