Halfway through another year…and only six more months to finish my annual Goodreads Challenge! Like many avid readers, this is one of the only New Year’s resolutions or goals that I regularly try to keep up with. Sadly, last year, I missed my goal of 50 books by an astounding 13 books. I keep telling myself that I was a full-time graduate student, part-time employee, and full-time human—but I’m still pretty ashamed that I didn’t view reading for pleasure as a priority. Because of that disappointment and failure to reach last year’s goal, I kept this year’s Challenge at 50 books again.
However, I graduated two months ago and have been quickly making up for lost time. I’ve read 21 books just since graduation and have already read more books total than I did last all year! Obviously, I have Bibliophile’s Binge and you lovely readers to partly help thank for that! So, thank you for helping me reconnect and recommit with one of my favorite pastimes!
To mark another six months to go, and another six months to finish out—and by the looks of it, exceed— this Goodreads Challenge, I wanted to bring you my Top 5 Books I’ve Read in 2018! (in no particular order)
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: This is a wonderful, fantastical, romantic novel about two young magicians locked in a life-long battle and game. However, when the two magicians finally meet and fall in love, the put themselves and the world attached to the Night Circus–that they’ve created–in danger of spinning out of control. Recommended to me by one of my best friends, this was just a fun, enchanting read that, no doubt, anyone could enjoy.
- Homecoming by Yaa Gyasi: This book was heartbreaking, well-written, thought-provoking, and a must-read for anyone! Homecoming tells the story of two African sisters–one who is sold into slavery and one who marries a British slaver–and then follows their family lineage until present day. The story follows the first sister, sold into slavery, and how her family navigates the American slave trade, their subsequent freedom and fear of incarceration, fighting for their civil rights, all the way up to modern-day America, where the youngest daughter is learning about the slave trade in school. The second sister, who marries a British slaver, leaves her family to deal with tribalism and British colonialism in Africa, and, ultimately, how that period of time fundamentally changes Africa. This book is a longer-read, but so so worth it; it is an amazing piece of storytelling that captures you and I couldn’t put it down!
- The Red Market: On the Trail of the World’s Organ Brokers, Bone Thieves, Blood Farmers, and Child Traffickers by Scott Carney: I have been interested in human trafficking since I was a junior in high school; I actually interned with an anti-human trafficking non-profit as a sophomore in college! However, most of my background knowledge is specifically on sex trafficking. The Red Market, however, tells the greater story of trafficking in body parts: blood, hair, bones, organs, etc. You will learn of the fascinating lengths thieves and criminals will go to procure their “goods.” Some are more harmless, like stealing bones from already buried bodies, while others, like harvesting blood from life prisoners, are cruel and likely a violation of human rights. Overall, this was fascinating and opened my eyes to another form of trafficking that, I knew was happening, but that I always imagined being more like waking up in a bathtub full of ice without a kidney.
- Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink: Check out my full review here.
- Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent: Check out my full review here.
Did any of those get added to your to-read list? Or any that you’ve already read and also loved?! I’ll be starting a new job this month, so I’m hoping that doesn’t impact my reading, but—unless I start reading all the classic Russian novels collecting dust on my shelves—it looks like I may far exceed my goal of 50 books for the year! So, what to do? Do I increase my goal and continue to work towards a finish line? Or do I keep my Goodreads Challenge at 50 and just keep tracking for fun! Let me know in the comments or tweet me your suggestion!