I’ve always been a voracious reader. I was the weird kid in class that looked forward to the half hour of quiet time post lunch earmarked for us read quietly at our desks. I absolutely owned the Book It! program – so much so my parents limited the number of times I could go to Pizza Hut for my free pizza to twice a month – and the Scholastic Book Fair was my Super Bowl.
My love of reading hasn’t waned over the years. The only difference is that middle school Sarah could read Harry Potter under her desk and teenage Sarah could knock out her homework and read for the rest of the night while adult Sarah has to fit reading in between working full-time, running two businesses, training, and attempting to have a social life.
Aside from the aspect of immersing oneself in another place and time in the pages of a book, reading also helps improve my writing and storytelling skills and expands my knowledge base.
I kept a running list of books I read in
I can’t help it. I still love a good Young Adult book.
Red Queen Series. After reading Red Queen at the end of 2017, I started 2018 off by reading the rest of the series – Glass Sword, King’s Cage, and War Storm (which I absolutely pre-ordered and downloaded as soon as it was available in May). While its a young adult series, I do think it is a more mature series. The characters deal with right and wrong, life and death, make tough ethical decisions, and wrestle with feelings of love, lust, and loyalty. Not everyone loved how the series ended, but I was a big fan.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Series. My office was closed for the last two weeks of 2018, so with an unusual amount of free time on my hands, I watched To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before on Netflix and LOVED it. My friend Amanda, one of my go-to friends for book recommendations, told me I had to read the series – it was set in Charlottesville and mentioned a number of places I knew well. I tore through both To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and PS I Still Love You. They are lighthearted and just so real – I remember being 16 and having the same conflicting emotions as Lara Jean. I still have the final book to read – that’s second on my 2019 reading list.
It was the year of the thriller for me… Unless it was about World War II.
Final Girls & The Last Time I Lied. These are hands down two of the best books I read all year. Both are by Riley Sager, and I couldn’t put either of them down. I liked The Last Time I Lied a bit better, but both of them are absolute page turners and I truly never saw the endings coming. The twists were incredible. Final Girls does start a little slow in my opinion, but when it picks up – hold on tight.
The Alice Network. I seem to be drawn to World War II books, and this is another “best” from 2018. It tells the story of Charlie who is searching for her cousin in the aftermath of World War II and Eve, who served as a spy in World War I. Their paths are intricately woven together, and I found myself holding my breath in the final pages, hoping for a happy ending, but well aware, based on other events in the book, that happy endings aren’t guaranteed.
Chasing Excellence. I’m a Ben Bergeron fan girl to the fullest degree. Ben coaches elite CrossFit athletes like Katrin Davidsdoitter (two-time CrossFit Games winner), Brooke Wells, and Cole Sager. He previously coached Mat Fraser, and if you know anything about CrossFit, you know Mat has won the last three CrossFit games on the men’s side in spectacular fashion. Ben’s whole philosophy is around the concept of “chasing excellence” and his training is just as much – maybe even more – mental as it is physical. This book was a quick read and unwrapped how he works with his athletes to overcome mental blocks to achieve success. It’s a book even a non-athlete, non-CrossFitter can take a lot away from.
You Are A Badass At Making Money. I read this one early in 2018 – in fact I think I finished it on the plane to Iceland – and plan to re-read it in the new year. (Abundance is one of my words of the year, after all). I loved You Are A Badass and this book fell in line with those expectations. I thought her advice was practical and the mindset work was especially useful – even if I failed at implementing a lot of it.
Remember God. I love Annie Downs and made it a point to pick up her latest book while in Nashville for Business Boutique, which she happened to be MC’ing. I loved the honesty of her story. She got down into the ugly parts of her relationship with God, bared them on the table, and weaved together a tale full of love and grace to show how all the trials worked together as part of her
Books I Didn’t Love
I didn’t love every book I read. A couple of my least favorites from the year:
The Woman In Cabin 10. About a third of the way into this one, I posted an Instagram question asking if it got better. I had mixed responses, and in my opinion, it certainly did not get better. The story felt disjointed, and while I recognize that this is fiction, it was just too farfetched for me to wrap my head around.
Little Fires Everywhere. I think I’m in the minority here, but I just couldn’t bring myself to like this book. I felt like it dragged on for a while, and then it just – ended. Maybe there were just too many characters for me?
What I Plan To Read In 2019
As much as want to read the last To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
On the business front, in addition to Essentialism and a re-read of You Are A Badass At Making Money, I’ve got Unfu*k Yourself and How Successful People Think on my list. Believe it or not, I’ve never read anything by Brene Brown, so I’d like to crack open at least one of her books this year.
Since I managed 22 books in 2018, I obviously have to read at least 23 in 2019 (competitive much?), but I’m going to aim for 24 – two a month!
What are you reading this year? Leave me your recommendations!