I do a lot of reading, not only for work, but for my personal enjoyment and relaxation. All you gotta do is put a book in my hand, and I'm on "vacation," even if only for an hour or two. It is also one of my greatest joys in life to read aloud to my children; that remains my primary recreational activity, as well as a personal priority for most of my days throughout the year.
With all of that in mind, for a number of years now I've tallied up my favorite books at the end of each year. That is to say, not a list of my favorite books published over the course of the year, but the books I've most enjoyed reading during the year, whether to myself or to my children. I focus on the works of fiction, rather than confusing things with the many books of non-fiction that I use for work and for my own personal "continuing education."
Thanks to Amazon and my local library for helping me to discover many things I would otherwise never come across. And thanks to Goodreads for helping me track my reading, and for keeping me in touch with my literary friends all over the place. Above all, thanks to my children for sharing so many great books and stories with me over the years. So many grand adventures we have had together, and the shared experience is no small part of what I treasure in the books I read.
Kudos to my son Nicholai for encouraging me to read (finally!) the Farseer Trilogy this past year, after roughly twenty years of owning those books. As you'll note, it is at the top of this year's list! A shout out to my brother-in-law, Rob Polk, for calling my attention to author Dan Gemeinhart, whose books we have since enjoyed very much. He was one of several new discoveries in 2018, along with Lisa Graff and Polly Horvath, who have been added to our gallery of "favorite authors." You'll note a number of books by those three on this list.
I could easily comment on each of these books and series, but you can see my "reviews" on Goodreads if you're interested in seeing more of my thoughts on any of them. I do want to call special attention to The Messengers series, by Lisa M. Clark. Not only did my family and I enjoy these books very much (the conclusion is #3 on this year's list, and the first two books were on my list from 2017), but they are a profound expression of the Christian faith and life, masterfully crafted into a fine fictional story in a most natural and compelling fashion. I recommend The Messengers highly.
And on that note, without any further ado, I here present the fictional books (and series of books) that I most enjoyed reading in 2018:
1. Farseer Trilogy (series) - Robin Hobb
2. Lockwood & Co. (series) - Jonathan Stroud
3. The Messengers: Revealed (The Messengers, #3) - Lisa M. Clark
4. Lost in the Sun & Umbrella Summer - Lisa Graff
5. Super Powereds (series) - Drew Hayes
6. Forging Hephaestus - Drew Hayes
7. Lethal White (Cormoran Strike, #4) - “Robert Galbraith” (J.K. Rowling)
8. A Tangle of Knots & A Clatter of Jars - Lisa Graff
9. The Broken Lands & The Boneshaker - Kate Milford
10. The Brotherband Chronicles (series) - John Flanagan
11. The Night Garden - Polly Horvath
12. The Zero Equation & The Family Shame (The Zero Enigma, #3 & #4) - Christopher Nuttall
13. The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase - Wendy Mass
14. The Royal Sorceress (series) - Christopher Nuttall
15. Some Kind of Courage - Dan Gemeinhart
16. Wereworld (series) - Curtis Jobling
17. Absolutely Almost - Lisa Graff
18. Very Rich - Polly Horvath
19. Justin Case (series) - Rachel Vail
20. Everything on a Waffle & One Year in Coal Harbor - Polly Horvath
21. The Promised Lie (The Unwritten Words, #1) - Christopher Nuttall
22. Time Jumpers (Five Kingdoms, #5) - Brandon Mull
23. Flashback (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #7) - Shannon Messenger
24. The Flaxfield Quartet (series) - Toby Forward
25. Run Program - Scott Meyer
26. Scar Island - Dan Gemeinhart
27. The Trolls - Polly Horvath
28. The Empress (The Diabolic, #2) - S.J. Kincaid
29. The Bunny’s (series) - Polly Horvath
30. The Forbidden Library (series) - Django Wexler