2018 Reading Challenge and TBR List

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It’s 2018, January is almost over, and I’m already 3 books into my reading challenge this year. Go me! One ahead of target, apparently. I barely got off the starting blocks last year, preferring podcasts and non-fiction, so this year I’m determined to change that and hit the goal I’ve assigned myself.

In the past year or two, I’ve stuck to classics and what I suppose you’d call ‘easy reading’. Chick lit, cult works, light things I can pick up and put down without giving it too much thought. Books to pass the time. Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood was the first book I’d picked up in years and got so obsessed I couldn’t put it down. Then came A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, a book which had me sobbing and heartbroken for days after finishing it, and I knew I had the reading bug good and proper once more. I’m currently on a crime and thriller kick and loving it. Right now, I’m working my way through the Roy Grace series by Peter James. His fast-paced writing is so addictive, and I’m almost at the end of book two (and halfway through book thirteen) in less than a week. I’ve left the rest of the RG series off my below list because it’s almost a given that I’ll read them all, and I want to branch out with the authors, topics and genres I read this year. I tend to get obsessed with authors and read all their books back-to-back (Sophie Kinsella, Blake Crouch, Bret Eason Ellis) so I’m determined to mix it up.

So far, I’ve got 31 books on my list to read this year and my target is 45 or more. What should I add? What is an absolute must-read that I may have missed? I’m mixing proper books with audiobooks (thanks for making my commute so much better, Audible) and Kindle. With our honeymoon coming up and 10+ hour flights I think I’ll be tearing through a few things on my list during that time.

In no particular order, here are a few from my 2018 TBR list that I’m planning to buy in bulk at the end of the month and work my way through:

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.

Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer.

The Circle by Dave Eggers

When Mae is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Run out of a sprawling California campus, the Circle links users’ personal emails, social media, and finances with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of transparency. Mae can’t believe her great fortune to work for them – even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public…

You by Caroline Kepness

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card. There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

Everlost by Neal Shusterman

Nick and Allie don’t survive the car accident…

…but their souls don’t exactly get where they’re supposed to get either. Instead, they’re caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It’s a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.

Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris

Audere, agere, auferre. To dare, to strive, to conquer. For generations, privileged young men have attended St. Oswald’s Grammar School for Boys, groomed for success by the likes of Roy Straitley, the eccentric Classics teacher who has been a fixture there for more than thirty years. But this year the wind of unwelcome change is blowing. Suits, paperwork, and information technology are beginning to overshadow St. Oswald’s tradition, and Straitley is finally, and reluctantly, contemplating retirement. He is joined this term by five new faculty members, including one who — unbeknownst to Straitley and everyone else — holds intimate and dangerous knowledge of St. Oswald’s ways and secrets. Harboring dark ties to the school’s past, this young teacher has arrived with one terrible goal: to destroy St. Oswald’s.

The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn

Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times–and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, and their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

Fingersmith Sarah Waters

Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a “baby farmer,” who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves—fingersmiths—for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.

One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives—Gentleman, an elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, then they will all share in Maud’s vast inheritance. Once the inheritance is secured, Maud will be disposed of—passed off as mad, and made to live out the rest of her days in a lunatic asylum.

With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to pity her helpless mark and care for Maud Lilly in unexpected ways…But no one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals.

Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter. And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.  Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter. Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back. What happened to Ellie? Where did she go? Who still has secrets to hide?

The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown and thinks he’s put his past behind him, but then he gets a letter in the mail containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank–until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.


I’m going to stop there. Rather than listing all 31 on my list, you can check out my GoodReads account and add me as a friend if you like.

Are you doing a reading challenge? How many books do you plan to read, and is it a specific reading challenge or just a number you want to hit? What genres are you focusing on? Basically, just tell me what you’re all reading because I’m dying to know!

7 Comments

  1. January 22, 2018 / 4:38 pm

    I just finished The Woman In The Window and The Wife Between Us, which is another good one. I read And Then She Was Gone last year and it was fab. Hope you enjoy it. I’m on track to read 50 this year, and going to go through my unread books to do it!

    I listened to You as an audiobook, the narration was fantastic, I’d really recommend it.

    Happy reading!

    • January 22, 2018 / 4:41 pm

      And Then She Was Gone is on my list too, it looks really good. I’ll check out the audiobook version of You, thanks for recommending! 🙂

  2. January 22, 2018 / 5:11 pm

    I’m planning to read one book each month, if it’s not extra thick – like 700+ pages or so. I’m currently stuck with Dostoyevsky’s “Idiot” which isn’t really my cup of tea but I’m trying to finish it because reading classics should be useful.

    • January 22, 2018 / 7:22 pm

      I’ve never actually tried to read that, Dostoyevsky’s work has always felt a bit daunting to me, but I might give it a go in the future! How are you finding it?

      • January 22, 2018 / 7:54 pm

        It’s a complicated read because there are so many characters and so much going on. I feel like most of them are not shown in depth but just actively appear there, making the book confusing. But that’s just me. As they say – to become a better writer you have to read a lot and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do. 😉

  3. January 22, 2018 / 7:18 pm

    WOW! Louise, go girl on 3 books down. I have not read any books on your list and you’ve now peaked my interest in adding a few more to my list this year! Thank you for the insights and excerpts to the books on your list looks like The Woman In The Window is the first one for me!

    • January 22, 2018 / 7:23 pm

      The Woman in the Window looks so good, I can’t wait to get into that one. I hope you find some that you enjoy 🙂

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