Best Books of 2018
Books are one of my favorite things to give (and receive). With lots of gift giving opportunities around the corner, I thought I would share some of my most-loved reads of 2018 with you. For as many favorites as I found, I read (or listened to) just as many flops. Save yourself the time and pick up one of these gems for the readers on your Christmas list.
These are all my favorite books that I read this year, not necessarily books that were released in 2018. I know a book is good when I want to read it more than once or I keep it on the shelf to revisit later. Several of these I’ve already gone back to.
Best Books of 2018: Non-fiction
Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss
I received this book as a gift last Christmas and it took me until March to get through the whole thing, but there are so many nuggets of useful information I ended up re-reading the ear-marked pages again towards the end of the year. You’ll want to read this one with a highlighter or pen in hand.
Perfect gift for: The entrepreneur, self-improvement guru or life hacker
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger
This book taught me more about human behavior than any other book I have read. It’s a quick and powerful read.
Perfect gift for: The history or military buff
Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan
I first read this book back in 2012, when I was living in a tiny apartment in Dallas without much room to start baking my own bread from scratch or enough of a budget to start slow-cooking a rack of ribs. I loved diving into the history and science of perfecting a loaf of sourdough, but I wasn’t in the mindset or space to start doing it myself. After buying our first home this year and starting a garden, I’m getting more into the growing and procurement of food.
Perfect gift for: The foodie or urban farmer
Hilbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate Vance sharing the story of his childhood and being raised in the Appalachian region. Having grown up there myself, his stories are hilarious and familiar. It helped me to understand myself (and loved ones) better and how I (and they) relate to others.
Perfect for: Anyone from rural West Virginia, Kentucky, or the Ohio Valley
The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor by Mark Schatzker
My mind was blown in the first few chapters of this book. I learned things about our food system that I had never heard, an explanation of where the words “artificial” and “natural” flavors came from and what they truly mean. The book got boring and repetitive about half-way in, but it was entirely worth the read for the first half.
Perfect gift for: A dietitian
The New Farm: Our Ten Years on the Front Lines of the Good Food Revolutionby Brent Presston
I think that anyone who eats food should know what goes into growing or raising it. This book is a chronicle of the hardships of starting a farm and the joys and struggles that go along with it.
Perfect gift for: The dreamer; someone who wants to pack up their city life and move to the country
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
I know this one was popular for years before I picked it up but it really did change the way I view things. It was great to listen to as an audiobook while packing up for a move. I still ask myself “Does it spark joy?” every time I think about whether to keep something or to buy something.
Perfect gift for: Someone who wants to get organized
Most of the time, I want to read something and be able to take something away from it. I read to learn. But sometimes I just want to read to get away or take time to let my brain relax. These are my favorite novels that I read this year:
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
I listened to this on audiobook and it was phenomenal.
Perfect for: Your smart friend who’s already read Game of Thrones and Harry Potter
Little Fires Everywhere by Celest Ng
I picked this up and couldn’t put it back down. It’s an easy read that gets you engrossed in the characters. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened.
Perfect for: Some who likes being curled up in a blanket spending the whole day reading
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Perfect for: Anyone who enjoys a good story
I hope you find something on this list that will make the perfect gift for someone you love OR make it onto your Christmas list this year!
– Megan Ware, RDN, LD