Final tally, or close to it, I might squeeze in another book or two, for books read in 2018: 82. I read a lot of commercial thrillers this year, even for me, as I wanted to really try to dig in and look at the mechanics of the genre for my own writing.
This was also the year I took a break from podcasts and tried more audiobooks, mostly while I walked Dash. I ended up listening to 21 books on audio, which accounts for the jump in total books read. I’m usually around 60 or so, about a book a week on average.
So what books left an impression? What are the books I can still remember months later? These are my favorite reads of 2018.
Need a last minute gift? Try a book. Want to try to go beyond the best-seller lists or what’s laid out on the tables at CostCo? Here are some recommendations based on the type of person you might have in your life.
A bit more of an eclectic mix than my normal diet of commercial thrillers from the past few months. I was particularly surprised by how much I enjoyed Silence of the Lambs despite being familiar with the movie. The book still holds up remarkably well (if you look past the very dated tech) and if you read in the genre at all, you can see that Harris’s work is still having an impact on books today.
November brings National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). If you’ve been secretly harboring a desire to write a novel, here are some lessons that helped me and might help you. It goes without saying that if you want to be a writer you need to write a lot and read a lot. But if you want a little more than that. If you’re like me and want a more actionable plan, these 8 steps can help you get started, keep at it, and most importantly, finish it.
As I’m getting back into my own writing, I’ve been reading or listening to a lot of thrillers and mysteries and trying to analyze the books by what I’m learning from The Story Grid. Why is it written this way? Why is it structured this way? Where is the turning point?
I know it’s a good book when I’m flipping pages and forgetting to ask those questions. That’s the type of book I’d like to write some day.
Psychological thrillers seem to be having their genre moment of late with seemingly every other book tagged with the “p-word” and all the authors cross-blurbing each other happily.
When done well, the shifting loyalties, paranoia and creeping sense of dread can make a plot sing with intensity. But it’s not easy. Done poorly, it can yank the reader out of the narrative and the plot can thud along unrealistically.
My recent summer reading included three new thrillers of the moment that ran the gamut from wonderful to very weird.
The new year got off to a bit of a slow start. I fell into a reading rut after the holidays. Started and stopped a number of books, never finding anything that really captured my attention. In the end, I read mostly thrillers, typical for me, but nothing that really snapped my head back.
Turned to a couple of John Milton thrillers mid-month to try to jumpstart the mojo as I knew they would be solid and propulsively plotted and would get me back in the habit of reaching for a book.
The one big outlier this month was Victoria, the book club pick this month. I put off reading this one as it fell well outside my typical fare, but I ended up really enjoying it and would recommend people give it a try.