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44 Books I Plan to Read This Year

Looking for great books to read in 2018? Check out this HUGE list of ideas!

As I told you last week, one of my goals for 2018 is to read 100 non-self-help books. I’ve found that getting caught up in a good story or reading a book that is inspirational and soul-filling is so cathartic for me and I believe it will help me walk out my word of the year (SLOW).

I have decided that I’m going to define non-self-help books as anything that is fiction, story-driven, biographical, inspirational, or devotional. I’m also going to allow myself to read a few parenting/family books — even though some people could say that these could be considered “self-help”.

(They aren’t classified as self-help and because I’m in a season of life where I really feel like they will be beneficial to me, I’m going to make an exception for them. However, I’m only planning to read one every other month or so.)

So I put together a list of 44 books I want to read this coming year. Some of these are for pure enjoyment. Some of these are ones that I feel will really feed my soul and inspire me in my SLOW journey. Some of these are a little bit of both. But I have to tell you that I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited about my book list as I am about my list this year! I think that’s a good sign!

You might be wondering why I only chose 44 books when I plan to read 100 books. Well, I’ve learned from past mistakes, that I need to allow quite a bit of wiggle room in my book goals — because you can be sure I won’t have any trouble coming up with other titles that I want to read as the year progresses! 😉

By the way, if you missed it, I ended up reading 87 books in 2017 and here were my top 10 favorites.

How I Find Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

44 Books I Plan to Read in 2018

Here are the 44 titles I plan to read in 2018. (Please note: Many of these are ones that have come highly recommended to me, but I’ve not read most of these so by having them on this list, I’m not endorsing them. I will be giving you very honest reviews as I read them and it’s possible that there are a few on this list that I start and decide not to finish because I just don’t find them engaging or worth my time. I’m all about not feeling like you need to finish a book if it’s not inspiring or feeding you.)

Devotional/Inspirational Christian Living Books

I usually have one devotional book or inspirational Christian living book that I read every morning when I read my Bible. Typically, I just read a few pages — or sometimes a chapter, if they are short. My goal is to read one of these per month (which is why I chose 12).

Story-Driven Books

I usually save story-driven books to read a few chapters of before bed or to read in one or two settings over the weekends (when I often have more time to read).

Parenting Books

Like I earlier, I am kind of bending the no-self-help books rule when it comes to parenting books. Because I’m in a season where I really need to get some encouragement and practical help in this area. But I only chose 6 books and plan to read through them very slowly. So that goes in line with my SLOW word, right? 😉

And then, I wasn’t sure what to categorize these books as, but I also want to read Deep Work and Destination Simple.

Links You Should Check Out:

Look for Book Updates on Mondays!

After many, many requests from you all: I am bringing back the weekly book updates! Every Monday, look for a book update post where I’ll share what I read the past week, my thoughts on the books, what I’m reading to the kids, and maybe some thoughts on what I’m learning as I walk out this no self-help book challenge this year! 🙂

What are YOU planning to read this coming year? What books do you feel like I really need to read this coming year?

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  • Kim says:

    I will definitely be checking some of these out! My Goodreads queue is in the 600s at least but I am also trying to read 100 books this year, depending on what’s available from the library and what mood I’m in.
    I try to find an author I like and read all of their books in order, or maybe alternating with another author of a different genre. I saw The Austen Escape in your stack and know how much you liked Dear Mr Knightley too – I read all of Katherine Reay’s books last year. Dear Mr Knightley is still my favorite but Lizzy and Jane was another one worth checking out.

  • Theresa says:

    Right now I’m reading Wonderand am loving it. Thanks for reviewing it! I’m interested to hear what you think of Book Thief. I had started reading it years ago when it was the city-wide book pick of the year. I could not get into and eventually gave up and quit reading it. I think the premise, although it seemed interesting, creeped me out a little.

    • Lauren says:

      My eye caught the Book Thief too. I read it recently and just didn’t care for it. I actually wished I had followed my instincts and quit when I was 100 pages in and didn’t like it. I kept waiting to get into it and just never did.

      On the other hand, I’m reading Gentleman in Moscow right now and love it.

      • Carrie says:

        I didn’t care for Book Thief either. I read A Gentleman in Moscow a couple of months ago and loved it! I thought it was so well written…drew me right in. I don’t often buy books anymore, but that is one I would consider because I can see myself rereading it.

        I’m on my second ladies’ Bible study going through You Are Free. Certain chapters have really resonated with me and caused me to do some soul searching.

        Hinds Feet on High Places is on my list to reread this year, too! Great book!

      • Nancy says:

        I listened while driving to the audio recording of The Book Thief. It was so well done and I really think that was what allowed me to read the book and enjoy it. (Enjoy isn’t the best word for that type of book, but I gave it 5 Stars on Goodreads.) I think, like you, I would have had a hard time with the print version.

      • Nancy says:

        I’ve been on the fence about reading A Gentleman in Moscow because I wasn’t a big fan of the author’s earlier book, Rules of Civility. I’m in the minority there. What do you think; are they similar?

    • Patty says:

      Lauren – I read it several years ago in a city-wide book pick as well. I kept thinking that as I read it that I would quit at the end of the chapter. I kept doing that for a number of chapters and then suddenly I found I couldn’t put it down. Somewhere it changed and it is one of those books I really like.

    • Heather says:

      I highly recommend The Book Thief. I had to read the first few pages a few times before I figured out was going on, it’s a little weird, and not a “happy” story, but it is so moving and uplifting after all. Hard to put down once you get into it. I read it several years ago, and still think about it all the time. Some of the characters are unpleasant – but that’s what’s so interesting. It’s about ordinary, even unpleasant, people doing the right thing when it really counts.

    • Jennie says:

      The Book Thief was made into a movie, and for once, I enjoyed the movie much more than the book. I’ve watched the movied several times, but I bet I didn’t get further than 50 pages in the book.

  • Kelly says:

    Have you ever read the Mitford series? The first one is called At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon and is so delightful. It’s considered “gentle fiction” according to the book cover and would be perfect for living slow… just a nice story about a small town. They come from a Christian perspective and are inspirational without being preachy.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I too love to read and have been doing a lot of it lately. A couple of my favorite authors released books in December and coming up in January, it is making me very happy 🙂 For those who may be in the “I don’t have time to read season”, consider listening to books on tape. It’s a great way to “read” while still doing the stuff the needs to get done.

  • Iva says:

    Great list! I have The Book Thief in my list on both Goodreads and on Overdrive. I’m currently reading The Shack and Hidden Figures. My goal isn’t quite as lofty as yours – 24 books this year. I set the same goal last year and was able to do 12 books. But that was before I learned that my local library participated in Overdrive.

    Onward and upward!

    • Arhouna Facey-Thomas says:

      Wow! I am lover of books, I have a lot of books but cannot find time to read them.
      When I was younger I read a lot but now, time us against me but you have given me some ideas and am definitely going to check out some of your books.
      Thanks Crystal

  • Pamela says:

    A Gentleman in Moscow was the best thing I’ve read in a while. I hope you like it 🙂

    I have a lifetime goal of reading bios of all of our Presidents! So far I’ve made it through William Henry Harrison, who was President for a month, so it was a quick read, lol! In 2018 I’m hoping to read four more presidential biographies (I read them in order).

  • Nancy says:

    Love your book and reading posts! Glad to see A Man Called Ove and The Book Thief on Your List. If you’re into audiobooks, I highly recommend trying the audio version of both of those. I loved them both, but I’m not sure I would have stuck with a print version of The Book Thief, and the main criticism I’ve heard of Ove is that it starts slow. But the audio versions of both were so well done and wonderful to listen to. I can also recommend the audio version of The War That Saved My Life. It’s my favorite book that I read in 2017, and I just started listening to its sequel The War I finally Won.

    • Rebecca says:

      I read The War That Saved My Life to my daughter and we both loved it. She got The War I Finally Won for Christmas along with 16 other books and that’s the first one she picked for us to read! We both say, “keep reading” once we finish a chapter.

      • Nancy says:

        How fun to read these books with your daughter. I’ll have to see if I can get my teenager on board. I sent the links to them to my sister and told her, “You have to read these. We would have loved them when we were kids!” But they’re great for adults too.

    • Guest says:

      I read Ove over Christmas and absolutely loved it! It does start a little slow in my opinion but what a great read. War That Saved My life and War I Finally Won were two of my favorite books this year – I also read them with my daughter. 🙂

  • Bonnie says:

    Because I’m also a book reader, I could give you another list of 44 books, lol! 🙂 Here are 3 that I read in 2017 that I especially enjoyed:
    1) Relaxing with God: The Neglected Spiritual Discipline, by Andrew Farley (he has other books that are also good)
    2) 7 Lessons from Heaven: How Dying Taught Me to Live a Joy-Filled Life, by Mary Neal
    3) The Rest of the Gospel: When the Partial Gospel Has Worn You Out, by Dan Stone
    If ordering from Amazon (whether it’s books or any other items), you can go to and log in like usual. Select a charity and 0.5% of your purchase may be eligible to donate to the selected charity. No cost to do that, just a way to bless a charity. 🙂

  • Amber says:

    I just finished Before We Were Yours yesterday and loved it. If you love it, you will also like Orphan Train if you haven’t already read it.
    I read A Man Named Ov earlier this year and didn’t like it as much.

    • Tabitha says:

      I agree with not liking A Man Called Ove, however, Fredrik Backman did an amazing job with Beartown. Best wishes to a fantastic 2018 reading year!

  • Denise H says:

    Good luck putting down Before We Were to and A Daring Escape! They were really good!

  • I love your list. Several of these are on my list for 2018 as well. I’m curious to know if you use audiobooks via audible or some other service to be able to fit in more books?

  • Carol says:

    What a great list of books! I have a few of those on my TBR list, too. “You Are Free” by Rebekah Lyons is great, you’ll love it.

    I’m trying to read the many books I already have, rather than buy more books. A big goal I have is to read at least 12 writing craft books – 1 per month. I also need to read fiction similar to what I write, as recommended by a literary agent. Other than that, I’ll read a number of inspirational books, and of course – the Bible!

    If you haven’t read anything by Francine Rivers, I’d highly recommend her books. “Redeeming Love”, “Bridge to Haven”, and “A Lineage of Grace” are excellent!

  • I have found making time to read resets my brain. It refreshes me and energizes me. I try to alternate fiction and non fiction but I love the idea of adding more fiction as a true way to unplug.

  • Allison says:

    I’ve just finished “At Home In The World” by Tsh Oxenreider and for someone with a severe case of wanderlust, this book was perfect for temporarily satisfying my need to pack up my life and family and book a trip to Europe. LOVED. IT.

  • Kathryn says:

    I need to start reading again and this list will definitely help!! Do you usually buy through Amazon or do you frequent any bookstores?

  • Kristyn says:

    I’m almost done with The Boys in the Boat and it is so, so, so good. It’s a fantastic true story about the underdogs in the Olympics during WW 2, and one of the rower’s story well before. I’d highly recommend it.

    Thanks for the list! It’s always great to hear recommendations!

  • Carrie B says:

    I read Deep Work for my book challenge 2 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. ?

    A parenting book that my pastor recommended to me recently was “Hold On To Your Kids” by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate. From what I’ve seen you post, I think you may like it (though it takes half the book to get to the practical part).

  • Rebecca says:

    Have you read The Nightgale? That was a really good book too!

  • Patty says:

    I really recommend Small Change: The Secret Life of Penny Burford to you. It sounds like it is right up your alley, is short and a quick read. I’ve now used it for one of my books in 3 different book clubs. It’s one of those things that really made a difference in how I do things and that just comes form a good, sweet story.

  • Rachel says:

    I can think of two series you might like that I haven’t seen mentioned. Miss Buncle’s Book and its two sequels are pure delight. A woman needs money so she decides to write a book, but all her characters are based on her neighbors and it causes so much upheaval. I’m not sure if it’s currently in print (it’s from 1934), but it is available as an ebook. The other is the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. They are contemporary gentle mysteries set in Botswana, which is right next door to your beloved South Africa.

  • Katie says:

    If you have space for another parenting book, I think you might enjoy/gain from reading Untangled by Lisa Damour – it focuses on parenting teenage girls and strikes the right balance between realistic but not too scary!

    Fiction wise, The Versions of Us by Laura Burnett was interesting. I’m also trying to get to more fiction after a long time focusing on non-fiction so I’llcheck out some of your list!

  • Becca says:

    What an awesome list, Thank you so much for sharing. I love your parenting choices. I don’t think I’ve gone a year without a good parenting book:) Happy reading!!

  • Victoria says:

    There are some good ones on this list. I read Only Love Today in 2017 and it really touched my heart. I also read At Home In The World during our 5 1/2 month RV trip and read parts of it out loud to my husband since we ourselves were experiencing the same thoughts the author was expressing in her book right at that moment.

    I bought a copy of Dance, Stand, Run, on Kindle since it was just $1.99 when I clicked over to read the description. So that will be on my reading list also bought “No More Faking Fine” and “Wait And See” (both $1.99 also).

    I LOVE the Kindle sales this time of year. I often fill my kindle with great titles for the entire year for $2.99 or less. Earlier this week I added “Present Over Perfect” for $1.99 too (noticed today it was still on sale).

    I haven’t been reading as much lately, plan on hitting the reset button on that this week.

  • Yesenia says:

    I would love to read the only problem is books are expensive

    • Kristy C says:

      Yesenia, I get most of my books from the library. If the local library doesn’t have a title I want, they never fail to find it for me elsewhere – often within a week!

    • Julie says:

      Yesenia, try your library! Any time I want to read a new book, I always check there first. And most libraries will purchase a book for you if they don’t have it. My library has purchased dozens of books that way, including lots of Christian living books!
      Or borrow books from friends or family. 🙂

  • Bobbie-Jo Riehle says:

    When I read you’re are taking a break from self help books I thought of Ecclesiastes 12:11&12 🙂 I took a several years break from any self help book and there are seasons where I need to fast from books altogether (besides the Word).

  • MK says:

    I really enjoyed A Man Called Ove. That was my favorite read of 2017. I recommend that book to everyone. I also really enjoyed Gentleman in Moscow however for me that book was a slow read.

  • Carol says:

    I did a double take when I saw “Hinds Feet on High Places” on your list! Just a week ago, a friend of mine was strongly encouraging me to re-read the book so I had added it to my list.

    Thanks for the ideas for a few more books to add to my list. 🙂 It isn’t as long as yours – I’m only committing to 12 books this year. But, since last year I didn’t have a list or a plan, I only wound up only reading 3 or for books that wasn’t on my son’s homeschool book list. So at least 12 books is a start!

  • SK Bell says:

    So many books here I’ve either already loved or have on my list… my own blog is slowly turning into a book blog this year LOL.
    I just read Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan and loved it so much, don’t even care that
    it’s a middle-grade fiction… anyone who likes WWII books should definitely read it!

  • Katy in Africa says:

    I loved The Lucky Few! One of the few books I’ve ever read in 24 hours.

  • Erin says:

    “Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids” is one of my favorite parenting books, and I often find myself returning to it when I need to be inspired in my parenting journey.

    I’m curious to hear what you think of “A Man Called Ove.” I didn’t think I would like it when I began, but it ended up being my favorite book in 2016.

  • Julie says:

    I love this book list! Read a few of them myself.
    Crystal, if you like Oswald Chambers, you should check out the biography about his wife. “Mrs. Oswald Chambers” was so well written and very inspiring to me. I bought it for my mom for Christmas.

    I’m looking forward to reading a few of those parenting books this year too. Three of them have been on my to-read list!

  • Polly Gorringe says:

    Have you heard of the book How to Really Love Your Teen, by Ross Campbell? Such wisdom in this one! It’s written in an interesting and applicable way, by a christian man who was also a professional counselor. (He also co-authored The Five Love Languages of Children with Gary Chapman.) As a mom of two teens, I have seasons where I just read it over and over again. I wish I would have read it earlier – very enlightening! Please consider this gem!

  • Christine says:

    Before We Were Yours is SO good! I’m sure it will be one of your favorites this year!

    Great list! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jr Davis says:

    Great list. Books I am reading is John Maxwell book No Limits and Sometimes You Win Lose Learn. I am reading these books because in my career I want to grow daily and develop leadership skills at my workplace.

  • Amanda says:

    Evidence Not Scene is one of my favorites!

  • Maria Torquato says:

    Book Thief and A Man Called Ove were both great. I have a recommendation for parenting/inspirational-“Strong and Kind” by Korie Robertson. I just finished
    my first book of 2018-99 more to go !!
    Thanks for helping to motivate me.

  • Leanne says:

    What a great list! Many of them are on my list for this year also. I’m presently reading The Austen Escape and I’m enjoying it more than Reay’s recent novels (Dear Mr. Knightley is still my favorite!).

    I’m so happy to hear you’re using Monday to feature books! I’ve missed those posts recently. Looking forward to your reviews.

  • Melanie says:

    The Book Thief and A Man Called Ove are two of my favorite books EVER. Enjoy and savor them they are amazing. Happy Reading!!!

  • Karin Owens says:

    As I looked through your list, I felt the Lord press upon me to mention or recommend The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. Amazing and inspiring story! Also, a great re-read if you’ve read it before.

  • The Book Thief is one of my favorite books of all time. It highlights both the incredible kindness and incredible cruelty of human beings.
    I have Deep Work as well and became re-motivated to read it after hearing Cal Newport talk on The Hidden Brain podcast. I would like to read more non-fiction this year by setting aside two hours a week for this – last year I aimed to read 10 non fiction texts and only read one!

  • Love the book lists!! I am reading the Explosive Child now.

  • Nancy C. says:

    I have the Book “A Man Called Ove” (also, “A Girl on the Train”) and I am looking forward to finding time to read the new year.

  • Kathleen says:

    Can I strongly suggest “Unbroken” (Lauren Hillenbrand)? It falls into 3 of your 4 categories (story-driven, bio, inspirational). It’s the story of Louis Zamperini, an American airman/runner who was shot down over the Pacific in WWII. Even if that’s not your type of story, the writing quality is outstanding and the end is powerful (you’ll see why when you get there–but trust me in the meantime!). I’ve read it twice and it is so worth it!

  • Cyn says:

    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I couldn’t put it down, the plot was just so compelling. I can’t wait to hear what you think about it.

  • Diann Miller says:

    Thank you for your list! I’m always looking for new books for our book club! A Man Called Ove was one of my favorites, I’m glad others enjoyed it as much as I did! I recently found a gold mine of great book club picks at, a self-proclaimed story telling platform. Great selection of genres for even the pickiest of book clubs! Worth checking out!

  • Crystal, it`s the great list of books! Love it.

    I recently read a book “A Gentleman in Moscow”…

    An unforgettable character in Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov and a story of stories that includes a Grand Hotel and a Hotel Budapest and Eloise of the Plaza and a luminous cast of secondary characters, as told with the charm and grace of a Peter Taylor story and the human insight of Henry James. Beautifully written, movingly told, and – however implausible aspects of the story may strike the reader – brilliantly capturing aspects of 1922-1954 Russia in transition, albeit without the Terror. A magnificently affirmative novel as a respite from our less affirmative times.

    So, I just recommend to all!

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