My Top 5 Reads of 2018

I read 20 books in 2018. Here is the top 5, ranked.

My Top 5 Reads of 2018

2018 has come and gone and I look back and see that I read 20 books over the past year! I don’t typically read at that clip, so don’t expect that to continue in the coming years. I think the high number is due to high quality. Most years I put down more books than I finish. 2018 was different. I read some really, really good books this year! Here’s my top 5.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Michelle McNamara

I learned about this book a bit too late. The Golden State Killer had just been arrested1, but I did my best to not read the headlines until I read Michelle McNamara’s book. Holy. Crap. I’m so glad I waited. McNamara was a fantastic true crime blogger with a nose for research and identifying paterns. If you like true crime documentaries or podcasts, this is a book for you.


American Kingpin, Nick Bilton

While American Kingpin is also a true crime novel, it’s a completely different crime being committed and a unique story that is told incredibly well. See my previous review here.


A Darker Shade of Magic, V.E. Schwab

I know what you’re thinking: “Another book about magic that takes place in London? Pass.” Trust me, if you liked the Harry Potter series, you’ll enjoy A Darker Shade of Magic. While both stories take place in London, there are very distinct differences. I won’t keep comparing the two, I’ll just encourage you to not dismiss this outright simply because of the magic/London connections.


Apollo 8, Jeffrey Kluger

Growing up in the Houston area I can’t help but have NASA, the Apollo missions, and the Space Shuttle embedded in my DNA. In Apollo 8, Jeffrey Kluger leaves no detail out in describing the atmosphere surrounding Houston, NASA, and the United States in the midst of the Space Race. Apollo 8 was the first crewed launch of the Saturn V rocket and the first mission to orbit the moon. Everyone remembers Apollo 11, and most of us might recall Apollo 13 after Tom Hanks2 made it famous. Neither of those moments would have been possible with the Apollo 8 mission’s success. Only Kluger’s research, narrative storytelling, and unmatched access could give this heroic mission the story it deserves.


The Fifth Risk, Michael Lewis

We all know by now that Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America in 2016. Michael Lewis' focus in The Fifth Risk isn’t about the election, but rather the transition of power that occurs in the months after. The Trump transition team was caught flat-footed. They had no plan, and simply coasted along hoping nobody would see how unprepared and overwhelmed they were. Not only does Lewis describe this in great detail, he also dives neck deep into a handful of potential disasters and speaks with the dedicated men and women that keep the machines chugging along.


  1. In a sad twist of fate McNamara died in 2016, almost two years to the day before Joseph James DeAngelo was arrested. ↩︎

  2. Fun fact: Tom Hanks played Commander Jim Lovell in Apollo 13. Jim Lovell was also part of the Apollo 8 mission, as the command module pilot. ↩︎