Good writers read good writing — I say this a lot, especially when people ask me what they can do to improve their writing skills. But lately, I feel like a hypocrite. Because I am an English teacher, I read all the time, but it’s rare that I read for the love of the written word or for the sake of improving my own writing. In 2018, this is going to change. In addition to writing in my journal every night before bed, I’m also going to read at least a few pages of a book (that I’m not using in my classroom) every day. Here are 18 books I plan to read in 2018.


We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

Memoir is my favorite literary genre and this one by actress Gabrielle Union is the first book I plan to read in 2018.

This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins

I’ve been looking forward to this book like Morgan Jerkins is my BFF. A part of me believes this collection of essays on race, gender, and feminism, set to be released January 30, is the book I’ve always wanted to read and perhaps the one I’ve always wanted to write.

When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams

See Jane Write member and book blogger Mandy Shunnarrah recommended this book to me. Mandy says on her blog Off the Beaten Shelf that in this unconventional take on the memoir Williams manages “to weave observations about the nature of birds, writing, reflections on her mother, Mormon culture, and the dozens of blank journals her mother left her upon her death into one of the most haunting and gorgeous books I’ve ever read.”

The Journals of Sylvia Plath

I’ve been a bit obsessed with the mind of Sylvia Plath since I was in high school. This collection is sure to reveal even more about this enigmatic woman writer.

Hunger by Roxane Gay

Described as “A Memoir of (My) Body,” this work explores Gay’s emotional and psychological struggles with food and body image and I’m certain will push me to explore my own along the way.

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to read this collection of stories about unconventional women determined to claim their independence.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Another book I’ve put off reading for far too long, The Hate U Give examines police brutality from the perspective of a teenager who sees her unarmed friend fatally shot by a white cop. As a black woman and as an educator, I feel this is a must-read for me.

Kindred by Octavia Butler

This novel follows a black female protagonist who finds herself thrown back in time to the early 1800s. I don’t read a lot of science fiction, but I make an exception for the brilliant work of Octavia Butler.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

This novel begins with the story of two half-sisters in 18th century Ghana. One is sold into slavery, the other marries a British slaver. The novel then traces the generations of family who follow as they journey through life on two different continents. Part of the story is set in Pratt City, Alabama, which is one of the many reasons this New York Times bestseller caught my attention.

Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen 

Though I do teach the works of Edgar Allan Poe, I want to read this work on historical fiction just for fun, with no lesson plans in mind.

The GirlBoss Workbook by Sophia Amoruso

I’m a huge fan of Amoruso’s book #GirlBoss, which shares the story of how she built her company Nasty Girl and shares practical advice for the aspiring entrepreneur. The GirlBoss Workbook is an interactive journal meant to serve as a companion to the original book.

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Several friends have recommended I read this book, which promises to show you “how to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life.” You see, people often talk about how confident I am, but I doubt myself just like everybody else. My hope is that this book will help me feel the fear and do it anyway.

Girl Code by Cara Alwill Leyba

This book is described as a guide to “unlocking the secrets to success, sanity, and happiness for the female entrepreneur.” And this female entrepreneur needs all of that.


She Reads Truth by Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams

The daily devotion website has been a part of my morning routine for years. This book tells the story of the women behind the website and their spiritual journeys.


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

While I’m getting my spiritual life in order I suppose I should get everything else in order, too.

I Am That Girl by Alexis Jones

This book is targeted toward girls, teaching them how to speak their truth and discover their purpose, but I want to read it because I believe it will help me be a better mentor to the girls in my life.

Soundless Cries Don’t Lead to Healing by Valencia D. Clay

OK. I did sneak onto this list one book for work. This “critical thinking guide to cultural consciousness” by educator and Instagram star Valencia D. Clay should help me revamp the elective about feminism that I offer at my school.

In my wildest dreams I will read 52 books this year, but for now, I’m setting a goal of 18. You can follow my progress on my GoodReads account.

What do you plan to read this year and how many books do you hope to read in 2018?