A Comprehensive List of All the Best Books of 2018
If you missed any of these books in 2018, it's time to start reading.
A Comprehensive List of All the Best Books of 2018
Reese Witherspoon made some power moves by creating Reese's Book Club, where book-lovers can read new exciting novels with the Academy Award winner. There were plenty of books that were made into movies, giving larger audiences access to literary success.
The literary industry is rapidly growing, and for good reason. More stories are being told with diversity, inclusion, and relevance in mind. While there might be a market for 15 Marvel movies, there are also talented authors writing compelling stories.
Part of my job here at Women.com is to review books. It has been a highlight of my career and one I hold close to my heart. I've read more novels this year than ever and rightfully so; there were so many strong characters, whip smart dialog, and tantalizing storylines.
So without further ado, here is my complete list of the best books of 2018.
1. The Gunners
The Gunners was a met with praise right away. Author Rebecca Kauffman created characters that hold your attention. They seem real, you could be friends with them, you could've gone to school with them. Childhood friends are reunited under horrible circumstances and must pick up where they left off. The friendship dynamics and character development are so interesting; it's a book you'll have a hard time putting down. I wouldn't be surprised to see this novel adapted into a film one day.
Dopesick was one of my favorite books this year because it blends stats and data into stories and interviews. It's not bland like some research-centric novels can be, it's gripping and shocking and uncomfortable. Beth Macy rips apart drug companies and shines light on the terrible opioid problem that is actually plaguing a nation and killing Americans. It's truly a good book because after reading it, you want to do something by helping people and changing the way we ingest drugs.
3. Welcome to Lagos
Chibundu Onuzo creates a character in a city, weaving the reader in and out of side streets, busy corners, and dangerous neighborhoods. Welcome to Lagos details how we perceive our home, how we adapt from our home, and how, if necessary, we escape.
4. All You Can Ever Know
I've written about All You Can Ever Know a lot because I was so transfixed by Nicole Chung's memoir. She speaks organically about her adoption and growing up in a different culture, one she sometimes doesn't connect with. She details her exploration into culture and identity, all while eloquently weaving the reader in and out of her life.
5. And Now We Have Everything
Even if you're nowhere close to being a mother, or have no motivation to become one, And Now We Have Everything does something to you. Maybe it's the age at which I read it, but it left me at ease, the way a best friend might when they come over to calm you down. Meaghan O'Connell details her journey into motherhood, in that, she didn't know she wanted to be one. It's a refreshing take on motherhood as it is a modern story that allows women to hate pregnancy and detail labor in its gruesome glory. O'Connell doesn't sugarcoat a thing, and thank God for that.
David Sedaris can do no wrong and his 2018 release of Calypso is funny and endearing and worth your time. His humor is so natural, I caught myself envying the way he writes and intertwines comedy. Read it, you won't regret it.
7. Still Lives
Still Lives made some huge waves this year. Reese Witherspoon gave it her stamp of approval, too. Maria Hummel creates one of the most satisfying thrillers since Gone Girl. There's a twist at the end that will rock your world, you'll need to read it again.
8. Look Alive Out There
I have stated my admiration for Sloane Crosley many times, so add this to my tab. Her 2018 selection of short stories is brilliantly written and delightfully funny. If you're a fan of short stories, add this to the top of your list.
9. The Kremlin's Candidate
The final novel in the Red Sparrow trilogy, the timing of this release seemed too good to be true, as Russian spies were coming out of the woodwork this year. The story of CIA agent Nate Nash and Dominika Egorova comes to a shocking conclusion. Danger, deceit, and of course, sex made Jason Matthews' final novel a New York Times bestseller.
10. A Girl's Guide to Personal Hygiene
I loved, loved, loved Tallulah Pomeroy's illustrated novel. Hilarious and disgusting, it proves what we do behind closed doors (or in the bathroom) isn't that unique or different from one another. It redefines what it means to be a lady and how stupid it is that we conform to such standards.
11. Old in Art School
Old in Art School is a sweet sincere story about doing what you want at any age. When Nell Painter returned to school in her sixties, she explored what it means to be a woman, at any age, pursuing a passion that should be ageless. Painter's transition from academia to art is inspiring as is this 2018 release.
12. Wrong Heaven
Wrong Heaven is so weird and interesting, I loved it from the moment I opened it. Amy Bonnaffons creates short stories that are captivating, and strange, in the best possible way. It's amazing to discover her characters and innovative worlds.
13. Winner Takes All
If you love Las Vegas, you'll enjoy learning about one of the most powerful forces on the strip, Steve Wynn. It's exciting and insane what Christina Binkley reveals about the men who ruled an industry and a city.
14. Tragedy + Time
Adam Cayton-Holland does something impossible, he'll make you cry and laugh all within the same chapter. The comedian details his life, growing up in Denver and eventually entering and succeeding in the comedy world. He, of course, discusses his family, his life with his two sisters and a tragic moment that will stay with him forever. Heartbreakingly wonderful, Tragedy + Time is absolutely worth your energy.
15. Ninth Street Women
Ninth Street Women is no easy feat but it's so interesting, you might be able to finish it in 2019. Mary Gabriel details sexism and struggle in the art world. She examines the life and careers of such artists as, Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler. The female painters changed the art world, but not without strife, battle, and liberation.
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