It’s the time of the year when “best of” lists start sprouting early like crocuses in February, and one of the many I look forward to is the LibraryReads “Favorites of Favorites.” You can find the entire list here and below are a few comments and recommendations. And who knows, you may see of these on my Best of 2018 list that will arrive around Christmas.
Educated by Tara Westover, a memoir I touted in my May post, was the number one choice and it is also at the top of my list for book group recommendations. If your reading heart can take it, pair it with Ruth Wariner’s Sound of Gravel or Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle. Educated has also been named on other best of the year lists, including landing at the top of Amazon’s 2018 list.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones [link is to a colleague’s excellent review] has been popular with most readers and it was also an Oprah choice–if that matters. [I would love to discuss the frenzy Oprah’s choices used to generate in the library but that’s a topic for another time.]
Circe by Madeline Miller, a novel based on mythology, has been mentioned by many of my librarian colleagues and while I haven’t read it, it’s at the top of my pile as I loved the author’s first book, The Song of Achilles. I understand this is excellent in audio so think about listening to it if you need a book for your commute, auto trip, or exercise routine.
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware is a terrific psychological suspense novel in the age-old gothic tradition. You can read my long-winded review here.
For the rest of the list, Hannah’s The Great Alone is perfect for fans of family dynamics and this one takes place in the fascinating setting of Alaska during the 1970s.
For book groups, The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin will generate lots of discussion just by asking, “What would you do if you were foretold the date of your death?” And perhaps followed by, “Do you think such prophecies can be self-fulfilling?”
In late August I predicted Tommy Orange’s There There was destined for “best of the year” lists and naturally, I was right (heh). It’s also been noted on Publisher’s Weekly top fiction list and was long-listed for the National Book Award. So you don’t have to look up my post, here is what I said, “There There by Tommy Orange, a novel about urban Native Americans, is destined for the best of 2019 lists and book groups will be clamoring for this.”
Another romance not pictured is the light and frothy The Wedding Date. Words in reviews such as “corny” and “predictable” haven’t stopped readers from “getting away from it all” by indulging in this book.
And last, but certainly not least, is one of my personal favorite psychological suspense novels of the year, The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn. You can read my full review here, and I will also add that I had the good fortune to meet the author last May and he is absolutely delightful and charming. It is also slated to be made into a movie starring Amy Adams and Gary Oldham.
Next up is a post on what I’ve been reading along with my library stacks and also a guide to books for the literary lover in your life–or for yourself.
I’m starting to compile my favorite books of the year which now numbers 24, with it possibly climbing to 27, which will require me going through the angst of whittling the number down to 20. Watch this space.