For the second year in a row I am doing my best books that I read in 2018 list in a category list rather than ranking them. Why? Because why I loved these books matters more than anything. How I interacted with them, how they affected me, how they stayed with me are what I have carried throughout the year. That is why they are "Best."
Some of the categories are the same, while others are new. This is because the books I read create their own experiences and categories to me personally. In each year that passes in my reading life, some things stay the same, but other things change, just like for you or your patrons. We are not robots, we are all human readers, even those of us who do read and suggest books for a living. This is a best list that celebrates and acknowledged that.
Also, lots of people have already weighed in with critically acclaimed "best" lists for weeks now, so why do you need more of that from me. I have nothing more to add to that. I played my part in that side of the "best" debate with my Best Horror of 2018" list. That is a place where my opinion on what is the BEST matter from that expert perch.
What I bring here on the general blog that is most helpful to all of you out there in the trenches, is a list that reflects my best experiences as a reader. This is a list that is personal to me, my tastes, and my weird quirks. You can use it to help other readers, yes, but because it is so specific to me, it is actually better used as a conversation starter.
For example, you can ask people "What is the most fun you had reading a book this year?" That is a question readers can answer much more quickly than "What was your favorite book?" Or what was the best Audiobook you listened to?"
The categories I have listed here provide great questions to offer to your patrons and you can use my answers to keep the conversation going by saying, "I was thinking about this question because Becky said [fill in the title] as her answer."
The point of my "Best" list is to both offer books that I loved this year, but also present an example of a regular reader view of the "best" list ideal.
Below you will find my list of the best books I experienced in 2018 [regardless of publication year] in 12 categories created by me. It is arbitrary but so what, it's my list of what mattered to me the most this year. Each title links to a longer review which will explain why it is the "best" book for that category, and my "Three Words."
I am off on vacation until 1/7/19. Happy New Year.
Becky's Best Books I Read in 2018
Most Fun I Had Reading a Book This Year: My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Best Audio: There There by Tommy Orange
Best Surprise: Mr and Mrs American Pie by Juliet McDaniel
Best Horror: Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay.
Click here for my full Best of Horror 2018 post which has many of my favorite reads of the year in general included there.
Best Nonfiction: I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
Best Historical: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Best Speculative: Borne by Jeff VanderMeer
Best Story Collection: Florida by Lauren Groff
Best Books from 2017 That I Read In 2018: Sing, Unburied, Sing [fiction] and Killers of the Flower Moon [Nonfiction]
Best Book That Came Out in 2018 but I read in 2017: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
One of the best things about my job is that I get to read books early. Super early sometimes. But it also means I sometimes forget to include the book in the best list for its correct year.
Best Debut: Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo
Wildcard: These two titles could each fit into other categories here, but weren't perfect for a single category overall. They were however at the top of my overall favorite reads of the year; titles that really stayed with me. I have listed the other categories they also fit into after each title.
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