For those that need a break from holiday merriment… in favor of grim, WWII drama.
For those that need a break from holiday merriment… in favor of grim, WWII drama.
BookPage readers voted, and the results are in! These are your 10 favorite books of the year. (Unsurprisingly, our readers have really good taste.)
By Tara Westover
#2 The Great Alone
By Kristin Hannah
#3 Where the Crawdads Sing
By Delia Owens
By Madeline Miller
#5 There There
By Tommy Orange
#6 An American Marriage
By Tayari Jones
#7 The Woman in the Window
By A.J. Finn
#8 The Immortalists
#9 Lethal White
By Robert Galbraith
By Barbara Kingsolver
The voting is done, and Goodreads has announced the winners of their 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards. If you’re not familiar (and didn’t get to vote!), Goodreads releases nominees for the best books of the year in genres like fiction, nonfiction, poetry, romance, sci-fi, YA, and several others. Readers vote, or write-in new nominees, and a second found of finalists is released. Voting continues, and a third round of finalists is released before the big announcement comes in early December. And today is that day!
I’ve included the full list of winners below, but I want to pause and talk about a new category that Goodreads included this year. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Goodreads Choice Awards, they introduced the Best of the Best category, where readers were asked to vote on the ultimate best book from the 170 past winners in the competition. The winner is Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give. She took the top spot at an 8K+ lead over the runner up (All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr). THUG has been a Book Riot favorite, and we’re psyched to see her book chosen from such a large pool of titles.
A couple of other noteworthy wins: Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone won in the Debut Author category. You might remember that Adeyemi’s book was the inaugural pick for Jimmy Fallon’s book club on The Tonight Show. She claimed the top spot at a whopping 35K lead over the runner up. So, she didn’t just win, she really won.
If no one has told you about The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang yet, do yourself a favor, call out of work, and read it today. Hoang’s book won for Romance in a category that boasted a diverse and exciting group of finalists. Lots of buzzy books from this year.
Speaking of diversity, Goodreads showed a bit of improvement in that category. Winners in the 2017 Awards showed 20% books by authors of color (with Angie Thomas’s THUGtaking two of those spots). This year’s awards round out to 29% books by authors of color.
See the complete list of winners below, and then get your book shopping on!
Still Me by JoJo Moyes
The Outsider by Stephen King
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Circe by Madeline Miller
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Vengeful by V.E. Schwab
Elevation by Stephen King
The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
Educated by Tara Westover
The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World by Steve Brusatte
Cravings: Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen
Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen
The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
The Trials of Apollo: Book Three, The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan
I Am Enough by Grace Byers
To be a woman is to be a history maker. Although countless names and stories have been omitted, under-celebrated, or redacted from the official record due to the patriarchy’s dominance, the contributions that women have made to the world are impossible to overlook. From the persistence of Ida B. Wells and Ona Judge to the bravery of Harriet Muse and Harriet Jacobs and the intellectual prowess of Brittney C. Cooper and Isabel Wilkerson, history is filled with the accounts of women whose vision and rejection of convention serve as a timeless reminder of how radical living life on your own terms can be.
Take the time to celebrate the history of women whose names you don’t already know. Take the time to honor their truths.
Through Catherine Kerrison’s earnest exploration of the lives of Thomas Jefferson’s three daughters—Harriet Hemings and Martha and Maria Jefferson—readers are given an immersive look at the way race, class, and gender shaped colonial womanhood. Comprised of previously unseen correspondence between the Jefferson sisters, vivid illustrations, and captivating anecdotes informed by extensive archival research, Jefferson’s Daughters captures the complexity of one our nation’s most controversial figures and the family that called him father. With each page, Kerrison excavates Harriet, Martha, and Maria from the margins of history with tangible empathy and urgency. An illuminating title for any reader, Jefferson’s Daughters is a celebration of American womanhood.
Beth Macy’s Truevine unveils the often overlooked and unbelievable tale of the Muse brothers. Born on the edge of the 19th century to sharecropper parents in Virginia, George and Willie Muse were kidnapped as children by a sideshow runner who lured the boys away from their home with the promise of candy. Billed in circuses and showcases across America and overseas as “Ambassadors from Mars,” “cannibals,” and “freaks,” the Muse brothers, who were African American albinos quickly became celebrities in the eyes the public. Macy’s profoundly moving investigation of the Muse brother’s kidnapping and their mother Harriet Muse’s relentless struggle to get them back shines a spotlight on an underexplored chapter in American history. A story about family, race, and reclamation, Truevine is a stunning example of why freedom and love is worth fighting for.
Erica Armstrong Dunbar
National Book Award finalist Erica Armstrong Dunbar resurrects the captivating story of Ona Judge in the pages ofNever Caught. From beginning to end, Dunbar’s prose sheds unflinching light on America’s first president and how his unrelenting pursuit of Judge and refusal to follow the laws of his own nation led to an obsessive manhunt. Never Caught is a revealing portrayal of Washington and a stunning depiction of Judge’s resilience. A page-turner in the truest sense, Dunbar’s award-winning account dispels the myth of Washington’s morality, exposes the corrupt origins of the American patriarchy, and exalts the ingenious strength of Black womanhood.
The Warmth of Other Suns
With heart and dignity, Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson uplifts the pioneering spirit and legacy of Black Americans whose desire for true freedom sparked the Great Migration. Enriched by extensive research and a marrow-deep sense of empathy, Wilkerson’s widely celebrated title pays homage to those whose search for a better life could not be stopped by the scars of segregation, the weight of racism, or even the onslaught of redlining. Far too often highlighted solely by a handful of paragraphs in the history textbooks of American schools or reduced to an anecdote during Black History Month, the full scope of the Great Migration rightfully takes center stage in Wilkerson’s necessary and inspiring masterpiece.
Brittney C. Cooper
In Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women, Brittney C. Cooper writes, “In order to take… Black women seriously as intellectuals we must be willing to trust them. By trust I don’t mean always agree. I mean acknowledge, appreciate, struggle with, disagree with, sit with, and question. I mean take Black women seriously.” Throughout the pages of her book, Cooper celebrates Black women thinkers, educators, activists, and innovators whose contributions have remained relatively unsung—within and outside of the Black community—in comparison to the accomplishments of their male counterparts. Beyond Respectability is an invigorating testament to the pivotal legacies of changemakers like Pauli Murray, Anna Julia Cooper, and Mary Church Terrell and why the intellectual work of Black women cannot and will not be forgotten.
Too Heavy a Load
Deborah Gray White
Although originally published in the late ’90s, Deborah White Gray’s Too Heavy a Load: Black Women in Defense of Themselves, 1894-1994 remains unarguably timely. Tracing a century worth of trials and triumphs through the biographies of trailblazers from Ida B. Wells to Anita Hill, Gray maps the way solidarity and community building among Black women challenged the sexism and racism of synonymous with American culture. An informative and invigorating read, Too Heavy a Load is a refreshing chronicle of perseverance, the transformative power of sisterhood, and the limitlessness of communal vision. A quintessential title for feminists and historians alike, Gray’s well-researched and heartfelt book is one to be read with vigor and revisited often.
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Penned during the 1850s, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girlby Harriet Jacobs is one of the earliest autobiographical accounts of American slavery. Published after her death in 1861 under the pseudonym Linda Brent, Jacobs’ heart wrenching yet crucial narrative gives readers an eye-opening portrait of her life on a plantation in North Carolina, the inhumane brutality of her owner, and the way motherhood inspired her to seek freedom for herself and her family. One of America’s first Black feminist texts, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is an invaluable addition to the literary canon.
Paula Byrne’s fascinating biography examines the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the biracial daughter of Sir John Lindsay and an enslaved African woman. Best known as she’s depicted in a double portrait with her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray, Belle was educated and raised by her great uncle William Murray who served as Britain’s Lord Chief Justice. Murray, who served as Belle’s surrogate father, was instrumental in multiple judicial rulings during the 1770s that ultimately led to the end of slavery in England. Through Byrne’s enlightening prose and thorough research, Belle and her family’s story reveals how revolutionary it is to be a Black woman during a turning point in history.
The weather outside is… let’s say sub-optimal. Still, there is no better time to curl up with a new book. How can you make the most of Read a New Book Month?
Well, reading a new book would be a good place to start.
‘When you say ‘new,’ do you mean ‘new‘ as in recently published or ‘new‘ as in we’ve never read it before?’ you ask.
Also, for those of you feeling adventurous, you can read something new AND different. Safe bet books, that you know you’ll love are, of course, a wonderful thing, but sometimes it is exciting to mix things up.
Regardless of what you choose to do, here are the current NYT Best Sellers (Fiction and Non-Fiction) to give you some inspiration.
Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen—the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria—took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire and Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.
Friends, I wont lie…this year has been a slog. I’ve found myself flailing for all the self-care opportunities I could find. I’ve strayed from my previously beloved dark literary fiction. I’ve found myself spending most of my time listening to podcasts and watching Netflix instead of dutifully working my way through my TBR list. 2018 has been a tough one. But in the moments I finally hit pause on Sabrina or turned off Pod Save America, I find myself gravitating towards comedy books that will give me a moment of respite from this hellscape in which we all live.
Here is a list of the best comedy books, both new releases and classics. All are guaranteed to give you a moment of laughter and levity. There’s really no rhyme or reason…these are just some books that have given me a desperately needed minute of joy this year.
As a fan of 2 Dope Queens, I was so excited to read this book. Robinson’s hilarious take on her experience with black culture, her ode to Lisa Bonet, and her funny-yet-heartfelt advice to her young niece gave me joy for days!
I laughed. I cried. I learned about the history of Canada. Branum is that wonderful combination of brain and humor. He educates his readers on world events while employing his excellent comedic timing. But the moments I really loved were when he sincerely spoke about his difficult relationship with his father and his complicated love of his mother.
Irby’s genius is in how she can speak about very serious topics (her childhood, her own ghosts) while also being irreverent and invoking pop culture references to make them more relatable. Her book leaves her as someone the reader wants to know.
The audiobook adds a special something to this story of Noah’s childhood as a mixed race child in South Africa during Apartheid. Amidst his tales of growing up with his very existence being considered illegal, Noah treats us all to the most amazing impersonations of his mother. This book has heart and taught me more about this dangerous time in South Africa’s history.
In this collection of essays, stand-up comedian Sebastian Maniscalco shares with us his days breaking into the business and his rise to fame. The reader learns how his ambition saw him through his journey in a cynical business.
If you enjoyed New York Times bestseller I Was Told There’d Be Cake, you’ll love this collection of essays on difficult subjects like infertility or more light-hearted fare like the time she played herself on Gossip Girl.
Once beloved diva Donna Meagle on Parks and Recreation, Retta shares with readers her childhood and career with her brash, infectious wit and humor. This book is especially good on audio as she narrates and I feel like I would’ve lost some of her hilarity if I wasn’t hearing it in her own voice.
Former Saturday Night Live writer Simon Rich regales us with his time in Hollywood and his absurd experiences with fame.
This collection of essays is a witty and sharp insight into what it’s like to be an LGBTQ man of color in a society that regular tries to reject his personhood. Arceneaux’s outspoken nature and humor both color your understanding and soothe your soul.
Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock alum Tina Fey tells of her time as a geek and growing into herself and into her current fame. Fey is always good and always smart and this book is a delight.
Learn about Poehler’s origins in Upright Citizens Brigade and watch as she finds her voice and ultimately her way to Saturday Night Live. Her writing is funny as hell and bitingly honest.
From son of a drug addict to a comedian who can sell out stadiums all over the world, Kevin’s voice is one we very much need right now. His memoir is truthful, sincere, but in no way lacking in humor.
If you loved Haddish in Girl’s Trip, she’s pretty much that person in real life. She’s loud and confident and always the funniest person in the room. Her tale of her journey from an impoverished childhood has one constant: laughter. We have Haddish now because she navigated all situations by making those around her laugh.
A father of five, Gaffigan fully understands the absurdity in his home life. And then he’s good enough to share those tales with us. His patented self-deprecating humor comes through loud and clear in this book.
One of The Daily Show‘s most famous alums, Bee takes us on an in-depth ride through her Canadian childhood. The sharp humor we’ve come to know and love from Full Frontal is woven throughout this entire book.
Maron has a knack for being able to take the most depressing situations and mining them for their inherent humor. He is an excellent storyteller who makes you feel like you were by his side, experiencing the same things.
Tyler takes us through her life and shares with us all the mistakes, large and small, that brought her to where she is today. She reveals herself to us while never losing her trademark humor.
Regardless of the title, this book is for parents and the childless alike. For those without children, you’ll feel truly seen. And for those who insist that everyone should procreate, maybe you’ll think twice before you speak to the childless.
A hilarious treatise on what society expects from men and what those men grapple with as they become fathers and husbands themselves. Webb gives a hilarious and painful recount of what he’s learned along the way.
Izzard’s comedy will take you from world history to absurb stories of the every day. His recount of his childhood and discovery of his sexuality would be a worthwhile read even if Izzard wasn’t also so singularly funny.
Silverman doesn’t disappoint those who have come to love her smart and dirty humor. She weaves personal tales of growing up and all the comedy within those stories.
Ephron is beloved and it’s because of her witty humor combined with her accessibility. In this book, she delves into all the ways our bodies and worlds fail us as we become women of a certain age.
Gurwitch gives us essays on the indignities of aging that are relatable, while also lending an air of hope.
Beloved Kaling takes her readers on a tour of her life, her experiences in Hollywood, her thoughts on romance, and what makes a great best friend. And she does so with her usual adorable humor that makes you want her to invite you to a sleepover.
An analysis into all the dangers and dreads in life, coupled with her experience as a woman of color, Koul gifts us a poignant-yet-funny look into her life and view of the world.
The famed writer and director shares with us conversations he’s had with comedy legends such as Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, Mel Brooks, etc. His interview style is comfortable while also revealing much about the subject.
With a book that contains monologues, short pieces of fiction, and poetry, Odenkirk’s book appears to be a written sketch show…jumping from one subject to another while retaining the comedy.
A self-proclaimed klutz, Hart takes her readers on a tour of all the ways she’s heaped humiliation upon herself over the years. But instead of coming across as someone to be pitied, her readers feel seen and heard…and maybe slightly less awkward.
Movie: Mary Queen of Scots
When it comes out: December 7
What the book is about: She was crowned Queen of Scotland at nine months of age, and Queen of France at sixteen years; at eighteen she ascended the throne that was her birthright and began ruling one of the most fractious courts in Europe, riven by religious conflict and personal lust for power. She rode out at the head of an army in both victory and defeat; saw her second husband assassinated, and married his murderer. At twenty-five she entered captivity at the hands of her rival queen, from which only death would release her.
Movie: Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle
When it comes out: December 7
What the book is about: The collected stories of Mowgli, the fabled wild boy who was raised by wolves, taught by a panther, befriended by a bear and had many great adventures in and around the jungles of India.
Movie: Schindler’s List: Remastered
When it comes out: December 7
What the book is about: In the shadow of Auschwitz, a flamboyant German industrialist grew into a living legend to the Jews of Cracow. He was a womanizer, a heavy drinker, and a bon viveur, but to them he became a savior. This is the extraordinary story of Oskar Schindler, who risked his life to protect Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland and who was transformed by the war into a man with a mission, a compassionate angel of mercy.
When it comes out: December 7
What the book is about: Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
Movie: Mortal Engines
When it comes out: December 14
What the book is about: “It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.”
Welcome to a post-apocalyptic world where communities exist only as crews of giant, predatory vehicle-cities, criss-crossing the decimated landscapes of Earth.
Movie: The Mule
When it comes out: December 14
What the book is about: A 90-year-old horticulturist and WWII veteran is caught transporting $3 million worth of cocaine through Michigan for a Mexican drug cartel.
Movie: Mary Poppins Returns
When it comes out: December 19
What the book is about: Pulled down from the clouds at the end of a kite string, Mary Poppins is back. In Mary’s care, the Banks children meet the King of the Castle and the Dirty Rascal, visit the upside-down world of Mr. Turvy and his bride, Miss Topsy, and spend a breathless afternoon above the park, dangling from a clutch of balloons.
Movie: Bird Box
When it comes out: December 21
What the book is about: Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from. Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?
Movie: Holmes & Watson
When it comes out: December 25
What the book is about: “It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
Sherlock Holmes, scourge of criminals everywhere, whether they be lurking in London’s foggy backstreets or plotting behind the walls of an idyllic country mansion, and his faithful colleague Dr Watson solve twelve breathtaking and perplexing mysteries.