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Staff Picks - Favorite Books of 2018

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All books shelved alphabetically by author in fiction.

by Jesse Ball
Learning that he does not have long to live and will need to figure out how to provide for his developmentally disabled adult son, a widower signs up as a census taker for a mysterious government bureau and leaves town with his son on a cross-country journey.

A Ladder to the Sky
by John Boyne
Aspiring writer Maurice Swift, whose desire for fame exceeds his talent, uses a chance meeting with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann to obtain secrets about Ackermann's wartime activities, which becomes material for his first novel.

A Long Way from Home
by Peter Carey
Irene Bobs, her car salesman husband, and a thrill-seeking quiz-show champion enter a dangerous race that circumnavigates the natural obstacles of 1954 Australia. 

French Exit
by Patrick deWitt
Bankrupted by her infamous litigator husband's tabloid death, a scandal-fearing widow flees New York for Paris, where she her deadbeat son navigate near-comic self-destructive choices.

by James Frey
Twenty-five years after a passionate affair with a model, a successful writer is on the brink of suicide, until he receives an anonymous message that draws him back to the life, and possibly the love, he abandoned years prior.

Laura & Emma
by Kate Greathead
Conceiving a child during a weekend fling, thirty-something Laura, a product of progressive Manhattan old money, raises her daughter in the same blue-blood world of her own upbringing before her daughter begins to question their environment in ways she never could herself. 

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
by Hank Green
The first to document the appearance of the Carls, giant robot-like statues popping up around the world, April May finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight that puts her relationships, identity and safety at risk.

An American Marriage
by Tayari Jones
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the living embodiment of the New South, are settling into the routine of their life together when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit.

The Gunners
by Rebecca Kauffman
Reconnecting with a group of childhood friends after one of them committed suicide, Mikey needs to confront dark secrets from his past involving his father to assess how much of this is impacting his current emotional stupor. 

The Calculating Stars
by Mary Robinette Kowal
On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.

The Mars Room
by Rachel Kushner
At the beginning of her two life sentences in Stanville Women's Correctional Facility, Romy Hall reflects on her youth and her relationship with her son, while navigating the harsh realities prison life.

by Olivia Laing
Kathy is a writer. Kathy is getting married. It’s the summer of 2017 and the whole world is falling apart. Fast-paced and frantic, Crudo unfolds in real time from the full-throttle perspective of a commitment-phobic artist who may or may not be Kathy Acker.

Back Talk: Stories
by Danielle Lazarin
A collection of short stories includes tales about a nearly-divorced woman who befriends the neighbor trying to buy her apartment and a teenage girl who experiences first love while still grieving her mother’s death.

An Ocean of Minutes
by Thea Lim
To save her boyfriend Frank from a deadly virus, Polly agrees to work as a bonded laborer twelve years in the future, but when she is re-routed five years after she was supposed to arrive, she is forced to navigate her new life alone while trying to discover if their love has endured.

Those Who Knew
by Idra Novey
A young woman who suspects that a powerful senator she was involved with back in her student activist days may be guilty of murder faces the consequences of her own silence ten years previously, when she told no one about the violent incident that ended their relationship. 

by Michael Ondaatje
Decades after World War II, Nathaniel Williams reflects on his experiences in 1945, when his parents left him and his sister in the care of a mysterious neighbor.

There There
by Tommy Orange
A novel that grapples with the complex history and identity of Native Americans follows twelve characters, each of whom has private reasons for traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow.

Where the Crawdads Sing
by Delia Owens
Viewed with suspicion in the aftermath of a murder, Kya Clark, who has survived alone for years in a marsh near the North Carolina coast, becomes targeted by unthinkable forces.

Dear Mrs. Bird
by A. J. Pearce
An adventurous young woman takes a typist job to assist the war effort and lands in the employ of a renowned advice columnist before she begins secretly replying to heart-wrenching letters rejected as unsuitable.

All the Lives We Never Lived
by Anuradha Roy
A novel set from World War II India through the present day follows a son's quest to uncover the story of his freedom-craving, rebellious artist mother.

Lake Success
by Gary Shteyngart
A self-made Wall Street millionaire, baffled by the implosion of his seemingly perfect life, takes a cross-country bus trip in search of his college sweetheart and the ideals of his youth. 

by Nico Walker
A young medic returns from deployment in Iraq to two things: the woman he loves, and the opioid crisis sweeping across the Midwest. Soon deep in the thrall of heroin addiction, he arrives at what seems like the only logical solution: robbing banks.

Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Golden Samovar
by Olga Wojtas
Shona McMonagle may look bookish and harmless, but her education at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls has left her with a deadly expertise in everything from martial arts to quantum physics. These skills make Shona the perfect recruit for a new and interesting project: Time-travel to Tzarist Russia, prevent a gross miscarriage of romance, and – in any spare time – see to it that only the right people get murdered.

Non-Fiction Titles 

The Library Book                                              027.4794 ORLEAN
by Susan Orleans
Reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, the 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire, while exploring the crucial role that libraries play in modern American culture.

In Extremis: The Life and Death of the War Correspondent Marie Colvin 070.4333 COLVIN
by Lindsey Hilsum
Describes the life and tragic death of the accomplished war correspondent, who lost an eye reporting in Sri Lanka during its civil war, interviewed Gaddafi twice, and covered conflicts in Chechnya, Kosovo, and Zimbabwe in her fearless and iconoclastic style. 

Educated: A Memoir 270.092 WESTOVER
by Tara Westover
An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.

The Art of Gathering                      302.1 PARKER
by Priya Parker
A conflict resolution facilitator describes why most of the gatherings in our lives are boring and unproductive and uses examples ranging from conferences and meetings to courtrooms and flash mobs to demonstrate how simple, but specific changes can energize any gathering.

Enlightenment Now 303.44 PINKER
by Steven Pinker
An assessment of the human condition in the twenty-first century presents data demonstrating that life quality, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise throughout the world because of the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.

Winners Take All 303.4097 GIRIDHARADAS
by Anand Giridharadas
Presents an insider's report on the realities of the global elite's efforts to tackle important world issues through philanthropy and free enterprise while ignoring their direct role in creating the problems.

Good and Mad 305.4209 TRAISTER
by Rebecca Traister
Explores the transformative power of female anger and its ability to transcend into a political movement, tracking the history of women's anger as political fuel, from suffragettes campaigning for voting rights to the Women's March and the #MeToo movement.

American Like Me                                            306.0973 FERRERA
by America Ferrera
Presents a collection of first-person accounts from prominent figures--including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani, Roxane Gay and many more--about the experience of growing up between cultures.

Bad Blood 338.7681 CARREYROU
by John Carreyrou
Recounts the story behind Theranos, the medical equipment company that misled investors to believe they developed a revolutionary blood testing machine, detailing how its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, perpetuated the lie to bolster the value of the company by billions.

Fashion Climbing: A Memoir with Photographs 746.9209 CUNNINGHAM
by William J. Cunningham
The iconic "New York Times" photographer presents a sophisticated, visual account of his early education in New York City's high-fashion circles.

Infinite Wonder 779.9523 KELLY
by Scott Kelly\
Offers photographs from the author's year spent aboard the International Space Station, documenting life on the space station as well as images of space, sky, and, especially, the Earth, along with his commentaries giving the images context. 

Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know 820.9008 TOIBIN
by Colm Toibin
Describes the Dublin streets where Wilde, Yeats, and Joyce came of age; illuminates the complex relationships between them and their fathers; and illustrates the surprising ways these men surface in their sons' work.

Feel Free                             824.914 SMITH
by Zadie Smith
A collection of both previously unpublished works and classic essays includes discussions of recent cultural and political events, social networking, libraries, and the failure to address global warming.

Becoming 973.932 OBAMA
by Michelle Obama
An intimate memoir by the former First Lady chronicles the experiences that have shaped her remarkable life, from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago through her setbacks and achievements in the White House.