Scuppernong's Favorite Books of 2018Submitted by Scuppernong on Mon, 12/10/2018 - 1:36pm
Circe by Madeline Miller.
This is a beautifully written adventure novel. It's a story about love, jealousy, and isolation wrapped up in a fantasy story full of monsters and magic.
Alien Virus Love Disaster by Abbey Mei Otis
I won't lie, writing my Best Of 2018 review about Alien Virus Love Disaster feels a little like a cop-out, because everyone has already had to endure me going on about this book since it came out this summer. But that's the thing—it's just so bizarre and transporting and delicious that once you read it you'll pester all your friends into reading it because you've got to have someone to spill your guts with over these stories. This collection is speculative fiction at its best: the elements that make the stories fantastical also make them seem more reflective of the real world than our own muddied reality. Where typical sci-fi follows the star captain into space, Otis turns her lens on the fry cook flipping his burgers, the underbelly of future/alternate society in all its gritty glory. An alien exposure story somehow ends up more about income inequality than extra terrestrials. If you ask the elite moon colony's malformed rejects the meaning of life, what will they tell you? This is all a long way of saying that this is a must-read of 2018, with the added bonus of supporting a small press and being able to smugly say "Oh yeah, I've been following her for years," when Abbey Mei Otis inevitably blows up in the literary world.
Other Favorites: Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver, Call Them by Their True Names by Rebecca Solnit, Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine by Alan Lightman
Late 2017 Honorable Mention: The End We Start From by Megan Hunt
Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy by Kevin Kwan:
Yeah, I know that this book didn't technically come out this year but the movie did, which prompted me to binge-read the whole trilogy in a matter of weeks. While I haven't finished the final book yet, the series is already one of my favorites of all time. Not only do I see myself represented in the pages, it touches on poignant perspectives about family, love, class and generational differences in a way that anyone can relate to, all with wicked humor. They're hilariously outrageous yet deeply relatable, but mostly outrageous.
Other favorites: I'll Be There for You: The One about Friends by Kelsey Miller
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
For me, 2018 has been the year of the Family Saga--in depth portraits of each character both as an individual and in relation to the rest of the family. The Immortalists certainly fits this mold but takes a step further by examining what each character does with the knowledge of the date of his or her death. How much of life is arbitrary, and how much is preordained? Would you live your life differently with the knowledge of its end? Limitless in the moral questions this book draws, it begs us to ponder whether we make our beliefs or if our beliefs make us.
People Kill People Ellen Hopkins
Poetic prose or prosaic poetry, I'm not sure, but what I am certain of is that Ellen Hopkins accosts an impossible and controversial topic and handles it with grace and poise. Extremely relevant, important, and necessary for readers today, People Kill People comes at the issue of gun violence with a variety of voices that unflinchingly conveys the ugly, violent, and often ambiguous nature of the truth.
New Minimalism Cary Telander Fortin, Kyle Louise Quilici
This is first minimalist book I've read to reference Lagom--the number of things or commitments that are "just right" for you. New Minimalism answers the whys before supplying the shoulds, provides sensible examples for how to apply the shoulds, and addresses minimalism on a very individual basis.
Upcoming--Eden by Andrea Kleine, Family Trust by Kathy Wang, and Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee
I ‘ve always hated having to choose a single favorite of anything. Give me ten minutes and I’ll change my mind. So, here’s just one favorite and list of others.
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
Warlight is not a memoir but it is written as one. A young boy is left in the charge of apparent ne’er-do-wells in Post-War London and his memories cloudy, affectionate, filled with mystery and ecstasy. This opacity gives way to a bracing clarity as events transpire. Beautiful, sensuous, joyous writing matched with the intricate interplay of the memory and the unknowable.
Other favorites: Strawberry Fields by Hilary Plum, Cockroaches by Scholastique Mukasonga, Square by Mac Barnett and John Klassen, The Last Wolf by Laszlo Krasznahorkai, Natural Causes by Barbara Ehrenreich, Sabrina by Nick Drnaso, Multiple Choice by Alejandro Zambra, and on and on…
MARY CATHERINE YOUNG
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This book takes you on the journey of a mother and daughter as they figure out their roles in each other’s lives as well as the lives of others. People at all ages and from all demographics will relate to at least one of the characters of this book, as they are as diverse and colorful as they are frustrating and heart wrenching.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
I don’t know how better to describe this book as the book that made me enjoy reading fiction novels again. It was the first book I read for pleasure the summer after I graduated college, and I was shocked at how easily I was engrossed in the fast paced and eclectic storyline. It’s a book that you’re told to read time and time again, but I’m here to say that you won’t regret reading it. It’s the perfect example of a book that allows you to escape your reality and flex your mystery-solving muscles.