Favorite Adult Books of 2018

More Staff Picks


“Transcription” by Kate Atkinson
In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever. Ten years later, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past.

“Both this one and “Warlight” by Michael Ondaatje are outstanding novels set in London during and shortly after WWII.” – Davin (Branch Manager, Clark Pleasant Branch)

“Record of a Spaceborn Few” by Becky Chambers
A young apprentice, an alien academic, a caretaker for the dead, an archivist, and others wrestle with profound questions after their evacuation ship, carrying the last humans on Earth, finally reaches its destination.

“Space opera at its best, this story follows the lives of several different characters, weaving their stories together expertly.” – Kelley (Children’s/Teen Material Selector)

“A Princess in Theory” by Alyssa Cole
Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! But what happens if he’s a real prince?

“A romance where the emails from an African prince are actually from a *real* African prince. It is fun, sweet, and the tension between the main characters is fantastic.” – Katie (Circulation, White River Branch)

“Shot in the Dark” by Cleo Coyle
A new smartphone dating game turns the Village Blend into a hookup spot, until one night, when a gunshot leaves a dead body behind and the coffeehouse becomes the center of a whole new scene--a crime scene. Village Blend manager, Clare must “swipe” through suspects in her shop to find the real killer before another shot rings out. 

“I love all the books in this cozy mystery series and this one is no exception. The characters are like old friends that I enjoy getting to know. Best of all are the great recipes and coffee-making tips included in the back of the book.” – Linda (Branch Manager, White River Branch)

“Christmas at the Cat Café” by Melissa Daley
Resident cat Molly, and her kittens, live at the cat café, while owner Debbie serves the locals home-made goodies. When Debbie's sister Linda arrives, Debbie insists she move in, but she brings a…dog. With Christmas approaching, Molly is unsettled. Only a Christmas miracle could bring everyone together.

“I was naturally attracted to this since it had a cute cat on the cover, but also because I greatly enjoyed the author’s first book in this series. Told from the cat’s perspective, it has lots of humorous and heart-warming scenes. It’s a quick, feel-good read for the holidays.” – Linda (Branch Manager, White River Branch)

“The Grey Bastards” by Jonathan French
Call them outcasts, call them savages—they’ve been called worse, by their own mothers—but Jackal is proud to be a Grey Bastard. He and his fellow half-orcs patrol the barren wastes of the Lot Lands, to keep civilized folk safe. And once Jackal’s in charge—as soon as he can unseat the Bastards’ tyrannical founder—there’s a few things they’ll do different. Better. Or at least, that’s the plan.

“High fantasy meets Sons of Anarchy. Live in the saddle, die on the hog!” – Erin C. (Adult/Teen Librarian, Clark Pleasant Branch)

“The Ensemble” by Aja Gabel
Jana. Brit. Daniel. Henry. Together, they are the Van Ness Quartet. After the group's youthful, rocky start, they experience devastating failure and wild success, heartbreak and marriage, triumph and loss, betrayal and enduring loyalty. They are always tied to each other - by career, by the intensity of their art, by the secrets they carry, by choosing each other over and over again.

“A great debut novel about a string quartet that forms at college, and their complicated relationships through the years.” – Davin (Branch Manager, Clark Pleasant Branch)

“An Absolutely Remarkable Thing” by Hank Green
A sweeping, cinematic tale about a woman who becomes an overnight celebrity before realizing she's part of something bigger, and stranger, than anyone could have imagined.

“Dare I say this Green brother is even more appealing than John? His book is a very modern take on both fame and society’s divisions told as a science fiction mystery. It’s a fun and fast read written in the voice of a new adult who will sound very familiar to anyone who frequents Youtube or Twitter.” – Amy D. (Adult Librarian, White River Branch)

“The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah
Set in the remote Alaskan wilderness, this coming of age story features a young girl trying to navigate her parent's stormy relationship and make friends of her own. And then Leni's father comes back from Vietnam a changed man, prone to violent outbursts, restlessness, and crazy ideas.

“A daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.” – Erin C. (Adult/Teen Librarian, Clark Pleasant Branch) 

“The Kiss Quotient” by Helen Hoang
Stella thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has made her wealthy and offered less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old. Stella decides to hire an escort, and the relationship that develops surprised them both.

“A romance about a woman with Autism Spectrum Disorder written by a woman with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” – Katie (Circulation, White River Branch)

“The Woman Left Behind” by Linda Howard
Military-themed romantic suspense with a strong and resourceful heroine who is suddenly sent out into the field with an elite paramilitary unit. 

 “An excellent story with a believable relationship.” – Karen (Adult Material Selector)

“Promise Not to Tell” by Jayne Ann Krentz
A broken promise reveals a terrifying legacy in this electrifying novel from the New York Times bestselling author. This book continues the story begun in “When All the Girls Have Gone” of the children left alive after a fire at the compound of a cult.

“Krentz is a master of romantic suspense and she does not disappoint; her plot is twisty and the developing relationship between the characters is very well done. The underlying storyline continues in “Untouchable” due out January 2019.” –Karen (Adult Material Selector)

“Circe” by Madeline Miller
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child--not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves. But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods. 
*This one is a staff favorite! Recommended by three staff members.*

“Circe tells the story of an often overlooked goddess and spins it into one of the most compelling, feminist epics out there. This book pieces together her entire mythology and turns it into one of the most enjoyable adventure stories I've read in years.” – Erin C. (Adult/Teen Librarian, Clark Pleasant Branch)

“Greek mythology, witches, and Madeline Miller – a perfect combination.” Katie (Circulation, White River Branch)

“My most favorite book of the year! Circe, Odysseus, and all our favorite Olympians come to life with Miller’s retelling, making it obvious why we still are fascinated by Greek mythology thousands of years later.” – Sarah (Programming Manager)

“My Year of Rest and Relaxation” by Ottessa Moshfegh
From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, a novel about a young woman's efforts to duck the ills of the world by embarking on an extended hibernation with the help of one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature and the battery of medicines she prescribes.

“A darkly comic novel about a young woman’s attempt to sleep for a year. Sort of a Bartleby for the social media age.” - Davin (Branch Manager, Clark Pleasant Branch)

“Spinning Silver” by Naomi Novik
In a rural village, Miryem sets out to collect debts that her moneylender father has neglected, leaving her family in poverty. She gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold, drawing the attention of the king of the Staryk—grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh. Given an impossible challenge by the nameless king, Miryem unwittingly spins a desperate web to save her village and her family.
*This is a staff favorite! Recommended by three staff members.*

“This Russian folk tale/medieval-fantasy includes fire demons, daring women, and a slow-burn romance. And just when you think the book can't get any better, it drops a killer last line that—fair warning—will have you grinning your face off.” – Erin C. (Adult/Teen Librarian, Clark Pleasant Branch)

“Loosely based on the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, this was an adult fairy tale delight, complete with complex characters and several different perspectives throughout the narrative. I didn’t want to put it down!” – Heather (Circulation Manager, Clark Pleasant Branch)

“Kingdom of the Blind” by Louise Penny
When a peculiar letter arrives inviting Armand Gamache to an abandoned farmhouse, he discovers that a stranger has named him one of the executors of her will. Curious, Gamache accepts and soon learns that the other two executors have never met the elderly woman either. The will is so odd that Gamache suspects the woman must have been delusional. But what if, Gamache begins to ask himself, she was perfectly sane?

“For mystery fans who love excellent character development with a strong sense of place, Penny’s Gamache series never fails to entertain. The more I read the more I want to visit Three Pines, although definitely not in the winter! Also an excellent listen in audiobook.” – Karen (Adult Material Selector)

“Baby Teeth” by Zoje Stage
To say that Hanna is a difficult child is an understatement. She seems to hate her mother, often violently lashing out at her when they are alone together. Hanna is enrolled in a special school but begins lashing out at other children, forcing her back home where things go from bad to worse. Is Hanna possessed or just evil? Her mother isn’t sure, but what’s clear is that if they can’t figure out what’s wrong, her life may be in grave danger.

“If you’re looking for something creepy to read, look no further.” – Kelly (Adult/Teen Librarian, Franklin Branch)

“All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother” by Danielle Teller
A luminous retelling of the classic Cinderella tale, told from the perspective of Agnes, the "evil" step-mother.

“This novel clearly demonstrates how actions get misinterpreted, how difficult it is to discipline brats and once a rumor mill gets going good - sometimes you can't win for trying.” – Lisa (Library Director)


“Escape by Bike: Adventure Cycling, Bikepacking and Touring Off-Road” by Joshua Cunningham
A practical and inspirational guide to planning every kind of off-road cycling, from nearby microadventures to global itineraries, drawing on the author's own epic journeys.

“A nice combination of travel narrative and how-to; this book will inspire, while showing you the ins-and-outs of pedal-powered adventure travel. Whether you’re planning a simple overnighter in your local state park, or an expedition tour down the length of South America, this book will show you how.” – Todd (Branch Manager, Trafalgar Branch)

“The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter” by Margareta Magnusson
In Sweden there is a kind of decluttering called döstädning, dö meaning "death" and städning meaning "cleaning." Margareta instructs readers to embrace minimalism, and suggests which possessions you can easily get rid of and which you might want to keep.

“This book is funny, unsentimental and a quick read. It’s more a conversation rather than a how-to. I’m making progress, but it’s not an easy task.” – Ann (Associate Director)

“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” by Michelle McNamara
For more than ten years, a mysterious predator committed fifty sexual assaults in California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared. Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist, was determined to find the criminal she called "the Golden State Killer." 

 “McNamara gave true crime junkies a true gift in this opus. Her obsession, her attention to detail, and simply stunning writing style come together for an incredible work. I couldn’t put this book down- it reads like a novel. I also, however, couldn’t stand to be at home alone- or in the dark!” – Keeley (Programming Assistant, Trafalgar Branch)

“Food52 Genius Desserts: 100 Recipes that will Change the Way You Bake” by Kristen Miglore
In this follow-up to the New York Times best-selling cookbook Genius Recipes, Food52 is back with the most beloved and talked-about desserts of our time in a collection that will make you a local legend, and a smarter baker to boot.

“I’ve saved so much money on cookbooks by buying only my absolute favorites after checking them out at the library. This book is clearly one of the best dessert books I’ve seen in many years.” – Lisa (Library Director)