Share The Best of 2018: The Top 10 Book Lists of the Year

The Best of 2018: The Top 10 Book Lists of the Year

We are passionate readers who love nothing more than discovering fantastic books and sharing them with friends. We recommend books that move us to laughter and tears—and everything in between. Trust us when we say, "You've got to read this!"

There was certainly no shortage of book recommendations this year. We spent 2018 talking about our favorite thrillers, historical novels, award-winners—and even recommended books for fans of our favorite TV shows and movies! Here are the book lists you responded to most.


Are You Sleeping
by Kathleen Barber

10 Reese Witherspoon–Approved Books for You and Your Book Club


If you haven’t guessed by now, Reese Witherspoon is the Hollywood authority on good books. Not only is she the star of the upcoming film adaption of A WRINKLE IN TIME and the HBO miniseries BIG LITTLE LIES, but she’ll also be producing adaptations of ARE YOU SLEEPING, LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE, and TRULY MADLY GUILTY. When she’s not producing, acting, designing clothes, and winning in every facet of life, Reese is devouring books and recommending great reads for her RW Book Club. We’ve been able to keep up with her book recs on Instagram and can confirm these books are worth reading. Here are some of our favorite Reese-approved books.
Are You Sleeping
Kathleen Barber

MENTIONED IN:

The Best of 2018: The Top 10 Book Lists of the Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 26, 2018

5 Literary Sleuths Jessica Jones Would Approve Of

By Tolani Osan | March 14, 2018

Readers’ Choice: The Top 10 Most Shelved Books in February

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 23, 2018

10 Reese Witherspoon–Approved Books for You and Your Book Club

By Tolani Osan | January 25, 2018

Enter for a Chance to Win a Year’s Worth of Book Club Books

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 16, 2018

The 5 Best Books I’ve Read This Month

By Meagan Harris | November 8, 2017

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer

8 Books to Read If You Love THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY


I squealed with joy when I heard that Netflix was making the beloved novel THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL SOCIETY into a movie. Then I watched the trailer and realized many of these cast members also appeared in Downton Abbey. Excited doesn’t begin to cover how I felt! But it also made me yearn for more remarkable stories with spirited heroines, acts of bravery, and ordinary people in extraordinary times. So voila! Here are eight books to read if you love THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY as much as I do.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

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A Gentleman in Moscow
by Amor Towles

The New “O” Book Club 2.0: 12 of Obama’s Favorite Books


Proving to us that we can indeed have nice things in 2018, Barack Obama recently released his list of favorite books (and songs) of the past year. A semi-annual tradition from his time in office (and here at Off the Shelf), the bestselling author and former leader of the free world created the collection to “reflect on the works that resonated with me and lift up authors and artists from around the world.” This year’s picks range from transportive historical tales and contemporary fiction to big biographies and blistering social commentary—so get reading!
A Gentleman in Moscow
Amor Towles

Read with a Moscow Mule

Maybe it’s the copper cup or the alliteration in the name that attracts us to this beverage again and again. And the perfect companion is A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW, set in the beautiful Metropol hotel in Moscow. Amor Towles spins the immersing story of Count Alexander Rostov, who is sentenced to house arrest after being deemed an unrepentant aristocrat.

MENTIONED IN:

The Best of 2018: The Top 10 Book Lists of the Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 26, 2018

10 Recommendations Straight Off Library Bookshelves

By Off the Shelf Staff | April 13, 2018

A Peek Behind Stu’s Shelf

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 29, 2018

Readers’ Choice: The Top 10 Most Shelved Books in January

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 26, 2018

The New “O” Book Club 2.0: 12 of Obama’s Favorite Books

By Julianna Haubner | January 12, 2018

Staff’s Choice: 12 Recently Shelved Books from the Off the Shelf Team

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 24, 2017

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Less
by Andrew Sean Greer

13 Feel-Good Novels You’re Going to Love


Powerful family dramas. Heartwarming love stories. Uplifting accounts of second chances. Triumphant tales of overcoming. Charming and endearing characters. We’ve got it all. Here are 13 novels that will make you feel good—about the world and yourself—long after you finish reading.

MENTIONED IN:

The Best of 2018: The Top 10 Book Lists of the Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 26, 2018

9 Books We’re Thankful For

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 22, 2018

8 Books To Help You Meet Your 2018 Reading Resolutions

By Off the Shelf Staff | September 20, 2018

13 Feel-Good Novels You’re Going to Love

By Taylor Noel | May 3, 2018

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The Road to Jonestown
by Jeff Guinn

5 Books to Read if You’re a Murderino Who Loves All Things True Crime


Someone asked me recently what new music I liked and I completely drew a blank. Because, although I wear headphones or stream sound during most of my waking hours, I’m almost never listening to songs. Whether out for a run or washing dishes or mailing books from our office, I’m always listening to podcasts. And the show I’m constantly hitting play on is My Favorite Murder, the unexpected hit true crime comedy podcast from Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Now a cult phenomenon, the show began as a living-room project between two friends after discovering they shared a hidden passion for true crime, Dateline, and diving into Internet wormholes of serial killers, “I Survived” stories, and psychopathic murderers. It’s more than a macabre fascination with the darker side of humanity—it’s a celebration of survival, friendship, individuality, and mental well-being. So if you’re a murderino like me, here are a few books to read while waiting for their next episode.
The Road to Jonestown
Jeff Guinn

MENTIONED IN:

The 5 Best Books We Read Last Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 16, 2019

The Best of 2018: The Top 10 Book Lists of the Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 26, 2018

10 Books About Life in a Cult

By Taylor Noel | August 9, 2018

Readers’ Choice: The Top 10 Most Shelved Books in July

By Off the Shelf Staff | July 27, 2018

5 Books to Read if You’re a Murderino Who Loves All Things True Crime

By Elizabeth Breeden | July 5, 2018

Hooked From Page One, This Book Made Me Ponder the Nature of Evil

By Sarah Jane Abbott | June 22, 2018

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Dark Hollow
by John Connolly

Bestselling Author William Kent Krueger Recommends 10 Compelling Mystery Series


Whenever I recommend a favorite mystery series to another reader, I always advise starting at the beginning. While all good authors improve over time, that initial offering can be so pivotal to a full understanding and appreciation of the development of character and sense of place in later works. The 10 debut novels I’ve chosen come from series that have given me great pleasure because the authors are pretty good at doing three things that make a story sing for me: grounding a reader in the natural beauty of a remarkable, usually wild, area; creating characters who are richly drawn and wonderfully complex; and, of course, spinning a fine, compelling mystery.
Dark Hollow
John Connolly

MENTIONED IN:

The Best of 2018: The Top 10 Book Lists of the Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 26, 2018

Bestselling Author William Kent Krueger Recommends 10 Compelling Mystery Series

By William Kent Krueger | September 13, 2018

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Still Alice
by Lisa Genova

The 5 Best Book Club Books I Read in 2018


I joined my first book club when I was in the second grade. My teacher pulled me and a few other students who’d already read through everything on the class library shelves and arranged for us to skip recess and talk about Matilda’s powers or Charlotte’s curly-tailed best friend. Now I’m in a number of book groups (fun fact: people in publishing will usually find any excuse to turn a social occasion into a chance to talk about what they’re reading), toasting with a very different kind of grape juice and even taking gatherings online. I participate in the long tweet book club, Facebook Live discussions, and one of my favorites, the monthly in-person meetups with the women I’ve met through the online newsletter Girls Night In. Considering how my whole life sometimes feels like a book club, I wanted to share a few of the best books to spark discussion.
Still Alice
Lisa Genova

“My grandfather had Alzheimer’s, and I was afraid of him because of it. I’m embarrassed and a little ashamed to admit that. When I read this, I started to understand how scared and frustrated someone with Alzheimer’s can feel. I believe this understanding is critical as we learn how to care, how to treat, and how to cure this insidious disease in modern times.” —Kevin Myers (Read Kevin’s review of Still Alice here.)

MENTIONED IN:

The Best of 2018: The Top 10 Book Lists of the Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 26, 2018

The 5 Best Book Club Books I Read in 2018

By Elizabeth Breeden | September 4, 2018

Here’s Why Our Book Club Loved STILL ALICE

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 24, 2018

Excited for the Hot New Books of Spring? Read These 12 Favorite Novels First!

By Taylor Noel | February 16, 2018

Happy Birthday to Us!

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 3, 2015

Lisa Genova’s 2009 Debut Novel is Still Heart-Wrenching

By Kevin Myers | March 12, 2014

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Just After Sunset
by Stephen King

9 Books That Will Have You Reading from Dawn till Dusk


Here at Off the Shelf, we strongly believe that every time of day is the perfect time to lose yourself in a good book. Can’t decide what to read? These books will keep your reading from dawn till dusk.
Just After Sunset
Stephen King

MENTIONED IN:

The Best of 2018: The Top 10 Book Lists of the Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 26, 2018

9 Books That Will Have You Reading from Dawn till Dusk

By Sarah Jane Abbott | March 26, 2018

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A Little Life
by Hanya Yanagihara

6 Book Recommendations from “Queer Eye” Chef Antoni Porowski


Every episode of Netflix’s Queer Eye reboot features exceptional fashion advice and enviable wardrobe makeovers, but one particular article of clothing caught my attention: chef Antoni Porowski’s t-shirt that says “Jude & JB & Willem & Malcolm.” For those of you who don’t know, these are the central characters of Hanya Yanagihara’s beloved novel A LITTLE LIFE. Could it be that the Fab Five’s food and wine expert has as great an eye for books as he does for Instagram-worthy dinners? We did a little research to find six books off Porowski's shelf—check these out while you wait for Queer Eye’s second season!
A Little Life
Hanya Yanagihara

I’m not exaggerating at all when I say I cried for 700 pages of this 832-page masterpiece. I have never loved a character more deeply than I love Jude, the main character in this ode to male friendship, who is scarred and broken from an unspeakable trauma. Reading about Jude’s ever-changing relationships with his three best friends from college was one of the best experiences I’ve had as a reader—and certainly as a crier.

Read the review of A LITTLE LIFE.

MENTIONED IN:

The Best of 2018: The Top 10 Book Lists of the Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 26, 2018

6 Book Recommendations from “Queer Eye” Chef Antoni Porowski

By Lara Blackman | April 10, 2018

A Peek Behind Stu’s Shelf

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 29, 2018

The 10 Best Books We Read in 2017

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 5, 2018

The 13 Books You Need to Read to Understand Modern Relationships

By Julianna Haubner | November 9, 2017

Readers’ Choice: September’s 10 Most Shelved Books on Off the Shelf

By Off the Shelf Staff | September 29, 2017

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Today Will Be Different
by Maria Semple

8 Books that Make Us Want to Drop Everything and Read


Do you ever have days where you just want to put away your to-do list and settle in with a good book instead? Well today is the perfect excuse to do just that, because it’s Drop Everything and Read day! This nationwide holiday honoring Beverly Cleary’s birthday is the perfect excuse to throw your responsibilities out the window and pick up a new book. Here are the books we’re dropping everything to read.
Today Will Be Different
Maria Semple

MENTIONED IN:

The Best of 2018: The Top 10 Book Lists of the Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 26, 2018

6 Marvelous Reads for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” Fans

By Taylor Noel | December 5, 2018

8 Books that Make Us Want to Drop Everything and Read

By Off the Shelf Staff | April 12, 2018

You’ll Want to Leaf Through the Pages of These 13 Autumnal Books

By Taylor Noel | October 18, 2017

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