Share The 5 Best Books We Read Last Year

The 5 Best Books We Read Last 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!"

It was a near-impossible task but we managed to whittle our gargantuan 2018 reading list down to the best of the best. Here are the 5 best books we read last year.


Fingersmith
by Sarah Waters

The book I can’t stop talking about this year, that has broken into my “top ten favorite books ever” lineup, is this engrossing, atmospheric tale of nineteenth-century London in which Sue Trinder, an orphan raised by thieves, is drawn into a con man’s plot to steal wealthy but naïve lady Maud Lilly’s fortune. But matters are complicated when Sue develops unexpected feelings for her mark and Maud turns out to be not quite what she appears. This book is like Dickens meets Gillian Flynn, mixed with a romance that is as delicious as it is gut-wrenching. Every twist has another on its tail, every betrayal has a deeper betrayal behind it, and every character has a shocking, dark secret.
—Sarah Jane

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Fingersmith
Sarah Waters

Read an LGBTQ+ Romance Novel

Orphan Sue Trinder is raised amongst “fingersmiths”—transient petty thieves. When a fingersmith known as Gentleman asks Sue to help him con a wealthy woman out of her inheritance, she never expects to pity her helpless mark, let alone come to care for her. But no one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals.

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MENTIONED IN:

Old and New: The Best Novels to Read If You Loved These Classics

By Maddie Ehrenreich | August 2, 2019

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

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 31, 2019

The Best Books We’ve Read So Far This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 16, 2019

That Magical Moment When a Novel Recommends Another Novel

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 17, 2019

5 Books to Read After Seeing “The Favourite”

By Heather Waters | February 12, 2019

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

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 25, 2019

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An Ocean of Minutes
by Thea Lim

I don’t know about you, but I have one friend who, if she tells me I have to read something, it immediately goes toward the top of my TBR list. AN OCEAN OF MINUTES was one such book, and I was not disappointed. This book is a combination of a time travel story and a dystopian novel, set in an alternate reality where a plague has gripped the United States. Polly volunteers to travel into the future to work as a bonded laborer in order to save the life of her boyfriend, Frank. What she finds is a changed and divided America where she must navigate as a second-class citizen while trying to discover if Frank is still alive.
—Erin

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An Ocean of Minutes
Thea Lim

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MENTIONED IN:

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

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 22, 2019

Reread a Classic and More Ways to Meet Your 2019 Reading Goals

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 28, 2019

The 5 Best Books We Read Last Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 16, 2019

8 Riveting Sci-Fi Reads for People Who Don’t Like Sci-Fi

By Leora Bernstein | January 14, 2019

How to Find the Perfect Book Genre For You

By Taylor Noel | September 19, 2018

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The Road to Jonestown
by Jeff Guinn

As a true-crime aficionado, I’ve been familiar with the tragic story of Jonestown for years but I knew little of the man behind the largest murder-suicide in American history. With in-depth research and clear-eyed writing, Jeff Guinn weaves a compelling and haunting story that often raises more questions than answers. This isn’t an easy read, but for all its shocking twists and turns, it’s a very human story of greed, power, and betrayal.
—Kerry

Read the full review of THE ROAD TO JONESTOWN.

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The Road to Jonestown
Jeff Guinn

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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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An American Marriage
by Tayari Jones

Many who suggested AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE to me told me I’d breeze through it which is certainly possible—the rhythmic pacing, the witty sayings, and sing-songy phrases seem to blur the sentences together and before you know it, you’ve devoured the book whole. But for me, hypnotized by the story of Celestial and Roy’s crumbling marriage and the gorgeous language, I decidedly turned the pages as slowly as I could. There are those books I love too much to put down and fewer books I love entirely too much to let the pages run out; AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE is the latter.
—Tolani

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An American Marriage
Tayari Jones

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MENTIONED IN:

11 Breathtaking Quotes in Literature That Will Inspire Your Writing

By Tolani Osan | November 15, 2019

11 Autumnal Book Covers to Fall in Love With

By Sarah Woodruff | October 3, 2019

The Best Books We’ve Read So Far This Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 16, 2019

6 Striking Quotes from AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE

By Tolani Osan | February 21, 2019

A Cozy Winter Getaway: 9 Perfect Novels You Need to Bring

By Carrie Cabral | February 4, 2019

The 5 Best Books We Read Last Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 16, 2019

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The Power
by Naomi Alderman

As soon as this book made its way on to President Obama’s reading list, I knew it would be on my list, too. Each character’s story was fascinating and readable and real, and subverted gender within their stories and the world in which they lived. There are few books that have made me think, and then think about my thoughts long after I’ve put them down. This is one of those books.
—Carrie

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The Power
Naomi Alderman

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MENTIONED IN:

11 Breathtaking Quotes in Literature That Will Inspire Your Writing

By Tolani Osan | November 15, 2019

The 5 Best Books We Read Last Year

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 16, 2019

The 5 Best Book Club Books I Read in 2018

By Elizabeth Breeden | September 4, 2018

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

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 25, 2018

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

By Julianna Haubner | January 12, 2018

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