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Find more Notable Books
This list has been compiled for use by the general reader and by librarians who work with adults. The Notable Books Council, ALA Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), has selected the titles for their significant contribution to the expansion of knowledge or for the pleasure they can provide to adult readers. All titles were published in 2018.
An American Marriage. By Tayari Jones. Algonquin, $26.95 (9781616201340).
A young Black couple struggles to stay connected when the husband is sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit in this complex domestic drama.
Don’t Skip Out on Me. By Willy Vlautin. HarperPerennial, $22.99 (9780062684455).
Vlautin portrays a ranch hand who yearns to be a boxer, the people who love him, and the land that holds them.
Friday Black. By Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. HMH/Mariner, $14.99 (9781328911247).
Characters in a darkly satirical future confront race in America in this provocative collection.
The Great Believers. By Rebecca Makkai. Viking, $27 (9780735223523).
Makkai presents a novel of friendship and love in the face of tragedy and loss during the early years of the AIDS crisis in Chicago and the impact years later.
The House of Broken Angels. By Luis Alberto Urrea. Little, Brown, $27 (9780316154888).
In this vivid and heartwarming portrait, Mexican American family members celebrate the lives of their patriarch and his mother over a weekend in their San Diego home.
The Mars Room. By Rachel Kushner. Scribner, $27 (9781476756554).
At the start of two consecutive life sentences, a young mother reflects on her life while navigating incarceration.
The Overstory. By Richard Powers. Norton, $27.95 (9780393635522).
Powers’ saga is a profound meditation on the connection between humankind and trees and the often invisible impact each has on the other.
There There. By Tommy Orange. Knopf, $25.95 (9780525520375).
Orange’s debut is a gritty depiction of the lives of urban Native Americans who converge at a powwow in Oakland, California.
Waiting for Eden. By Elliot Ackerman. Knopf, $24.95 (9781101947395).
In this psychological drama, an Iraq War veteran hovers between life and death while his wife agonizes over her choices.
Warlight. By Michael Ondaatje. Knopf, $26.95 (9780525521198).
A young man seeks to understand why he and his sister were left in the care of a mysterious figure they call the Moth in post-WWII England.
Washington Black. By Esi Edugyan. Knopf, $26.95 (9780525521426).
The eponymous protagonist escapes slavery and embarks on an adventure through the Victorian world as a fugitive, artist, and scientist.
American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment. By Shane Bauer. Penguin, $28 (9780735223585).
An investigative journalist undergoes training as a guard at a private correctional facility and reveals the harsh living and working conditions for inmates and staff.
Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found. By Gilbert King. Riverhead, $28 (9780399183386).
A hard-hitting reporter exposes the story of a developmentally challenged youth falsely accused of rape in Florida during the Jim Crow era.
Call Me American. By Abdi Nor Iftin. Knopf, $26.95 (9781524732196).
In this memoir, a Somali man recounts a childhood marked by constant violence and hunger and his adjustment to life as a refugee in the U.S.
Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America. By Beth Macy. Little, Brown, $28 (9780316551243).
A deep dive into the dark and consuming opioid epidemic centering on the predatory practices of Purdue Pharma and the devastating effects on communities.
Educated. By Tara Westover. Random, $19.95 (9781949061499).
A girl raised by Mormon survivalists in rural Idaho must choose between higher education and family ties in this powerful memoir.
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century. By Kirk Wallace Johnson. Viking, $27 (9781101981610).
An ornithological robbery shines light on fixation, beauty, and the niche hobby that led an unlikely culprit to risk it all.
Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. By David W. Blight. Simon & Schuster, $40 (9781416590316).
An engrossing biography of the abolitionist, author, and orator.
Heavy: An American Memoir. By Kiese Laymon. Scribner, $26 (9781501125652).
A son’s complicated relationship with his mother is laid bare in this unflinching look at a life full of adversity and love.
High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing. By Ben Austen. Harper, $27.99 (9780062235060).
An insightful and robust history of the politics, policies, and personal stories of city planning and urban renewal.
Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore. By Elizabeth Rush. Milkweed, $26 (9781571313676).
An evocative account of how changing sea levels impact coastal communities.
Rush: Revolution, Madness, and the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father. By Stephen Fried. Crown, $30 (9780804140065).
The comprehensive biography of a lesser-known statesman and his contributions to medicine and politics in the newly formed U.S.
The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life. By David Quammen. Simon & Schuster, $30 (9781501196102).
A chronicle of recent discoveries that changed our understanding of evolution, the scientists who made them, and the implications for the future.
American Sonnets for My Once and Future Assassin. By Terrance Hayes. Penguin Poets, $18 (9780143133186).
An electrifying collection ranging in subject from Dr. Who to what it means to be Black in America.
The Carrying. By Ada Limón. Milkweed, $16 (9781571315137).
An elegant and vulnerable expression of the aching beauty of an imperfect world.
If They Come for Us. By Fatimah Asghar. Random/One World, $16 (9780525509783).
A Pakistani Muslim American woman longs for her parents and grieves the effects of the India-Pakistan Partition in a fresh, inventive voice.
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