The top books chosen by Canadian library staff

Best of adult 2018

Sign up for our mailing list
  1. The Great Alone
    by Kristin Hannah
    St. Martin's Press
    Feb 06, 2018
    FICTION / Women
    Hardcover

    Description

    In Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone, a desperate family seeks a new beginning in the near-isolated wilderness of Alaska only to find that their unpredictable environment is less threatening than the erratic behavior found in human nature.

    #1New York Times Instant Bestseller (February 2018)
    APeople “Book of the Week”
    Buzzfeed’s “Most Anticipated Women’s Fiction Reads of 2018”
    Seattle Times’s “Books to Look Forward to in 2018”

    Alaska, 1974. Ernt Allbright came home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes the impulsive decision to move his wife and daughter north where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

    Cora will do anything for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. Thirteen-year-old Leni, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, has little choice but to go along, daring to hope this new land promises her family a better future.

    In a wild, remote corner of Alaska, the Allbrights find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the newcomers’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

    But as winter approaches and darkness descends, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own.

    MORE
  2. The Immortalists
    by Chloe Benjamin
    G.P. Putnam's Sons
    Jan 09, 2018
    FICTION / Literary
    Hardcover

    Description

    A Washington Post Notable Book
    An NPR Book of the Year
    A LibraryReads Top 10 Book of the Year

    INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    “A captivating family saga.”—The New York Times Book Review

    “You won’t be able to put it down.”The Skimm (Skimm Reads Pick)

    “This literary family saga is perfect for fans of Celeste Ng and Donna Tartt.”—People Magazine (Book of the Week)


    “A sprawling, enchanting family saga.”—Entertainment Weekly (The Must List)

    A dazzling family love story reminiscent of Everything I Never Told You from a novelist heralded by Lorrie Moore as a “great new talent.”

    If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?


    It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

    The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

    A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.
    MORE
  3. Transcription
    by Kate Atkinson
    Bond Street Books
    Sep 18, 2018
    FICTION / Thrillers / Espionage
    Hardcover

    Description

    From the bestselling author of Life After Life, a new novel that explores the repercussions of one young woman's espionage work during World War II.

    Juliet Armstrong is a dissatisfied radio producer in a 1950s London that is recovering from the war as much as she is. During World War Two, Juliet was conscripted into service, transcribing conversations between an MI5 agent and a ring of suspected German sympathizers. The seemingly dull work quickly plunged Juliet into a treacherous world of code words and secret meetings where Juliet herself was sent into the field. These moments of intrigue and romance feel like a lifetime ago as Juliet trudges through her commute, her job and her new life. But as Juliet and the rest of London find ways to return to normal, her routine is upended by an encounter with a mysterious man from her past life.

    Haunted by the relationships and actions of her past and facing a very real threat in the present, Juliet cannot escape the repercussions of her work for the government. With no other choice, Juliet is quickly pulled back into the life of espionage she thought she'd left behind. Kate Atkinson's latest novel brings mid-century London to life in a gripping tale of deception and consequences.
    MORE
  4. Warlight
    by Michael Ondaatje 'Canada'
    McClelland & Stewart
    May 08, 2018
    FICTION / Literary
    Hardcover

    Description

    From the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of The English Patient: a mesmerizing new novel that tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and two teenagers whose lives are indelibly shaped by their unwitting involvement.

    In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself--shadowed and luminous at once--we read the story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? And what does it mean when the siblings' mother returns after months of silence without their father, explaining nothing, excusing nothing? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn't know and understand in that time, and it is this journey--through facts, recollection, and imagination--that he narrates in this masterwork from one of the great writers of our time.
    MORE
  5. The Witch Elm
    by Tana French
    Viking
    Oct 09, 2018
    FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
    Hardcover

    Description

    Named a New York Times Notable Book of 2018

    “French’s best book. . . Her most intricately nuanced novel yet.” —The New York Times

    A brilliant new work of suspense from "the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years" (Washington Post) and an excellent holiday gift.


    From the writer who "inspires cultic devotion in readers" (The New Yorker) and has been called "incandescent" by Stephen King, "absolutely mesmerizing" by Gillian Flynn, and "unputdownable" (People), comes a gripping new novel that turns a crime story inside out.

    Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who's dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life - he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family's ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden - and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

    A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we're capable of, when we no longer know who we are.
    MORE
  6. The Clockmaker's Daughter
    by Kate Morton
    Atria Books
    Oct 09, 2018
    FICTION / Literary
    Paperback

    Description

    A rich, spellbinding new novel from the author of The Lake House—the story of a love affair and a mysterious murder that cast their shadow across generations, set in England from the 1860s until the present day.

    My real name, no one remembers.
    The truth about that summer, no one else knows.


    In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

    Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

    Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

    Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery, and thievery, of art, love, and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river, is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter.
    MORE
  7. Dear Mrs. Bird
    by AJ Pearce
    Scribner
    Jul 03, 2018
    FICTION / Historical / General
    Hardcover

    Description

    This charming, irresistible debut novel set in London during World War II about a young woman who longs to be a war correspondent and inadvertantly becomes a secret advice columnist is “a jaunty, heartbreaking winner” (People)—for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Lilac Girls.

    Emmeline Lake and her best friend Bunty are doing their bit for the war effort and trying to stay cheerful, despite the German planes making their nightly raids. Emmy dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent, and when she spots a job advertisement in the newspaper she seizes her chance; but after a rather unfortunate misunderstanding, she finds herself typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird, renowned advice columnist of Woman’s Friend magazine.

    Mrs. Bird is very clear: letters containing any Unpleasantness must go straight into the bin. But as Emmy reads the desperate pleas from women who many have Gone Too Far with the wrong man, or can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she begins to secretly write back to the readers who have poured out their troubles.

    “Fans of Jojo Moyes will enjoy AJ Pearce’s debut, with its plucky female characters and fresh portrait of women’s lives in wartime Britain” (Library Journal)—a love letter to the enduring power of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and the courage of ordinary people in extraordinary times. “Headlined by its winning lead character, who always keeps carrying on, Pearce's novel is a delight” (Publishers Weekly). Irrepressibly funny and enormously moving, Dear Mrs. Bird is “funny and poignant…about the strength of women and the importance of friendship” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis).
    MORE
  8. Still Me
    by Jojo Moyes
    Pamela Dorman Books
    Jan 30, 2018
    FICTION / Women
    Hardcover

    Description

    From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Jojo Moyes, a new book featuring her iconic heroine of Me Before You and After You, Louisa Clark. Gift the anticipated final book in the series this holiday.

    Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She steps into the world of the superrich, working for Leonard Gopnik and his much younger second wife, Agnes. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her new job and New York life.

    As she begins to mix in New York high society, Lou meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. Before long, Lou finds herself torn between Fifth Avenue where she works and the treasure-filled vintage clothing store where she actually feels at home. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself: Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you find the courage to follow your heart—wherever that may lead?

    Funny, romantic, and poignant, Still Me follows Lou as she discovers who she is and who she was always meant to be—and learns to live boldly in her brave new world.
    MORE
  9. Split Tooth
    by Tanya Tagaq 'Canada'
    Viking
    Sep 25, 2018
    FICTION / Literary
    Hardcover

    Description

    Longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize

    From the internationally acclaimed Inuit throat singer who has dazzled and enthralled the world with music it had never heard before, a fierce, tender, heartbreaking story unlike anything you've ever read.


    Fact can be as strange as fiction. It can also be as dark, as violent, as rapturous. In the end, there may be no difference between them.

    A girl grows up in Nunavut in the 1970s. She knows joy, and friendship, and parents' love. She knows boredom, and listlessness, and bullying. She knows the tedium of the everyday world, and the raw, amoral power of the ice and sky, the seductive energy of the animal world. She knows the ravages of alcohol, and violence at the hands of those she should be able to trust. She sees the spirits that surround her, and the immense power that dwarfs all of us.

    When she becomes pregnant, she must navigate all this.

    Veering back and forth between the grittiest features of a small arctic town, the electrifying proximity of the world of animals, and ravishing world of myth, Tanya Tagaq explores a world where the distinctions between good and evil, animal and human, victim and transgressor, real and imagined lose their meaning, but the guiding power of love remains.

    Haunting, brooding, exhilarating, and tender all at once, Tagaq moves effortlessly between fiction and memoir, myth and reality, poetry and prose, and conjures a world and a heroine readers will never forget.
    MORE
  10. Nine Perfect Strangers
    by Liane Moriarty
    Flatiron Books
    Nov 06, 2018
    FICTION / Women
    Hardcover

    Description

    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    “If three characters were good inBig Little Lies, nine are even better inNine Perfect Strangers.” —Lisa Scottoline,The New York Times Book Review

    From the #1New York Times bestselling author ofBig Little Lies

    Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out...

    Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

    Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

    It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

    Combining all of the hallmarks that have made her writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Liane Moriarty’sNine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft.

    MORE
View more winners from the archive
Sign up for our mailing list
Something is wrong.
Instagram token error.
Load More