The 18 Best Books Of 2018

It was an incredible year for amazing reads. Here are best memoirs, thrillers, novels and non-fiction books of the year.
By Kerry Clare
The 18 Best Books Of 2018

Whenever anyone gets too down on 2018 and all its respective tragedies and disappointments, it’s important to note that this was a year that delivered some incredible reading. New releases by Kate Atkinson and Rachel Cusk were highlights, plus non-fiction by Susan Orlean, Tara Westover and a certain former first lady. It was an incredible year for women’s writing and books that challenge feminism in fascinating ways. And while it’s a testament to the 2018 publishing year that we could make a list of its best books that goes on forever, we’ve capped it at 18 to keep things from being too extravagant. A combination of bestsellers, award-winners, binge-worthy and groundbreaking, these are the books we won’t forget.

Best Books of 2018

A Daughter’s Journey

All Things Consoled
by Elizabeth Hay

Long considered one of Canada’s best-loved novelists, Hay has earned many accolades — including the Writers’ Trust Hilary Weston Award for Nonfiction — for this candid and thoughtful memoir about caring for her elderly parents during their final years. It’s a deeply poignant and singular story that many readers will be able to relate to.
$32, Penguin Random House.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

We’ll Always Have Paris

French Exit by Patrick DeWitt

The award-winning DeWitt, whose The Sisters Brothers was released as a movie this fall, makes a shift away from historical and male-dominated stories in this contemporary novel starring a 65-year-old widow. Shortlisted for the Scotiabank-Giller Prize, French Exit is the madcap and charming tale of a bankrupt socialite and her adult son who make one last break for the City of Lights. $23, House of Anansi Press.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

No Pointless Niceties

Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology
edited by Meaghan Strimas and Priscila Uppal

“I don’t have time for pointless/ niceties./ I call a spade a spade./ Besides, I can always blame/ my medication when it comes/ right down to it,” writes Priscila Uppal, poet, fiction writer, professor and — along with Meaghan Strimas — editor of this anthology of poems about cancer by some of Canada’s best poets, published shortly after Uppal’s death in September.
$20, Mansfield Press.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

Intersectionality in Practice

Can We All Be Feminists?
edited by June Eric-Udorie

Just 20-years-old, British-Nigerian Eric-Udorie is already an accomplished writer and activist, and adds this stellar anthology of essays to her list of achievements. With contributions about race, disability, gender, religion, culture and more, these essayists (including Brit Bennett, author of 2016 bestseller The Mothers) show they not ready to give up on feminism just yet, but instead are daring to ask more of it.
$22, Penguin Random House.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

Stories for Our Times

by Lauren Groff

Groff — whose Fates and Furies was Barack Obama’s favourite book of 2015 — returns with this powerful collection of short stories that perfectly articulates our age of anxiety and dread when it comes to such things as economic precariousness and climate change — plus alligators and sinkholes.
$36, Penguin Random House.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

An Extraordinary Journey

Washington Black
by Esi Edugyen

Edugyen follows up her award-winning novel, Half-Blood Blues, with this perfect book club pick, a sweeping tale set in the 1800s about a young field slave and the transformative relationship that opens his life up to the extraordinary. Washington Black was nominated for the Man Booker Prize and has delivered Edugyen her second Scotiabank-Giller win.
$34, HarperCollins.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

The Title Doesn’t Lie

by Claudia Dey

Consider yourself warned: this strange and bewitching second novel by playwright/fashion designer Dey will indeed break your heart, but it will also send your heart soaring as you root for Pony Darlene and Billie Jean Fontaine, the most amazing mother-daughter duo in recent literary history.
$23, HarperCollins.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

A Novel for the #MeToo Era

The Red Word
by Sarah Henstra

Henstra’s novel about rape culture, 1990s’ sexual politics on university campuses, and the limits and culpability of feminism is not a breezy read, but it’s an engrossing and necessary one that has proven timely — and was awarded this year’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction.
$20, ECW Press.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

Pride and Prejudice Retold

Ayesha At Last 
by Uzma Jalalludin

Jane Austen’s novel has been adapted many times — there’s been a P.D. James-authored sequel, baby board books, even one with zombies. But this new take — set in a Muslim community in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough as marriages are arranged, heroines are headstrong and true love manages to prevail — is deliciously readable and in a class by itself.
$23, HarperCollins.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

The Limits of Love

An Ocean of Minutes
by Thea Lim

Set against a flu pandemic in a 1981 where time travel is possible, Polly’s boyfriend agrees to wait for her when she travels into the future and work to fund his medical care, but what does it mean to wait for a lover who might never arrive? Lim’s debut novel is haunting and gorgeous, and was a Giller finalist.
$25, Penguin Random House.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

Survival and Resilience

Heart Berries: A Memoir
by Therese Marie Mailhot

Mailhot’s raw and beautiful memoir — written as a record of her traumatic coming-of-age and letters to her partner as she is hospitalized for PTSD and depression — is one of the most talked-about books of the year. Shortlisted for both the Governor General’s Award and the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Award for Nonfiction, it’s a stigma-defying story of resilience and survival from collective traumas including colonization, poverty, and sexual abuse.
$25, Doubleday Canada.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

Delightfully Weird

Convenience Store Woman
by Sayaka Murata

An international bestseller, this novel tells the story of a misfit who comes to terms with her eccentricities through her job at a convenience store, which provides her with a script for human interaction and a place in society. And when friends and family start insisting she find a proper job or get married, she finds a remarkable way of staying true to herself.
$30, Grove Atlantic Publishing.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

Coming to a Theatre Near You

by Iain Reid

Reid’s first novel, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, is being adapted for film by Charlie Kaufman, and rights have already been snapped up for Foe, released in August. And it’s easy to see why: it’s a strange and affecting story about a couple who live on an isolated farm, which makes it all even more disturbing when a visitor arrives with a proposal that’s about to change their lives.
$17, Simon & Schuster.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

21st Century Feminism

by Elizabeth Renzetti

“Be large. Be as large as you’d like to be. Take up room that is yours. Spread into every crack and corner and wide plain of this magnificent world,” writes Globe and Mail journalist Renzetti in this inspiring collection of essays born from decades of thinking and writing about feminism. Her topics include workplace sexual harassment, challenges for women in politics, profiles of fascinating women she’s interviewed, and the necessity for feminism to make space for new voices.
$23, House of Anansi Press.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

Apocalypse Now

Moon of the Crusted Snow
by Waubgeshig Rice

Imagine an isolated norther Indigenous community on the cusp of winter, then the phones go dead and the electricity flickers out. What has happened to the world outside, and even more pressing — how will the community make it through the season? Rice’s third fiction release has received rave reviews and is a gripping and deeply meaningful read.
$18, ECW Press.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

Powerful Voices

Women Talking
by Miriam Toews

Toews’ latest is a subversive and challenging work about a group of women trying to decide how to deal with sexual violence in their community. “There’s no plot, we’re only women talking,” one of them explains in the novel’s slyest sentence, but the reader discovers there’s nothing more powerful than women in conversation, even — and especially — if they don’t always agree.
$30, Knopf Canada.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

Fueled by Fury

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger
by Rebecca Traister

Following the 2016 American election — as women rallied in pussy hats, were disproportionate among lawyers rushing to airports to counter the Muslim ban, and were rare exceptions countering Republican measures in Senate and Congress — Rebecca Traister noticed that angry women were changing the world. Turns out they’ve long been catalysts for change, but always without credit, because of how female anger gets discounted. In the devourable and emboldening Good and Mad, women’s rage is finally taken seriously.
$36, Simon & Schuster.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018

She Does It Her Way

Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography
by Andrea Warner

Buffy Sainte-Marie is a legend who is finally receiving her due with this fascinating and inspiring biography by Andrea Warner that tells the story of Sainte-Marie’s six decades (so far!) in music, as well as her experiences as an innovator and an activist.
$36, Greystone Books.

The 18 Best Books Of 2018


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