2018 Booklist Editors’ Choice & Top of the List Announced!

2018 Booklist Editors' Choice & Top of the List

After months of deliberation, the Booklist editors have finally announced their 2018 Editors’ Choice lists and their selections for the best of the best—Top of the List! This is an exclusive sneak peak from Booklist’s January 1&15 issue which will be available on January 10th. It has been a wonderful year in reading and reviewing. Enjoy!


Booklist Top of the List, 2018

Adult Nonfiction

 The Library Book, by Susan Orlean (Simon & Schuster)

When creative nonfiction virtuoso Orlean first visited Los Angeles’ Central Library, she was “transfixed.” Then she learned about the 1986 fire, which many believed was deliberately set and which destroyed or damaged more than one million books and shut the library down for seven years. Intrigued, Orlean embarked on an all-points research quest, resulting in this kaleidoscopic and riveting mix of true crime, history, biography, and immersion journalism. . . . Probing, prismatic, witty, dramatic, and deeply appreciative, Orlean’s chronicle celebrates libraries as sanctuaries, community centers, and open universities run by people of commitment, compassion, creativity, and resilience.‌ read more→


Adult Fiction

 The Mars Room, by Rachel Kushner (Scribner)

In smart, determined, and vigilant Romy Hall, Kushner has created a seductive narrator of tigerish intensity. . . . As Romy takes measure of the dangerously byzantine dynamics of the women’s correctional facility, Kushner brings forth commanding, contradictory characters habitually abused by the so-called justice system, which is rendered as both diabolical and ludicrous, poisoned by racism, sexism, and class biases, its rules cleverly subverted by inmates seizing dignity, self-­expression, and enterprise. . . . Executed with artistry and edgy wit, Kushner’s dramatic and disquieting novel investigates with verve and compassion societal strictures and how very difficult it is to understand each other and to be truly free.‌ read more→


Adult Audio

 Circe, by Madeline Miller. Read by Perdita Weeks (Hachette)

Circe, daughter of the Greek sun god, Helios, threatens the Titans with her witchcraft and is banished to a solitary life on a remote island. Narrator Weeks raises this eloquent reimagining to new heights with her stunning performance. Weeks inhabits Circe in Miller’s intimate first-person retelling; like Circe’s, her voice mesmerizes as she casts a spell on listeners in her seductive alto. . . . A compelling tale that has it all—treachery, monsters, gods, and heroes—splendidly, memorably told.‌ read more→


Youth Nonfiction

 Hey, Kiddo, by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Illus. by the author (Scholastic/Graphix)

In this deeply vulnerable, moving graphic memoir, Krosoczka recounts his sometimes troubled childhood . . . his gradually developing love for making art and comics. . . . Krosoczka’s brushy, expressive artwork, incorporating snippets of his childhood drawings and letters, beautifully conveys the difficult circumstances of his upbringing. There’s a tender quality to his graceful line work and muted color palette, which adds to the compassionate way he depicts his family. . . . There have been a slew of graphic memoirs published for youth in the past couple of years, but the raw, confessional quality and unguarded honesty of Krosoczka’s contribution sets it apart from the crowd.‌ read more→


Youth Fiction

 Blood Water Paint, by Joy McCullough (Dutton)

McCullough’s exquisite debut, a novel in verse, follows the heartbreaking but inspiring true story of gifted Roman painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Raised since she was 12 solely by her volatile, abusive, and less talented artist father, Artemisia spends her days as her father’s apprentice, grinding pigments and completing most of his commissions. . . . With dazzling surrealist overtones, McCullough manages to vividly capture a singularly brave, resilient feminist who became an icon during a time when women had almost no agency. Her story and the stunning verse in which it is told will resonate just as strongly with readers today. A captivating and impressive book about a timeless heroine.‌ read more→


Youth Picture Book

 Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein, by Linda Bailey. Illus. by Júlia Sardà (Tundra)

Bailey relates Shelley’s childhood, rebellious adolescence, and participation in the now-famous writing competition that spawned the mad Dr. Frankenstein and his monster as a fantastic story in its own right. Her writing is warm and inclusive, posing occasional questions directly to the reader and establishing Shelley as a spirited dreamer. No less astonishing are Sardà’s folk art–style illustrations, which employ deep, moody hues—burgundy, plum, black, gray, and midnight blue—to create hauntingly detailed scenes. Ghostly monsters waft through people’s imaginations; dense trees lean and reach their branches toward Shelley’s passing carriage; a dead frog sits upright when zapped with electricity.‌ read more→


Youth Audio

 Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi. Read by Bahni Turpin

In Orïsha, the fate of magic and the now-oppressed maji, the white-haired people who practice it, are in the hands of Zélie; her brother, Tzain; and Princess Amari. The three teens risk their lives on a perilous adventure to overthrow evil, magic-eradicating King Saran, discovering along the way that they must not only face their enemies but also their deepest fears. Talented narrator Turpin’s reading amplifies Adeyemi’s creativity and attention to detail. Through her authentic pronunciations and musical chants, she immerses listeners in the Orïshan culture and fantasy realm and allows characters’ powerful emotions to drive the book’s action.‌ read more→


Booklist Editors’ Choice, 2018

Our editors have selected the following titles as representative of the year’s outstanding books and media for public library collections. To see our full lists of Editors’ Choice titles, hyperlinked to their Booklist reviews, please follow the links below.

Adult Books, 2018

Audio for Adults, 2018

Adult Books for Young Adults, 2018

Books for Youth, 2018

Audio for Youth, 2018





About the Author:

Michael Ruzicka, Office Manager, was raised in suburban Los Angeles, received a BA in Creative Writing/Poetry at UC Santa Cruz, then moved to Birmingham, AL, where he spent five years owning an independent bookstore and earned an MLIS. He has brought his librarian skills to Vanderbilt’s Television News Archive, Battle Ground Academy, The Museum of Contemporary Art-Chicago, and the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Michael is very excited to be a part of Booklist and call Chicago his home.

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