As moms, many of us spend a lot of time reading books to our children and researching the best books for children. It’s incredibly important for their development and helps them become lifelong readers . . . Lifelong readers who read more than just childrens books. We know that when you have some me-time, you’re not exactly looking to curl up with a glass of wine and Goodnight Moon. So, whether it’s chick lit or the latest Pulitzer Prize winner, young adult, or historical fiction, grab something you want to read for you!
Hey, We know you’re busy, but sneaking in an audiobook during a stroller walk or a daily commute might work, or you can read at night before bed, or while trapped under a nursing baby, or you can even just hide with your favorite book in the bathroom.
To that end, here are some of our favorite books of 2018:
Little Fires Everywhere: A Novel
This is the perfect book for moms. It’s is an intricate tale of motherhood, family, heartbreak, and loss, set in the seemingly perfect Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights. It grips you in that can’t-put-it-down kind of way, but it will also make you think about what it means to be a mother and how you might handle it when life doesn’t turn out the way you think it should.
Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel
Okay, this book is a difficult read, but it is an absolute must. It’s a powerful and upsetting portrait of historical and modern-day Mississippi, exploring the long-lasting impact of America’s ugly history of slavery and racism through the story of a 130-year-old Jojo. Jesmyn Ward writes in a beautiful lyrical style that can be confusing at first, but stick with it, and you will be rewarded with a heartbreaking, thought-provoking, gorgeous piece of literature.
The Immortalists: A Novel
I was new to Chloe Benjamin when I picked up The Immortalists, but I’m so glad I did. In this book, she tells the story of four Jewish siblings in New York who go their separate ways after one extraordinary encounter with a fortune-teller. I love books that dedicate sections to each member of a family, showing the world through different eyes, and this is no exception. As each sibling’s story unfolds, you end up with a beautiful and fascinating trip through the ’80s and ’90s in America.
You Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories
I just love Curtis Sittenfeld books. Prep is one of my all-time favorite books and she has an excellent twitter feed. In this book of short stories, Sittenfeld explores what it means to be a woman in 2018 with characters who are funny, brilliant, clueless, and some I’d even call pathetic. The stories feature women struggling with things we all do – parenthood, relationships, friendships, loneliness, but in a witty and poignant way. This is a great read if you aren’t ready to dive into a longer book, and I guarantee you’ll be laughing along with all the things we’re all thinking, but she dares to say.
David Sedaris is just an absolute gem, and this is my favorite book he’s ever written. Each chapter feels like diving straight into his head, as he makes sarcastic and biting observations on the world around us. The chapter on his Fitbit obsession had me absolutely dying, trying to explain it to everyone I knew, but completely failing to capture his dry wit. It’s an excellent choice for your next audiobook.
Unsheltered: A Novel
If you’ve read Flight Behavior or The Poisonwood Bible then you know Barbara Kingsolver is one of the masters. I was so pumped to pick this book up, and it did not disappoint. A story of two families living in the same broken-down house, only 100 years apart, this book will have you captivated. I highly recommend this book if you are ready to dive into a meaty, thoughtful book on the power of community and the dangers of mob mentality.
All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir
In this touching memoir, Nicole Chung describes her experience of being adopted as a baby. The main theme of the book is the exploration of identity, as Chung reconciles her experience as a Korean-American who was adopted by white parents, and also grapples with how her identity might change if she reconnects with her birth family. Equal parts touching and tender, the unique voice of an adoptee telling her own story is a marvel to behold. The story unfolds delicately at first, like a timid flower, and soon blossoms wildly into a commentary on love, loss, motherhood, sisterhood, and cultural identity.
The Hate U Give
In this book, Angie Thomas introduces Starr Carter, a 16-year-old girl who is the only witness to the murder of her childhood best friend by a police officer. The power of this young adult novel is significant, as Smith deftly shines a light on the insidiousness of racism in America. The undercurrent of themes like implicit bias, white privilege, and systematized racism within the justice system run deeply throughout the book. The author examines these complex themes through the character’s own explorations, and Starr becomes the heroine, victim, champion, voice, and light of a movement, all at once. This book is heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and thought-provoking. A must-read.
Nine Perfect Strangers
I love Liane Moriarty books (Big Little Lies, am I right?), and I get excited every time she has a new title out. This one was no exception. Moriarty is the queen of character development; I loved getting to know the many players in this story. Plus, the story itself is interesting, strange, and complex. I loved it in the way that makes me stay up WAY too late to finish, rendering the next day a complete waste, if that tells you anything.
Educated: A Memoir
This book was recommended to me by no less than 5 reputable sources before I finally picked it up, and I’m so, so glad I did. It’s a compelling and heart-wrenching true story of a girl growing up in a survivalist family in the mountains of Idaho and her eventual path to education. I had this one on my mind for a long while after I finished – one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read.
The Great Alone: A Novel
After the Nightingale, I knew I had to read more books from Kristin Hannah, so I jumped on this book when it first showed up on the shelves. Told from the perspective of 13-year-old Leni, it is a painful, intense look at life with an unpredictable and struggling family, compounded by their move to the Alaskan frontier, and all the trials that come with it as winter approaches. It is a long and difficult, but worthwhile read!
The Woman in the Window: A Novel
I love a good memoir as much as anyone, but every once in a while I require a quick and riveting thriller as a palate cleanser of sorts. This book piqued my interest early with a mysterious unknown backstory and kept it right until the end as the author carefully revealed each unknown one by one. In mystery books, I’m looking for unpredictability, a healthy dose of “ok, I’m super creeped out rn,” and a killer ending. This book was a trifecta.
Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say
I am ride or die for Kelly Corrigan books, and her latest, (“stories about the 12 hardest things I’m learning to say”) is pure gold. I laughed, I cried A LOT, and I felt changed. She speaks directly to motherhood, friendship, boundaries, saying no, being a woman, and 1000 other topics I relate to wholeheartedly. She has a profound ability to take a thing I feel regularly and speak it in a way that I never would have thought to – and it’s a true gift of a read.
There you have it, Denver Moms’ favorite books of 2018!
Happy reading, moms! We hope you enjoy our recommendations – and feel free to sound off with your own 2018 favorites in the comments. We wish you a 2019 filled with similar opportunities to escape into good books, however difficult they are to come by – you’ve earned it!
*compiled by Jeni Anderson and Megan Geherin