Best of 2018, according to BCPL Staff

Here are 15 titles that the staff of Boone County Public Library loved this year.

  1. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing By Hank Green 
    Katie Widener, Digital Services Librarian: “I loved The lead character, April May. She finds herself at the leading edge of a world wide extraterrestrial event as she is the first person to post a video about the unmovable 10-foot, armor wearing statues that have appeared in major cities all over the word. The book is both a great science fiction first contact story and an interesting look at how social media has changed the hows and whys of fame.”
  2. Two Girls down by Lousia Luna
    Cindy Donaldson, Youth Services: “This a suspense novel kept me turning pages, and the ending didn’t disappoint. I’d like to see more of the detective team from this story.”
  3. Cruel Prince by Holly Black
    Cayla Robinson, Youth Services: “This Young Adult novel focuses on a teen girl who has been raised in a Faerie realm and gets involved in political drama and espionage. It is very good and I highly recommend it!”
  4. Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J Maas
    Taylor Rasor, Youth Services: “Sarah J Maas never lets me down and this book was a mix of action, mystery, and realistic romance. It tackles a few real life issues in the book like PTSD.  I also don’t think you need to be familiar with the Batman universe to enjoy or understand the story.”
  5. The Best Cook In the World: Tales From My Momma’s Table by Rick Bragg
    Vicki Durham, Information Services: “This book encompasses a love & art of practical southern home cooking, passed down from generation to generation. Rick Bragg writes very illustrative chapters on his momma’s recipes, I could smell the biscuits baking as I read!”
  6. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
    Suzanne Yowler, Circulation: “This book is about a seven-year-old girl who is a psychopath. She loves her father and hates her mother. The girl is basically plotting her mother’s death throughout the book. It grabbed me from the beginning. Little Hannah is very creepy and you do not know what she is going to do next. It ended very differently than I expected, but it was still satisfying. It was the author’s debut novel and I can’t wait to see what she does next.”
  7. A Higher Loyalty by James Comey
    Ginger Stapp, Early Literacy Specialist: “Regardless of a person’s perspective on the current political climate, I found Comey’s desire for integrity and rule of law above partisan politics and respect for persons inspiring.  It’s controversial, which made me want to read it for myself. That way I decide what I believe and don’t believe about issues rather than having someone tell me what to think.”
  8. The Overstory by Richard Powers
    Kathleen Piercefield, Circulation: “I’ve read several 2018 books that made a lasting impression, but the one that really topped (pun intended!) them all was, The Overstory. It’s a novel about trees. There are also plenty of humans in the story, and some of them make incredible sacrifices in an effort to protect an old growth forest from destruction, but the true protagonists are the trees themselves. Powers’ tale draws on some of the latest research about trees’ interconnections, with each other and with other species; the science he includes is fascinating and thought provoking. The narrative has a unique structure — initially it appears as a series of unrelated short stories, but as the book progresses, connections are gradually revealed — like the hidden roots that link trees — to bind the disparate parts into a whole.  Loved it!
  9. There There by Tommy Orange
    Kelly Bilz, Local History: “This was my favorite book of 2018! In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I wrote about it in another blog! It featured a cast of complex characters, and the finale was very suspenseful.”
  10. The Witch Elm, by Tana French
    Kathy Driefuss, Technical Services Librarian: “After suffering a brain injury during a burglary at his apartment, Toby goes to stay with his terminally ill uncle Hugo. When a skull is found in a hollow elm tree on Hugo’s property, Toby becomes a suspect. But with his brain injury, he can’t be sure that he’s not responsible.”
  11. How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson
    Julie Bockstiegel, Collection Services:  “I really enjoyed this book. It’s is a sequel to I Don’t Know How She Does It, published in 2002. In the new book, Kate Ready is returning to work after taking some “time out” for being a mom. While trying to find a new job, Kate realizes she is part of the “sandwich generation”, where she has to help with problems her kids, husband and parent/parents-in-law are having. While humorous in tone, there are situations and reflections that really ring true. I listened to the audio version and thought the narrator was excellent.
  12. Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
    Kelley Brandeberry, Information Services: “I can’t pick just one!! I have two nominations for best of 2018!” Every Note Played is a story about a concert pianist who discovers he has ALS and his ex-wife who returns to care for him in his final months. It is a beautiful story–well-written with many layers and complex characters. I know it sounds like the book would be terribly sad (and it is), but it is also uplifting and hopeful as we watch the main characters become better people by the end of the book.
  13. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
    Kelley Brandeberry, Information Services: Spinning Silver is a fantasy novel that follows the lives of three female main characters in a place where winter keeps lasting longer and longer and life keeps getting harder and harder. Each of these women faces different, difficult circumstances, but they use what the have to solve problems and rise above their circumstances. Each of the female protagonists was strong in their own way and became a force for good in terrible circumstances.
  14. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
    Denise Lorson, Circulation: Hannah takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster. I could not put this book down!”
  15.  Karen Helmle, Page Supervisor: “This story of loss and the healing of broken hearts is amazing. Crafted as a fairy tale of sorts, it made me cry!”

5 Warm and Cozy Holiday Picks by BCPL Staff

Boone County Public Library staff members share their favorite Holiday novels that are sure to get you in the spirt!  So build a fire, grab a blanket and snuggle up with a holiday pick from BCPL staff.



Holly Calhoun, Youth Services Circulation Assistant, recommends Twelve Slays of Christmas by author Jacqueline Frost. This Christmas themed cozy mystery takes place in Mistletoe, Maine on a Christmas Tree farm called Reindeer Games.  It is a fun and light mystery read for the holiday that anyone would enjoy.




Micha O’Connor, Youth Services Community Events Liaison, recommends Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris.  It is a volume of short stories covering several holidays, but the entry called “SantaLand Diaries” is by far my favorite.  Chronicling his time as Crumpet the Elf at Macy’s, he first broadcasted the piece on NPR’s This American Life.  He became an overnight success afterwards and this particular work has been adapted into a one-man play now a classic holiday fare in theaters across the country.


Joy Adams, Technical Services Specialist, and Ginger Stapp, Early Literacy Specialist, both recommend Skipping Christmas by John Grisham.  After learning their daughter will not be home for Christmas, a couple decides to skip all the traditions of Christmas and take a tropical vacation instead.  But with an unexpected change, there is a lot of last minute scrambling to make the traditions happen.  The film Christmas with the Kranks, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Tim Allen, is based on this novel.  Both are funny and heart-warming.




Teresa Sayers, Collection Development Manager, recommends The Yule Log Murder which contains stories from veteran mystery authors Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross. They are lighthearted mysteries with appropriately happy holiday endings, and Teresa has really enjoyed them all!



Jennifer Cheek, Public Relations Specialist, recommends the American Classic Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  Although not specifically a holiday story, there is a wonderful chapter that takes place during Christmas after the family has lost their fortune and their father is serving as a chaplain in the Civil War. The sisters are happy to receive the simple gift of a book inscribed by their mother and even donate their Christmas breakfast to a family of immigrants that have very little. It is a wonderful story of simplicity and an amazing family bond that gives you the sense of peace everyone hopes to feel during the holidays.