TRL Staff Picks: The Best Books We Read in 2018

TRL Staff Picks: The Best Books We Read in 2018


Trails Regional Library’s staff favorites and reviews. This list includes our personal favorites, and not all of them are from 2018. These are the best books we read this year.





by Min Jin Lee


I loved reading Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. It was a pick for my book club, and I found the sweeping historical fiction set in Korea and Japan fascinating as both a history lesson and as a generational saga.


Recommended by Sara E.




Behind Closed Doors

by B.A. Paris


The friends of a seemingly perfect socialite couple begin to see cracks in the façade when they realize that the husband and wife are never apart and that there are bars on one of the couple's upstairs windows.


Recommended by Rochelle M.




Purposed Based Library

by John Huber


Packed with boots-on-the-ground commentary, this book presents strategies to help libraries survive and succeed.


Recommended by Rochelle M.




The Great Alone

by Kristin Hannah  


A young girl moves to a small town Alaska with her mom and dad, (who has some PTSD demons). They think they are escaping, but soon realize the trials and tribulations of moving that far north; especially in the winter. This book revolves around the girl, Leni, and all her struggles with her family life, personal life, social life, and so many other aspects. I laughed, cried, freaked out with her, yelled at her stupidity and then wanted so badly to hug her in the end. Kristin Hannah did an amazing job of putting the reader in the character's shoes. This book stayed with me long after I finished.


Recommended by Jeanna R.




by Madeline Miller


A great mythology retelling! Circe is the daughter of Zeus, god of the sun. He has many children, but Circe is not like any of the others and is considered an outcast. Circe discovers that she possesses a talent in the power of  'witchcraft'. Zeus feels threatened by her knowledge and talent and he banishes her to a deserted island where she resides for thousands of years. Many gods, demigods, and mortals cross her path in that time and the book retells the story of Circe is a way that readers can connect and keep the many, MANY mythological characters straight.


Recommended by Jeanna R.



The Nightingale

by Kristin Hannah


Set in France during the German occupation of WWII, the story is about the lives of two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, who struggle to survive during the darkest of times, under the harshest and most brutal conditions. The author skillfully paints a stark picture showing the extreme differences between the ways each sister manages to cope. The unimaginable hardships they endure are described in excruciating detail, making this reader cringe in fear and revulsion while ensuring that said reader will not stop reading. This is now one of my favorite books of all time. It is historical fiction, real-life, heartache, terror, love, and forgiveness all wrapped up in a story that you will not want to put down until you make it to the final page. And then you will want more.


Recommended by Laura P.



How to Be a Perfect Christian

By The Babylon Bee


A tongue-in-cheek jab at 'popular' Christianity. Really gives the rest of Christianity something to think about.


Recommended by Paul L.




Owls in the Family

By Farley Mowat


I just finished reading Owl in the Family to my grandson for a bedtime story.  It's always a fun one. We just started Mowat's The Dog Who Wouldn't Be.


Recommended by Paul L.




Star Bright: A Christmas Story

by Alison McGhee and Peter H. Reynolds


This book will delight both young and old. The story of the birth of Christ is retold from the perspective of the newest angel. It is sure to be a crowd-pleaser with its beautiful watercolor illustrations and a heartwarming suspenseful ending. This read is sure to become a holiday favorite.

Recommended by Regina L.




A Very Large Expanse of Sea

by Tahereh Mafi


A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi was such an eye-opener for me. It is a YA novel described by the author as "inspired by her own experiences with love, hate, and breakdancing."


Recommended by Debbie K.




The Flight Attendant

by Chris Bohjalian


Reading The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian is as compelling as watching a train wreck. You'll find you "can't look away" from reading about the appalling behavior of the binge-drinking, promiscuous flight attendant as she continues to incriminate herself in the days following the discovery of a dead body in her Dubai hotel room.


Recommended by Carol N.



The Amish Clockmaker

by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner


The one book that made an impact on me was The Amish Clockmaker by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner. It's the third in a series and it was not the light read I was expecting. The story reminded me why I read in the first place with its unflinching and compassionate examination of beliefs, judgment, and forgiveness.


Recommended by Michelle T.



Before We Were Yours

by Lisa Wingate


Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.


Recommended by Kim H.



Ten Days in a Mad-House

by Nellie Bly


In 1887, Nellie Bly went undercover for the New York World newspaper by feigning insanity to investigate conditions at the Blackwell's Island insane asylum.


Recommended by Kim H.