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The best books of 2018: Reads by Michelle Obama, David Sedaris and more

This past year was a great one in reading, especially if you were looking for an escape. A slew of excellent new titles made it nearly impossible to keep up with what everyone else on the subway was reading, so we have rounded up some of our favorite new books this year to catch up on before 2019’s new crop of must-reads hits shelves. 

'Becoming' by Michelle Obama

'Becoming' By Michelle Obama This sales-record-breaking memoir by
Photo Credit: Crown

This sales-record-breaking memoir by the former first lady is more than 400 pages of storytelling (plus personal photos!) at its best, including anecdotes of her upbringing on Chicago's South Side, compelling family history, and plenty of relatable, personal details that tell the story of how Michelle Robinson came to be the woman the world knows her as today.

'An American Marriage' by Tayari Jones

'An American Marriage' By Tayari Jones A novel
Photo Credit: HarperCollins Publishers

A novel that perhaps raises more timely questions than it answers, Jones' latest book makes for great fodder and debate as this long, confusing year comes to a close. Two newlyweds, Celestial and Roy, are suddenly separated when Roy is accused of rape and incarcerated for years. The couple navigate their relationship, families, careers and the American justice system in a beautifully written story that's even worth a reread before 2018 comes to a close.

'The Great Believers' by Rebecca Makkai

'The Great Believers' By Rebecca Makkai Spanning the
Photo Credit: Viking

Spanning the 1980s through today, Makkai's novel portrays the long-lasting reach and depth of the AIDS crisis, starting with a Chicago art gallerist, Yale, whose friends continue to die from the seemingly inescapable epidemic. Decades later, the younger sibling of one of Yale's deceased friends, Fiona, searches for her estranged daughter in Paris, piecing together how the disease truly impacted her and her family's lives.

'The Shortest Way Home' by Miriam Parker

'The Shortest Way Home' By Miriam Parker In
Photo Credit: Dutton

In a year plagued by ceaseless push alerts and plenty of challenging news, Parker's debut novel was a welcome, sunny California escape from reality. Hannah, a recent business school grad, decides on a whim to forgo the high-paying corporate job waiting for her in Manhattan and work at a family winery at Sonoma — a decision that may have plenty of New Yorkers rolling their eyes until you are page-turning with a glass of Pinot in hand.

'Calypso' by David Sedaris

'Calypso' By David Sedaris There's no such thing
Photo Credit: Little, Brown Company

There's no such thing as a bad David Sedaris book, but this latest collection of stories and essays may be one of his best. Fans who know his family members by name will appreciate the deeper dives into his relationship with his father, siblings and partner Hugh, about whom Sedaris pens a touching (but still humorous, of course) reflection on the legalization of same-sex marriage in this relationship-focused book.

'You Think It, I'll Say It' by Curtis Sittenfeld

'You Think It, I'll Say It' By Curtis
Photo Credit: Random House

Sittenfeld's first collection of short stories are more satisfying than online stalking, in that they closely follow the lives of contemporary Americans. From seemingly mundane interactions following the 2016 election to the way in which fame and social media can complicate domestic lives, Sittenfeld writes on themes we all think about, but may rarely speak about, in concise yet memorable stories.

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