These Are the 20 Most-Read Books of 2018, and They’re Surprisingly Uplifting

As a self-proclaimed bibliophile, I must admit: there’s truly nothing better than picking up a stack of new books and diving into a totally different world for a few hours.

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However — just like when you finish the last episode of a really great Netflix show — being in between books and not knowing what to read next can be one of the most frustrating situations one can find themselves in.

Thankfully for bibliophiles and occasional readers alike, Amazon has made it easy to find something new and exciting to read. Their list of the top 20 books released between January and June 2018 was curated by a team of Amazon book editors and includes everything from true crime and thrillers to self help and romance.

RELATED: Here Are 11 of the Best Self-Development Books of All Time

Highlights include I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, a first hand account of a true crime journalist, determined to find “the Golden State Killer” — which she fulfilled earlier this year! — and How to Change Your Mind, an investigation into the science behind psychedelic drugs and experiences, just to name a few.

If you’re looking for a zeitgeisty read or want to get a head start on your holiday shopping, we’ve laid out the entire list below.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

When the Holocaust was mentioned in a history class, Tara Westover  didn’t know what it was (no, really). That’s because she didn’t see the inside of a classroom until the age of seventeen. For those of us who took our educations for granted, who occasionally fell asleep in large lecture halls, it’s hard to grasp the level of grit required to pull off what Westover did. Educated is an inspiring reminder that knowledge is, indeed, power. — Erin Kodicek, Amazon Book Review
>> See it on Amazon.com

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

In Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone, a damaged vet named Ernt Allbright returns from Vietnam and moves his family to the wilds of Alaska to start their lives anew. Initially it’s a welcome change, but as winter approaches, and Ernt’s mental state deteriorates, his wife and daughter find themselves in an increasingly precarious position. Leni and Cora are the heart of what is as much a mother-daughter love story as it is a pressure cooker of a page-turner  — Erin Kodicek, Amazon Book Review
>> See it on Amazon.com

The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson

Strange niches of history. Obsessives who refuse to adhere to the law. A writer who stumbles upon a story that becomes an obsession in its own right. All these elements combust to create Johnson’s investigation into the theft of 299 rare bird skins from a British natural history museum. While bird skins might sound like (ahem) dry reading, Johnson knows just how to fascinate the reader, plunging with vigor into exotic bird exploration, the crackdown on rare bird trafficking, and the insular world of fly-tying enthusiasts, all of which lead, almost inevitably, to the theft from the Tring Museum. — Adrian Liang, Amazon Book Review
>> See it on Amazon.com

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Finn’s protagonist Anna Fox is a child psychologist who lives alone in a New York suburb with a case of agoraphobia so debilitating she hasn’t left the house in months. It’s all very innocuous until she sees a horrible crime take place in the house across the park, recently inhabited by a new family. Call the police and report it, right? Things are a little more complicated for Anna—exacerbated by her routine consumption of prescription drugs with a lot of wine. In the gap of time since Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train we’ve been asking ourselves, when will we find the next big must-read psychological thriller? I think A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window answers that question. — Seira Wilson, Amazon Book Review
>> See it on Amazon.com

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao

The debut novelist who has everyone talking this spring….The blurb on the cover of Shobha Rao’s Girls Burn Brighter uses a very particular and descriptive phrase by fellow author Charlie Jane Anders to describe what happens after reading the book: ‘Heart shards everywhere.’ If truer words have ever been spoken about the way a novel made us feel, we’d be hard-pressed to find them. — Entertainment Weekly
>> See it on Amazon.com

The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú

When the political rhetoric around the complex, ruggedly beautiful and scarred U.S.-Mexico borderlands is reduced to talk of a 30-foot concrete wall, it’s time to take a more nuanced look at our southern border…The Line Becomes a River veers away from propaganda and stereotypes and into the wild deserts and mountains, and, especially, the hearts and minds of the people who traverse the increasingly militarized borderlands. — The Wall Street Journal
>> See it on Amazon.com

The Electric Woman by Tessa Fontaine

An assured debut that doesn’t shy away from the task of holding the ordinary and otherworldly in its hand, at once. It’s herein that the book’s power lies . . . Throughout this narrative is the story of [Fontaine’s] relationship with her mother, a story that is sometimes its own hard-to-watch sideshow act. Fontaine is unafraid to write the ugliness ― the imperfect care and love ― that takes place between people, and the memoir is most ‘electric’ when it doesn’t shy from that imperfection. — Rachel Khong, The New York Times Book Review
>> See it on Amazon.com

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Adeyemi keeps it fresh with an all-black cast of characters, a meaningful emphasis on fighting for justice, a complex heroine saving her own people, and a brand of magic made more powerful by the strength of heritage and ancestry. Perfect for fans of the expansive fantasy worlds of Leigh Bardugo, Daniel Jose´ Older, and Sabaa Tahir. — Booklist, Starred Review
>> See it on Amazon.com

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin


Chloe Benjamin is a novelist to watch….The Immortalists weaves together philosophy and fortune-telling, to great effect….As deft and dizzying as a high-wire act…the reader is beguiled with unexpected twists and stylish, crisp prose….Unwittingly, this ambitious, unorthodox tale may change you too. — The Economist
>> See it on Amazon.com

There There by Tommy Orange

There There is a miraculous achievement, a book that wields ferocious honesty and originality in service of telling a story that needs to be told. This is a novel about what it means to inhabit a land both yours and stolen from you, to simultaneously contend with the weight of belonging and unbelonging. There is an organic power to this book – a revelatory, controlled chaos. Tommy Orange writes the way a storm makes landfall. —Omar El Akkad, author of American War
>> See it on Amazon.com

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

What readers need to know—what makes this book so special—is that it deals with two obsessions, one light and one dark. The Golden State Killer is the dark half; Michelle McNamara’s is the light half. It’s a journey into two minds, one sick and disordered, the other intelligent and determined. I loved this book. — Stephen King
>> See it on Amazon.com

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

Sittenfeld makes writing lively and diverting fiction look easy, though each deceptively simple and breezy story is masterfully paced and crafted… Witty and buoyant, Sittenfeld delivers her characters to her audience with bemused perspicacity and above all affection… Sittenfeld proves adept at quickly establishing characters in whom the reader feels inclined to invest immediately. — Chicago Tribune
>> See it on Amazon.com

Circe by Madeline Miller

One of the most amazing qualities of this novel is: We know how everything here turns out – we’ve known it for thousands of years – and yet in Miller’s lush reimagining, the story feels harrowing and unexpected. The feminist light she shines on these events never distorts their original shape; it only illuminates details we hadn’t noticed before. — Ron Charles, Washington Post
>> See it on Amazon.com

The Overstory by Richard Powers

A big, ambitious epic….Powers juggles the personal dramas of his far-flung cast with vigor and clarity. The human elements of the book―the arcs his characters follow over the decades from crusading passion to muddled regret and a sense of failure―are thoroughly compelling. So are the extra-human elements, thanks to the extraordinary imaginative flights of Powers’s prose, which persuades you on the very first page that you’re hearing the voices of trees as they chide our species. — Michael Upchurch, Boston Globe
>> See it on Amazon.com

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

An intricate and absorbing novel… This is a book rich with detail. The reader is bound to be conscious of a hidden ballast of research, the seven-eighths of the iceberg without which the thing would founder, but so deft is the writing that you forget this, simply appreciating the meticulous background that brings alive a time and a place. — Penelope Lively, The New York Times Book Review
>> See it on Amazon.com

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson

These four stories rank with Johnson’s best work, but the title story, a catalogue of singular moments related by a man who tells us he’s passing through life as if it were a masquerade, ranks with the best fiction published by any American writer during this short century. — New York
>> See it on Amazon.com

How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

Sweeping and often thrilling….It is to Pollan’s credit that, while he ranks among the best of science writers, he’s willing, when necessary, to abandon that genre’s fixation on materialist explanation as the only path to understanding. One of the book’s important messages is that the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics, for the dying or seriously ill, can’t be separated from the mystical experiences to which they give rise. — The Guardian
>> See it on Amazon.com

Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley

The brilliant and ever-relatable Sloane Crosley… is back in this new book of hilarious and heartfelt essays… Full of humor and insight, Look Alive Out There is a must-read collection from one of the true modern masters of the form. — Bustle
>> See it on Amazon.com

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

McLain’s strengths as a novelist are formidable, especially her ability to evoke a strong sense of time and place. . . . This novel is important not only as historical fiction but also as a reminder of the challenges that faced career-minded women such as Gellhorn in the mid-twentieth century. . . . McLain is also a master at ending chapters that make you want to turn the page and see what happens next. — Houston Chronicle
>> See it on Amazon.com

God Save Texas by Lawrence Wright

The most entertaining and edifying nonfiction book I’ve read so far this year…There’s a jaw-dropping portrait on the shocking shenanigans of the Texas legislature; hymns to the natural beauty in the state’s far-flung nooks and crannies, and a spot-on analysis of Texas’s boom and bust economy… Wright is a rare beast: an elegant writer and a fearless reporter, with a sense of humor as dry as the plains of west Texas. — Mary Ann Gwinn, The Seattle Times
>> See it on Amazon.com


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