Hamilton East Public Library logo

My Account

Hours & Location

Get A Library Card

December 17, 2018

Staff Picks of 2018

Staff Picks of 2018

As we end 2018 and start getting ready to welcome 2019, we asked our staff to reflect on the books they’ve read this year. These are their responses and recommendations.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

A woman in New York City makes an extraterrestrial discovery that turns her into an Internet celebrity. While wrapped in a science fiction story, this was an insightful look at the positives and negatives of social media and online connections. I was completely unprepared for how much I enjoyed the well-written debut and would gladly welcome a sequel.

Basketball: A Love Story by Jackie MacMullan, Rafe Bartholomew, Dan Klores

An oral history that covers all time periods of the history of basketball. Many major events are discussed in this book, as well as some unexpected minor stories, making this a comprehensive history of the game. It is perfect for both existing diehards fans and people looking to learn about the sport from scratch.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gaily Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant had a difficult and tragic past. She’s now largely isolated herself and thinks things are perfectly okay in her quiet and very methodical life. A series of events (and a few new people introduced into her life) lead her to realize there is more to be felt in life – more joy, more pain, and more depth as she discovers the complexity of what it means to “be fine”.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Muchado

I have never had such a visceral experience with reading than I did consuming these strange and lovely short stories. I will be reading everything by Muchado now.

Killing the SS by Bill O’Reilly

This was one of my favorites this year. History has always interested me. I enjoyed the read of the book. It felt like an action novel, but it was real.

F5: The Devastating Tornado Outbreak of 1974 by Mark Levine

Stories of humans overcoming calamity has always been something I’ve found fascinating and the outbreak in 1974 was, like the JFK assassination, something I could only know through older adults like my parents. This book really brought it back to life as well as the shortcomings of technology during that time

Educated by Tara Westover 

It begins with her childhood in Idaho with her survivalist parents, and takes her all the way to Cambridge to get a PhD.  Reminded me of Glass Castles.

Because We Are Bad by Lilly Bailey 

Because We Are Bad by Lilly Bailey 

Vividly describes what it is like to live with OCD. More harrowing than it might seem.

Overstory by Richard Powers  

Big book with intersecting stories involving people and trees and life of the planet.

Holding by Graham Norton 

A detective story set in Ireland with engaging characters.

Transcription by Kate Atkinson Young

Transcription by Kate Atkinson Young

A woman becomes a spy for M15 during WWII.

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

When I was little I used to fantasize about living in a lighthouse next to the sea.  I love the illustrations because I felt like I was being transported back in time.

The Bad Food Bible: How and Why to Eat Sinfully by Aaron Carroll

There is so much information in the world of food that it was great to finally find a book that cuts through the hype and hysteria and takes a rational look at the studies scientists have done concerning how our bodies handle things like meat, dairy, alcohol, salt, GMOs, and more. If you have ever felt guilty about what you like to eat and wondered if it’s really as bad as it’s made out to be, let this book give you some perspective. It’s also written by a local Carmel resident who works at IU!

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

I thought the book was so moving because of its portrayal of the intimacies of everyday existence, lifelong friendships, and surviving trauma.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophesies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Although it’s about the apocalypse, it’s incredibly funny and heartwarming. Along with the jokes, it has insights about life that are so true they’ll knock you off your seat.

1,000 Books to Read Before you Die by James Mustich

Years ago I was inspired to do more reading of the “classics,” after seeing a lifetime reading plan.  I made my way through quite a few classic titles, but alas, didn’t keep up the reading.  So, when I saw this book, I was once again inspired to read more widely and see what titles I’ve missed over the years.  I really like the book–it’s a great help in my reader’s advisory work, even if I decide not to read a book.

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

This is a book everyone should read.  Our mortality is a basic fact of life and this offers a thoughtful and kind approach to issues surrounding it.

#Murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil

I am always on the lookout for books that are full of twists, turns, and a bit of macabre. This book hits the spot on all three accounts while also bringing in aspects of modern reality shows and a unique look to dystopian societies that may not be too far off from the future.

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

The audiobook is amazing, but then I love anything read by Steve West. In a world with a Middle Eastern feel, this epic fantasy deals with so many issues—race, politics, relationships—while you run with the characters at breakneck speed.


Dog Rules by Jef Czekaj and The Scariest Book Ever by Bob Shea

Dogs raising a bird and the word “moist” as a scary word… cracked me up!

Back Talk by Danielle Lazarin

A beautiful collection of short stories – all about women. This book will make you think and feel about your own personal experiences as a woman, a mother, a sister and everything in between.

American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee

A heart-breaking true story of American wolves and the people who love them, loathe them and manage them at Yellowstone National Park. I’ve been obsessed with wolves since I was a child and this book grabbed my attention to the very end.