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Rachel’s Reads – December 2018

As the holidays loom and the end of 2018 draws near, this period of time seems like an especially good one to reflect upon the year gone by and the wonderful books that I read. Since this time is filled with “best of” book lists, or the option to vote in the Goodreads Choice Awards, I decided to create my own “best of” list this year which was infinitely more difficult than I thought it would be. Book nerd that I am, I have kept spreadsheets of all of the books I have read over the course of every year since 2013. Each year, I add new columns: year published, country of origin, number of pages, and more to expand my reading base. For my 2018 “best of” list, the year published column has been a large boon while attempting to compile this list. 

Picking all of the books wasn’t an option, so I tried to limit myself to 10, five fiction and five non-fiction, but I only managed to cut my list down to 12. Here are my favorite books of 2018: 


  • She Would be King by Wayétu Moore
  • Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori
  • Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • Florida by Lauren Groff
  • Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday


  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung
  • Wade in the Water by Tracy K. Smith
  • Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot
  • Feel Free by Zadie Smith
  • How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee

Of course, there are many books that I didn’t get to this year, including (but definitely not limited to) Becoming by Michelle Obama, Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs, Severance by Ling Ma, and Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, but I hope to get to them next year. I would love to hear about some of your favorite books of the year, by emailing me at rachel@kcindependent.com. In the spirit of all the voting, I would love to share our subscribers’ choices for best books of 2018 in my January column. 

Happy Reading!


Rachel became the publisher of The Independent in March of 2017 and then married her husband Jake in May. Their goldendoodle Einstein joined the family last year. Rachel is an avid reader and loves to share book recommendations. (Don’t miss her column, Rachel’s Reads in the Magazine!) She can always be found with a book nearby, especially while traveling (another of her favorite things).


Bailey Pianalto Photography


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