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VB's Best of 2018: Fiction

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Looking for a great winter read or a gift for the reader on your list? Here are a few of our booksellers' favorite fiction books of 2018. Happy reading!


Circe by Madeline Miller

I absolutely loved Miller’s imagining of the witch Circe from The Odyssey. Her story, spanning a thousand years or more, felt so relatable to the world today. It's one of those books where you want to stop and savor every sentence; it is written so beautifully.  ~ Recommended by Lauren

For the expert on mythology and for the newcomer alike, Miller takes us on quite a ride, showing a side of the famous witch Circe we have never seen before. ~ Recommended by Hana

As someone who studied classics for years, I'm incredibly picky about stories based on ancient history and mythology, but Miller's stupendous story telling skills illustrate everything that made me love those stories and legends in the first place. Once I began this book I couldn't put it down! ~ Recommended by Hayden


French Exit by Patrick deWitt 

The (fictional) mother-son version of Grey Gardens leaves the house. Well, the continent actually. ~ Recommended by Diana


The Overstory by Richard Powers

Powers, in my opinion, is the most powerful living writer in America and this masterpiece is breathtakingly, heartbreakingly gorgeous. ~ Recommended by Joan


My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

On the surface, the unnamed narrator of this novel is privileged, ungrateful, and insufferable. But Moshfegh unfolds her trauma and loneliness so subtly, you may find yourself unprepared for the depth and impact of the gorgeous conclusion. ~ Recommended by Stephanie

Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart

You may not have realized that a satirical send-up of the road-trip-self-discovery genre was sorely needed, but Lake Success is so pitch-perfect and razor sharp that I cannot imagine another book surpassing it. ~ Recommended by Stephanie

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

A totally absorbing character-driver novel in the tradition of A Little Life and The Heart's Invisible Furies, The Great Believers is the perfect combination of masterful and accessible. ~ Recommended by Stephanie

How to Be Famous by Caitlin Moran

A hilarious and bold follow up to How to Build a Girl, it also works as a stand-alone book. It's a coming-of-age story that busts every genre, and everyone should read it. ~ Recommended by Stephanie

If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim

Historical fiction fans should be flocking to this beautiful novel set in South Korea between 1951 and 1957. ~ Recommended by Stephanie

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

Kushner always delivers strong literary fiction, and The Mars Room is no exception. The subject matter is heavy, but the writing is thoughtful and solidifies the arrival of one of the top modern fiction writers. ~ Recommended by Stephanie

The Pisces by Melissa Broder

Packed with extremely flawed, undignified, realistic, anxious, unladylike female characters and totally dysfunctional attempts at romance, you will either love this book or be extremely uncomfortable. Or both. ~ Recommended by Stephanie

Awayland by Ramona Ausubel

Death and pregnancy, gods and people, themes that seem like they should be far apart coexist and even complement each other in this fantastic short story collection. ~ Recommended by Stephanie

Coyote Doggirl by Lisa Hanawalt

Lisa Hanawalt accomplishes here in a sparsely-written and decadently-drawn short graphic novel what some authors can accomplish in an epic. Her signature absurdity and pathos juxtapose seamlessly, with as much heartache as hilarity. ~ Recommended by Stephanie