The best books of 2018 |

The best books of 2018

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — To celebrate an excellent year in books, Bud Werner Memorial Library and Off the Beaten Path bookstore have collaborated to create the ultimate list of staff favorites.  We were lucky to welcome some of these authors to Steamboat Springs in 2018, and we look forward to seeing others in 2019, as well.  In the meantime, these are the best books of 2018, thanks to your knowledgeable library and bookstore staff.


by Tara Westover

If you like this, you will also like “Breaking Free,” and “Under the Banner of Heaven.”

I haven’t read a memoir this gripping since “The Glass Castle.” Tara Westover grew up in a dysfunctional family, to put it mildly. Her father, who likely has bipolar disorder, thinks of himself as a great defender of the Mormon faith, proclaiming his family’s independence from the government, modern medicine and the sinful world outside.

Tara, who didn’t receive a birth certificate until she was 9 years old, never attended a day of school and relied entirely on her mother’s homeopathic medicine even for serious injuries. This all changed when she decided to take the ACT, earning a high enough score to enter Brigham Young University, where she could see more clearly than ever just how lacking her education had been. As Tara moves further into the world of academia, she may have to leave everything about her past behind her.

Recommended by Megan who is an Off the Beaten Path cafe manager and a circulation assistant at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

More nonfiction titles:

  • “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean, who will also be coming to the library on Jan 17 to talk about this book.
  • “The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World” by Stephen Brusatte
  • “Atlas of a Lost World: Travel in Ice Age America” by Craig Childs
  • “Dopesick” by Beth Macy
  • “I’ll Be Gone in The Dark” by Michelle McNamara
  • “One Woman’s Obsessive Search for The Golden State Killer” by Michelle NcNamara


by Madeline Miller

The powerful witch Circe was one of three children who came from Helios, the Titan Sun God, and his union with Perse, the beautiful nymph daughter of Oceanos. It becomes clear that she suffers lower status than her siblings and other nymphs because she has the voice of a mortal and the yellow eyes of a hawk. After her first meeting with a mortal, the fisherman Glaucos, she falls in love and turns him into a god.  

When Glaucos tires of Circe’s attention, he turns toward the beautiful sea nymph Scylla. Circe, enraged, turns her witchcraft upon the nymph and is exiled by Zeus to a beautiful, unpeopled island. It is here, on Aiaia, that Odysseus finds her, happily surrounded by tame wolves and lions and swine — the latter are earlier visitors that she has bewitched after an unwise sea captain attempts to rape her.

As with her previous novel, the great skill here is the way Miller gives voice to a previously muted perspective in the classics, forging a great romance from the scraps left to us by the ancients.

Written in compelling prose that ripples with hyperbole, there is nothing ancient or inaccessible in the story of the ever resilient Circe as told by Miller. Whether you are a true fan of these mythologies or not, there is something for everyone in these completely engaging, relevant tales.

Steamboat Springs looks forward to welcoming Madeline Miller for Literary Sojourn in 2019.

Recommended by Kim Brack, a bookerseller at Off the Beaten Path.

More fiction titles:

  • “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
  • “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones
  • “Virgil Wander” by Leif Enger
  • “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris
  • “Then She was Gone” by Lisa Jewell

Books for younger people

“The Hate U Give”
by Angie Thomas

This is the most powerful teen book I have read in a long time.  The events that take place in the book can make so many of the events in the news more real.

Star is growing up in Garden Heights, a black inner-city neighborhood, but goes to the white preppy Williamson school.

But, when her two worlds collide because she is a witness to a police shooting, Star is not sure how to go back to being able to divide her two very different worlds. While this is geared for age 14 and older, it really brought up some good talking points with my kids, especially for environments that are so different from life in Routt County.

Recommended by Chris Erickson, Off the Beaten Path’s store manager.

More youth fiction: 

  • “Sea Prayer” by Khaled Hosseini
  • “Winnies Great War” by Lindsey Mattrick
  • “Dude” by Dan Santat
  • “Louisiana’s Way Home” by Kate Dicamillio
  • “Wall in the Middle of the Book” by Jon Agee
  • “Storm Runner” by JC Cervantes

All these books can be found at either Off the Beaten Path or Bud Werner Memorial Library.  Thank you for a wonderful year, and happy reading.

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