Not every book that deserves attention gets the attention it deserves. Here is a wide-ranging list of compelling books, fiction and nonfiction, that you might have missed amidst the hype and hysteria of 2018. They represent a range of voices — from an Iranian exile to a best-selling Japanese novelist — and topics — from German history to our genetic ancestry. All of them will open readers’ eyes to something new and different.
Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
In this vivid, original story collection, Adjei-Brenyah presents America in all its racism, weirdness and abject consumerism.
Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home by Nora Krug
In this evocative graphic memoir, Krug wrestles with her family’s ties to Nazi Germany and the weight of that history.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Murata’s affecting novel follows a misfit as she finds her place as the perfect employee in a Tokyo convenience store.
Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America by Eliza Griswold
Griswold offers an intimate account of a Pennsylvania woman’s fight to protect her family against fracking — and the story of the poisoning of America.
Disoriental by Négar Djavadi
This powerful, layered novel about a woman’s escape from revolutionary Iran weaves in tales of her family.
Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past by David Reich
A leading geneticist provides deep, provocative insights into the real story of humanity’s tangled roots.
The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea
A family gathers one weekend to celebrate and say goodbye in Urrea’s bighearted, sprawling novel on the MexicanAmerican experience.
The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World by Charles C. Mann
Will humans exhaust this planet? Mann explores how two 20th-century thinkers presented conflicting visions — innovation vs. conservation — of our future.