"I feel that 2018 was a huge year for diverse books," says one department manager at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. "Books about people of all colors and creeds and ethnicities, just telling stories about their experiences. I saw that much more in 2018 than I have seen previously, especially getting awards and getting critical acclaim."
Ella Mulford works at the Main Library and manages the Popular Library, which means she watches what goes out the door and what stays on the shelves.
She says among non-fiction titles, popular memoirs include Michelle Obama's Becoming and books on the heroin epidemic, like Dopesick. "People are still in that cycle of wanting to know more and more and more."
Books that were adapted for television or the big screen always prove popular, Mulford says. Crazy Rich Asians and The Handmaid's Tale were published before 2018, but still drew fans thanks to being on the screen. "If we know a movie is coming out or a TV show is coming, when we find that out we order lots of copies in advance," she says. "When I went to read Crazy Rich Asians it already had 200 people on hold list."
Mulford compiled a list of some of the most popular books at the Main Library:
Best Adult - Fiction
● An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
● Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
● There, There by Tommy Orange
● A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua
● The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Best Adult - Nonfiction
● Becoming by Michelle Obama
● Eloquent Rage by Britteny Cooper
● Dopesick by Beth Macy
● Heartland by Sarah Smarsh
● Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
Best Young Adult Books
● Blood, Water, Paint by Joy McCullough
● Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
● Check, Please by Ngozi Ukazu
● Tales From the Inner City by Shaun Tan
● Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Best Children's Books
● Picture Book: Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
● Picture Book: Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
● Early Reader: Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott
● Middle Grade Reader: Front Desk by Kelly Yang
● Middle Grade Reader: The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
Update: Jan 1, 2019: This story has been updated to correct the name of the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library.