To say that 2018 has been a complex year for women would be putting it lightly. No need to spook you with a comprehensive retrospective, but let’s just say engaging in the art of escapism has been a full-time job for many of us. And while disappearing into black holes involving 90-Day Fiance, Vanderpump Rules, or Hallmark movies might have provided some solace, odds are you’ve also retreated with the help of some of the best books of 2018.
Several of the year’s most beloved—and best-reviewed—works stories were written by women (Meg Wolitzer’s The Female Persuasion, for example), but that wasn’t a prerequisite for our staff to share the various novels and works of non-fiction they devoured—and adored. From novels by new writers that tap into what it means to living right now (Stephen Markley’s Ohio paints a grim picture of post-recession Rust Belt America and all that comes with it, Vox by Christina Dalcher gives The Handmaid’s Tale a dystopian run for its money) to compelling works of non-fiction that had everyone talking. Below, our picks for the best books of 2018.