Keaton’s Year End Best List: The 2018 Brazos Buyer’s Book Awards

It’s that most special time of the year again! Awards season! Year-end list season! For the next couple of magical months, you, dear reader, will be regaled with just about everyone’s opinion on the best whatever of 2018. Now, it’s been a horrific year to be sure, but there was still so much great art and beauty created. And to that end, it’s been a banner year for books! So why not begin your year-end round up right here with good ol’ Keaton? For 2018, I’ve put together a combination top 10 list/award show for y’all. It seems the best possible way for me to present this stellar group of books. And so without further ado, I give you a brief and in no way arbitrary take on the best reads of the year. I give you –– THE BRAZOS BUYER’S BOOK AWARDS!!!

...And the nominees for Best Novel of 2018 are:

The New Inheritors Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802128171
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - July 10th, 2018

A complete reimagining of what is possible with historical fiction. Wascom’s third volume in his Gulf Coast Quartet is absolutely stunning in concept, prose and ambition.

After the Winter Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566895255
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Coffee House Press - September 4th, 2018

This quiet yet incisive, death-tinged love story explores how even the briefest relationships can affect us utterly and forever. Nettel’s best yet to find its way into English translation.

Oraefi: The Wasteland Cover Image
By Ofeigur Sigurosson, Lytton Smith (Translator)
ISBN: 9781941920671
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - October 2nd, 2018

Part adventure, part history, and part madness! Sigurdsson’s nested rant of a narrative swept the literary awards in his native Iceland and is now one of the best books translated into English this year.

and the winner is...ORAEFI: THE WASTELAND!!!!

...and the nominees for Best Short Story Collection of 2018 are:

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812988635
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - January 16th, 2018

An unintended swan song for a true American original. Johnson was still at the height of his powers when he died just before the release of this collection. There is no barrel scraping here. Just whip smart, funny, heartfelt, perfectly crafted short fiction.

Staff Pick Badge
Kolyma Stories Cover Image
By Varlam Shalamov, Donald Rayfield (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781681372143
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: NYRB Classics - June 12th, 2018

The first volume of Shalamov’s prison stories is one of the most affecting works of autobiographical fiction I’ve ever come across. This is an unheralded classic of world literature, and a harrowing look into the horrors of death and survival in a Siberian prison camp.

Staff Pick Badge
Friday Black Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328911247
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - October 23rd, 2018

A full throttle debut collection that reads like a hybrid of Vonnegut and Paul Beatty. Adjei-Brenyah writes piercing, darkly satirical tales for our troubled times. Just read the first story, and see if your jaw doesn’t drop.

and the winner is...FRIDAY BLACK!!!!!

...and the nominees for Best Nonfiction Book of 2018 are:


The Order of Time Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735216105
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 8th, 2018

Italian theoretical physicist, Rovelli, continues to blow minds with this illuminating and lyrical exploration of the concept of time. Read it once, and you’ll never look at the world around you the same again.

The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316259613
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - April 3rd, 2018

This is not an addiction memoir. Although, Jamison does recount her trials with alcoholism, this stunning work is instead a learned and experienced critique of the perceived link between substance abuse and creative genius.

Staff Pick Badge
Sexographies Cover Image
By Gabriela Wiener, Jennifer Adcock (Translated by), Lucy Greaves (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781632061591
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Restless Books - May 29th, 2018

What Peruvian essayist and “gonzo” journalist, Wiener, does in this collection is endlessly fascinating. Whether experiencing sexual subcultures or an ayahuasca trip, she uses herself as the point of departure to delve into the infinite manifestations of being human.

and the winner is...THE RECOVERING!!!!!

Now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for… The Best Overall Book of 2018 is:


The Overstory Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393635522
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 3rd, 2018

A singular work of fiction from one of America’s most undersung authors. Powers has achieved something no other writer has before. He’s written a truly environmental novel where humans are not the most interesting thing about it. Instead, the multiple characters are envisioned as part of a larger, more inclusive system of life. Spanning centuries and crisscrossing the country, the devastation of the last virgin forests is the backdrop of a climatic struggle for the future of the natural world. An absolute masterpiece.

Honorable Mentions: 

Comemadre Cover Image
By Roque Larraquy, Heather Cleary (Translator)
ISBN: 9781566895156
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - July 10th, 2018

An Untouched House Cover Image
By Willem Frederik Hermans, David Colmer (Translated by), Cees Nooteboom (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781939810069
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Archipelago - October 23rd, 2018

Staff Pick Badge
The Changeling Cover Image
ISBN: 9781941040898
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - April 10th, 2018

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