Best of 2018

What books, movies, and music have you loved this year? The following lists bring together the cream of the crop of 2018’s books – from the picks of our staff and customers, to Best of the year lists published by magazines, newspapers and booksellers. Have your say!

Best books for kids and teens


Librarians select the best books of the year for kids and teens


Here are the books, movies, TV, and music that librarians loved in 2018:



  • Skylark's War Hilary McKay. Clarry struggles against societal expectations for women and the devastation of the First World War in this bittersweet coming-of-age story for older children.
  • Tess of the Road Rachel Hartman. If you're looking for a book that will make you both laugh and cry that includes dragons and seeking your fortune, then introduce yourself immediately to Tess of the Road.
  • Truly Devious Maureen Johnson. Murder and mystery collide in this modern-day boarding school story for teens.


Best of 2018 (adult fiction)

List created by afictionado

My favourite mysteries, fantasy and science fiction of the year so far.

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Flames Robbie Arnott
"This is an astonishingly good book. It’s elemental, blurs the lines between reality and mythology, sweeps you up in atmosphere and the sense of place, and the use of language is sublime."

More 2018 "Best of" lists from Dan:



My picks of best New Zealand book covers for 2018.

Best reads of 2018

List created by Donna_R

My favourite books of the year. A Staff Pickles list.

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Katherine's 2018 top books

List created by katccl

A selection of books I enjoyed and appreciated this year.

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Best of 2018

List created by MomoT

Favourite books, movies and television shows enjoyed in twenty-eighteen. With a "best New Zealand" pick in each category too.

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Hong Wang's Best Reads of 2018


The Travelling Cat Chronicles Hiro Arikawa (2017)
Adult Fiction: This book is about the life journey of Satoru and his cat Nana, which has been shaped by unexpected detours. I enjoyed reading the emotive and touching life events gently expressed in simple language.

Brain Rules for Aging Well John Medina (2018)
Adult Nonfiction: This book is for those who want to keep their brain sharp in their later life. The author’s ten brain rules for ageing well sound familiar but his insightful explanations are persuasive and instructional.

Number One Chinese Restaurant Lillian Li (2018)
Adult fiction: This book contains multi-paralleled stories about people who are behind a busy Chinese restaurant in America. The dark comedy used by the author to account for the complexity of life mixed with hardship, romance, loyalty, ambition and kindness has made this book unique.

Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading Lucy Mangan (2018)
Adult nonfiction: From The Very Hungry Caterpillar to Summer of My German Soldier, the author revisits her childhood reading and recalls her growing up with those be-loved books. I enjoy how the storyline seamlessly interweaves the author’s life experiences and events and characters in the books. The reading list at the end of the book is a useful resource of children’s literature.

沉睡的人鱼之家 chen shui de ren yu zhi jia东野圭吾著 Keigo Higashino (2017)
适合成年人的小说 Adult Fiction:这本小说描写了一位母亲为了维系年幼溺水脑死亡女儿的生命的悲伤而温暖的故事。小说中呈现的亲情、婚姻、技术和伦理拼接成的错综复杂的死亡之旅耐人寻味。

爱情故事 ai qing gu shi 莫言著 Mo, Yan (2017)
适合成年人的小说 Adult Fiction:这是一本短篇小说集,收集了莫言20世纪80到90年代的作品。小说中有对童年的回忆、民间传奇的描述、温暖的乡亲和城市的喧嚣。平直而幽默的语言是最大的看点。

Sons of Cain: A History of Serial Killers from the Stone Age to the Present Peter Vronsky (2018)
Adult nonfiction: This book accounts for serial killers as not only individuals with high psychopathy test but also a group of humans created with unique evolutionary, historical, social and cultural factors. The author’s holistic view on and in-depth analysis of mysterious and horrifying serial killing crimes have made the non-fiction book accessible and entertaining to the public.


Crème de la crème 2018

List created by takeclare

How to shape a year in reading & watching? Do you plan? Thus far in life I seem to find myself on literary and cinematic tangents, one thing leading to another on a winding path until exhaustion, or until a serendipitous encounter with a book or movie swivels me towards new horizons. Below is a compilation of the books and movies that moved me most in 2018. So far I haven't any plans for my 2019 reading and watching - I'll continue to trust in my mental meanderings, and the wealth of inspiration available to me through conversations and encounters at the library!

We don't yet have this DVD in the library collection, but I wanted to include it as I saw it at the NZIFF, which is an Ōtautahi highlight for me year on year. Birds of Passage tells the story of an indigenous Colombian Wayuu family that becomes embroiled in the drug trade, and an ensuing Shakespearean clash of families. The film is visually sumptuous, with wide angle shots of arid, windswept landscapes - a wind which whips the long colourful dresses of the women, and seems to have a life of its own - alongside beautiful recurring animal imagery in a heron who stalks dreamlike.

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Best reads / listens / watches in 2018

List created by ChristchurchCat

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  • Silence of the Girls Pat Barker. A new take on Achilles and the sacking of Troy – focusing on the women who have largely been ignored. A rollicking story that you will want to finish quickly and then regret that you did!
  • No Good Deed John Niven. You want to help an old friend who has fallen on hard times, perhaps this wasn’t the best decision?
  • The Cactus Sarah Haywood. Pprickly is one word to describe Susan, and control is her middle name, but the possibility of getting pregnant could change everything
  • Normal People Sally Rooney. Written by a young writer with a huge future who has a grasp on relationships that belies her age.
  • The Growing Season Helen Sedgwick. Biotech baby pouches, childbirth has never been easier or safer…or so it seems?
  • Pilgrim Terry Hayes. Full on adventure, terrorism and suspense. I couldn’t put this book down.



CoverI’m going to go for my fave comfort read of the year as my recommendation: The Spotted Dog by Kerry Greenwood. I love Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman series of mysteries, and had thought, sadly, that she wasn’t going to revisit Corinna and the characters of her modern Melbourne-based Insula apartment building again. But she has! And it was good. Definitely the enjoyable light read I needed in a stressful year. If you liked the Phryne Fisher mysteries, I thoroughly recommend giving the Corinna Chapman series a go.


CoverNormal People Sally Rooney. Long listed for the Man Booker Prize, a story about a turbulent relationship set over several years. As the relationship is far from normal, are Marianne and Connell normal people?


Wind River [movie] Inspired by true events - a very strong, emotive, quality mystery murder set amidst the desolation of the Wind River Indian Reservation where only the strong survive in this stark and brutal wilderness. Compelling drama with powerfully restrained performances from Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen and Graham Greene.


Sleeping Beauties Stephen and Owen King. A tough choice! I pick this book because it ticks all the boxes - great story concept; will women choose to live in a world without men?

Dracul Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker. Dracul is a gripping prequel to Dracula; harking back to Abraham Stoker’s childhood and a nanny who possesses unusual powers...

fionaccl's top 20 2018

List created by fionajay

My best reads this year! A mix of fiction and great graphic novels.

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American Utopia David Byrne [music]. David Byrne’s latest is both ambitious and accessible mixing politics with a determined optimism that is a pure delight.


CoverAlthough it was published last year, one of my picks for this year is the audiobook version of The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. A beautifully-narrated, well-told tale of strong women, relationships, and espionage across two world wars.



Exit West Mohsin Hamid. A timely, important and beautiful novel about refugees and magical doors.


Helen's Top 5 picks for 2018

List created by Helenccl


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CoverAlt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump David Neiwert. A must read for political-trainspotters trying to understand the seemingly indecipherable emergence of not only Trump, but the re-emergence of the radical right in the American political scene that is well written, well researched, and at times harrowing. Laugh at the absurdity - or despair at the malice - of Alt-America.


CoverEleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Gail Honeyman. I thought I knew where the story was going, was proved wrong as Eleanor is not fine but I so very much wanted her to be.


CoverThe Third Hotel Laura van den Berg. Secrets, marriage and the madness of grief are explored in this surreal and beautifully written novel as Clare pursues her recently deceased husband through the streets of Havana.


My Best Reading List for 2018

List created by BenHur56


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My Best Films and Music 2018

List created by BenHur56

This is a list of some excellent movies and excellent CDs available from the library.

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Rachael - Upper Riccarton

2018 Best Books

List created by Rachaelistic

These are the best books I read this year. My love affair with African fiction continues.

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Christchurch picks its favourites

Here are the favourites of library friends and customers:

Guest pick – Rachael King, programme director of WORD Christchurch picks The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy.

"The Cost of Living was the perfect book to be reading as I came off the intensity of the festival and started thinking about my own creative and writing life. It’s a slim, intensely distilled, thoughtful and deeply feminist memoir-in-essays about writing, motherhood, and how your world shifts and settles around you after a marriage ends. It’s really hard to pinpoint why it affected me so deeply, but I have heard similar responses from other women my age who are writers and I have recommended it to anyone who will listen. It’s the second in a proposed trilogy - needless to say I went straight out and bought the first volume, Things I Don’t Want to Know, which I’m saving for the holidays.”

The Cost of Living


Dave Pigeon (Racer!) and all the other Dave Pigeon books. They are funny and the pigeons make me laugh when they have the speech bubbles and their plans.

Dave Pigeon's Book On How To Beat A Dastardly Parrot

Have your say!

2018 best book lists

New Zealand

The Spinoff

New Zealand Listener

30 November Best Kids' books and Poetry; 23 November Best Books.

The Sapling

The Sapling's selections of the 2018's best for kids and teens:


See also

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