Amazon Announces the Best Books of 2018, Naming Tara Westover’s memoir, Educated, the #1 Book of the Year

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(NASDAQ:AMZN)—Today, Amazon.com announced its selections for the Best Books of 2018, naming Tara Westover’s Educated: A Memoir the Best Book of the Year. Just in time for the holidays, the annual list features the Top 100 books of the year plus Top 20 lists across various categories ranging from biography, literary fiction, and mystery to children’s and young adult. All lists are hand-selected by Amazon’s team of editors—first by choosing the best books of every month and then, finally, the best books of the year. To see the full list of the Best Books of 2018 and buy the print, Kindle or Audible editions, visit: https://amazon.com/bestbooks2018.

“This year we read many great books across many different genres, but one story—a true story—stood out to us for its bravery, insight, and that fact that it’s so very readable,” said Chris Schluep, Amazon Senior Book Editor. “Tara Westover’s Educated is a rare gem of a memoir—it surprises and inspires, and we want to tell everyone: read this book!”

Educated joins Amazon Book Editors’ past Best Book of the Year selections including Killers of the Flower Moon, Underground Railroad, The Goldfinch and Everything I Never Told You.

“I couldn't be more pleased that Educated was chosen Best of the Year,” said Tara Westover, author of Educated. “It's kind of unbelievable, actually. But unbelievable in the very best way.”

Here are the Amazon Editorial Team’s Top 10 picks of 2018:

1. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover: Tara Westover didn't see the inside of a classroom until she was seventeen, and it was an experience that dramatically changed the trajectory of her life. This extraordinary memoir chronicles how she survived her survivalist upbringing, eventually earning a PhD from Cambridge University. Rather than a story about the making of a scholar, Educated is about the making of a person.

2. Washington Black: A Novel by Esi Edugyan: When an 11-year-old slave named Wash is picked to serve his master’s brother, he is terrified to leave the Barbados plantation where he lives. But what follows is adventure and scientific exploration on a par with the novels of Jules Verne. Esi Edugyan’s superb writing and inventive story telling drive this thoughtful, entertaining page-turner.

3. Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic: While readers will be riveted by the four days the Indianapolis crew spent adrift in the shark-infested Pacific, the rest of the Indianapolis's story is equally as tense. Vincent and Vladic include not only the expected tales of heroism under duress but the just-as-human stories of willpower bending and sanity breaking. This is history writing at its finest: shining a spotlight on a wartime tragedy that still echoes within the survivors and the Navy today.

4. Elevation: A Novel by Stephen King: Here is a short, heart-lifting parable by a master storyteller. When we first meet Scott Carey, he is aware that he is losing weight every day, even if he does not look any different than he did a year ago. Set in the iconic but fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine, his slow disappearance may somehow be the thing that brings the town together.

5. The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú: The son of a park ranger, Cantú grew up in the southwest. When he joined the Border Patrol, he witnessed the complex realities of illegal immigration, and the obligations of his job weighed heavy against his sense of humanity. With its direct, stoic prose, The Line Becomes a River is a weighty and timely document on one of our most divisive arguments.

6. The Woman in the Window: A Novel by A.J. Finn: The Woman in the Window is a seductive and unpredictable novel about an agoraphobic woman with a tricky past who witnesses a murder. Or does she? With twists that will have you gasping aloud, this Hitchcockian noir thriller is the book to read if you’ve been waiting (too long) for the next Gone Girl.

7. Once Upon a River: A Novel by Diane Setterfield: When a man bursts into a riverside inn, covered in blood and carrying an unconscious child, the patrons of the Swan are beyond thrilled to find themselves in the middle of a swiftly unfolding tale. As Setterfield juggles a colorful mob of characters whose lives are upended by the mute and mysterious young girl pulled from the Thames, the joy of storytelling permeates every moment in this lively and wise historical novel.

8. Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha) by Tomi Adeyemi: A fresh new take on young adult fantasy that is just what readers have been waiting for. With West African-inspired characters, magic, and setting, Children of Blood and Bone is non-stop action, enriched with themes that resonate in today’s social and political landscape: injustice, discrimination, and a struggle for change. Author Tomi Adeyemi’s debut novel is the start of what promises to be an epic, addictive new series.

9. Virgil Wander: A Novel by Leif Enger: All is not quiet on the Midwestern front in Leif Enger’s Virgil Wander, as the quirky inhabitants of a fictional community near Lake Superior struggle with sundry dramas. Not everyone gets a happy ending, but this endearing novel—full of everyday (and not so ordinary) magic--reminds us that small acts of kindness aren’t small at all—they have the power to turn a flagging town’s frown upside down.

10. There There: A Novel by Tommy Orange: What does it really mean to be an Indian/Native American/American Indian/Native? Orange's vivid debut novel allows a unique cast of characters—ranging from teenagers to elders living in Oakland, California—to pull this question apart for themselves as they live within an urban ecosystem.

The top pick in the children’s category is the middle grade novel:

1. The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon: A heartwarming story of friendship and discovering life’s possibilities. Brothers Caleb and Bobby Gene have led a comfortable if sheltered life in their small Indiana town, until the summer Styx Malone moves in. Styx invites the brothers to join his adventures and as their friendship continues boundaries are tested and loyalties strained. Young readers will quickly bond with Kekla Magoon’s characters and her beautifully-crafted story of three boys who wind up teaching each other about trust, forgiveness, and family.

Over the year, the Amazon Books editorial team reads hundreds of thousands of pages and hundreds of books to help customers discover their next great read. Here are some interesting facts about this year’s Best Books of the Year list:

  • This sentence was among the most popular highlights on Kindle for Tara Westover’s Educated: “I had come to believe that the ability to evaluate many ideas, many histories, many points of view, was at the heart of what it means to self-create.”
  • 5 of the top 10 picks were written by debut authors.
  • 8 out of 20 Best of the Year titles have appeared in the Amazon Charts Top 20 this year.

In addition to being available to purchase online and via Kindle and Audible, a selection of the Top 20 Best of the Year books will be available for purchase at all Amazon Books locations. Our top pick, Educated, will also be available at Amazon 4-star locations and through Prime Now. To find the location nearest you visit: https://amazon.com/stores. To explore the top 100 Best Books of the Year visit: https://amazon.com/bestbooks2018.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

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Business Wire: 14:00 GMT Friday 9th November 2018

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