Staff Picks: Best of 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, we wanted to look back on the great books and films that were released this year. Many big news sources like GQ, The Washington Post, and Publisher’s Weekly have announced their picks for the best of 2018, but how do these lists measure up to the favorites of our staff? Here are some of the Sewickley Library staff’s favorite books and movies from 2018!

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy and Carey Pietsch
A graphic novel adapted from the popular role-playing game podcast follows the exploits of Taako the elf wizard, Merle the dwarf cleric, and Magnus the human warrior as they try to survive their fantasy quest, and maybe save the day along the way.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
A novel based on the true story of an Auschwitz-Birkenau survivor traces the experiences of a Jewish Slovakian who uses his position as a concentration-camp tattooist to secure food for his fellow prisoners.

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
Knowing when her best friend stops showing up at school that something is terribly wrong, Claudia, who depends heavily on her friend to defend her from bullies and help her navigate the toughest time in her life, is baffled when nobody around her seems to remember the last time they saw her friend.

Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy
The New York Times best-selling author of The Baker’s Daughter imagines the life of farm girl Marilla Cuthbert from Montgomery’s classic series and describes how premature responsibilities end her dreams and inspire her secret work as an abolitionist.

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler
A divinity professor and young mother with Stage IV cancer shares her perspectives on friendship, love and death while describing her efforts to remain true to her faith in spite of impossible hardships.

Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen
Traumatized by the sudden death of his wife, thirty-four year old Harry Crane leaves his old life and heads for the remote forests of northeastern Pennsylvania, where he meets a young girl who sets him on a feverish road to redemption.

Certain American States: Stories by Catherine Lacey
The author of The Answers presents a first collection of short stories in which subtly complex characters search for love, struggle with grief and explore the minutiae of the human condition.

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by James Comey
The former FBI director shares previously undisclosed experiences from some of the highest-stakes situations of his career, from Mafia prosecutions and the Martha Stewart scandal to the Bush administration’s electronic surveillance and the Clinton email investigation.

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn
An agoraphobic recluse languishes in her New York City home, drinking wine and spying on her neighbors, before witnessing a terrible crime through her window that exposes her secrets and raises questions about her perceptions of reality.

Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History by Keith O’Brien
An award-winning journalist traces the lesser-known story of five women, including Amelia Earhart, who successfully fought to compete against men in the high-stakes national air races of the 1920s and 1930s.

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman
The popular comedic couple trace the story of their relationship, sharing anecdotes, family photos and secrets that reveal how they overcame considerable social differences through their shared values and mutual love of music and laughter.

Love, Simon, dir. Greg Berlanti
The story of a a closeted gay teenage boy who is forced to balance his friends, his family, and the blackmailer threatening to out him to the entire school, while simultaneously attempting to discover the identity of the anonymous classmate with whom he has fallen in love with online.

Black Panther, dir. Ryan Coogler
T’Challa returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as king. However, when he is challenged for the throne from divisions within his own country and two enemies conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must join forces with a C.I.A. agent and members of the Wakandan Special Forces, to prevent Wakanda from being drawn into a world war.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, dir. Morgan Neville
Explores the life and career of Fred Rogers and the history of his long-running children’s television program “Mister Rogers’ neighborhood”. Looks at the Mr. Rogers persona and the impact both the man and the program have had on generations of children. Includes commentary by friends, associates, family members, celebrities, and journalists.

Fahrenheit 11/9, dir. Michael Moore
Filmmaker Michael Moore takes a look at the current state of American politics, particularly the Donald Trump presidency and gun violence, while highlighting the power of grassroots democratic movements.

The Wife, dir. Björn Runge
A wife reevaluates the creative choices she has made in her life as she travels to Stockholm with her narcissistic husband, where he is slated to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature for his many successful works.

Eighth Grade, dir. Bo Burnham
Thirteen-year-old Kayla endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school (the end of her thus far disastrous eighth grade year) before she begins high school.

Game Night, dir. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein
The participants in a weekly couples’ game night become involved in a murder mystery game that seems to spin out of control.

I Can Only Imagine, dir. Jonathan D. Erwin
A biopic of musician Bart Millard and the song that he wrote about the relationship he had with his father that became the best-selling Christian single of all time.

Incredibles 2, dir. Brad Bird
When Helen Parr is chosen to lead a mission to help the public regain trust in superheroes, her husband Bob is left at home, struggling in his new role as a stay-at-home parent. Sequel to Pixar’s The Incredibles.

The House With a Clock in its Walls, dir. Eli Roth
After losing his parents, Lewis Barnavelt goes to live with his uncle Jonathan and discovers that not only is his uncle a warlock, but they must find a clock hidden in the house by an evil wizard that is counting down to the end of the world.

Puzzle, dir. Marc Turtletaub
A closely observed portrait of Agnes, who has reached her early 40s without ever venturing far from home, family or the tight-knit immigrant community in which she was raised by her widowed father. That begins to change in a quietly dramatic fashion when Agnes receives a jigsaw puzzle as a birthday gift and experiences the heady thrill of not only doing something she enjoys, but being very, very good at it.

Hereditary, dir. Ari Aster
When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited as it slowly destroys everything they know.

The Cakemaker, dir. Ofir Raul Graizer
Thomas, a young German baker, has an affair with Oren, a married Israeli man. After Oren unexpectedly dies in a car crash, Thomas travels to Jerusalem seeking answers about his death. Under a fake identity, Thomas enters the life of Anat, his lover’s newly widowed wife. There, he begins to work for Anat, baking pastries that bring her cafe to vibrant life. Thomas becomes deeply involved in her life beyond his own expectation and stretches the lie about himself to a point of no return.

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