Bookstore / Roundup

Bookstore Staff Favorites of 2018!

Milkweed Staff — 12/18/2018

When the time came to make our year-end lists, we decided against developing a unified theory of list-making—we couldn’t agree on what the parameters should be, and it didn’t seem much like our style anyway. So instead, each bookseller came up with their own selection of the best books they read in 2018, free of constraints. Out of the staggering number of brilliant books read and published this year, we carved out these four lists: one minimal, one medium, and two maximal, with a vast range of genre, style, and perspectives across them all. We’re grateful to have spent the year buried in stacks of books we’re proud to champion (so many more that we couldn’t fit here!), and grateful to our customers and community for reading along with us. Read on to see what made our 2018 lists, and tell us what you loved this year!

Berit's 2018


  • Out of Nothing by Daniel Locke and David Blandy (Nobrow)
  • Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day by JJ Johnson and Alexander Smalls (Flatiron Books)
  • A Key to Treehouse Living by Elliot Reed (Tin House Books)
  • Modern Kitchen: Objects That Changed the Way We Cook, Eat, and Live by Tim Hayward (Quadrille Publishing)
  • You and I Eat the Same: On the Countless Ways Food and Cooking Connect Us to One Another edited by Chris Ying with René Redzepi (Artisan Publishers)
  • The Seas by Samantha Hunt (Tin House Books)
  • Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee (Pamela Dorman Books)
Daley's 2018

(excluding There There because I think you know by now that you should read it!)

Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry:

  • Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot (Counterpoint)
  • The Emissary by Yoko Tawada, trans. Margaret Mitsutani (New Directions Publishing)
  • Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon (Scribner)
  • Night Moves by Jessica Hopper (University of Texas Press)
  • I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood by Tiana Clark (Univ. Pittsburgh Press)
  • This Young Monster by Charlie Fox (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
  • Death to the Bullshit Artists of South Texas by Fernando A. Flores (Host Publications)
  • The Carrying by Ada Limón (Milkweed Editions)
  • How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee (Mariner Books)
  • Disoriental by Négar Djavadi, trans. Tina Kover (Europa Editions)
  • Death and Other Holidays by Marci Vogel (Melville House Publishing)
  • After the Winter by Guadalupe Nettel, trans. Rosalind Harvey (Coffee House Press)

A few great books I read in 2018 that weren’t published in 2018:

  • Mrs. Caliban by Rachel Ingalls (New Directions Publishing)
  • So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell (Vintage)
  • Cheerful Weather for a Wedding by Julia Strachey (Persephone Books)
  • Heartbreaker by Maryse Meijer (FSG Originals)
  • The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum by Heinrich Boll, trans. Leila Vennewitz (Penguin Books)
  • Glaxo by Hernan Rosino, trans. Samuel Rutter (Melville House Publishing)
  • Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration by David Wojnarowicz (Vintage)
Hans's 2018


Fiction and general nonfiction:

  • Scribe by Alyson Hagy (Graywolf Press)
  • There Will Be No Miracles Here: A Memoir by Casey Gerald (Riverhead Books)
  • Tin Man by Sarah Winman (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
  • Unclay by T.F. Powys (New Directions Publishing)
  • The Reckonings: Essays by Lacy M. Johnson (Scribner)
  • There There by Tommy Orange (Alfred A. Knopf)
  • Improvement by Joan Silber (Counterpoint)
  • Basketball: A Love Story edited by Jackie Macmullan, Rafe Bartholomew, and Dan Klores (Crown Archetype)
  • False Calm: A Journey Through the Ghost Towns of Patagonia by Maria Sonia Cristoff, trans. Katherine Silver (Transit Books)
  • Sugar Run by Mesha Maren—this is cheating, it comes out January 8! (Algonquin Books)
  • Souls of Yellow Folk: Essays by Wesley Yang (W.W. Norton)


  • Not Here by Hieu Minh Nguyen (Coffee House Press)
  • The Carrying by Ada Limón (Milkweed Editions)
  • Perennial by Kelly Forsythe (Coffee House Press)
  • Crosslight For Youngbird by Asiya Wadud (Nightboat Books)
  • Voyage of The Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis (Alfred A. Knopf)


  • Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours by Patrick Syme (Smithsonian Books)
  • The Book of Extraordinary Deaths by Cecilia Ruiz (Blue Rider Press)
  • An Anarchy of Chilies by Caz Hildebrand (Thames & Hudson)
  • W.E.B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America edited by Whitney Battle-Baptiste and Britt Rusert (Princeton Architectural Press)
  • 2018–2019 Directory of American Menu Hotlines by Andy Sturdevant (Birchwood Palace)
Roseanne's 2018


  • Kitchen by Banana Yoshimito, trans. Megan Backus (Grove Press)
  • Eye Level by Jenny Xie (Graywolf Press)
  • A Lucky Man: Stories by Jamel Brinkley (Graywolf Press)
  • Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr. Qing Li (Viking)
  • The Idiot by Elif Batuman (Penguin)
  • The Queen of Spades by Michael Shou-Yung Shum (Forest Avenue Press)
  • Mrs. Caliban by Rachel Ingalls (New Directions Publishing)
  • Self-Knowledge edited by Alain de Botton (School of Life)
  • Russian Cuisine in Exile by Alexander Genis and Pyotr Vail (Academic Studies Press)
  • In the Country: Stories by Mia Alvar (Vintage)
  • All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Nicole Chung (Catapult)
  • Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions by Valeria Luiselli (Coffee House Press)
  • The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Harry N. Abrams)
  • My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem (Central Recovery Press)

All books in our lists are available to purchase in the bookstore. Get in touch at 612-215-2540 to order your own copy of anything here that catches your eye!

To see more reading suggestions from bookstore staff and from some of the bookstore’s favorite authors, click here.

To get bookseller recommendations and more fun literary stuff sent directly to your inbox, sign up for our bookstore newsletter.