SHREWSBURY, NJ - Stories ranging from a slave on a Georgia cotton plantation and the Underground Railroad or an Irish farmer’s daughter passing herself off as an experienced maid, to a Slovakian Jew forced into a concentration camp at Auschwitz and a mother selling her children during the Depression of the 1930s all topped the list of favorite fiction books for 2018, according to the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County library tabulations.
The list, as well as a similar list for the favorite nonfiction books as graded by reading groups, are both available at the Library and highlight the diversity of interests that attract Monmouth county residents.
The Radium Girls, the true story by British author Kate Moore of the tragedies faced and endured by young women who worked in a Radium-dial factory in Orange, NJ during the 1920s, features five sisters who all suffered excruciating illnesses and deaths and their groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights, was the top favorite in nonfiction reading. The sisters, the Maggio women, were the mother and aunts of the late Rose Penta of Highlands, who met with Moore last year after the book became an overnight success both in the United States and England.
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann, and Fly Girls by Keith O’Brien, were also popular favorites in 2018, telling, in Grann’s book, about the Osage Indians at the end of the 19th century, and in O’Brien’s book, the previously untold story of five women who fought to hold their own in the 1920s and 1930s high stakes national air races. Also popular was Becoming, former First Lady Michelle Obama’s book on her own life experiences, and Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance memoir of how upward mobility really feels.
Finishing the top ten nonfiction reads were Michael Finkel’s The Stranger in the Woods, Ruth Fitzmaurice “I Found My Tribe, Atual Gawande’s Being Mortal, Matthew Desmond’s Evicted, and Stephanie Wittels Wash’s heartbreak memoir of addiction, grief and family, Everything is Horrible and Wonderful.
The fiction favorites included The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, Marie Benedict’s Carnegie’s Maid, The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, and Sold on a Monday by Kristine McMorris. Others on the most popular fiction books were The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, a Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.
All of the books are available at the Eastern branch Library. For further information on programs, activities, and offerings at the library, visit www.monmouthcountylib.,org.