2018 will be remembered as a year filled with exciting new books, and now that it’s coming to a close, we’re taking a look back at some of our favorites. That’s right: It’s time for our annual roundup of the best Southern books of the year. These are the best of the best of the region; each has a connection to the South, from Texas to Georgia to Oklahoma to Maryland and plenty of states in between. Whether they’re set in the South, peopled with Southern characters, or told by Southern voices, these books—mostly fiction, with some compelling nonfiction and stunning poetry included too—contribute to the ever-changing landscape of Southern literature.
These great new books come to us from every genre imaginable, and they’re already becoming favorite literary residents of shelves across the region. They have brought us some of our favorite new Southern writers, and they have told us stories we won’t soon forget. Some are already bestsellers. They’re all brilliant reads. Read on for the best Southern books of 2018, and pick up your favorites at your local bookstore.
An American Marriage, A Novel by Tayari Jones
An American Marriage is Atlanta author Tayari Jones’ unforgettable fourth novel. It tells a poignant story about love, loss, and the aftershocks of a wrongful conviction, which has life-altering impacts for Celestial and Roy, a young couple with lives full of possibility before them.
American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassins by Terrance Hayes
This essential collection from South Carolina-born poet Terrance Hayes reckons with deep personal, political, and moral realities through poetry that rings with the languages of love and grief.
Anatomy of a Miracle, A Novel by Jonathan Miles
A G&G contributing editor Jonathan Miles’s Anatomy of a Miracle is an intense, profound story of a veteran who walks again—and the ins and outs of how people, including his protective sister, interpret his “miracle.” Paramount Pictures recently acquired the novel for film adaptation.
Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee
Learn why James Beard Award-nominated chef Edward Lee’s bio reads: Korean-born, Brooklyn-bred chef who found his soul in Kentucky.