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Books Of 2018: A Year For Political Tell-Alls And Local History

A selective look at some of the popular books from the past year, 2018.

As 2018 winds down, it’s that time when we like to look back at the books of the past year: what stood out, and what might make a nice last minute gift for someone you know.

To help us this year we’ve recruited Steven and Dawn Porter. They own Stillwater Books, an independent bookstore on Main St. in downtown Pawtucket.

Porter says 2018 was dominated by the political tell-all. He cites two of the most popular, judging by sales at Stillwater Books.

1. Fear, Bob Woodward

"Fear was the best selling of the bunch," says Porter. He says people liked Woodward's journalist background. He also mentions:         

      2. The Briefing, Sean Spicer     

Porter says The Briefing sparked a lot of interest because of Spicer’s Rhode Island background. “When that came out we had a number of people come in looking for it,” he says. “Knowing him, and wondering what else was going on.”  

On the fiction front, Porter says one of the hottest books was:   

      3. The President is Missing, Bill Clinton and James Patterson  

This collaboration between a former President and a popular novelist generated a lot of skepticism, according to Porter, but it proved to be popular and continues to sell well.       

Stillwater Books highlights local authors. Dawn Porter says one high-profile book was by a local journalist:       

      4. Unbeaten, Mike Stanton             

This biography of fighter Rocky Marciano keeps selling, says Dawn Porter. “We keep reordering and reordering,” she says. “There’s a big local interest for that.”  

Steven Porter mentions two books by local authors of special interest:   

     5. Leavers Lace, Steve Mason and     

     6. Stars and Lights, David Zapatka                               

Leavers Lace is a photographic appreciation of the work still being done by a West Greenwich company, the last American lace manufacturing facility. Stars and Lights is also a book of photographs, of iconic northeastern lighthouses. The images were made on dark, new moon nights under starry skies. “Absolutely breath-taking work,” says Steven Porter.   

A personal favorite book for Dawn Porter is the debut novel of a best-selling nature writer:                               

     7. Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens      

A mystery and coming of age story set in the marshlands of coastal North Carolina, Where the Crawdads Sing is “captivating,” says Porter. “At the end, you find out that nothing was what it seemed, but at the same time, you should have known.”        

One of Steven Porter’s favorite books is a history of four American Presidents:     

     8. Leadership in Turbulent Times, Doris Kearns Goodwin   

Porter recommends this book to put what’s currently going down in Washington in perspective. “How the country survived even a civil war,” says Porter, “helps kind of calm the nerves when we’re talking about politics today.”  

Steven and Dawn Porter at Stillwater Books
Steven and Dawn Porter at Stillwater Books