The Big Issue best books of 2018

You can never have too many books. If you’re looking to spend your Christmas vouchers wisely, we guarantee the superior quality of our Books of the Year shortlist

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead, Olga Tokarczuk, Books review Issue 1324

by Olga Tokarczuk (translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones),  (Fitzcarraldo)

Polish Man Booker winner Tokarczuk presents a magical murder mystery tour led by a cosmic detective clued up on the chatter of angels, devils and ghosts.

Factfulness, Hans Rosling (Sceptre)

This clever, entertaining book, which operates on the crazy idea that facts have superiority over/offer more optimism than fake news, counts Bill Gates, Barack Obama and Steven Pinker among its grateful fans.



by Edward Carey (Gallic Books)

The unique Edward Carey’s version of Madame Tussaud’s life story reads like a hallucinatory David Copperfield; an eccentric, addictive novel in turns nightmarish, dreamy, sensual, and laugh out loud funny.


The Big Issue is a multi award-winning magazine, edited by the British Society of Magazine Editors (BSME) current Editor of the Year.

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, Hanif Abdurraqib (Melville House)

Intelligence, sincerity, compassion and wit mark out this brilliant collection of essays, written by the Ohio-born poet Greil Marcus says changed his view of US pop culture.

Normal People


by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber) 

Rooney’s star went supernova with this funny, insightful coming of age novel with touches of Elena Ferrante and David Nicholls but guided by a wild Galway spirit all of its own.


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Country, Michael Hughes (John Murray)

The Iliad reimagined as a Good Friday Agreement-period brutal dispute along the Irish border. Fierce, funny, fast-paced and fizzing with lively authentic dialogue

Red Birds


by Mohammed Hanif (Bloomsbury)

Maverick Pakistani novelist Hanif’s Catch 22-style tale of a pilot who crash lands into the refugee camp he was supposed to bomb is a wry, savage satire with an unexpectedly forceful tug on the heart. 

The Fifth Risk, Michael Lewis (Allen Lane)

The terrifying truth not just about about what Trump is like, but what he actually does, this story of a nation collapsing in is a lucid telling of a nightmare scenario.



by Carys Davies (Granta)

A beautifully told modern fable about an old man on an impossible quest and the unrelenting faith of his devoted daughter, as moving as it is perceptive.

Literary Landscapes, John Sutherland (Modern Books)

This gorgeously illustrated guide to the real life settings of much loved fictions is a joy to behold, characterised by the usual authority, dedication and joie de vivre of national treasure Sutherland.