Favorite Books of 2016, Part 3

OK folks, here’s the last installment of our bloggers favorite reads in 2016.

As mentioned earlier, Stephanie cheated and sent me a list of nine favorite titles. I picked two that looked especially interesting. The first is Love Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey. Stephanie says “This young adult book takes place in the 19th century, but what appealed to me was that the main character, Juliana Telford, is not your typical “bow to the men and let them control my life” type of person. She is determined to get her scientific research published and if that meant she has to suffer through the London season, she’ll suck it up, but not form any attachments. Enter in Spencer Northam, a spy for the War Office and a gentleman who stumbles into Juliana’s company. He is more worried about his first mission than he is about meeting ladies to find a wife. This book cracked me up and had me wondering how Juliana and Spencer’s relationship with each other and their surrounding family and friends would really turn out.” 

Stephanie’s second choice is The Worrier’s Guide to Life by Gemma Correll which she blogged about earlier this year. Stephanie found that this book really hit home with her and did it with a lot of humor. “I am a perpetual worrier. If there’s a thing happening around me, I’m worrying about it. Gemma Correll’s graphic novel gave me advice and information (most-to-all of it ridiculous and frustrating, but incredibly funny) on how to deal with the many situations that leave me up all night worrying. Check this out to laugh your way through any horrifying situation.” Both titles sound intriguing, don’t they?

Finally, my 2016 pick is News of the World by Paulette Jiles which I blogged about last month. A compelling story line, dramatic landscape and vivid characters made this a story that is hard to forget. I loved Captain Kidd, his hard won wisdom, his unwavering belief in sticking to his principals and his compassion. I also loved the emphasis on education and knowledge. The books is based on real people and I found this slice of relatively unknown Western history fascinating.

So there you have it – some really excellent books, verified by our own in-house experts! What about you? What book did you read this year that stood above the rest? Please share in the comments – everyone loves a good book recommendation!

Favorite Books of 2016, Part 2

Here are more favorite books from our bloggers!

Brenda’s favorite has a great title: The Joy of Leaving your Sh*t All Over the Place: the Art of Being Messy by Jennifer McCartney. Brenda comments: I found this a hilarious answer to Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy. I almost breathed a sigh of relief to know that there are others out there who fail at de-cluttering and still manage to do all right at this thing called life.”

Lynn has chosen the fiction book We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. Lynn explains “Rosemary tells the story of how she was raised to consider a chimpanzee her sister till there were both 5 years old and how it affected herself and her brother for the rest of their lives. The book is dense with insights into animal and human behavior and the protocols of scientific studies. Fowler causes you to feel such empathy for Fern, the sister who was a chimpanzee, that you’ll never look at non-human primates the same way again.”

There’s one more best books installment, heading your way tomorrow!

Favorite Books of 2016, Part 1

Hello! It’s the end of the year and you know what that means – lots and lots of “best of” lists. you won’t be surprised to hear that here at the library we’re especially interested in the books and that we have a lot of passionate readers on staff with a wide range of interests. Here are the favorite books of 2016 for some of our blogging librarians – you’re sure to discover something new and intriguing!

Valerie cheated a bit and gave me two titles (that’s ok, Stephanie gave me nine titles!) but I admit it’s hard to choose just one. Valerie’s first choice is Sea Level Rise in Florida: Science, Impacts and Options by Albert Hine. Valerie comments: “This title is full of scientific information presented in easy to understand text. It is chock-a-clock full of maps, charts and diagrams that help you understand the rise and fall of ocean levels over the millennia, as well as in the shorter term.”

Her second choice also non-fiction, Atlas Obscura: an Explorer’s guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer. “The world is full of interesting places. This work strives to tell you about approximately 700 of them, some man-made, some natural wonders. Organized by regions of the world, summary maps pinpoint the location of these curiositieis. Hundreds of photographs help you imagine many of the locales.”

Our next blogging librarian, Bill, nominates NFL Confidential by Johnny Anonymous which he also blogged about earlier this year. “Johnny Anonymous’ unvarnished perspective of what goes on from week to week was pretty refreshing.”

Tune in tomorrow for more of our favorites in 2016!

Favorite Books, Part 3

More favorite books of 2015!

small nightingaleAnn has two favorites that she read this year. “I loved Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale which is set in small boys in the boatFrance during World War II, following the two very different paths that two sisters take. One joins the Resistance while the other stays in the countryside at the family home. Both face unimaginable danger, great risk and terrible sacrifice. My other favorite was The Boys in the Boat, a non-fiction account of the 1936 US rowing team that went to the Olympics. Against almost impossible odds, a group of hard-scrabble individuals come together as a team, beating every obstacle and hardship in their path. Both books offer unique viewpoints, both are nearly impossible to put down and both stay with you long after you’ve finish reading.”

 

Here’s Stephanie’s favorite:

small cinderOne of my favorite books this year was Cinder by Marissa Meyer. This is the first book in her Lunar Chronicles series. I loved this book because it was a mix of fairy tales and dystopian fiction, two genres that are sure to capture and hold my interest. This first book tells the story of Cinder, a cyborg, who also is a gifted mechanic. Because she is a cyborg, she is treated as a second-hand citizen. Her stepmother hates her and blames her for her stepsister’s illness. Cinder meets Prince Kai very early in the book and we quickly see that in order for him to avoid war with the Lunars, he may have to marry the evil Queen Levana. This book has everything in it that I wanted and expected: fabulous world building like you find in dystopian fiction and really thorough character development that actually gives her stepsisters and stepmother full personalities and doesn’t just leave them as hateful people. I also thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Cinder wasn’t the typical heroine! She was a mechanic and knew how to fix things, no matter what was wrong. Such a breath of fresh air when it comes to young adult fiction.

 

There you have it, some of best loved books of 2015 from our bloggers. What about you – what was your favorite book that you read in 2015? And what do you plan to read in 2016?

Favorite Books of 2015, Part 2

More favorites from our Blogging Librarians!

Rachel nominated two books as her favorites for 2015.

tamingHer first choice is The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory.  “This novel is based on the life of Catherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII of England.  I never really thought about how brave Catherine Parr was to be the sixth wife of a tyrant.  Literally unable to refuse his proposal, she had to live out the remainder of his life walking on egg shells making sure she did nothing to provoke his anger.  She had constant reminders of what happened to his previous wives when they disobeyed him.  Even so, Catherine Parr managed to reunite Henry with his daughters Mary and Elizabeth and son Edward and to influence the religion of the King of England.​”

 

 

 

dogs giftRachel’s second choice is a non-fiction book,  A Dog’s Gift: The Inspirational Story of Veterans and Children Healed by Man’s Best Friend by Bob Drury.  “This book is about a father and daughter team that operate the group Paws4People.  This organization raises and trains puppies to be helper dogs for military veterans and children with disabilities. The dogs are trained in prisons by inmates which helps the inmates gain job skills.  One thing from this book that stuck with me is that the dogs choose their people; the dogs are not assigned to anyone by the organization.  This books is a great example of how an organization can help and touch so many people’s lives.​”

 

Favorite Books of 2015, Part 1

It’s the end of the year and that means taking a look back at some of our favorite books. Here are some favorites from our blogging librarians.

Allison nominated a series of Marvel titles as her favorites:

hawkeye“This year, I have really enjoyed the Marvel NOW!/All-New Marvel NOW!/Avengers NOW! relaunch that started in 2012, and sadly ended this year with the launch of Secret Wars. My favorite titles from the run are “Black Widow” by Edmonson and Noto, “Deadpool” by Posehn and Duggan, “Ms. Marvel” by Wilson and Alphona, “Thor” by Aaron and Dauterman and my very favorite, “Hawkeye” by Matt Fraction and David Aja. All feature witty, crackling dialog, plots explore each character while never slowing the action down, and fantastic art (especially “Black Widow”). You certainly don’t have to be a comic book nerd to enjoy these titles!”

 

 

Lynn’s favorite book would make a great summer read or anytime read!

august“Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen was my favorite book this year. It will always bring back memories of how I read it on the back deck on sunny afternoons this last summer. Views of Iowa’s muddy creeks may not be as sought after as those  of the Atlantic, but the two converged when I read this book. It’s about three women  whose lives and relationships came together in a guest house on an island off the coast of Massachussetts. It’s fun to read this before or after viewing Enchanted April.

Best Books, Part 3

More favorite books from our bloggers!

small viewLynn votes for The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman. “I love Lipman’s writing style, her characters and the world they inhabit. This time it’s a penthouse in Manhattan, where Gwen and her sister Margot live in genteel poverty. In order to make ends meet, the tenants begin to multiply and become involved in each other’s lives and romances”.

small relishAmanda chooses a non-fiction title. “I have an obsession with cookbooks and graphic novels, and Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley combines the two in an entertaining and informative way. While the novelty of a graphic cookbook is what appealed to me at first, it was Knisley’s hilarious voice and effective story telling that won me over. I’m crossing my fingers that another book is on it’s way”.

small longbournAnn goes with a classic re-imagined. “Longbourn by Jo Baker was my favorite this year. It’s a sly, witty and compassionate interpretation of Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, seen through the eyes of the servants. Usually faceless and unnamed, here they inhabit real lives with complications and joys and heartbreak just as interesting (if not more so) than the homeowners they serve”.

There you have it – an eclectic collection of best books. What about you – what was your favorite book in 2013?

 

Best Books, Part 2

Favorite books read in 2013 by our Info Cafe bloggers continues.

small bonesRita is a big fan of audio books and choose one author as her favorite to listen to. “I have read and listened to Kathy Reich’s Temperence Brennan from the beginning, 15 titles and counting. It is a wonderful series about Temperence being a forensic anthropologist holding two positions, one in North Carolina and one in Quebec, Ontario. Her cases are based on real cases in Kathy Reich’s experience as a forensic anthropologist. Temeperence has adventures and misadventures most people wouldn’t live through. What I like best about her writing is that her writing has stayed the finest quality through all 15 books. Some series I read, you can tell when it has become a chore for the writer to continue the series. Her newest book, Bones of the Lost, continues with that quality”.

small hatBill’s favorite (and most read) title is the children’s classic The Hat by Jan Brett. With beautiful illustrations reminiscent of Nordic folk art, Brett weaves a fun and charming story about animals discovering warm winter headgear. This book is especially great when you do different voices for each animal, much to the delight of the littlest reader.

There’s still more to come! Stop back on Monday for our final installment of 2013 favorites!

Best Books, Part 1

It’s that time again – the end-of-the-year recap time! Here at Info Cafe we’re going to take a look back at our favorite books of the past year. Not all of these books were published in 2013, but were read and enjoyed in 2013. Enjoy!

small eleanorLexie gets us started with a YA title that several of us liked, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. “This is a beautiful story of two misfit teens who against all odds find each other and find happiness. their friendship begins over a shared love of comic books and music, and over time is grows very naturally into first love. I’ve read a lot of YA love stories, and I can easily say that this is one of the most realistic I’ve read. It is genuine, moving, and very charming, and I would recommend it to just about anyone”.

small cuckoosAmber’s up next. “Although I may have felt slightly lonely in my praise of J.K. Rowling’s first post-Potter-publication, The Casual Vacancy (compare Maggie’s full review of ithere to my quick end-of-year review here), there is almost universal adoration for Rowling’s second offering, The Cuckoo’ Calling, about a rough detective named Cormoran Strike who tries to prove the suicide of a London It-Girl was really a premeditated murder (Once again, you can see Maggie’s full, eloquent review here). Ms Rowling released The Cuckoo’s Calling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, and much to her dismay (and my delight) it only took several months for her secret to leak into the press. I have long been a fan of mysteries, but usually of the cozier or historical sort, and I probably would have bypassed The Cuckoo’s Calling due to the gritty, contemporary setting and missed out on Rowling’s amazing storytelling and beautifully crafted characters. According to Robert Galbraith’s website, we can expect another Cormoran Strike mystery in 2014 – Hurrah”!

Check back tomorrow for more of our picks for 2013!

 

Best Books, Part 3

As you might have guessed, the librarians that blog for the Info Cafe blog are a diverse lot and as a result, we read and like a diverse range of books. Unusually this year, four of us (out of seven) picked the same book. To avoid a knock-down, drag-out fist fight over who got the honor of picking it, we all choose a runner-up and we’ve bestowed this title as our Best Book of the Year (surely an honor that will rank right along with the Pulitzers and National Book Awards)

fault in our starsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. (description from publisher)

“You would think that a book about two teens with cancer would be nothing but tears from beginning to end, but there are many laughs and happy moments in this story (and yes, plenty of tears too). Hazel and Augustus don’t feel like stereotypical kids with cancer who you might find in other novels; they are complex and compelling, and their struggles feel real. This novel is beautiful and moving, easily my favorite of John Green’s books and certainly my favorite of the year”. – Lexie

Far and away my 2012 favorite – nothing else I read even comes close. The most genuine modern love story I’ve ever read, The Fault in Our Stars manages to lift your spirits and break your heart at the same time. On top of that, it’s quotable, witty and even laugh-out-loud funny.” – Maggie

“There is no romanticized stereotype of the “brave cancer patient.” The people here are real – funny and sad and inquisitive and so angry, struggling with the Big Questions but also not waiting around for death. I don’t know anyone that hasn’t been touched by cancer or other serious illness and you’ll recognize these emotions as real and honest. This book takes on the fear and the unknown, acknowledges them and then does battle with them. It’s a battle well worth joining.” – Ann who also blogged about it here.

There you have it – our favorites of 2012! What about you? What did you read this year that was especially memorable? Let us know in the comments.

Wishing you a Great Year of Reading in 2013!