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!

Best Books, Part 2

Here are more Best Books of 2012 as chosen by our blogging librarians. Be sure to look check yesterdays blog post for other winners!

cold cold groundHere’s Lynn’s pick: “In The Cold, Cold Ground, Detective Sean Duffy is a Catholic cop in a a heavily Protestant town near Belfast during the height of The Troubles. Duffy is an appealingly sarcastic, yet idealistic narrator. Irish author Adrian McKinty grew up in that time and place, and the small details of everyday life during that turbulent time are fascinating and authentic”.


twenties girl



Maggie choose the audiobook of Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella, read by Rosalyn Landor. “A near-perfect audiobook! Compelling and snappy, so you stay interested on your commute, but not so dense that hearing it in short spurts keeps you from enjoying it. Fun characters, saucy dialog and plenty of romance and mystery.” Maggie blogged more about it here.

book thiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak is Lexie’s winner. “Death himself narrates the story of a young girl growing up in World War II era Germany with her foster parents, who are hiding a Jewish man in their basement. Zusak’s descriptive writing makes the story come alive; I don’t think I’ve highlighted so many beautifully written passages in one book in a very long time. It feels very fitting that the novel is all about the power of words, because Zusak’s writing had me completely captivated from beginning to end”.

There’s one more book in our list of Best Books of 2012 – read all about it tomorrow!

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 2012, but were read and enjoyed in 2012. Enjoy!

casual vacancyAmber starts us off with a controversial pick: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. “Although several of my fellow staff members may disagree with me, I found J.K. Rowling’s newest novel to be absolutely compelling and I can think of no other book that I have read this year that has affected me as much. Although the novel has mostly been discussed for its depiction of politics and social issues set against a backdrop of the idyllic English country village, I found the interactions between teens, technology and their community to be the most explosive”. Maggie had a different view of this book which she blogs about here. Which side of the debate do you fall on?

Beautiful MysteryMichelle’s favorite book was Louise Penny’s latest Chief Inspector Gamache book, The Beautiful Mystery. “Entirely set in the closed walls of a monastery, Gamache methodically interrogates each of the 23 monks trying to determine who murdered Frere Matthieu (the monaastery’s choirmaster) and what would drive a monk to murder.” Michelle tells us more about it here.

state of wonder2State of Wonder by Ann Patchett was Ann’s pick. “Patchett is one of my favorite authors and she did not disappoint, creating interesting, complex characters and placing them in unusual situations and regions (in this case, remote Amazon River) and making them relate-able and memorable. I was surprised at how tense and action packed this title was, yet manages to be thoughtful and heartbreaking too. It’s the kind of book you think about again and again, long after finishing it”. Michelle liked this book too and blogged about it here.

Check back tomorrow for more favorites from our blogging librarians!

Best Books, Part 2

More personal Best Books from our Blogging Librarians!

Lexie loved Graceling by Kristin Cashore : “This is a fantasy novel about a world where some people are gifted with a “grace”, an extreme skill. It tells the story of Katsa, a girl who has been graced with killing, and her unlikely friendship with a young prince. When the two discover a disturbing secret about a nearby ruler, they must work together to bring peace to their land. It has action, drama, romance and an interesting and well-developed new world.”

Michelle’s favorites were some of the hottest books of the year : “My favorite book(s) that I read this year are actually two books that have to be read together, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by the late Stieg Larsson. The second and final installment of the Millennium Trilogy are a tour de force that pack a powerful punch of intrigue, scandal, corruption and mystery in present day Sweden. The first tow films with English subtitle are now available at the library with the final film’s release in the United States coming in January. There is even an English version that will be released sometime near the end of the next year!”  Michelle blogged more about “Fire” here and about “Hornet’s Nest” here.

Favorite Books from our Blogging Librarians, 2008

The end of the year always brings an avalanche lists and awards – winners for being the “best” in various fields and lists of the “Top 10” of just about everything. In that spirit, the Davenport Library is joining in with our own end-of-year list. Here are the favorite books that our Blogging Librarians read in 2008.

Lynn’s favorite was The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett about the Queen of England taking up reading. It had great insight into the life of the Queen and the (sometime subversive) value of reading. Read her description of it here.

Bill liked Red White and Brew : an American Brew Odyssey by Brian Yaegaer. Follow Yaeger cross-country as he explores the brew pubs and small breweries of America.

Rita recommends following the Harlan Coben mystery series on CD. With great characters and interesting puzzles to solve, you’ll want to read/listen to them all.

Rebecca loved Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, about a boy who runs away with the circus. Rebecca says this was one of those rare books that is life-changing, making you stop and see the world from an entirely new perspective. She blogged about it here.

Tana’s favorite was The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. Tana wrote about it before Oprah picked it for her bookclub, predicting that this was a book that would take the country by storm. Read her blog post here.

My choice is So Young Brave and Handsome by Leif Enger, a poignant coming-of-age story set at the end of the Wild West era. Full of adventure and emotion, I wrote more about it here.

Those are our picks – what about you? What was your favorite book that you read in 2008?