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Friday, December 1, 2017

Library Reads: Favorite of Favorites 2017

Here is the year end list of the best of the best from library reads.  I am forgoing my normal monthly Library Reads preamble to make some comments about this annual list.

But before I share my thoughts, I am sure you have some too. Starting on 12/4 you can share your favorite books of 2017 on Twitter using #LibFavs17. The Library Reads Steering Committee will be moderating that hashtag. Countdown from #10 to #1 for ten days beginning on Monday. [FYI- I usually try to share my favorite horror titles that way. I hope to have my list ready by then.]

Now back to this list and my comments.

First, after calls by many, including me, to all of you library workers to make this list more diverse, this years list is definitely better than in the past; not perfect, but better. The top book features Asian Americans as the lead characters. There are books about women forgotten to history, Native Americans, and Jodi Picoult’s honest looks at racism. But all three of those are not own voices. So again, better, but still room for improvement.

Second-- where are the speculative titles?!?!? I know there were SF, FSY and Horror titles on the voting list because I voted for them! This prove a point I talk about all of the time in my training programs: readers love speculative fiction but library workers as a whole are not fans. *Sigh* Seriously not a spaceship, elf, or monster in the bunch here. And no romance either. Same issues there too. Hmmmmm.

Third, News of the World!!!! Such a great book. And it proves my year long point that Westerns are hot.

Fourth, I am also so proud of Radium Girls. As you can see here, I read it months before it came out and loved it. I literally shouted about it from the RA rooftops. I am so glad others liked it-- enough to make it #2 for the year and one of only 2 nonfiction on the list.

Fifth, this list [except for the glaring absence of speculative titles] makes a good general holiday gift giving list.

Finally an overall theme I notice here is that all of these books, no matter their genre would all make great book club suggestions. Since this was a library worker picked list, this does not surprise me.


Click here to pull up every month’s list using my Library Reads tag.


Favorite of Favorites 2017

Little Fires Everywhere

by Celeste Ng

Published: 9/12/2017
by Penguin Press
ISBN: 9780735224292
Little Fires Everywhere delves into family relationships and what parenthood, either biological or by adoption, means. We follow the members of two families living in the idyllic, perfectly-planned suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio: Mia and Pearl, a mother and daughter living a less traditional lifestyle, moving from town to town every few months, and the Richardsons, the perfect nuclear family in the perfect suburb…until Izzy Richardson burns her family home down. Ng’s superpower is her ability to pull you into her books from the very first sentence!”
Emma DeLooze-Klein, Kirkwood Public Library, Kirkwood, MO

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women

by Kate Moore

Published: 5/2/2017 by Sourcebooks
ISBN: 9781492649359
“This is the story of hundreds of young, vibrant women who were sentenced to death by their employers. The so-called “Radium Girls” painted luminescent faces on clock and watch dials using a paint mixture that contained radium. Instructed to “lip-point” their brushes as they painted, they absorbed high doses of radium into their bodies. When the effects of the radium led to horrific disfigurement and pain, the company refused to take responsibility. This heartrending book was one I could not put down.”
Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel

by Gail Honeyman

Published: 5/9/2017 by Pamela Dorman Books
ISBN: 9780735220683
“I loved this book about the quirky Eleanor, who struggles to relate to other people and lives a very solitary life. When she and the new work IT guy happen to be walking down the street together, they witness an elderly man collapse on the sidewalk and suddenly Eleanor’s orderly routines are disrupted. This is a lovely novel about loneliness and how a little bit of kindness can change a person forever. Highly recommended for fans of A Man Called Ove and The Rosie Project – this would make a great book club read.”
Halle Eisenman, Beaufort County Library, Blufton, SC

News of the World: A Novel

by Paulette Jiles

Published: 10/4/2016 by William Morrow
ISBN: 9780062409201
“Readers fortunate enough to meet Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an old ex-soldier who makes a living reading the news to townspeople in 1870s Texas, and Joanna, the Indian captive he is charged with returning to her relatives, will not soon forget them. Everything, from the vividly realized Texas frontier setting to the characters is beautifully crafted, right up to the moving conclusion. Both the Captain and Joanna have very distinctive voices. Wonderful storytelling.”
Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY

Glass Houses: A Novel

by Louise Penny

Published: 8/29/2017 by Minotaur Books
ISBN: 9781250066190
“A new threat arises in Three Pines as a mysterious masked figure stands watch on the village green. ‘It’ refuses to communicate in any way, which is just the start of another thrilling adventure in this long-running series. Gamache is still trying to restore the Sûreté du Québec back to what it was before it was corrupted under the previous regime. Choices are made that will forever change our hero in ways we can only begin to imagine. The next book can’t get here fast enough.”
Joseph Jones, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Brooklyn, OH 

Small Great Things: A Novel

by Jodi Picoult

Published: 10/11/2016 by Ballantine Books
ISBN: 9780345544957
“A black neonatal nurse is charged with causing the death of a white supremacist’s newborn baby. The story is told from the points of view of the nurse, her attorney, and the baby’s heartbroken father. As always, Picoult’s attention to legal, organizational, and medical details help the tale ring true. What sets this book apart, though, are the uncomfortable points it makes about racism. The novel is both absorbing and thought-provoking, and will surely spark conversations among friends, families and book clubs.”
Laurie Van Court, Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, CO

Magpie Murders

by Anthony Horowitz

Published:6/6/2017 by Harper
ISBN: 9780062645227
“Susan Ryeland is a London book editor who has just received the latest manuscript from one of her most irascible authors, Alan Conway. But the manuscript’s ending appears to be missing and she learns that Conway has committed suicide. As Ryeland learns more about his death, she starts to question whether a murder has occurred and begins to investigate. Magpie Murders is a delightful, clever mystery-within-a-mystery. Horowitz shows real mastery of his craft. This is a terrific, modern take on the traditional mystery with ingenious puzzles to solve.”
Andrea Larson, Cook Memorial Library, Libertyville, IL

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

by David Grann

Published: 4/18/2017 by Doubleday
ISBN: 978o385534246
“In the 1920s, a string of unsolved murders rocked the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma.  Made rich by oil rights, the Osage were already victimized by unscrupulous businessmen and societal prejudice, but these murders were so egregious, the newly formed FBI was brought in to investigate. Immensely readable, this book brings a shameful part of U.S. history alive and will keep readers thinking long after they have finished the book.”
Jenna Persick, Chester County Library, Exton, PA 

The Dry: A Novel

by Jane Harper

Published: 1/10/2017 by Flatiron Books
ISBN: 9781250105608
“’Luke lied. You lied. Be at the funeral.’ These eight words will change everything for Agent Aaron Falk, summoned by the father or his former best friend. It appears Luke went on a rampage, murdering his wife, son, and then himself.  At Luke’s father’s request, Aaron agrees to look into the murders/suicide and learns that the small town has long held grudges and secrets that may be best kept hidden in this atmospheric, chilling complex tale of anger and revenge.”
Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ

Beartown: A Novel

by Fredrik Backman

Published: 4/25/2017 by Atria Books
ISBN: 9781501160769
“Backman’s most complex novel to date takes place in the small, hockey-crazed village of Beartown.  He deftly weaves together the stories of the players, the coaches, the parents, and the fans as Beartown’s hockey team chases its dream of winning a championship.  Weighty themes are explored.  How high a price is too high for success?  How deadly is silence?  Who can you trust with your secrets?  How far will you compromise your beliefs in the name of friendship?  There are no easy answers.  A great book club choice.”
Janet Lockhart, Wake County Public Library, Cary, NC

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