Staff Picks of 2016

Dept. of Speculation
by Jenny Offill

The plot of this novel isn’t all that groundbreaking. It’s a book about domestic life and all of its ups and downs. What’s amazing about Dept. of Speculation is the language. It reads almost like a book of poetry. And at just about 200 pages, it’s a very quick read.
– Adam

Boston Girl
by Anita Diamant


– Amber

The Shoemaker’s Wife
by Adriana Trigiani


– Amber

When I Was Five I Killed Myself
by Howard Buten

A redeeming story for every child who has been wrongly accused, terribly misunderstood, and horribly betrayed by the adults in their lives.
– Lindsey

Diary of an Oxygen Thief
by Anonymous

An honest and darkly humorous portrayal of the pain that accompanies heartbreak, and how that affects not only ourselves but all those we encounter thereafter.
– Lindsey

What Light
by Jay Asher

A deeply moving, heartwarming love story that is guaranteed to leave you feeling hopeful and inspired. Asher tackles the important themes of redemption and forgiveness, showing us that we can let go of past mistakes and overcome our failures. This is the perfect holiday romance for the YA reader in your life!
– Lindsey

The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins

A Good suspense thriller.
– Maryann B.

The Nest
by Cynthia Sweeney

Intriguing, domestic and dysfunctional family plot that is faced with an inheritance from the father’s trust. Does it bring out the best or worst in people… Must Read
– Maryann B.

Homegoing
by Yaa Gyasi

– Maryann R.

The Summer Before the War
by Helen Simonson

– Maryann R.

Lilac Girls
by Martha Hall Kelly

– Maryann R.

The Life of God (as Told by Himself)
by Franco Ferrucci

Picked up this book when we
decommissioned it from our collection due to low
circulation. May have to add it back. I’m a secularist sort
but it shouldn’t offend members of organized religions who
realize this is a delightful, witty and absolute
philosophical romp. Loved it!
– Regan

A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman

– Regan

The Hike
by Drew Magary

Drew Magary, once again, creates a unique new world that entices all readers — including ones
who have no real interest in fantasy or science fiction. The Hike is a scary, original, interesting, surprising, funny, and engrossing story of, very simply, one ordinary man’s journey. The story twists and turns and never gets boring. There’s a twist at the end that keeps readers thinking and the psychological drama is understated and powerful at the same time.
– Shelly

 

something to food about:
Exploring Creativity with Innovative Chefs
by Ahmir Questlove Thompson

It may surprise you that Questlove has written a book about food, but it’s not all that alien a concept for him. Questlove has always been very analytical about his career and interests. This is just an extension of that.

The book is devided into a number of interviews with chefs, and the focus of the discussions tends more toward the creative process itself. It’s fantastic to see him tease out philosophy from food, and his footnotes are often great annecdotes.
– Adam

When Breath Becomes Air
by Paul Kalanithi

Neera

The Organized Mind:
thinking straight in the age of information overload

by Daniel Levitin

Externalize as much as you can from your working memory
engines. Index cards rule!
– Regan

The Boys in the Boat
by Daniel James Brown

– Regan

Weapons Of Math Destruction
by Cathy O’Neil

Don’t let the fact that this is a math book scare you off; the writing is clear and non-technical. Covering thing topics from colleges to credit, Cathy O’Neil lays a solid foundation for her opinions on how algorithms can sometimes leave real human lives behind when calculating things for the greater good. This book provides a clear insight into the data that industry will only become more influential in the future of our lives. Be warned, this was the scariest book I read this year.
– Adam & Sew Yeng

 

Grit
by Angela Duckworth

– Sew Yeng

Raising Ryland:
Our Story of Parenting a Transgender Child with No Strings Attached

by Hillary Whittington

This quick read is a fascinating take on an issue few people know anything about. It tells the
story of Ryland, a very young transgender boy many were introduced to the world by way of YouTube video. While Ryland himself is a remarkable and brave person, what really stands out is the fierce and unconditional love of his parents. It’s an engrossing and well-written book that succeeds in telling the story of one special person and the people he touches.
– Shelly

Paper Girls
by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matthew Wilson

If you liked Stranger Things and the 80s material its based on then this is the comic for you. It follows a group of girls (who deliver newspapers) as they accidentally get caught up in an alien/monster/time traveler invasion, and try to deal with imperfect home lives.
– Adam

 

B Planet
by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Robert Wilson IV

The titular planet is actually a prison planet for women who are deemed “non-compliant” by society. That can include anything from being too opinionated, too brown, or too fat. Not just for women, this book will speak to anyone who has ever felt like they’ve had a label forced on them and been deemed an outsider.
– Adam

The War That Saved My Life
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

– Amber

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
by Jacqueline Kelly

– Amber

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
by Jeanne Birdsall

– Amber

A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals
by Lucy Ruth Cummins

– Amber

Blue & Bertie
by Kristyna Litten

– Amber

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild
by Peter Brown

– Amber

Gaston
by Kelly DiPucchio

– Amber

School’s First Day of School
by Adam Rex

– Amber

They All Saw a Cat
by Brendan Wenzel

– Amber

Sneezy the Snowman
by Maureen Wright

– Colleen

Banjo and Ruby Red
by Libby Gleeson

– Colleen

Wonder / Auggie and Me: Three Wonder Stories
by R.J. Palacio

Wonder is a fabulous book for kids of all ages. It really teaches empathy and understanding in a completely fresh and non-preachy way. You’ll get to love the characters and want to read more. Auggie and Me uses the same characters to tell other sides of the story, including the antagonist of the original novel. It’s an interesting take on a story, since the author never  intended for there to be a sequel to Wonder.
– Shelly

365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts
by R.J. Palacio

365 Days of Wonder is a great take on a quotations book for kids. There are some very subtle references to the other stories, but it’s also a great stand-alone piece of nonfiction for children who aren’t big readers but still want to be inspired.
– Shelly

Autumn Street
by Lois Lowry

Autumn Street was a great historical fiction tale told from the viewpoint of a six-year-old girl. Despite this fact, it somehow manages to be mature in both its writing and subject matter. The main character, Elizabeth, manages to be insightful even though she doesn’t understand many of the things happening in her life. It’s vintage Lois Lowry in the best way.
– Shelly

Little Bird
by Germano Zullo


– Shelly

The Invisible Boy
by Trudy Ludwig


– Shelly

Hey, Little Ant
by Phillip M. Hoose


– Shelly

One
by Kathryn Otoshi


– Shelly

Maps
by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski


– Shelly

Little Bird’s Bad Word
by Jacob Grant


– Shelly

Red Sled
by Lita Judge


– Shelly

Miracles from Heaven

– Colleen

Arrival

Though it is set entirely on earth, Arrival invokes comparisons to recent more cerebral and less action-packed space adventures such as The Martian and Interstellar. The main character is a linguistics expert, tasked with attempting to bridge the language barrier between humans and a newly arrived alien race while contending with the increasingly itchy trigger fingers of leaders around the world. Problems are overly simplified, and there’s a particularly awkward segment towards the end that defies belief, but overall the study of communication between species from the ground up is fascinating.
– Joyce

Spotlight

An older movie (2015) but worth picking up for anyone who finds excitement in investigative journalism. Not a traditional thriller, with no knife-wielding madmen or sharp-toothed marine creatures, but with a focus instead on the uncovering of past crimes: the cover-up of sexual abuse of minors within the Roman Catholic Church. The reporters pore over newspapers and reports, find leads, talk to parties of interest, talk up the interest that the topic will generate so they’ll be allowed to pursue it…it’s investigative grunt work, neither heart-thumping nor spine-tingling, but engaging interest from beginning to end.
– Joyce

Zootopia

Disney set a new industry record with its box office sales in 2016, thanks to strong showings from movies like Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory, Doctor Strange, Moana and the latest Star Wars: Rogue One, but Zootopia remains the cream of the crop. Witty, humorous, upbeat and above all timely, Zootopia offers a fun-for-the-whole-family outing starring furry investigation buddies Judy the bright-eyed bunny cop and Nick the sly fox conman, who deal
not only with abductions, unsympathetic superiors and an insidious criminal organization, but also the powers of prejudice and mass hysteria.
– Joyce

The Gift

“You think you’re done with the past, but the past is not done with you.”

A gripping psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen!
-Lindsey

Queen of Katwe

– Neera

Jason Bourne

– Sew Yeng

Interstellar


– Shelly

2016-12-27T10:57:24+00:00