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Librarian Blog

A nonfiction fave

Some of our library staffers favored nonfiction over fiction when naming their favorite books of 2016.
Among them was Juniper Schneider, who is an assistant librarian. Juniper said, when asked for his favorite work of the year, this:
" 'White Trash.'  It gives a 400-year history of the poor in America and the deliberate attempt to keep people in poverty and then blame it on them.  It’s a book every Republican ought to read."

More favorites

The librarian in charge of most of our adult programming is Sarah Davis, and I asked her for her favorite books of this year.
Here is her response:

The best  fiction book I read in 2016 was “We Are Called to Rise” by Laure McBride.  It is about families, set in Las Vegas, Nev.  A soldier recovering from his wounds in the Middle East, both physical and emotional, an immigrant family struggles to get by in the land of opportunity, a family woman and her family struggling to get by in the land of lights. It will challenge you to think about our responsibilities to each other and remind us that of our  compassion and charity  to each other. 

The best non-fiction book I read in 2016 was “Life Is a verb: 37 Days to Wake" by Patty Digh.  She challenged me to get back writing and being more creative.  I went on to buy her second book that we don’t have in the library that is called “Creative Is a Verb."

Unlikely destinations

The last big trip I took was with my wife to Chicago to attend the wedding of her oldest grandson. We stayed in a motel in a nice suburb in the north part of the city, a longish walk away from a shopping mall.
To get the best rates, we traveled a day or two more than we needed, so I had a little free time unrelated to the wedding and events.
So, I walked over to the mall with no particular destination in mind.
And I wound up spending most of my time in a Barnes & Noble bookstore that was almost as empty as the rest of the mall on this particular day.
It was very pleasant, very familiar, very welcoming.
I like B&N stores, and I would stop by one in Austin if I had the inclination.
But, I wouldn't travel to Austin, any more than I would travel to Chicago, just to go to a Barnes & Noble bookstore.
The truth is that I wouldn't travel to San Francisco just to go to the City Lights Bookstore, either.
There are places on this planet that have bookstores that I would go specifically to see, however.
Like Hangzhou in China, home of the new Zhongshuge library.
OK, maybe not.
But there are surely a lot of very nice big bookstores around the world, and you can read all about them in the travel section of Sunday's New York Times.
Imagine: An entire section about great bookstores.
Imagine: Having the resources to go to places just to browse.

Another favorite

I've told you my favorite book of 2016. Now, I'll turn this space over to other librarians to tell you what their favorite books were:
Our reference librarian Linda Eagleton had this to say on the subject:

"My favorite read of 2016 is When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, a memoir about a thirty-six year-old brilliant neurosurgeon,  who one day he was a doctor treating patients and the next day he was a patient being treated for stage lV lung cancer.  The struggles and the pain he endured during his final days gave him a clearer understanding of doctors and patients relationships and of his approaching mortality.  It is a heartbreaking story and it served as a reminder to me that  life is not always fair. Paul died before finishing writing his book. The book was published in January 2016 and was on the NYT Bestsellers list"

My favorite book of the year

My leisure reading runs mainly to nonfiction, and the year 2016 has been a banner year for one of my favorite topics, World War II.
In fact, I just finished the newest book about Pearl Harbor right before the 75th anniversary of the event. Fortunately or unfortunately, after I read it I was in no mood to fall for promotions for TV specials promising to expose the truth about who knew what when. I knew definitively who knew what when.
Still, I do read fiction, although it must come highly recommended and well reviewed.
And I look for good reviews of works of fiction so I can read more novels.
I was a little startled here a couple of weeks ago to read a review about a new work of fiction from a Texas author with the reviewer complaining about getting all the way to the end of the book with nothing else to do but start the book all over again and read it through.
I have just finished reading that book. I won't read it again. But, I am surely glad I read it once because it is quite a wondeful work of fiction.
The book is "News of the World" by Paulette Jiles.
It's a slim volume. Won't take much of your time.
I think you'll believe, when you've finished it to the end, like I do that it's the best book you've read this year.
 
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