Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Garrett's and Kathleen's Reading Years in Review

Garrett:
Favorite new author or series you tried: 
Becky Chambers "Wayfarers" Series

A book that surprised you: 
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

A book you read for the first time that you will reread in the future: 
Pax by Sara Pennypacker

The best book you read that was also published this year: 
Dark Money by Jane Mayer

A book you read that was outside of your comfort zone: 
Atheism Remix by R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

The book that you recommended to the most people: 
Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon

The best cover from a book you read this year: 
My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix


Kathleen:
Favorite new author or series you tried:

A book that surprised you: 
Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters OR My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix 

A book you read for the first time that you will reread in the future: 
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgewick

The best book you read that was also published this year: 
Miss Jane by Brad Watson 

A book you read that was outside of your comfort zone: 
I don't typically finish the books that "don't fit" me (no time to spare, or inclination, really)... but perhaps the LPLS book group read by Susan Mallory: Already Home...

The book that you recommended to the most people: 
Again, depends on the person..so more than one: Miss Jane, Flight of Dreams, and The Velvet Hours.

The best cover from a book you read this year: 
The Trees by Ali Shaw


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Brittney R.'s Reading Year in Review

Name: Brittney R., Supervisory Associate at the Smyrna branch

Favorite new author or series you tried:
I read Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire and was thrilled to discover that it's a series! I can't wait to learn more about the various alternate realities she has created with the sequel is released next June.

My runner-up for this question is the Archived series by Victoria Schwab, which starts with, appropriately enough, The Archived. It's a YA series about the afterlife imagined as a library, so you can see how it would have appeal for a librarian. Sadly there's no confirmed release date for the third book, so I don't know if I will ever get to find out how it all ends. (Unless Ms. Schwab would like to become friends with me and let me read a manuscript or something. Just putting that out there into the universe.) 

A book that surprised you:
Saga, a beautiful, weird, and heartbreaking graphic novel series by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, manages to surprise me all the time. It also makes me want to throw it across the room and has at least once made me vow to never read it again, but of course I always come back because I MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. (And also because Marko is one of my top fictional crushes, but that's not important.) Just to demonstrate how addicting this series is: I read three volumes of it in one day. And then I read the fourth on the next day. And I wanted more.


The runners-up are Sharp Objects and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, which surprised me not only in terms of plot but by how much I enjoyed them. I had read Gone Girl, so I knew I would like them, but I didn't expect them to be quite so compulsively readable.

A book you read for the first time that you will reread in the future:
Night Film by Marisha Pessl. I got completely and delightedly lost in this labyrinthine thriller (for lack of a better, more adequate, genre descriptor) about a disgraced journalist researching the death of a cult horror director's daughter. It's such a good book that I resented real life for interrupting my reading, and I feel like it deserves multiple readings.

The best book you read that was also published this year:
 Troll Bridge. In this haunting modern faerie tale about innocence, change, and growing up, Neil Gaiman's words pair with stunning art by Colleen Doran. 

A book you read that was outside of your comfort zone:
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I think it's outside of a lot of white people's comfort zones, but it is definitely a book that we need to read. I listened to the audiobook, read by the author, which added a lot to the experience.

The book that you recommended to the most people:
I recommended All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders to nearly everyone I encountered after I read it. It's an outstanding book (and another book that I will probably reread in the future), so consider this to be me recommending it yet again to whomever is reading this post.
 
The best cover from a book you read this year:
Again, All the Birds in the Sky. So pretty. I need this print on everything.



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Caleb's and Lauren's Reading Years in Review

Caleb:

Favorite new author or series you tried:
An Innocent Fashion - R.J. Hernandez
A book that surprised you:
Black Deutschland - Darryl Pinckney

A book you read for the first time that you will reread in the future:
A Single Man - Christopher Isherwood

The best book you read that was also published this year:
I'm Supposed to Protect You from All This - Nadja Spiegelman

The movie that you recommended to the most people:
Only Yesterday - Studio Ghibli

The best cover from a book you read this year:
The Last Love Song: A biography of Joan Didion - Tracey Daugherty




Lauren:

Favorite new author or series you tried:
Captive Prince Series by C.S. Pacat

A book that surprised you:
In the Woods by Tana French

A book you read for the first time that you will reread in the future:
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

The best book you read that was also published this year: 
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A book you read that was outside of your comfort zone:
I didn't really read any :/ (I can't seem to finish these.)

The book that you recommended to the most people: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas or Bared to You by Sylvia Day

The best cover from a book you read this year:
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas 

 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Jessica's Reading Year in Review

Name: Jessica B.

Favorite new author or series you tried:
V. E. Shwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) and released this year, A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) I picked the first book, in this series, up because I was so attracted to the cover. Upon further investigation, I found the synopsis was equally curious. The world was beautiful and deadly and exciting all at the same time. First, we meet Kell a mysterious, dark eyed, alien being full of mystery and a coat that made me jealous. I wanted to walk through doors with him to discover everything the Londons (yes that’s plural) had to offer. Second, we meet Delilah a spirited, confident, strong, quick-witted thief. She is a force to be reckoned with. It’s a story of adventure, sacrifice, strength, and finding the place you belong. To live without standing still. To take leaps of faith not just in others but yourself. I will say as I am halfway through the second one that all of the above can be said for it. I believe this should be on everyone’s TBR (to be read) list in the coming year.

A book that surprised you:
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins This is a book that continues to prick at my brain even 3 months later. Again, I was attracted to the cover. I had no clue what to expect and that’s the best way to experience this one. I will say this it has been described as Neil Gaiman meets Joe Hill and I agree 100% with that assessment. It is a bizarre book that will make you uncomfortable at times and other times it will just terrify or disturb you. Warning: It is not for the faint of heart. 

A book you read for the first time that you will reread in the future:
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
I will reread this book for years to come. I read this as part of the staff book club and it was a delight. A story that will stay in my heart forever. The length one's soul will go to love again and again...It's unexplainable and undeniable. It's beauty in all its glory. And that is all I will say because if I say too much more it will take away the joy that is reading this book.

The best book you read that was also published this year:
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two by John Tiffany
While this may  not seem like a surprise to many who know me, it is to me. I was not sure what to expect from this book. I was nervous that it would be too much or not enough. I was scared the magical world I hold so dear would be ruined. But it wasn’t. In fact I fell even more in love with the wizarding world by the time I read the last page. All my beloved characters were there to greet me and tell a story, once again, everyone should read. A tale of how our past (our’s and family’s), while a part of us, doesn’t have to define who we are or even who we become. We are individuals with a different story to tell. Tiffany’s story gave me closure to so many things I didn’t even realize I wanted closure to. I laughed, I cried, and in the end all I could think was, “After all this time? Always.” Because I will always hold this series that dear.

A book you read that was outside of your comfort zone:
X-Men: No More Humans by Mike Carey.  I was not the biggest superhero comic reader before this one. I had dabbled in the DC universe with Batman but nothing in Marvel. So X-Men was my branching out moment. Plus I was already I huge fan of Carey via his novel, The Girl With All the Gifts. I ended up loving this one. The story and the artwork. I realized X-Men are the Marvel superheroes for me. A perfect match. 

The book that you recommended to the most people:
The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books #1)  by Carlos Ruiz Zafon I have recommended this book and will continue to do it for years to come. A combination of historical fiction, gothic romance, suspense thriller, paranormal mystery and a poetic writing style that will make your heart melt. It takes place in Spain after the Spanish Civil War. It isn’t just a story it is an ode to one’s love for books. That moment you fell in love with reading? That’s what this series is about. Fun fact: it can be read it ANY order.
           
The best cover from a book you read this year:
Marjorie Liu’s Monstress art by Sana Takeda  This cover is one the most beautiful things I have seen this year. And the artwork continues in the graphic novel. In context of a story dealing with a unique type of magic, the artist paired things perfectly. My eyes would wonder around each spread before I would even start to read. I wanted to exist in the world...In the art. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Shona's, Faith's, and Al's Reading Years in Review

All month, we will be looking back on the books that library staff read and loved in 2016!


Shona:
Favorite new author or series you tried:
Philip Roth (not a new writer, but I had never read any of his books prior to 2016 and as you will discover as you move on through my responses to the questionnaire, I don't read a lot of fiction).

A book that surprised you:
Deep, Dark, Down: 
The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Hector Tobar. You know how it ends (it's even in the subtitle!), but it's still a very intense read.

A book you read for the first time that you will reread in the future:
Big Magic
by Elizabeth Gilbert.

The best book you read that was also published this year: 
The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World 
by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tu.

A book you read that was outside of your comfort zone:
Letting Go
by Philip Roth because it was A) fiction and B) over 600 pages. Normally a book this long would be reserved for non-fiction.

The book that you recommended to the most people:
Commonwealth
by Ann Patchett.

The best cover from a book you read this year:  
No Baggage by Clara Benson.


Faith:
Favorite new author or series you tried:
The Magicians, a new show on Syfy based on the books by Lev Grossman. 

A book that surprised you:

Goldenhand by Garth Nix. This isn't one that I read, but one that surprised me with its existence.

A book you read for the first time that you will reread in the future:

I Don't Like Koala by Sean Ferrell because it is sooooo cute. 

The best book you read that was also published this year:

The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 4 by Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen.

A book you read that was outside of your comfort zone:

Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich. I wasn't able to finish the book.

The book that you recommended to the most people:
Abarat by Clive Barker.


The best cover from a book you read this year:
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende.


Al:
Favorite new author or series you tried:
Seanan McGuire

A book that surprised you:
Every Heart a Doorway

A book you read for the first time that you will reread in the future:
Every Heart a Doorway


The best book you read that was also published this year:
Every Heart a Doorway

A book you read that was outside of your comfort zone:
N/A

The book that you recommended to the most people:
Green Rider

The best cover from a book you read this year:
Lumberjanes Vol. 5: Band Together

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Girl with All The Gifts

One of my favorite things about working at the library is discovering new authors. You get to witness every aspect of a really good new release. A hold list 20 people deep, seeing the book come in 5-6 times over a 2 week period and immediately get put right back on hold. Then, you have patrons coming in constantly asking about that specific title. As librarians we do take note of these moments. We will pick up the book and study it. We look at it, read the synopsis a dozen times, ask patrons about it, consult our goodreads review community, and drool over the covert art. Next thing you know we put our current reads aside to give in to temptation. This is the trail of events that lead me to pick up a book/audiobook called The Girl With All the Gifts and later to my obsession with M.R. Carey (aka Mike Carey).

A little background: I love anything and everything within the paranormal universe. If it's scary, has ghosts, and makes me afraid to be alone in the dark; then I am all in. If it has anything, remotely, resembling a zombie then it's like Christmas! A little over a year ago I was in circulation when a beautifully designed and brightly colored book crossed my path (picture located to your left). It was striking. The colors...And that solo image of a female child was hard to ignore. My coworker, Brittney said, "You have to read that!" She give me a a quick review that more than piqued my curiosity. Later, on my break one would have found my scanning my Goodreads friends list to see who had read it. The page was filled with 5 star and a few 4 star reviews. I was sold! The audiobook was on the shelf so I gave it a go. 

For the next week I had the pleasure of enjoying a book read to me by Finty Williams (Dame Judi Dench's daughter). It was delightful. The story was incredible. The narration was perfect. I was blown away. Needless to say, it lived up to all the hype. So what was The Girl With All the Gifts about? In short, it's about a little girl named Melanie. She is one of my favorite characters of all time. She is sharp as a tack, loves to read, has a desire to learn as much as she can, and lives in a terrifying place. The story is a mixture of medical scifi and cult thriller. The best part of the story is you are exploring the world through the eyes and curiosity of a child. It will keep you on the edge of your seat from the moment you open to the first page...And that is all I will say because anymore and I will spoil too many important things. Sidenote: this was made into a movie this past year. It was released in the UK with very select cities stateside. I can't wait to see it!




Afterwards, I began looking for other things Carey had written. This was his debut novel, but he did have a lot of graphic novels under his belt by the name of Mike Carey. X-Men and a series called Unwritten were the ones that caught my attention. I was, once again, rewarded with the awesome excitement only a bookworm would understand. This past year he released his second novel, Fellside. It was just as thrilling as the first novel. I highly recommend this author and hope you enjoy him just as much!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Patronize me: Featuring A Wrinkle In Time

I could give one hundred reasons why I love my job but this blog post would end up very long and no one would read it. I realized that at the core of my reasons there is a common thread, patrons. ( I love you guys!) You are the reason I have a job that I enjoy coming to every day. As an employee at Linebaugh Public Library System, I have met people from all walks life and age groups. There is not a day that goes by I don’t have a story to share when I get home because of the people I encounter.


Rewind to the first month I was here at the library. I remember looking forward to the time I could have a special relationship with a patron or patrons. Seeing kids run up to Dave, who works on the Bookmobile, is one of the best moments of my day...Or watching staff, whom have been here for years, have conversations with patrons like they are long lost friends; those are the moments I looked forward to experiencing myself. That moment happened pretty quickly but I didn’t realize it had until a few months ago and that is what inspired this post. Over the next year, on a monthly basis,  I will select a patron I have developed a relationship with and let them select a movie or book they believe all people/I should read. I want to read their “favorite.” So without further ado, this month’s blog...


The first selection comes from Jennifer H. who is the mother of a beautiful, spunky little girl named Justice. They have been patrons here for a while and were originally adopted by Jojo. The first time I met her she came bounding up to the desk like a little gazelle one Saturday. It was Dave’s Saturday and she was filled with delight to get to say hello to him. Over the next few months I would chat with her and her mom when Dave was not there. Justice would share her events of the week/weekend with me. Jennifer and I would talk about various books or movies. A few months ago Garrett told me I had a visitor. I had just come back from lunch so I hurriedly set my stuff down. To my surprise, it was Justice wanting to give me a hug before she left. It meant a lot to me. I realized I was part of the circ staff in that moment.




The book I was told to read was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. It has been sitting on my “to read” list for years so I jumped at the chance to read it. It was a great book and one I wish I had read a lot sooner. There are so many great messages and words of wisdom tucked away in this book: Be happy with who you are. Don't compromise who you are no matter how hard it might be. Don't follow the masses; rather, be an individual. You are uniquely you with gifts that should be shared, not hidden. Sometimes a weakness can be a strength. You should never give up on something just because it's too hard or scary. We all make mistakes, even parents. It is a must read for any age. I cannot praise this one enough.

Because of the situation surrounding this recommendation and who it was, the book had more substance. It wasn’t just a book I picked up off the shelf. It was a form of communication. Our time with patrons can be cut short due to the need to help others. So, in a way, this was like a continued conversation that we may not otherwise have had. I look forward to reading many other suggestions and recommendations this year.