Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Brittney's Picks for Black History Month

February is Black History Month. It's great to see an uptick in patrons' interest as a result, but I think that reading diversely and discussing the work and accomplishments of black authors (and other authors of color) is something that we need to do year-round. One of my personal reading goals in 2015 is to increase the diversity of my reading, so I thought I would share some books I've read recently that fit into this category. I hope that my suggestions inspire your own reading this month and beyond.

I just finished reading Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock.  A 2011 Marie Claire article publicizes Mock's identity as a trans woman, but in her memoir, Mock gives a more accurate and in-depth view of her life. I'm enjoyed Mock's prose, which blends the educational and the conversational. Mock demonstrates an awareness that many of the concepts she discusses will be new to a lot of her readers (meaning the cisgender ones), so in addition to her personal story, Redefining Normal includes discussion of basic concepts relating to gender, misogyny and misogynoir, and transphobia. Mock tackles society's dominant narratives about trans people head-on and dismantles them with style.

One of my worst reading habits is putting acclaimed books on a mental "to be read" shelf and then never getting around to them because newer books distract me. Alice Walker's novel The Color Purple languished on that shelf for far too long. Walker's protagonist, Celie, writes letters to God (and later to her sister, Nettie) detailing her life as a survivor of rape, as a child bride, and as a woman striving to assert and to define herself. I don't want to reveal too much about the plot in case you, too, haven't read it, because a spoiler on the back cover blurb stole the fire from one of the plot twists for me. What I will say about this book is that I absolutely loved it. Walker discusses oppression through fiction without turning the book into a "problem" or "message" novel, and she does it while creating vibrant characters, and while writing dialect with skill and empathy. Amazing.

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay at this point stands uncontested as my favorite book I've read this year. Gay's wrenching novel follows Miereille, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, as she is kidnapped and held for ransom for thirteen harrowing days in Port-au-Prince. Mireille is incandescent. She is strong, flawed, and ambitious, and her voice compels you to keep turning the pages. Gay writes tension and conflict like no one else. Of course, I am an unapologetic Roxane Gay fangirl. I also love her essay collection Bad Feminist, and I've got her multi-genre collection Ayiti sitting on top of my dresser at home, waiting impatiently for me to devour it.

Unfortunately, LPLS doesn't own a copy of Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, but I couldn't live with myself if I left it out of this post. Lorde's essays and speeches represent some of the finest feminist writing I have ever encountered. Although material in Sister Outsider was written in the 1970s, it tells truths about the experience of being black, female, and lesbian in America that remain sadly unchanged in 2015. It is theory-rich but accessible and essential. Consider this an advertisement for our Interlibrary Loan department, and get yourself to your nearest reference librarian to request this book ASAP. Either your head will nod in agreement or your jaw will gape in disbelief, but either way, your consciousness will bear Lorde's indelible mark.

Want more information about Black History Month? Visit this  website. Wondering why diverse books matter? Book Riot is currently publishing a series of frequently asked questions about diversity in literature that will help you out.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Recommendations from You!

In our second installment of reviews from last year's Winter Reading Program, we bring you intriguing science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction picks. And if you still haven't signed up for this year's program, what are you waiting for? You have the chance to win awesome prizes and have your reviews featured here! Ask about it at the Linebaugh or Smyrna branch today!

Montaro Caine by Sidney PoitierPoitier's first novel is charmingly weird, touchy-feely potentialist, and odd. It had perhaps too many characters and some things that just stop, but as a "message" novel, it's worth a read. - Garrett C.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Normally, I hate zombies. That being said, this is a fantastic story. Yes, it has some rather gross and gory moments, but I got over that really quickly. R is an oddly lovble and surprisingly relatable protagonist. The way that Munion ends the story will leave readers craving more! Fans of the movie will adore the book, though they have their differences. - Audra P.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
I loved this book. It is a futuristic tale set in the year 2044. The world has become a sad place. The Oasis was created as a place for everyone to escape their sad realities. The creator of Oasis dies and in his will
starts a contest to find the egg. Ultimate power and money is the prize. Great read that I could not put down.  - April S.

Charming by Elliot James
First of the Pax Americana series, this has many similarities to the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne. Jim Butcher fans would like, as well. - Kathleen T.

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
I really enjoyed this book. I fell in love with Kelsie, Vin, and the gang. Masterfully written. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. - Courtney W.

Sea Change by S. M. Wheeler
This was an interesting fantasy novel. A girl grows up with secrets to her parents' marriage. Born with a birthmark on her face, she is thought to be a witch. She meets a kraken and they develop a friendship. When he is captured by a circus, she vows to rescue him. She finds that she must begin a journey into a world full of real witches who demand a price of their own. She outwits them all to free her friend and finds that the price she has to pay is heartbreaking. You never can predict the twists and turns of this book. Truly original. - Cynthia S.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mystery Recommendations from You!

 Looking for a thrilling new (or, at least, new-to-you) mystery? Look no further than these suspenseful suggestions from participants in last year's Winter Reading Program at Linebaugh.

Want to get in on the fun, win prizes, and maybe have your reviews featured on our blogs? Stop by the Linebaugh or Smyrna branch and ask about signing up for the Winter Reading Program. (The program ends on March 7, so hurry in today!)

Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd
This is Todd's 16th Inspector Ian Rutledge novel. (They are also the authors of five Bess Crawford mysteries and two standalone novels). Rutledge is a WWI veteran who returned to England--and his post at Scotland Yard--suffering from PTSD. Hunting Shadows takes Rutledge to an area of England I know nothing about--the Fens. I found myself picturing the countryside and boggy landscape as I read. Rutledge seems to have come to terms (an uneasy truce) with the burden he carries in his heart and head (the voice of Hamish), yet his search for a killer leads him into contact and potential conflict as he interviews several other WWI vets, looking for a murderer. This might be my favorite Charles Todd novel to date! - Debi B.

Home of the Braised by Julie Hyzy
It was good fun. This is a light mystery series that is enjoyable. The protagonist is the Head Chef in the White House and she finds herself in all sorts of trouble! - Ginger M.

Dick Francis's Refusal by Felix Francis
This is the third book by Felix Francis containing his father Dick Francis's British horse racing theme. These are by no means Pulitzer Prize-winning novels, but they can be quite entertaining. Ex-jockey and ex-detective Sid Halley returns after six years to investigate race fixing by an Irish mafia type. His efforts are frustrated by both the police and a very bad villain. The danger is saddled up and the action off and running! - Richard L.

The Alibi Man by Tami Hoag
Another great Tami Hoag book with her edgy character, Elena Estes. It has plenty of suspense and mystery, and I found it hard to put it down. I could see the horse farm, the Russian bar, and the dangerous, smelly swamp where the first body was found. - Kathy R.

Blood Will Tell by Dana Stabenow
Good. The series gets better with each book. Kate, another female private eye, solves another case and murder. She also complicates things for her boyfriend Jack's ex-wife, and I'm really glad because she was a real heifer. - Carolyn P.

Orchestrated Death by Cynthia Harrod-Eaples
This book is from the early '90s, British, and the lingo was very refreshing after all of the techno-cop mysteries I've read lately! Tenacious cop, smuggled rare instruments, and oil -- how does it all tie together? The author did a great job with character development and a pleasing writing style. - Kathleen T.

If Looks Could Kill by Kate White
This is the first cozy in the Bailey Weggins Mystery series. Bailey is a true crime writer for a national newspaper that sounds a lot like Cosmo. She is asked to look into the death of her editor's nanny. The storyline is rather involved and there are so many false leads to the identity of the murder it keeps the reader guessing. In some ways it reminds me of scary movies when you want to yell at the actor not to open that door. I felt that was reading this book. Highly recommended. - Linda S.

Death of a Country Fried Redneck by Lee Hollis
This is the second cozy in the Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery series. The story is a little bit out there--the single mom who writes a food column for the Bar Harbor, Maine, newspaper meets a country music superstar. Hayley is hired to be the star's personal chef while in town. And of course, the stay is extended due to a murder. While not particularly likely, the reader was able to forget that fact and get into the mystery. The amateur sleuth is very likeable--but the same can't be said for her best friend. it is a very enjoyable read and I can't wait to read the next series entry. - Linda S.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
This was a good murder mystery. I liked the fact that not everything was spelled out for you and there was actually some mystery to the story. I really enjoyed the "temp" Robin, and her interactions with the detective Cormoran. I would read more just to see how she progressed in solving crimes/mysteries. - Elizabeth W.

A Is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
I liked this book well enough and will probably read the rest of the series. The main character, Kinsey Millhone, is believable and interesting enough to make me want to know more about her life. - Kathy R.

Whiskey Sour by J. A. Konrath
If you enjoy Evanovich's Plum, Grafton's Kinsey, and Cornwell's Scarpetta, this is another series you'll enjoy. Jack (Jacqueline) Daniels is a divorced police detective in Chicago. In this first book of the series she chases "The Gingerbread Man" around town. - Carol O.

The Twelfth Department by William Ryan
After reading this book, I kept waiting for a late knock at my door then being hustled away by brutish men of the State Security Department, the NVKD! I wondered if my neighbors were even now denouncing me. But I had done nothing! Did that really matter? The Twelfth Department plants you harshly in 1937 Moscow--if not careful, maybe under it. The sweat running down your back comes more from fear of saying, doing, or even looking like you are an enemy of the Soviet State than from doing hard work. In this atmosphere, Captain Alexei Korlev, police detective, tries to solve two murders involving State Security and walking a tight-rope between those in power who want these murders solved and those who do not. Read fast, for you cannot take this book to the gulag when they come for you! Great book! - William R.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Listen to This Next: Hozier

 Listen to This Next is a new feature highlighting exceptional music that you can check out at your local LPLS branch.

Album: Hozier by Hozier
Hozier's mother, Raine Hozier-Byrne, painted his cover art.

Okay, if you turned on a radio at any point during the summer of 2014, you've heard Irish singer-songwriter Hozier. Despite its seeming unlikeliness as a pop hit, the bluesy indictment of religious bigotry "Take Me to Church" became inescapable last year. At this very moment, you might be preparing to close this tab, because you've heard "Take Me to Church" roughly a million times and you're convinced that you're not interested in anything else Hozier has to offer. But let me tell you, you're cheating yourself if you don't give his album a chance.

All of the songs on Hozier's self-titled debut reflect the same elements of its lead single. Intricately picked guitar and sensual, soaring vocals lead arrangements of piano, percussion (sometimes drums, sometimes rousing hand claps and foot stomps), and cello. Robust, choral backing vocals lend extra power to the songs and reflect Hozier's musical past. (He performed in Irish choral group AnĂșna under his full name, Andrew Hozier-Byrne.)

Though the sound is cohesive, the songs vary widely in subject matter and in tone. There are charming, funny love songs like "Jackie and Wilson," in which the speaker falls immediately and drunkenly in love with a woman and becomes convinced that "she's gonna save me, call me baby, run her hands through my hair" and starts planning baby names. There's "Cherry Wine," a meditation on domestic violence that is heartbreaking in the speaker's resignation to stay with his abuser. "Sedated" examines substance abuse and the desire to numb oneself to the world's ugliness. And then there's "Like Real People Do," which sounds like a delicate, lilting love song... And it is, it's just a delicate, lilting love song about bog bodies.

Whenever I listen to Hozier or watch him perform--one of my current favorite hobbies is looking up YouTube videos of his covers of other artists' songs--I'm sort of overwhelmed by his talent. Precise technical skill doesn't always feel welcoming or listenable, but an appealing warmth permeates Hozier's music. It skillfully treads the line between erudition and humanity, between the earthy and the ethereal. It draws you into its unexpected turns of phrase and vigorous cadences, and it doesn't let you go.

Essential Tracks:
"From Eden"
"Like Real People Do"
"Cherry Wine"

Sample:
For a taste of what you'll get on the album, here is Hozier's performance of "From Eden" for the Mahogany Sessions:



Pairs Well With: I say go with the literature behind the music with this one. Hozier has mentioned that "Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene" contains references to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. He also credits poet Seamus Heaney as an influence, particularly the poem "The Grauballe Man."

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New Adult Nonfiction January 2015



by Ashlee D.

Kick the New Year off right with these December and January releases.
The time for New Year’s resolutions is here. What are your goals this year? To learn a new hobby? Get that big promotion? Spend more time with your family? Whether you want to revive your faith in God or take that camping trip you’ve always wanted, these books will help you find the tools you need to make a positive impact this year!

"The Wall Street powerhouse and author of Expect to Win offers a new way to conceptualize career strategies and gives us proven tools for successful change. Whether we're starting out, striving toward a promotion, or looking for a new opportunity, the working world isn't what it used to be. Wall Street veteran Carla Harris knows this, and in Strategize to Win she gives readers the tools they need to get started; get "unstuck" from bad situations; redirect momentum; and position themselves to manage their careers no matter the environment. --Provided by publisher.

“Do you feel like you’re busier than ever—yet never caught up? You’re not alone. Many of us are tired, frustrated, stressed from being overworked at the office and at home, with no concrete plan for getting it all under control without compromising our well-being. In this paradigm shifting book you will discover how to:
  • Identify your most significant priorities, in business and in life
  • Create more time to do the things you love without sacrificing results
  • Say no to the things that don’t matter, and yes to the things that do
  • Implement systems that give you more time tomorrow than you have today
  • Gain control and inner peace by adopting the “multiplier mindset.”

“Science popularizer Chad Orzel argues in Eureka that even the people who are most forthright about hating science are doing science, often without even knowing it. Every human can think like a scientist, and regularly does so in the course of everyday activities. By revealing the connection between the everyday activities that people do (solving crossword puzzles, playing sports, or even watching mystery shows on television) and the processes used to make great scientific discoveries, Orzel shows that if we recognize the process of doing science as something familiar, we will be better able to appreciate scientific discoveries, and use scientific facts and thinking to help address the problems that affect us all.” –Provided by Publisher

"There are about 800 self-made billionaires in the world today. What enables this elite group to create truly massive value, and what can the rest of us learn from them? John Sviokla and Mitch Cohen set out to answer this question with the first systematic study of 120 self-made billionaires, including extensive interviews with icons like Steve Case, Mark Cuban, and T. Boone Pickens, Jr. The authors conclude that self-made billionaires aren't necessarily smarter, harder working, or luckier than their peers. The key difference is what they call the "producer" mindset, in contrast to the far more common "performer" mindset. This book offers fresh stories and insights into producers' habits of mind. It also provides corporate leaders with a new approach to selecting and managing breakthrough talent, and advice about innovation and value creation for aspiring leaders or entrepreneurs"--Provided by publisher.

"From the author of The Introvert's Way, a friendly and accessible guide to dating and relationships for introverts.  Love is tricky for everyone--and different personality types can face their own unique problems. Now the author of The Introvert's Way offers a guide to romance that takes you through the frequently outgoing world of dating, courting, and relationships, helping you navigate issues that are particular to introverts, from making conversation at parties to the challenges of dating an extrovert"--Provided by publisher.

"Rawles details the tools needed to survive anything from a short-term disruption to a long-term, grid-down scenario. Field-tested and comprehensive, Tools for Survival is certain to become a must-have reference for the burgeoning survivalist/prepper movement"--Provided by publisher.

“The right relationship will launch you to the heights of achievement; the wrong one will tether you to mediocrity. God works in our lives through our relationships. Yet, all too often, we get our relationship advice from the most toxic sources we can find. The People Factor is based on the most effective, trustworthy relationship book of all time: the Bible. If you hunger for a richer, more fulfilling life, your Relational IQ is the place to start. If you put The People Factor principles to work, you will become stronger, happier, and healthier in all your relationships. You will be a better spouse, a better friend, a better boss, a better parent, and a better person.”—from book jacket.

Through vulnerable storytelling, a difficult diagnosis, and a good dose of humor, Margaret Feinberg reveals how joy is more than whimsy. It’s the weapon you can use to fight life’s battles. Fight Back With Joy will help you:
  • Expand your joy threshold by awakening to God’s fierce love for you
  • Escape fear and regret by applying biblical strategies to whatever crisis you’re facing
  • Overcome depression as you reignite your imagination for laughter and celebration
  • Discover freedom from the past by learning how to turn mourning into joy
  • Rise above endless demands and become more winsome, cheerful, and thankful

"The invention of numerals is perhaps the greatest abstraction the human mind has ever created. Virtually everything in our lives is digital, numerical, or quantified. The story of how and where we got these numerals, which we so depend on, has for thousands of years been shrouded in mystery. Finding Zero is an adventure filled saga of Amir Aczel's lifelong obsession: to find the original sources of our numerals. Aczel has doggedly crisscrossed the ancient world, scouring dusty, moldy texts, cross examining so-called scholars who offered wildly differing sets of facts, and ultimately penetrating deep into a Cambodian jungle to find a definitive proof. While on this odyssey, Aczel meets a host of fascinating characters: academics in search of truth, jungle trekkers looking for adventure, surprisingly honest politicians, shameless smugglers, and treacherous archaeological thieves--who finally reveal where our numbers come from. "--Provided by publisher.


Perhaps the most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight or adopt a healthier lifestyle. If you fall into that category this year, let this list help you get started!

This book emphasizes eating clean, whole, unprocessed foods as part of a primarily plant-based diet, with delicious and healthy recipes that make it easy to do just that….You’ll find guidelines for restocking your pantry with whole grains, beans and legumes, lean proteins, and healthy fats; glossaries of the best sources of detoxifiers, antioxidants, and other health-boosting nutrients; and menus for a simple 3-day cleanse and a 21-day
whole-body detox, with easy-to-follow tips and strategies for staying on track.” – from Publisher.

"In her New York Times and USA Today bestseller The Plan, Lyn-Genet Recitas revealed what surprisingly "healthy" foods cause weight gain and a host of other health problems such as migraines, joint pain, and depression. Now all those who follow The Plan, and have learned which foods to eliminate from their diets, can support their new, healthier lifestyle with these delicious recipes. Recitas includes selections for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, sides, and desserts, such as Panko Crusted Orange Chipotle Chicken, Brazilian Coconut Rice, Provencal Fish with Fennel, Lemon, and Herbs, Red Velvet Cupcakes, and many more. Who says a healthy diet can't be a tasty one?"--|cProvided by publisher.

"Food Network personality Melissa d'Arabian shows you how to make healthy meals for your whole family and still save lots of money and time, in a cookbook with 120 new dishes. If you think that eating healthier is too expensive, Melissa is here to guide you and prove that healthy eating can be easy, affordable, and achievable with everyday supermarket ingredients. She provides nutritional information with each recipe to help readers decide what recipes are best for them and what they're feeding their families. If the secret to better health is better cooking at home, then Melissa's book is the ultimate toolkit for every home cook who wants to eat healthier and save money"--|cProvided by publisher.

"The Adrenal Reset Diet is the first scientifically sound, patient-tested weight-loss plan developed by a natural endocrinologist, Dr. Alan Christianson. He heals readers in any of the three stages of adrenal impairment--Stressed, Wired and Tired, or Crashed. Readers learn their stage and receive distinct strategies for diet, activity, and lifestyle change to bring them to Thriving. Recent study participants halved their cortisol levels in just 30 days--and lost an average of 9 pounds!"--Provided by publisher.

"Discover the exceptional nutritional content and disease-fighting qualities of super foods like broccoli, blueberries, and salmon and delicious, healthful ways to prepare them. By including super foods as part of a balanced diet, you can protect your heart, immune system, digestive
system, skin, and bones, and even reduce the risk of developing certain medical conditions later in life"--Provided by publisher.

“In The Rockstar Remedy, Gabrielle shares her unique strategies for boosting your energy and looking and feeling your best--even when your schedule doesn't seem to allow it. She shows readers that their health exists on a spectrum, and the simple act of making better choices every day--even if they're not the best choices--helps us achieve balance in both mind and body. With tips for improving energy levels, lists of foods to aim for and avoid, a simple no-starvation detox, and her popular "damage mitigation techniques," which show you secret ways to reverse the damage causes by less-than-perfect choices, Gabrielle offers a simple, effective plan for staying healthy and happy amid the chaos of our daily lives"--Provided by publisher.

"Nutrition powerhouse and #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fast Metabolism Diet, Haylie Pomroy, creates a food-based, supercharged weight-loss plan for those who have hit a plateau and need to microrepair metabolic function. Readers choose which of the 3 plans and goals that suit them best--and lose up to 3 pounds in 3 days, 5 in 5, or 10 in 10"--Provided by publisher.

Featuring a natural detox that fights aging at the cellular level and proven blood pressure "busters," this powerful program will help you erase years with visible and measurable results. In just 10 weeks, you can:
  • Reverse the diseases of aging
  • Fortify and rejuvenate hair and skin
  • Revitalize and strengthen bones, muscles, and joints
  • Improve heart health and blood pressure
  • Lose weight, especially in the tummy
  • Look and feel younger, healthier, and slimmer!
Complete with 28 days of meal plans and over 75 delicious recipes, THE DASH DIET
YOUNGER YOU has everything you need to look and feel years younger!” (from inside jacket)

"In The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet, Tracy Russell shares healthful, down-to-earth recipes made with unprocessed whole foods. Focusing on the many positive effects of drinking green smoothies, including detox and cleansing, natural weight loss, and mood enhancement, Russell offers nutrients-rich recipes with flavorful, fun combinations such as:  Pineapple-Chai Smoothie with Ginger Chocolate-Peanut Butter Green Smoothie Pomegranate-Cherry Green Smoothie Orange-Goji Berry Green Smoothie  With 150 delicious green smoothie favorites (enough smoothies for five whole months!), The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet provides recipes that can accommodate and enhance any individual or family diet. Anybody who wants to access the incredible health benefits of green smoothies will enjoy these easy, accessible, and tasty recipes"--Provided by publisher.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Rosie Project

by Jamal Rice

If you are a fan of The Big Bang Theory and were interested in how a character similar to Dr. Sheldon Cooper might fare in a romantic comedy then congratulations!  We have a great choice for you!

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is about Dr. Don Tillman, a man who looks at life logically and dispassionately but has a good heart.  Don likes to cook, but cooks the same meals every week because he likes the routine and can easily grocery shop since he only uses those ingredients.  He keeps an itinerary for his day-to-day events down to the minute and thus is very agitated when appointments are even a few minutes late.  Don has a hard time recognizing social cues, so there are constant misunderstandings.  In his late 30's he has decided to put together a scientific project to find himself a wife, since all previous efforts in romance were at the whim of "feelings."

We've all seen characters like this in media, but rarely are they the protagonist in most popular things because they lack an every-man sensibility.  This is what makes this love story so refreshing.  You'll see him trying to connect with individuals, but not fully grasping it and it makes for some amazing moments and things you just don't see coming.

The Rosie Project was so well received that it has been optioned by Sony for a motion picture.  If you read it, let us know what you think!

The Rosie Project is also Rutherford County's One Book for this year.  Check out the One Book program here and here, and look for One Book red boxes at your local library and other county locations.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Garrett's Reading Year in Review



Name: Garrett C. Crowell

Favorite new author or series you tried this year: 
Favorite series would have to go to The Last Policeman series by Ben H. Winters. The first one of this series was actually our One Read book (last year? A couple of years ago?) and I just discovered it in the Spring. The last volume of the trilogy came out in the Fall of this year, and I was first in line for holds for it – the series never varies in quality or focus and the progression does not disappoint.

Best book you read in 2014 that was released in 2014: 
The Girl With All the Gifts, by M.R. Carey – seriously, can’t recommend it enough.

Best “back catalog” book you read in 2014:
(easily the hardest question on here) If the goal is specifically to draw attention to something that people wouldn’t perhaps otherwise read, I’m going with John Dies at the End, which hurt my brains in a good way.

Most surprising book you read this year: 
Moon Knight: From the Dead – Moon Knight’s always been kind of a tertiary character in the Marvel Universe at best; what’s being done in this storyline is brilliant, though.

Best book you didn’t think you would enjoy but did:
Sort of a toss-up: The Cure for Dreaming and In the Shadow of Blackbirds (both by Cat Winters) are both period pieces well outside my normal scope of interest, but I very much enjoyed both of them.

Most interesting character you met this year:
Harry August, from The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, or Christopher John Francis Boone, from TheCurious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Okay, so this is probably impossible, BUT… what was your favorite book overall in 2014?
Bah. Okay, so THIS is the hardest question on here. It’s either going to be The Girl With All the Gifts, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, or World of Trouble. I waffle inconclusively at you.