One of our favorite events of the year is fast approaching! On Tuesday, February 20th at 7:00, join us to hear our librarians favorite reads of 2017 at our annual Best Books event. We'll have treats and books to give away, and you'll leave with some great recommendations for children's, teen, and adult books.
While we can't give away our top picks just yet, we wanted to whet your appetite by sharing a few of the reads that just barely made the final list.
LINCOLN IN THE BARDO
By George Saunders
Lincoln in the Bardo is just bizarre. I struggled to listen to the first third and just couldn’t enjoy it. I was a confused and a bit offended. But I persevered and actually picked up a physical copy of the book to “quickly scan through to the end”. Half way through the book I was hooked. In a nutshell, this is a book about the afterlife and how it intersects with the living world. It’s curious format and odd characters help the reader explore what it means to let go of life and move on in a way that is a bit breathtaking. I put it down with a sigh and a smile, but the journey getting there was a bit rough. I just couldn’t recommend it as universally as I’d like.
MY ABSOLUTE DARLING
By Gabriel Tallent
This is a fantastically written book about a fourteen year old girl searching for herself. She runs wild through the woods of the California coast but her social existence is confined to school and home with an abusive, but charismatic father. A chance meeting in the woods introduces her to a boy and her first glimpses of life with possibilities. This book is mesmerizing. It is also extremely violent and I feel a need to be extremely selective of who I recommend it to. It could be very upsetting to many people, but a gripping novel for those who can stomach the described abuse.
A PIECE OF THE WORLD
By Christina Baker Kline
I was on the fence for weeks about whether to include this book in my final 25, and ultimately decided to go with another book with a similar premise instead. A PIECE OF THE WORLD is gorgeously written and received rave reviews, which is a big part of why I thought about calling it one of my Best Books of 2017. The deciding factor, though, was that I simply enjoyed reading the other book more. While A PIECE OF THE WORLD is beautiful and meaningful, it isn’t a particularly fun read, and I think I wasn’t quite in the right frame of mind when I chose to read it.
THE RIVER AT NIGHT
By Erica Ferencik
This was another tough call, because I liked the idea of including a book with adventure and thriller elements to add variety to my Best Books list. It tells the story of four female friends who end up trapped in the Maine wilderness after a rafting trip goes awry. Great premise, right? Kind of a HATCHET for adults vibe? In the end, though, THE RIVER AT NIGHT wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. I struggled to connect with the characters, and I was bothered by the unkind, stereotypical depiction of people who live in more rural areas. Having grown up in Montana in an outdoors obsessed family, that didn’t jive with me.
THE SIMPLICITY OF CIDER
By Amy E. Reichert
The Simplicity of Cider didn’t blow me away in a way that earned it a Best Books spot, but I’d still recommend it. If you’re looking for an easy, sweet, clean read with a cute love story, this is an excellent choice. I liked it enough to read from beginning to end in one sitting.