Best Books

  •  What to Read Next

    There’s no wrong way to pick which book to read, but it can be so hard to choose! Sometimes I look at my (very long) to-read list and get overwhelmed by all the equally wonderful-looking options. Other times I get hit with reader’s block and I just can’t want to decide what to read. I love recommendations from friends and librarians (hint, hint), but sometimes I know what I’m looking for…or at least I’ll know it when I find it. Whenever you find yourself wondering, “what next?”, we’ve got plenty of ways to help you out.

    BOOKLISTS

    You’ve probably seen our brightly colored booklists around the library already. These helpful guides can be found around the reference desks and on special book displays. Besides our annual “Best Of” lists for both fiction and nonfiction, we have lists for all sorts of genres, alternate formats (like audio books and documentaries), grade-levels, and more for all ages. We review our booklists each year to keep them fresh and up to date. If you don’t see one that strikes your fancy, just ask a Librarian and they will show you the booklists that aren’t on display – yes, we’ve got that many. If you’re browsing from home, all of our booklists can be found online (http://www.provolibrary.com/booklists), too! Here are some of our MVPs:

    Librarian Favorites – With a version for adult and young adult readers, this list is great for suggestions across all genres, whether you want fiction or nonfiction. All titles included on this list are actual favorites of the librarian who suggested them. Yep, that means we read it and loved it. If you’re open to options across genres but want a personal endorsement too, this is the booklist for you.

    Clean Reads – This list includes titles without graphic violence, language, or adult content – the key word being “graphic.” Books on this list may have an expletive or two, some violence or sexual references, but not in explicit, gory detail. Also available in young adult and adult versions, this list is great for readers looking for a great book on the lighter side of things.

    BOOK BLOGS

    Obviously, you already know about this blog, but did you know we have two other blogs dedicated to recommending books to you? The Library Staff Reviews blog features both nonfiction and fiction books from the Adult and Young Adult collections that we librarians are reading. You can browse through the posts or use the “Labels” links on the right-side menu to see posts sorted by tags like Staff Picks, Clean Reads, Romance, Graphic Novels, and SCI-FI.

    For recommendations from the Children’s collection, head to the Children’s Book Reviews blog. You’ll see posts of individual titles plus posts listing several books related to our displays. Like the Library Staff Reviews blog, you’ll also find labels on the right-side menu if you want to look for posts on specific topics. We only post reviews of books that we’d actually recommend to you, so any title you find on these blogs is a winner as far as we’re concerned!

    LIBRARIANS

    You’ll hear us librarian say it again and again: we love giving you recommendations! Come on up to a reference desk (we’re really nice, I swear) and tell us you need help choosing a book. Better yet, ask us what tricks we use to help people decide what to read! While we often can suggest a book off the top of our head, we also use our booklists, the library blogs, and other resources like Novelist Plus (it’s so cool!) to pick something out for you. We’re happy to share all our tricks and tips with you!

    If you don’t have time to stop and chat, you can fill out a Personalized Reading Recommendation request online. Once you fill out the questionnaire, a librarian will use your answers and email you a list of 3-5 books tailored to your preferences! 

    That’s enough from me – it’s time for you to find out what’s next! Be sure to tell us if a booklist ,blog post, or recommendation helped you find an amazing book!

  •  BB 2017 FB

    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.

    2.15 Lincoln in the BardoLINCOLN 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. 

     

    2.15 My Absolute DarlingMY 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. 

     

    2.15 A Piece of the WorldA 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. 

     

    2.16 The River at NightTHE 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.

     

    2.15 The Simplicity of CiderTHE 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.

     
  • BB 2017 FB

    2017 was a great year for YA books, as will be evident on February 20th, when we present our fifty favorite Young Adult books of 2017 in the Brimhall room, #302 at 7:00 pm.  As book lovers, we’ve been agonizing over which books published in 2017 really are the best.  To whet your appetites for February 20th, and as an excuse to sneak in a few more book recommendations, here are a few (almost equally amazing) books that didn’t make the cut.

    2.13 Batman I Am GothamBATMAN: I AM GOTHAM
    By Tom King

    This graphic novel, and the subsequent series, serves as an excellent examination of the Batman character and his motivations and flaws. The novel introduces new characters who help Batman save Gotham and may allow him to give up crime fighting for good! The artwork is fantastic, the new characters are deep and sympathetic, and the action is exciting, which makes it a great addition to the Batman mythos.  We’re reviewing a few other superhero graphic novels at Best Books, so unfortunately Batman won’t get his well-deserved shout-out.

     

    2.13 The Names They Give UsTHE NAMES THEY GAVE US
    By Emery Lord

    When her perfectly planned summer of quality time with her parents, her serious boyfriend, and her Bible camp unravels and long-hidden family secrets emerge, Lucy must figure out what she is made of and what grace really means.  I really liked the way this book touched on issues like questioning faith and having a great support system when tough times come.  In the end, I liked a few other books a little bit more, so this one didn’t make the cut.

     

    12.13 Song of the CurrentSONG OF THE CURRENT
    By Sarah Tolcser

    Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. Her father is a wherryman, as was her grandmother. All Caro needs is for the river god to whisper her name, and her fate is sealed. When her father is arrested, Caro volunteers to transport mysterious cargo in exchange for his release. Secretly, Caro hopes that by piloting her own wherry, the river god will finally speak her name. This book has a great story, interesting characters who learn and grow, and a dash of magic.  The only thing keeping me from recommending this book is that I felt like I needed to highlight books from other genres a little bit more.

     

    2.13 The WoodTHE WOOD
    By Chelsea Bobulski

    Winter has grown up with her father, who is the guardian of a magical wood where thresholds to other places and times open, and occasionally people wander through. Then Winter’s father disappears, and a boy from the 1700s refuses to return to his time. He claims to have information that could help Winter find her father, but how can anyone from hundreds of years earlier know about her father? I got this recommendation from a co-worker who reads a lot of YA, but who wasn’t part of the Best Books team.  Since no one on the team read the book, it won’t be spotlighted at the event, but I thought everyone should know about it just the same.