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Library Staff Share Top Titles of 2013
Like the T-shirt says, “so many books, so little time.”
If you aren’t sure where to begin or what to read next, here are a few recommendations from library staff – a short list of the best books we read in 2013. And if you don’t find something to enjoy on this list, check the Staff Picks list on our New, Best & Fun page, where you can always find interesting books and media to explore.
"Bring Up The Bodies" by Hilary Mantel. The passing of time can make historical figures seem like fictional characters. But they were real, and when the blade fell on Anne Boleyn's neck it must have hurt. Mantel puts you there.
"Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell. I requested it after the book was challenged in another Minnesota library system just to see what the buzz was all about. It's actually a very sweet story about two high school outsiders who fall in love. Maybe I'm biased because I married my high school sweetheart, but Rowell's style makes it easy for readers to remember the roller coaster of first love without being trite or saccharine. And I give bonus points for late ‘80s music references and the art of the mixtape
"What's For Dinner?" by Curtis Stone. It has some really great recipes in it. Read it and eat it.
“Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes. It's a very contemporary, British book but the ending that has stayed with me for many months. Some might call it a sappy love story. I call it the right book at the right time for me (alluding to famous librarian Nancy Pearl's readers advisory wisdom).
"Where'd You Go, Bernadette" by Mary Semple. Bernadette, lauded a genius in her 20s, is now a mother and wife in her 40s. What happens when you don't live up to the trajectory you began, and how do you create another one? This book is funny, caustic, and honest.
"In the Name of the Wind," a fantasy book by Patric Rothfuss. It's a little different than most since it's told as an autobiography of the world's greatest hero, the king slayer, and it swings back to the tale of how he became a hero to the modern period where he's an inn keeper and hero in hiding. It's a lot different than the normal with fey and little magic.
“Tell the Wolves I'm Home” by Carol Brunt. It tells the story of the unlikeliest of friendships born out of loss and grief. June has lost a beloved uncle, her best friend and confidant. Distant from her busy parents and her sister, she finds healing and renewal with her uncle's friend Toby, the only other person who feels the loss as much as she. It is a heartbreaking and uplifting coming-of-age tale.
“The Boy & the Airplane” by Mark Pett. It was a simple and beautiful wordless picture book for children.
“The Son” by Philipp Meyer. It's a vivid epic that spans six-generations of a Texas family and put me through the wringer. There's tenderness and violence on nearly every page.
“The Shoemaker's Wife” by Adriana Trigiani. It's historical fiction based on how the author's grandparents immigrated from Italy in the early 1900s, met, and married. It even has MN ties! I really enjoyed it.
“The Infatuations” by Javier Marias. The story itself is compelling, with much of the action going on in the thoughts of the characters. The writing style reminded me a lot of Jose Saramago and Sandor Marai, not the easiest read but well worth it.
“At Home” by Bill Bryson. Not only was it full of great historical and philosophical tidbits, it was also easy to manage in between classes and homework.