Tag Archives: favorites

2014 Staff Picks!

Our staff picks are here!  Still looking for a wonderful gift for someone special?  Here are some of our top recommendations:

Jess, from Reference, recommends:

“Forty Acres” by Dwayne Alexander Smith, published July 2014.  This is a thriller I could not put down! Thought provoking and eye opening!

K.C. in Circulation recommends:

“Bird Box” by Josh Malerman, published July 2014.  A post-apocalyptic world where not being able to see what horror lies in front of you is necessary for survival.

“Cop Town” by Karin Slaughter, published June 2014.  Groovy 1970’s Atlanta where crime and fashion collide. A series perhaps?

“One Kick” by Chelsea  Cain, published Aug 2014 (and reviewed by RBRT In September).  A young kidnapping survivor becomes one heck of a vigilante.

“Southern Reach Trilogy” by Jeff Vandermeer, published Jan 2014, April 2014, and August 2014. Post Apocalyptic – is the world being taken over by nature thanks to the US government?

“Blue Labyrinth” by Douglas Preston and Licoln Child, published Nov 2014. Another installment featuring the always mysterious FBI Special Agent, AXL Pendergast.

“Mr. Mercedes” by Stephen King, published June 2014. A retired cop has to hunt down a serial killer.   A possible series.

Nicole, Teen Librarian, recommends:

Hawkeye Volume 1: My Life as a Weapon, by Matt Fraction and artist David Aja, Published March 2013.

What happens when Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye, aka ‘Hawkguy’) leaves his day job with the Avengers and heads home to Brooklyn? Focusing on the messy, mundane life of a non-superpowered superhero, his relationships with his neighbors and his protégé Kate Bishop, this innovative, stylish and award-winning series (three collected volumes have been released so far…) has been a big hit with comics readers.

Laurie, from Circulation, recommends:

Family Furnishings ( short stories ) by Alice Monro, published November 2014.

Still Life With Breadcrumbs by Anna Quinlan, published October 2014

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, published December 2014

The Round House by Louise Erdrich, published December 2012

The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Klein, published December 2014

Mark Z, Guest Reviewer, recommends:

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult, published October 2014.  Once again Jodi Picoult takes the reader on an emotional journey featuring a female juvenile and the adults who try their best to help her discover and manage the search for her long lost mother. And, as usual Ms. Picoult inserts an awesome twist at the end — Fantastic story telling.

Beth, from the Children’s Library, recommends:

“Absoluely Almost” by Lisa Graff, published June 2014. Like “Wonder”

“The Boundless” by Kenneth Oppel, published April 2014.  Transcontinental Railroad ‘era’ –  train robbery/wealthy Railroad Baron.

“Courage for Beginners” by Karne Harrington, published August 2014.   Agoraphobia, Caretaking, Family Ties, Friendship – Main character (Mysti Murphy)  a lively , funny character who faces her caretaking challenges head on.

“Curiosity” by Gary Blackwood, published April 2014.  In 1835, when his father is put in a Philadelphia debtor’s prison, twelve-year-old chess prodigy Rufus Is recruited  to secretly operate a chess-playing automaton.  He soon questions the fate of his father and his own safety.

“The Forbidden Library” by Django Wexler, fantasy series published in 2014. Similar to Inkheart, The Books of Elsewhere and Coraline.  Themes are magic wizards, libraries, books and reading, fairies.

“A Snicker of Magic” by Natalie Lloyd, published February 2014.  A story about the magic of words and stories – and the power they hold to heal, hurt, make trouble and fun. Great story filled with family, love sweetness and joy.

Other Titles – Family Ties  –  Paulsen;

The Graveyard Book – Gaiman (Graphic Novel)

Memory Maze – Korman

So far – the favorite titles from this list are The Boundless and Snicker of Magic.

Paula, from Reference, recommends:

“The Short and Tragic life of Robert Peace : a brilliant young man who left Newark for the Ivy League” by Jeff Hobbs, published September 2014. Biography of the short life of an exceptionally bright young African-American man who with the guidance of a devoted, self sacrificing mother leaves the slums of Newark for Yale University only to be drawn back into the drug culture when he returns home.

“The Underground Girls of Kabul : in Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan” by Jenny Nordberg, published in September 2014. In Afghanistan, the birth of a son is cause for a celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned. This is the story of several girls, known as bacha posh, raised as boys until they reach adolescence.  Researched and written by a Swedish journalist, it is a look into a culture I had no idea existed.

Mary, Reference Librarian, recommends:

“Neverhome” by Laird Hunt, published September 2014.  It’s a stunning and poetic novel of a woman who does what her husband cannot, which is enlist and fight in the Civil War.  Hunt’s writing is absolutely beautiful although there is much that is dark and haunting throughout her soul-altering journey.  This is historical, literary fiction at its best!

Virginia, from Circulation, recommends:

“Leaving Time” by Jodi Picoult, published October 2014.  I really like Jodi Picoult’s books because although they are fiction, they read like non- fiction. Leaving time is about a washed-up psychic named Serenity, and Jenna – the little girl she helps. Her mother Alice was a research scientist working at an elephant sanctuary. She disappeared 10 years ago and Jenna wants to find out what happened to her.

 

Our Favorites – 2009

 You’ll find something for everyone on this list. Happy Holidays from the staff of the Fairfield Public Library!

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A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Beyond the Sky and the Earth by Jamie Zeppa

Beautiful story of a Canadian girl who left her boyfriend and Grad school behind to teach school children in Bhutan. Falls in love with people and culture. Wonderful descriptions of landscapes and people.

 

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Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy.

Each story is a gem unto itself; I am pointing everyone in Maile Meloy’s direction if they want to know how a good short story is written

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Columbine by Dave Cullen 

The riveting real story behind the infamous school shooting. If you think the killers were trench coat wearing outcasts, you will be surprised, shocked, and ultimately saddened.

Cost by Roxanne Robinson

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Damn Good Food by Mitch Omer and Ann Bauer 

Mitch is the Hunter Thompson of the cooking world.  He has the edge over Anthony Bourdain because Mitch Omer is probably certifiable.  But Hell’s Kitchen (the restaurant) with its blood red and black décor is an undeniable success.  In Damn Good Food Mitch Omer shares the recipes that led to that success

 Darling Jim by Christian Moerk

Distant Land of my Father by Bo Caldwell

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Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

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Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

 Just where does our food come from?  And how can we continue to justify eating it once we know? A great book that is as much about the ‘why’ as it is the ‘how.

Escape by Carolyn Jessop

Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville

Gridiron Gauntlet by Andy Piascik

Half-broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

Hollywood Moon by Joseph Wambaugh

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The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

In A Single Bound by Sarah Reinertsen

About the first female above-the-knee amputee to finish the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii

Let’s Do Nothing by Tony Fucile

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

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Lit by Mary Karr

Little Pink House by Jeff Benedict 

Loved this book, and hoped it would be chosen for One Book One Town!

Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

Set on the island of Bougainville, near Papua New Guinea, where inhabitants are victims of war. Mr. Pip who is the only white person on the island becomes the island’s teacher and uses Great Expectations as his teaching tool. He teaches the children to connect their own stories with that of the Dickens book using metaphors. The narrator is a 13 year-old student. Much violence and danger ensues and the narrator is fortunate to escape the island

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Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life by Bill Mitutaglio

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor

Never Die Easy by Walter Payton

This book is a few years old, but so amazing!

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

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Open by Andre Agassi

Andre’s own story including his very focused childhood (or lack of childhood) and his drive to be the best in a sport he never really liked.  If you follow tennis at all, this book is a must

The Red Devil: To Hell with Cancer and Back by Kathleen Russell Rich

Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum

I have a friend who uses the term “food porn” to describe a cookbook like this. Each cake is lovingly photographed and makes you want to spend time in the kitchen recreating a beautiful treat.   Here’s a tip:  Follow Her Directions. She knows what she’s doing – really.  Don’t think you’re cool and start substituting ingredients or skipping steps or using the wrong size pan.  You will fail miserably.  To see what can happen take a look at Cake Wrecks by Jen Yates.

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Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Stitches by David Small

Think you have a messed up family? Think again…

Sworn To Silence by Linda Castillo

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The Art of Making Money by Jason Kersten

This book is about a very successful counterfeiter – a man with a lot of talent but he can’t keep a secret.  Art Williams is likeable and you even find yourself rooting for him against the odds.

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

You might think you know the story from the recent film, but the book also details the fascinating evolution of the game of football and the offensive line, and a serious discussion of talent, poverty, and the reality of the American Dream.

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The Help by Kathryn Stockett

No one is killed by strange Greek monsters or evil, blood thirsty vampires but I liked it anyway.

The Last Child by John Hart

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, book 5) by Rick Riordan

 I finally understood the attraction of Greek Mythology after completing the Olympians series.  Drop a few harpies and a Cyclops or two into midtown Manhattan and you’re going to see some serious mayhem. Start reading the series now – the movie will be out in February 

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The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney 

A stunning adaptation of the Aesop fable by artist Pinkney.  An almost wordless text conveys the tale that illustrates the power of an act of kindness. 

The Promise of Happiness by Justin Cartwright

About an ordinary family formerly from London when prodigal daughter returns from prison and brings the love of family together. Well written

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The Sisters Antipodes by Jane Alison

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

The plot concerns a longtime relationship between a Parsi woman and her maid in Mumbai, India. Both compassionate characters. A horrific incident changes their relationship. Elegantly written.

The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer

Not your run-of-the-mill story of a marriage, but refreshingly different.

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The Strain (Book 1 of The Strain trilogy) by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan. 

This is a scary book.  The vampires in this book are not cute, sexy or romantic.  They do not have big soulful eyes, good manners and silly hair.  They are vicious killers and they are determined to multiply.

 The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

 Things I’ve Been Silent About by Azar Nafisi

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 Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis

Unaccustomed Earth by  Jhumpa Lahiri

Under the Dome by Stephen King 

Stephen King is a consummate storyteller and Under the Dome is over 1,000 pages of great story.  He has the enviable ability of bringing you into his world with such skill that you never quite notice when the “normal” turns into the “not normal.”  

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When Skateboards will Be Free by Said Sayrafiezedah

This might be the most fascinating memoir of the year – a half-Iranian kid growing up in a strictly socialist household who grows up to work for…Martha Stewart. Very rewarding.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

 Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Yummy! Eight Favorite Fairy Tales by Lucy Cousins

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Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Hurricane Katrina was a disaster, but the aftermath was a tragedy. This story is unforgettable, and should be read by just about everyone.

Our Favorites: 2008

Looking for something to read over the holiday break? Stop by the library and check out some of the books we loved this year…

Barry, Dave: The Shepherd, the Angel and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog

Benioff, David: City of Thieves

Brooks, Geraldine: March

Canin, Ethan: America, America

Coben, Harlen: Hold Tight

Crossley, Sloane: I Was Told There’d Be Cake: Essays

Diaz, Junot: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Doctorow, Cory: Little Brother

Dowd, Siobhan: Bog Child

Fox, Mem: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

Grogan, John: Marley and Me

Hirsi Ali, Ayaan: Infidel

Jessop, Carolyn: Escape

Jordan, Hillary: Mudbound

Kerley, Barbara: What to Do About Alice?

Kidd, Sue Monk: The Secret Life of Bees

Lehane, Dennis: The Given Day

Myron, Vicki: Dewey: The Library Cat Who Touched the World

Rash, Ron: Serena

Selznick, Brian: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Sittenfeld, Curtis: American Wife

Willems, Mo: The Pigeon Wants a Puppy

Willingham, Bill: Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall

Wroblewski, David: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle