Watch a video of Librarian Patti Poe talking about the library’s Top Books of 2010 on WIBW on 12/28/2010, then check out the books she recommends from this list.
These are books which generated a lot of interest during the past year, from both customers and staff. We had trouble keeping them on the shelves because people checked them out! They also show the array of formats and types that we offer, depending on your need and preferences: regular print, large print, audiobook, playaway, downloadable, children, teen, adult, fiction, non-fiction—the library has it all!
In the fiction category, going from young to old target audience
- The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood
This book explores the many kinds of quiet that can fill a child’s day from morning to falling asleep time, with lovely illustrations.
- Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney
The llama llama book series is a favorite with the younger crowd, and the new holiday version doesn’t disappoint. Llama Llama is waiting and waiting and waiting, until he can’t wait anymore. Through cookie baking and present wrapping and tree decorating, Llama Llama is getting impatient. Mama Llama rescues little llama in the end by showing the true meaning of the holidays.
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay is the third and final book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The novels take place in a future in which the United States is gone, and North America is called Panem. Panem is ruled by the merciless President Snow and has been divided into twelve districts. The Hunger Games is a reality television program that randomly selects teenagers to compete against each other; the losers are killed. In Mockinjay, Katniss Everdeen, a teen from the poorest region of Panem, District 12, has participated in the games twice and survived. But President Snow is angry and plans to go after Katniss and her family.
- Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Scott Westerfeld’s historical novel Leviathan imagines what the battles of the great war, World War I, would have been like if biotechnology were an option in the design of military weapons and vehicles. Submarines are shaped like whales with the capacity to swim to unknown depths and insect-like planes pluck people right out of the sky. In this alternate 1914 Edwardian society, two orphans from very different backgrounds, Alek and Deryn, form an unlikely bond in order to help one another survive, while living, breathing ships and planes wage war all around them. This is the first book in a trilogy, and a wonderful example of the recent “Steampunk genre” that is showing up in music, art, tv shows and literature.
ADULT – FICTION
- Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
In Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novel, author Helen Simonson charts the unlikely romance between a retired English nobleman and a poor Pakistani shopkeeper. Major Ernest Pettigrew leads an uneventful life in the small town of St. Mary, but his well-ordered exsitence is thrown into turmoil after his brother’s death. The tragic incident leads Pettigrew to an unexpected friendship with local store owner Mrs. Jasmina Ali, who has recently lost her husband. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the death of their two spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?
- All Clear by Connie Willis
In Blackout, Connie Willis returned to the time-traveling future of 2060—the setting for several of her celebrated works – and sent three Oxford historians to World War II England. But when the three become unexpectedly trapped in 1940, they struggle not only to find their way home but to survive as Hitler’s bombers attempt to pummel London into submission. Now in All Clear, the situation has grown even more dire. Small discrepancies in the historical records seem to indicate that one or all of them have somehow affected the past, changing the outcome of the war. The belief that the past can be observed but never altered has always been a core belief of time-travel theory – but suddenly it seems that the theory is horribly, tragically wrong. Meanwhile in 2060 Oxford, the historians’ supervisor, Mr. Dunworthy, and his assistant Colin Templer, are engaged in a frantic and seemingly impossible struggle to find three missing needles in the haystack of history.
- Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross
Adam Ross’s Mr. Peanut is an exploration of the uneasy connections between love and violence. Computer whiz David Pepin is devastated at the sudden death of his wife, and things grow even bleaker when he is accused of killing her. Meanwhile, the two detectives assigned to the Pepin case have their own tumultuous stories of love and violence: one is dealing with a spouse who, infuriatingly, refuses to get out of bed, and the other was once cleared of killing his own wife. Ross brilliantly explores the warring impulses of affection and hatred, and poses a host of arresting questions. Is it possible to know anyone fully, completely? Are murder and marriage two sides of the same coin? And what, in the end, is the truth about love?
- The Passage by Justin Cronin
In The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin tells a tale of vampires, suspense, and survival in a futuristic America that has been all but destroyed by the Apocalypse. The vampires, who were the result of a government experiment gone wrong, are scouring the land for their next victims. The Colony is a group of survivors struggling to stay safe from the roaming bloodsuckers. When the members of the Colony find an abandoned girl, they are stunned to see that she possesses the immortality of the vampires, yet lacks their thirst for blood. Convinced she might be the key to stopping the vamps, the Colony sets out to find the truth behind her mysterious state.
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Twenty-two-year-old Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan has just returned home to Jackson after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the women who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone. Abileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken. Minny, Abileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own. Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed. This book has been on the best seller list for nearly 2 years, since its release in February 2009. It continues on the NYT best seller list, and is #10 this week. Filming of the movie version began in Summer 2010, starring Emma Stone and Viola Davis; will be released in August 2011.
ADULT – NON-FICTION
- Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne
The vast, semi-arid grasslands of the southern Great Plains could be dominated by hunters and warriors on horseback. In the first half of the nineteenth century, the Comanches, often referred to as “lords of the Plains,” were the single most powerful military force in the region, to the frustration of both the Mexican and U.S. governments. In this engrossing chronicle, award-winning journalist Gwynne traces the rise of the Comanche people from their roots as primitive bands of hunter-gatherers to their mastery of the horse and emergence as the feared power brokers of the area. At the center of the narrative is the charismatic Quanah Parker, who skillfully navigated the gaps between his traditional culture and the emerging, settled culture of the late-nineteenth century. Quanah was the son of a Comanche warrior and a woman named Cynthia Ann Parker, who was kidnapped at the age of nine and chose to stay with the Comanches. Quanah was a brilliant, feared war chief who guided his people in adapting to new realities after their final suppression by the U.S. Calvary. Empire of the Summer Moon gives readers a comprehensive knowledge of the Comanches’ military strategy and the history of their long battle with white settlers for the domination of western America.
- Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow
In Washington: A Life, award-winning historian Rob Chernow delves deeply into the life and times of the first president of the United States. The name George Washington immediately evokes stately images of a stoic, bewigged man leading a young America with sensitivity and ambition. But in this volume, Chernow goes beyond those images to present the complex individual underneath, exploring his childhood and adolescence, his relationship to his mother, his political career, and his own triumphs and failures as a father. Chernow also closely examines a little-discussed aspect of Washington’s life–that of George Washington, the slave owner. Includes an extensive bibliography and index. Given the distinction of the author, who wrote, among other single and collective biographies, the glowingly reviewed Alexander Hamilton (2004), readers can safely assume from the outset that what lies ahead of them is a vastly enlightening, overwhelmingly engaging treatment of a great man. The subject of the book needs only, by way of identification, the one word that Chernow uses as his title: Washington. Another book on Washington? is a question rendered pointless by this one, which happens to be the author’s masterpiece. Definitive Washington is the point and effect of this biography. Our first president is thought of as more marble statue than living, hurting, loving human; however, Chernow’s Washington stands not in the opposite corner as hot-blooded and animated. Washington spent a lifetime practicing control of his passions and emotions; his innate virtues, undenied and even celebrated here, were sharpened and focused by the man’s suppression of a natural volatility. “His gift of silence” and of “inspired simplicity,” as the author so aptly terms Washington’s strongest suits, supported his consequent leadership as general and as president.
- Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edmund Morris, Colonel Roosevelt is a compelling biography about the post-presidential years of Theodore Roosevelt. Morris highlights the impressive professional, political, and personal successes of nation’s 26th commander in chief in the decade following his presidency. From 1909 to 1919, Roosevelt traveled the world, expanded the Smithsonian’s collection, and improved the United States’ relationships with foreign countries. Morris recounts Roosevelt’s impressive life and career as a military colonel, father of six children, author of 40 books, world explorer, wildlife hunter, and political leader.
ADULT – MEMOIR
- Just Kids by Patti Smith
“I had lived in the world of my books, most of them written in the nineteenth century. Though I was prepared to sleep on benches, in subways and graveyards, until I got work, I was not ready for the constant hunger that gnawed at me. I was a skinny thing with a high metabolism and a strong appetite. Romanticism could not quench my need for food. Even Baudelaire had to eat. His letters contained many a desperate cry for want of meat and porter. I needed a job.” (Excerpt)
MORE INTERESTING BOOKS TO DISCOVER
- Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
- Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
- Room by Emma Donoghue
- The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson