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Staff Picks - Best of 2017

It's all relative / AJ JacobsAbrams, A.J. It’s All Relative.

We are all related through DNA and Ancestry so the author would like everyone to attend the world’s largest family reunion. The book focuses on the author’s 3-year attempt to build the largest family tree. 

-Becca, Adult Services and Technology Assistant




Hip Hop Alphabet / Howie AbramsAbrams, Howie. Hip Hop Alphabet. 

Truly one of a kind! This ABC book is filled with an alphabet full of hip hop gurus. Fun for parents and children!

--Katie, Youth Services Assistant



Fantasyland / Kurt AndersenAndersen, Kurt. Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, A 500-Year History. 

Andersen shows that what we are dealing with today, with "fake news", hyper-partisan politics, anti-intellectualism, and people free to believe in their own truths is actually something that America has been dealing with since settlers from Europe first came to this continent.  From early dreamers, believers in magical thinking, religious zealots, and pure con-men, to Scientology, modern conspiracy theories, and everything in-between, it's no wonder we're in the state we're in.  This is more than just a book about America's history.  This is a book about using the past to understand the chaos and craziness of the world we experience every day.

--Zach, Systems & Web Services Librarian


A Trio of Tolerable Tales / Margaret AtwoodAtwood, Margaret. A Trio of Tolerable Tales.

A trio of tolerable tales to tickle your thinker. Trust me, this tiny tome is terrific.

-Lea, Youth Services Librarian




Magic Tricks with Coins, Cards, and Everyday Objects / Jake BanfieldBanfield, Jake. Magic Tricks with Coins, Cards, and Everyday Objects. 

Step-by-step instructions for 52 magic tricks! Full color photos make it easy for anyone to become a magician. A big hit with the kids upstairs!

-Michelle, Youth Services Assistant




Feminist Baby / Loren BrantzBrantz, Loren. Feminist Baby. 

Such a powerful little board book!

-Katie, Youth Services Assistant.



Before the Devil Breaks You / Libba BrayBray, Libba. Before the Devil Breaks You. 

I'm not ready for this to be the final book.  I love the world Libba Bray created in New York taking me (and other readers) back to the late 1920's.  She skillfully crafted the final part of the trilogy, and I was not disappointed.  It was amazing!  You will not want to stop reading!  There is so much to find out.  What is happening in New York?  How will the Diviners handle the situation?  Are the Diviners strong enough to take on the King of Crows?  Will the friendships and loves endure during this challenging time?  Why are you still reading this and not the book?

-Linda, Youth Services Manager



Marlena / Julie BuntinBuntin, Julie. Marlena. 

Not your typical edgy, lyrical coming of age story about wild girls; this one is refreshingly set in economically depressed rural America, full of drugs and desperation.

--Sarah, Adult Services Manager



The Wildling Sisters / Eve ChaseChase, Eve. The Wildling Sisters. 

A beautifully written, haunting story that sucks you in.  This is the kind of book that makes me want to hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door.

-Pam, Youth Services Assistant




Shelter / Celine ClaireClaire, Celine. Shelter. 

A sweet and gentle picture book about welcoming strangers and sharing what we have.

-Pam, Youth Services Assistant




Phasma / Delilah S. DawsonDawson, Delilah S. Phasma. 

Dawson is a newcomer to the Star Wars Expanded Universe, but makes her mark solidly with this contribution - the origin story of the chrome Stormtrooper Captain Phasma. "Phasma" opens up with innovative storytelling and the pacing reels you in chapter by chapter. The book is a must-read for any Star Wars fan interested in the latest film trilogy as it fills in character development gaps and answers so many questions leftover from "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens" where she is introduced in the film's first minutes. The book is catalogued for adults, but might be an acceptable read for younger teens, as well.

--Dusty, Adult Services Clerk


Alex and Eliza / Melissa De La CruzDe la Cruz, Melissa. Alex & Eliza. 

When Alex and Eliza meet one fateful night, so began an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

--Erin, Adult Services Assistant



Sandwiches! / Allison DeeringDeering, Allison. Sandwiches! More Than You’ve EVER Wanted to Know About Making and Eating America’s Favorite Food. 

Follow the cartoon drawings to build over 50 kinds of sandwiches. My favorite? A turkey BLT. (The world’s largest BLT was made for the Tomato Fest in St. Louis in 2011: over 224 feet long with 600 POUNDS OF BACON!) Fun and interesting paperback.

-Michelle, Youth Services Assistant


Where on Earth Atlas / DK PublishingDK Publishing. Where on Earth? Atlas. 

For kids and adults alike, with 60+ 3-D maps and artworks, the reader is taken on a continent-by-continent tour of the world.

--Erin, Adult Services Assistant




Winter Tide / Ruthanna EmrysEmrys, Ruthanna. Winter Tide. 

Set in the strange yet familiar world built by H. P. Lovecraft, Emrys crafts a different kind of story in Winter Tide.  The monsters do not come from the sea, but are instead the humans looking to use the magical gifts of the Deep Ones to gain power during the Cold War.  The main characters are given proper attention, and are real and familiar, despite not being human. Emrys pulls from history as well, drawing on actual events and real societal issues of the era, weaving them into the story in ways that make this sci-fi universe seem possible. You'll come for the magic and lore, but stay because you care about the world the author creates and the creatures that live within it.

--Zach, Systems & Web Services Librarian


Feminist Icon Cross-Stitch / Anna FleissFleiss, Anna. Feminist Icon Cross-Stitch.

Now I want to learn to cross-stitch.

-Becca, Adult Services and Technology Assistant



Norse Mythology / Neil GaimanGaiman, Neil. Norse Mythology. 

This book does its best to be for Nordic mythology what Edith Hamilton's Mythology is for Classical Greco-Roman mythology (with a fraction of the source material available); and it does it with Gaiman's expert voice, appropriately mythic background, and in a tone and spirit to recall the mythos's oral tradition.

--Meg, Adult Services Clerk

Any time Neil Gaiman writes a book, I look for the audiobook version first. I would listen to this man read the phone book, just to hear his voice. That aside, I really enjoyed learning about the origins of the Norse gods; Thor, Odin, Loki, etc., and this book shined a light on a few places that went over my head when reading one of Gaiman's other books, American Gods.

--Jennifer, Adult Services Clerk


Hunger / Roxane GayGay, Roxane. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. 

Courageous, brave, and honest.

--Katie, Youth Services Assistant

A moving memoir of the author's struggle with her weight, from the genesis of her gaining to her current state, trying to navigate a world that is simply not built for larger people.  I laughed, cried, and got angry, sometimes all in the same chapter.

--Kristen, Adult Services Clerk


Setting Free the Kites / Alex GeorgeGeorge, Alex. Setting Free the Kites. 

Unforgettable and heart-breaking. Setting free the kites is a poignant and moving exploration of the pain, joy, and glories of young friendship.

--Erin, Adult Services Assistant



Leia: Princess of Alderaan / Claudia GrayGray, Claudia. Leia: Princess of Alderaan.

Gray has shown repeatedly she is one of the most gifted writers of the new expanded Star Wars Universe, and has a particular penchant for capturing the personality of Leia Organa. In this juvenile book, we are invited to adventure with Princess Leia as a teen in her quest of becoming the crown princess of her home world Alderaan. Through Gray's storytelling, we learn to love the plucky young Star Wars franchise heroine in a new way, as well as the ill-fated planet. This book is important to the 2017 film release of "Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi" because it offers key facts to the creation of the Rebellion and Resistance, the mineral planet Crait, and introduces Amilyn Holdo, a key new character in the film series. Also - spoiler alert - Han Solo is NOT Princess Leia's first kiss.

--Dusty, Adult Services Clerk


Turtles all the Way Down / John GreenGreen, John. Turtles All the Way Down. 

A YA book that perfectly captures the beautiful imperfection of teens living with mental illness.  Heartbreaking AND heartwarming.

-Pam, Youth Services Assistant



Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult / Bruce HandyHandy, Bruce. Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult. 

A humorous, yet studious love-letter to the authors and books you grew up with: E.B. White, Beverly Cleary, Maurice Sendak, Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Brothers Grimm and so many more. It's like going back in time with grown-up eyes. You'll come back from this book with a deeper appreciation for children's stories and a deep desire to read them all again.  

-Matt, Youth Services Assistant



Brave New Girl: How to be Fearless / Lou HamiltonHamilton, Lou. Brave New Girl: How to be Fearless. 

Simple drawings with inspirational messages on how to be fearless and tenacious using imagination, creativity, and purpose. Doesn’t have to be read page by page.

-Becca, Adult Services and Technology Assistant



Solitude / Michael HarrisHarris, Michael. Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World.

What if solitude still has something to offer us – something we have forgotten, but that we still desperately need? Solitude offers a timely and profound exploration of how to be alone – and why it matters for us all.

--Erin, Adult Services Assistant



The Rules of Magic / Alice HoffmanHoffman, Alice. The Rules of Magic.  

Alice Hoffman’s world is one where everything is lush and strange, magic is matter of fact, and kisses leave lips bruised. Gorgeous and dream-like, this is a prequel to (and even better than, IMO) her modern classic Practical Magic.

--Sarah, Adult Services Manager




The Keeper of Lost Things / Ruth HoganHogan, Ruth. The Keeper of Lost Things. 

This story is both sweet and sad, with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. I love a good mystery, too, and the author has sprinkled one throughout to make this almost the perfect book in my opinion.

--Jennifer, Adult Services Clerk



Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine / Gail HoneymanHoneyman, Gail. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. 

A novel about loneliness and how a little bit of kindness can change a person forever. Highly recommended for fans of A Man Called Ove and The Rosie Project.

-Erin, Adult Services Assistant



Magpie Murders / Anthony HorowitzHorowitz, Anthony. Magpie Murders. 

This clever, meta, book-within-a-book take on Golden Age mysteries was wildly, improbably enjoyable. I loved it.

--Sarah, Adult Services Manager




We are never meeting in real life / Samantha IrbyIrby, Samantha. We Are Never Meeting In Real Life: Essays. 

Sweet Jesus, this book is hilarious. It’s also sad, and smart, and feminist, and foul-mouthed and extremely bawdy (you have been warned). But more than anything, it’s JUST. SO. FUNNY.

--Sarah, Adult Services Manager  


The Sun and Her Flowers / Rupi KaurKaur, Rupi. The Sun and Her Flowers. 

Give this book a try, I promise you won’t regret it. The Sun and Her Flowers is jam packed with poetry that will leave you breathless.

-Katie, Youth Services Assistant




Quackery / Lydia KingKing, Lydia. Quackery: a Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything. 

Quackery is both fascinating and hilarious. It's easy to look back with our 20/20 hindsight and pass judgement on the remedies our predecessors used to cure what ailed them, but it gave me pause. What are we using today that will be mocked in a few year's time as well? There are several things that I'm surprised anyone would allow or believe--radium suppository, anyone? And others that I wouldn't mind sampling at least once; the alcohol/cocaine concoction sounds interesting....

--Jennifer, Adult Services Clerk


Gwendy's Button Box / Stephen KingKing, Stephen. Gwendy’s Button Box. 

Classic King except super short, featuring an utterly absorbing story with a threatening but somehow folksy and comforting vibe.

--Sarah, Adult Services Manager



The Changeling / Victor LavalleLavalle, Victor. The Changeling.

Is it a Fairytale? Is it Fantasy? Is it a Mystery? Is it a Family Drama? I still don’t know and I couldn’t stop reading it. And can’t stop recommending it to everyone.

--Becca, Adult Services and Technology Assistant

This is the best book of the year.

--Dziedzorm, Adult Services Clerk


The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue / Mackenzi LeeLee, Mackenzi. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. 

This edgy young adult book is one that adults will enjoy too!  It is a witty, love story that takes place in Britain during the 18th century, but the themes are still current today.  I laughed and cried, but I could not stop reading!  There were times when I wanted to strangle some of the characters (mostly Monty), but instead, I turned the page and read on.  The joy and the pain of being a teenager in love are made real in this story of eighteen-year-old Monty's love for his companion Percy.  If you enjoy smart, racy reads, then you'll love this book!

-Linda, Youth Services Manager


The Idea of You / Robinne LeeLee. Robinne. The Idea of You. 

 A sometimes steamy tale of a woman who begins dating a much younger man- but the problem isn't so much his age, as it is his status as a member of an uber-successful boy band. If you ever thought it would be grand to date a member of your favorite music group, this book may make you think twice.

--Kristen, Adult Services Clerk



The Rules Do Not Apply / Ariel LevyLevy, Ariel. The Rules Do Not Apply. 

If this exquisite memoir isn’t on lots of year end best lists, I don’t know what’s wrong with the world.


--Sarah, Adult Services Manager



White Fur / Jardine LibaireLibaire, Jardine. White Fur. 

If you like gritty, raunchy and ferociously well written, you must read this dark story of star crossed lovers from opposite sides of the tracks, set in a vivid and dangerous 1980s New York City.

--Sarah, Adult Services Manager



The Legends of Luke Skywalker / Ken LiuqLiu, Ken. The Legends of Luke Skywalker. 

Another newcomer to the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Liu takes on the monumental task of writing about the Star Wars franchise's biggest name: Luke Skywalker. The book is decidedly a juvenile read, with some of the legends being told from odd perspectives (like a sand flea). While not my favorite addition to the SWEU, for a dedicated fan, the quick read offers a few important details to understanding Luke's progression through the Force and what's to come in "Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi."

--Dusty, Adult Services Clerk


All Our Wrong Todays / Elan MastaiMastai, Elan. All Our Wrong Todays. 

This clever, high concept sci fi time travel romp is notable for being both thoughtful and very fun.


--Sarah, Adult Services Manager



Carolina Dream / Regina Rudd MerrickMerrick, Regina Rudd. Carolina Dream. 

This novel is a light-hearted tale of one woman’s coming of age and discovery of who she is and what she wants. Set in Kentucky and South Carolina, this is a debut novel by a local (Marion, KY) author.


--Traca, Adult Services Clerk



Radium Girls / Kate MooreMoore, Kate. Radium Girls: the Dark Story of American's Shining Women. 

This book sent my down the fabled rabbit hole of research into radium and its effects on the humans who worked with it. It was fascinating and horrifying at the same time, and made me question the things we use everyday that will, in a few years or so, be found to be toxic.


--Jennifer, Adult Services Clerk



Dumplin / Julie MurphyMurphy, Julie. Dumplin’. 

Truly a winner! You will fall in love with Willowdean Dickson!


-Katie, Youth Services Assistant





Little Fires Everywhere / Celeste NgNg, Celeste. Little Fires Everywhere. 

I had been eagerly awaiting a follow-up to "All The Things I Never Told You", and this did not disappoint.  Set in the mid 90's, this is a twisty tale of what happens to a family when an outsider moves to town and their lives intertwine.  Shelved as YA, but adults will enjoy as well.


--Kristen, Adult Services Clerk



Behind Her Eyes / Sarah PinboroughPinborough, Sarah. Behind Her Eyes. 

The twisty domestic physiological thriller is a crowded genre market right now but this one stands out for its sheer outrageousness. I have never read a more audacious twist ending to a book in my life. 


--Sarah, Adult Services Manager



The Beer Cheese Book / Garin PirinaPirnia, Garin. The Beer Cheese Book. 

Kentucky is known for horses, bourbon and amazing southern hospitality. But did you know that the popular bar food, beer cheese, is a highly prized regional cuisine? The author concurs that beer cheese was possibly invented at the Driftwood Inn along the Kentucky River. This clever title is part travelogue, part nostalgia with fun interviews & unconventional recipes. This is a great gift book!


--Bobbie, Adult Services Assistant


I'm Thinking of Ending Things / Ian ReidReid, Ian. I’m Thinking of Ending Things. 

This psychological thriller will leave you gasping for more!


--Katie, Youth Services Assistant



Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk / Kathleen RooneyRooney, Kathleen. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk. 

Glorious! Sparkling but sharp, this elegantly written historical novel is touching (but not mawkish) and  has one of the best protagonists I can remember reading.


--Sarah, Adult Services Manager




I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter / Ericka SanchezSanchez, Ericka. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. 

 The story of 15 year old Julia and her parents in the aftermath of older sister Olga’s sudden death is brutally honest and unflinchingly raw. In the midst of her grief, Julia struggles with her traditional parents’ expectations of what a good Mexican daughter should be. This isn’t an easy, light-hearted read – there are painful, dark moments as you learn more about Julia and her family and piece together their personal stories. But it’s a book you won’t soon forget.


--Susan, Library Director


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them / Newt ScamanderScamander, Newt. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. 

This 2017 Illustrated edition with beautiful full page illustrations by Olivia Lomenech Gill brings magical creatures to life. A must have desk reference for all wizards!

-Lea, Youth Services Librarian




Theft by Finding Diaries / David SedarisSedaris, David. Theft by Finding Diaries 1977-2002. 

From my first reading of Holiday on Ice, I’ve been captivated by Sedaris’s brilliant, humorous observations. This slick compilation is a must read. You will enjoy Sedaris’s sharp, quirky, sometimes disturbing, always hilarious insight into everyday  life situations.

--Bobbie, Adult Services Assistant

Absolutely wonderful. David Sedaris never disappoints, and this trek down his memory lane was lovely, touching, and hilarious in places. I love to hear the author read his own words, because I don't think anyone (other than maybe his sister, Amy) could do his words justice.

--Jennifer, Adult Services Clerk


Basketball and Other Things / Shea Serrano, Illustrated by Auturo TorresSerrano, Shea. Illustrated by Auturo Torres. Basketball and Other Things. 

The Ringer staff writer tackles poses a series of questions centered around professional basketball, and then proceeds to answer them.  The illustrations add additional humor and enjoyment, and the footnotes are not to be missed.  If you ever wondered what a "disrespectful dunk" is, this is the book for you.

--Kristen, Adult Services Clerk


Plume / Isabelle SimlerSimler, Isabelle. Plume. 

This children’s picture book features lush, detailed illustrations of birds, their feathers and a very curious cat. The illustrator perfectly captures the playful and inquisitive nature of cats, and this self-proclaimed crazy cat lady was completely charmed.

--Susan, Library Director




Obama, An Intimate Portrait / Pete SouzaSouza, Pete. Obama, an Intimate Portrait. 

A book of photographs and behind-the-scenes stories from the White House Photographer during the Obama Presidency. The award winning photographer has photographed presidents, athletes, military, and countries around the world.

-Becca, Adult Services and Technology Assistant


The Hate U Give / Angie ThomasThomas, Angie. The Hate U Give. 

This book is so important. “People like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice. I think we all wait for that one time though, that one time when it ends right. Maybe this can be it.” –Star (Angie Thomas) in The Hate U Give

-Lea, Youth Services Librarian

This book will have you feeling every emotion possible (and some you didn’t know you had)! Relevant, eye-opening, and truly one you won’t be able to put down.

-Katie, Youth Services Assistant


Astrophysics for People in a Hurry / Neil DeGrasse TysonTyson, Neil deGrasse.  Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. 

Exactly what the title says it is...easy to understand chapters describing the universe and cosmos.

-Becca, Adult Services and Technology Assistant





The Cycling Cartoonist / Dave WalkerWalker, Dave. The Cycling Cartoonist: An Illustrated Guide to Life on Two Wheels. 

A celebration of life on two wheels from multi-bike owner and cartoon artist, Dave Walker.

--Erin, Adult Services Assistant




If the Creek Don't Rise / Leah WeissWeiss, Leah. If The Creek Don’t Rise. 

This novel is set in rural Appalachia in the 1970’s and depicts the ruggedness of life in that era. Written in Appalachian dialect and expressing the trials and hardhsips of Appalachia, this story embraces “how things were” with tale of abuse, survival, mountain life and a bit of absurdity added in. A must read for anyone wanting a peek into rural Appalachia!

--Traca, Adult Services Clerk