Join my journey.
Reading is a journey we often take for enjoyment, and the path we choose is different for all of us. Some of us tend toward nonfiction to fulfill our desire to learn more about the world we live in; some of us escape to fictional stories or fantastical tales. The spectrum between and beyond these types of books is vast, filled with poetry, short stories, science fiction, mystery, and biographies, along with the books that push genres to new areas.
Working as a librarian, I’m afforded the opportunity every day to hear how much someone enjoyed a book, discovered a new favorite author or series, or couldn’t believe what they had just spent the last few days reading. Standing at the circulation desk and having these conversations has made me curious about these books, and for that reason I’m reading only books that have been recommended to me for all of 2021.
I invite you to join me on my reading journey this year and share your own thoughts on these books and the ones you choose to read in 2021.
Latest from the Blog
The South Korean island of Jeju is home to haenyeo – women divers who harvest shellfish, plants, such as seaweed, and other seafood. “The Island of Sea Women” is a historical fiction book about these women, the bonds built among them within their diving collectives, and the burdens these women shoulder throughout their lives. ItContinue reading ““The Island of Sea Women” by Lisa See”
Today, on July 4, many Americans will celebrate America’s independence from Britain, a part of this country’s history. Some say to “never forget” the events that led to our freedom. Meanwhile, there is a push by some to absolutely forget another part of our history, when white peoples’ inhuman and degrading treatment of black peopleContinue reading ““Just Mercy: A story of justice and redemption” by Bryan Stevenson”
In less than 100 pages, “The Hummingbirds’ Gift” by New Hampshire author Sy Montgomery recounts her experience helping to rehabilitate two infant Allen’s hummingbirds. The story of the hummingbirds begins with Montgomery detailing the wonders of the small birds, from their legs being thinner than toothpicks to their bodies being largely made of air. SheContinue reading ““The Hummingbirds’ Gift: Wonder, Beauty, and Renewal on Wings” by Sy Montgomery”
One of the first recommendations I received from another librarian this year was “Here If You Need Me” by Kate Braestrup. Amy Lappin, deputy director of Lebanon Libraries wrote to me, “It is hard to say why I love this book so much … I think the key to a terrific memoir is someone withContinue reading ““Here If You Need Me” by Kate Braestrup”
“I’ll never read another book like this,” a women in the library recently said when returning a paperback copy of “Year of Wonders” by Geraldine Brooks. She went on to say how much she enjoyed the writing and the story, “oh, the story!” We agreed that the writing style is beautiful, and done in aContinue reading ““Year Of Wonders” by Geraldine Brooks”
Popular adult fiction lists welcomed “Where The Crawdads Sing” when the book was first published in 2018. Since then, it has appeared on the New York Times bestsellers list for more than 2 years and holds the record for the most weeks at #1 for fiction hardcover (at the time of this writing). The Minot-SleeperContinue reading ““Where The Crawdad Sings” by Delia Owens”
“Fight Club” is a savage story that acts as commentary on the oppressive nature of working for corporate America and living up to what mainstream society considers a “complete life.” This book will hit close to home for anyone who has ever felt consumed by the pressure to build the “right kind of life.” CriticsContinue reading ““Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk”
I am troubled by the anti-Asian racism and violence we have endured in our country in the past few weeks, and for centuries before now. On NPR on the morning of March 31, poet Kwame Alexander spoke out about our shameful past of discrimination. From the story: “Let’s be clear: Anti-Asian violence and discrimination areContinue reading “Librarian recommendations: Works by Asian Writers”
In the world of conservation and nature writing, “A Sand County Almanac” is described as a seminal work. Author and conservationist Aldo Leopold explores our connection with the outdoors and calls on us to take action to protect the land. “There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essaysContinue reading ““A Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold”
In the quiet, rugged mountains of eastern Kentucky sits Troublesome Creek. Life is simple, yet not easy, for those who choose to make their home there. Men work as coal miners, children are hungry, and anyone who is not white is treated as inferior. Set in these hills, “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” tellsContinue reading ““The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek” by Kim Michele Richardson”
In his most recent book, “Talking to Strangers,” published in 2019, Malcom Gladwell tells us just how bad we are at communicating. He shows us that our instincts can be wildly off-base, that our tendency to give people the benefit of the doubt is riskier than we ever imagined, and that social cues are notContinue reading ““Talking To Strangers: What we should know about the people we don’t know” by Malcom Gladwell”
There are certain books that are so moving that they are short visitors on library shelves, before being checked out again. They receive so much praise by word of mouth, book reviews, and prestigious awards that they continue to be just as popular years after their publication dates as when they were first released. ThisContinue reading ““All The Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr”
This is a story of the Thames river in England, and the dark and twisted current of legends it carries. This is the story of those whose lives are submerged in the mysteries it beholds. Author Diane Setterfield makes storytelling and language come alive in this book. Many of her characters are working class peopleContinue reading ““Once Upon A River” by Diane Setterfield”
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” -Charles W. Eliot, from “The Happy Life.” I dare say the same could be said about librarians. I mentioned in an earlier post that I received a tremendous response from otherContinue reading “Outtakes: More (excellent) Librarian Recommendations”
As part of my year of reading recommendations, I asked the wonderfully helpful and well-read community of New Hampshire librarians to offer up recommended titles for the Third Monday book group I lead at the Minot-Sleeper Library. The responses I received – more than I could have hoped for! – were terrific suggestions. This isContinue reading “Librarian Recommendations”
In the Minot-Sleeper Library, Stuart Woods takes up just about an entire book shelf, and more than two-thirds of these books are from the Stone Barrington series. The book recommended to me, “Hit List,” is number 53 in the series and was published in March of 2020. In the remaining nine months of last year,Continue reading ““Hit List” by Stuart Woods”
Justifiably, “A Gentleman In Moscow” has been recommended to me by dozens of library patrons over the past couple of years. It has had its place on numerous bestsellers and best-books-of-the-year lists. Kirkus Reviews describes the novel as “A masterly encapsulation of modern Russian history, this book more than fulfills the promise of Towles’ stylishContinue reading ““A Gentleman In Moscow” by Amor Towles”
“Where You’ll Find Me: Risk, Decision, and the Last Climb of Kate Matrosova” by Ty Gagne was the first book suggested to me for my year of recommended reading. The suggestion came from a woman who I have come to know over the years through the library. She said she believed I would enjoy theContinue reading ““Where You’ll Find Me: Risk, Decisions, and the Last Climb of Kate Matrosova” by Ty Gagne”