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2014 Best Small Library in America

2022 Staff Picks

We read plenty of books that were published this year! Here are some of our favorites!

PRO TIP: If you click the title of the book, the link will lead you to the library’s online catalog and you can request the book right then and there!

Darcy Poletti, Assistant Director

Mecca by Susan Straight

Book CoverThe multiple storylines of this beautifully written novel follow people living on the margins of Southern California society: immigrants, ranchers trying to hold onto shrinking ancestral lands, indigenous peoples. Their lives are shaped by a tinder-dry landscape, with drought and fire almost as prominent as the other characters in the book. The writing captured me as much as the landscape and characters. I was transported there, from the sound of the dry grass in the wind to the the smell of a eucalyptus grove on a hot day. You too are there with everyone holding their breath waiting for the spark to light it all up.

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

Book CoverThis novel is a comic and pointed look at modern New York City “Nuyorican” culture that also takes a deep dive into Puerto Rican history and politics. Olga, a wedding planner, and her brother Prieto, a congressman, are both plagued by the history of their radical activist mother, who was a member of the Young Lords, a revolutionary civil rights group. I loved that this book was wry-witted and entertaining, but also did an excellent job of untangling the complex roots of American/Puerto Rican governmental and social relations.

I’ll Show Myself Out: Essays on Midlife and Motherhood
by Jessie Klein

Book CoverI LOVED Jessie Klein’s first book, You’ll Grow Out of It and her second book of essays doesn’t dissapoint. While the first book discussed growing up and dating, this is a hillarious and “real talk” look at modern motherhood. Klein was the head writer for Amy Schumer’s show, and her smart, funny, feminist voice shines in these essays. Just like her first book, I recommend this one on audio because she reads it, her voice full of deadpan humor.

Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Book CoverFormerly local writer Kali Fajardo-Anstine has woven a multigenerational story of magical realism in the high desert. Set in northern New Mexico, Denver, and the Durango area, this novel highlights historical class and race issues. I enjoyed the multiple subplots, all of which were richly detailed and full of diverse and enjoyable characters, but my favorite was the main plotline set in depression-era Denver

Wildcat by Amelia Morris

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I loved this sharp-witted look at motherhood in the age of Instagram, full of digs at superficial L.A. culture. It’s all at once funny and profound, examining issues of class, privilege, feminism, and female friendship.

Lisa Stone Zabka, eMaterials Librarian

Little Souls by Sandra Dallas

Book CoverSet against the backdrop of an epidemic that feels all too familiar, Little Souls is a tale of sisterhood and the sacrifices people make to protect loved ones. I really enjoyed this historical fiction depiction of 1918’s Denver and the circumstances of the time

 

 

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen

Cover ImageA little bit of magic, little bit of realism mixed with some lovable, quirky characters. Sarah Addison Allen does a wonderful job blending the lives of each of these characters to create a story that will keep you intrigued.

Lucy By The Sea by Elizabeth Strout

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I did not intentionally ready two different books that dealt with epidemics, but was pleasantly surprised by both choices! Since I couldn’t say it better than an Amazon review, I’d like to share this: “At the heart of this story are the deep human connections that unite us even when we’re apart—the pain of a beloved daughter’s suffering, the emptiness that comes from the death of a loved one, the promise of a new friendship, and the comfort of an old, enduring love.

Liz vonTauffkirchen, Library Assistant

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Book CoverThis debut novel is an absolute delight! One of the primary characters is a Giant Pacific Octopus, who is so full of humanity, he jumps off the page. The characters in this novel are so well developed, they feel quite alive to me. This is a brilliant and fun story that will warm your heart. I particularly enjoyed the audiobook of this, as the voice actor who reads the part of Marcel the Octopus is absolutely a genious!

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Book CoverThis debut is much grittier than Remarkably Bright Creatures but it is exceptional! You will cheer for the protagonist as she navigates the casual misogyny of the 1960s in America. The main character is a woman scientist and she struggles to be taken seriously as a scientist due to her exceptional good looks and because of the simple fact of her gender. This story continues to resonate with me long after I finished reading.

Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

Book CoverSarah Gailey is possibly the most versatile author writing today. Every time I pick up a new book by her, it is completely different from the book that preceded it. This book is no exception. The slow-burn, gothic creepiness of this book is brilliant! I have a low tolerance for gore but by the time this book got bloody, it was too late for me and I had to keep reading! I ended up loving it, even though it’s completely weird and super gross. There is no book like this one and no writer like Sarah Gailey. 

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches
by Sangu Mandanna

Book CoverIn this sweet adult fantasy novel, witches are among us and meeting in secret once a year. The rest of the time, they ignore each other and rarely congregate to avoid potential exposure. Our protagonist, Mika Moon, is one such witch, who “pretends” to be a witch in her internet videos. This story has a warm hug vibe that I found reminiscent of stories like The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune.

How to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis

Book CoverThis is not your ordinary book about tidying. Davis has written this book with adaptability in mind for neurodivergent readers, which is a refreshing new twist. She gives folks who struggle with maintaining attention alternate reading instructions, directing the reader to skip certain chapters unless they want a deeper dive into each specfic topic. The book is filled with practical tips for reframing “chores” into more manageble “care tasks” to help the reader separate the tasks from the potential baggage many of us carry around housework. This was a quick, practical read and I enjoyed it.

Becky Van Den Berg, Young Adult Services Manager

Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes

Book CoverLuxury looks different in the future…so does salvage. When a salvage crew down on its luck picks up a strange beacon they head out to investigate. They never imagine finding the Aurora, the luxurious space-liner that vanished twenty years ago on its maiden voyage. Upon further inspection they encounter unimaginable and unexplainable horror as it looks like the people on board turned on each other and in a massive act of murder. Claire, the leader of the salvage crew wakes up under arrest and under suspicion for murdering her own crew on this ship and worst of all…they are making her go back.

The Paradox Hotel  by Rob Hart

Book CoverTime travel is no longer a dream, it is a reality. For the rich it is now possible to stay at the Paradox Hotel and wait for your trip to ancient Egypt or the Cretaceous period. Security is a nightmare, with people now trying to smuggle all kinds of things back to the present, or worse, alter events in the timestream. All of this is just in a days work for January…or it would be, except she’s become Unstuck and is having trouble navigating what is really happening and what is a shadow of the past. Add to that a huge summit where the wealthiest in the universe are vying to own the hotel and a murder that seems to be hidden in time, and January has her hands full…not to mention the dinosaurs in the basement.

The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik

Book CoverThe final installation in the Scholomance series saved the best for last. El and her friends are trying to find Orion and solve the riddle of the enclaves. She is also being confronted by some things from her past that may not have been true after all. Full of action, mystery, humor, and perfect world building – this is a series not to miss. Book One is A Deadly Education!

Micky7  by Edward Ashton

Book CoverMickey7 is an “expendable” – the guy they send in to fix what’s broken when there’s no chance of survival. Each Mickey wakes up with the old Mickey’s memories, but when Mickey7 goes missing and is presumed dead, he is shocked to discover that when he returns to base, Mickey8 has taken his spot. Expendables aren’t allowed to have multiple consciousnesses at the same time so it becomes a race to figure out what happened and causes Mickey7 to question those around him, because if he wasn’t dead before they created Mickey8 what else are they hiding from him?

Michaela Wilson, Public Services Librarian

Fairy Tale by Stephen King

Book CoverLet me begin with the fact that this book was everything I hoped it was going to be. And no, this is not a horror story. Fairy Tale is none other than a that, a fairy tale. It follows Charlie and Radar, a dog who comes into his care right before discovering a portal to another world. I loved meeting all the different characters on his journey and how King wrote Charlie’s comprehension of a language that he knew only by magic. The journey is spurred into action with the understanding that there is a device in this other world that can give Radar back her youth and save her (who wouldn’t take the chance to save their dog?). This book was so perfect and wholesome, it was exactly what I needed in 2022.

Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak

Book CoverThis book was Goodreads 2022 Choice Winner for the genre of horror and while I can see those aspects within the story, I personally wouldn’t call it scary. We get to follow Mallory, who is just out of rehab and offered a job as a live in nanny for a boy named Teddy. Mallory is an easily relatable character, with guilt for something in her past and the determination to do the right things in her future. Teddy loves to draw pictures and soon she realizes they are much darker and skilled than that of a 5 year old. There are aspects of the supernatural all around her and Teddy’s parents brush it off. Who would believe a recovering drug addict anyway? The part that absolutely made this book are the drawings we get to see; they added so much to the atmosphere and created a thrilling story!

So This is Ever After by F.T. Lukens

Book CoverTrust me when I say I didn’t realize I needed an Arthurian legend, fantasy romcom until I picked up So This is Ever After. This story follows a group of heroes after they complete their quest and defeat the big villain and now need to figure out what to do with themselves. Our main character, Arek, doesn’t realize that when he put the crown of the defeated king on, he was then bound to the kingdom and must marry before he withers away. The characters are all dorky and lovable which leads to this book being a funny, and I’m not going to lie, a little weird comfort read. If you loved Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, this is the next best thing!

Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough

Book CoverInsomnia is a slow burn psychological thriller that leaves you wondering what actually happened. I picked this book up without knowing anything about it and was not disappointed! With a dash of the supernatural sprinkled in, we follow Emma as she tries to deal with insomnia which leads to paranoia. I can’t say much without giving away the hidden aspects of the plot that leave you on the edge of your seat, but if you like Riley Sagar or B.A. Paris, then definitely pick this book up and give it a try!

Brenda Marshall, Library Director

Surrender – 40 Songs, One Story by Bono

Book CoverI usually don’t like to read about my favorite musicians in case I learn things I don’t like and get put off their music! Bono’s new autobiography is an exception. I saw U2 perform at the Hammersmith Palais back in 1982 when I was 19 and Bono was 22 so I feel like I grew up along with the band. In this book Bono (born David Hewson) takes forty U2 songs and uses them as a framework to explore his life, faith, activism, relationships, and career. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout with his unique annotated pen and ink drawings. I am thoroughly enjoying this candid and thought provoking journey through his world, soul, and mind.

The It Girl by Ruth Ware

Cover ImageIf you’re in the mood for a twisty page turner you might enjoy one of Ruth Ware’s mysteries. This one follows an Oxford graduate, Hannah, who discovers new information about the murder of her college roommate a decade after her death. Hannah’s quest leads her to see their history in a completely different light. I downloaded the audio version of this on Libby because I particularly like the narrator, Imogen Church.

Riverman – An American Odyssey by Ben McGrath

Book CoverThis is the true story of an American veteran and nomad, Dick Conant, who canoed solo for thousands of miles of American waterways before disappearing near the Outer Banks in 2014. The author, Ben McGrath, had met him months before on the banks of the Hudson, and set out to learn more about his travels, and the people and places he had touched. I really enjoyed this glimpse of a fascinating man and the many ways he impacted his own and others’ lives on his personal odyssey.