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Community Picks Best of 2016       View List as Printable PDF

Here's what you said you loved in 2016


Community Picks Best of 2016


All We Have Left

All We Have Left
by Mills, Wendy
YA FICTION MIL
Interweaving stories from past and present, All We Have Left brings one of the most important days in our recent history to life, showing that love and hope will always triumph. Modern-day Jesse tries to cope with the ramifications of her brother's death on 9/11, while in 2001, Alia, a Muslim, gets trapped in one of the Twin Towers and meets a boy who changes everything for her as flames rage around them.

And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East

And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East
by Engel, Richard
956.05 ENG
After living in the Middle East for 20+ years, NBC's chief foreign correspondent wrote his account of the Middle East revolutions, the Arab Spring, war, and terrorism. After reading this, I was saddened as I read his thought that "after months of traveling and reporting I came to believe that Washington was trying to put out the fires of terrorism with gasoline."

The Art of Relevance

The Art of Relevance
by Simon, Nina
069 SIM
What do the London Science Museum, California Shakespeare Theater, and ShaNaNa have in common? They are all fighting for relevance in an often indifferent world. The Art of Relevance is your guide to mattering more to more people. You'll find inspiring examples, rags-to-relevance case studies, research-based frameworks, and practical advice on how your work can be more vital to your community. Whether you work in museums or libraries, parks or theaters, churches or afterschool programs, relevance can work for you. Break through shallow connection. Unlock meaning for yourself and others. Find true relevance and shine.

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
by Gawande, Atul
362.175 GAW
Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.

Commonwealth

Commonwealth
by Patchett, Ann
FICTION PAT
Commonwealth is the story of two broken families and the paths their lives take over the course of 40 years, through love and marriage, death and divorce, and a dark secret from childhood that lies underneath it all

Dory Dory Black Sheep

Dory Dory Black Sheep
Series Title: Dory Fantasmagory
by Hanlon, Abby
J FICTION HAN
When Dory's best friend learns to read before she does, Dory retreats into her wild imagination and finds herself in the middle of one of the babyish books she is struggling to read where she encounters imaginary friends and enemies.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
by Desmond, Matthew
339.4 DES
In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.

Holding Up the Universe

Holding Up the Universe
by Niven, Jennifer
YA FICTION NIV
Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed "America's Fattest Teen." But no one's taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he's got swagger, but he's also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can't recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He's the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything in new and bad-ass ways, but he can't understand what's going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don't get too close to anyone. Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game - which lands them in group counseling and community service - Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel... Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

Homegoing

Homegoing
by Gyasi, Yaa
FICTION GYA
*BookBrowse* Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle's dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast's booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia's descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Moonglow

Moonglow
by Chabon, Michael
FICTION CHA
Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession of a man the narrator refers to only as "my grandfather." It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and marriage and desire, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact - and the creative power - of keeping secrets and telling lies. It is a portrait of the difficult but passionate love between the narrator's grandfather and his grandmother, an enigmatic woman broken by her experience growing up in war-torn France. It is also a tour de force of speculative autobiography in which Chabon devises and reveals a secret history of his own imagination.

Navel gazing : true tales of bodies, mostly mine (but also my mom's, which I know sounds weird)

Navel gazing : true tales of bodies, mostly mine (but also my mom's, which I know sounds weird)
by Black, Michael Ian
BIO BLACK
New York Times bestselling author and stand-up comedian Michael Ian Black delivers a frank and funny memoir about confronting his genetic legacy as he hits his forties.

Purity

Purity
by Franzen, Jonathan
Fiction FRA
*Starred Review* Franzen follows Freedom (2010) with Purity, a novel in which his signature qualities converge in a new, commanding fluidity, from his inquiry into damaged families to his awed respect for nature, brainy drollery, and precise, resonant detail. Pip is a lonely and floundering young woman burdened with massive student debt and living with odd roommates in a derelict mansion in Oakland, California. She is exceedingly close to her mother, Anabel, a hermit of extreme sensitivity and incendiary secrets who steadfastly refuses to reveal the identity of Pip's father. Her daughter's actual name, Purity, is testament to Anabel's debilitating obsessions. Pip embarks on an internship with the Sunlight Project, a WikiLeaks-like group run by the charismatic Andreas Wolf, an arrogant and opportunistic East German with a shocking past. In this masterfully plotted tale populated by exceptionally complex characters caught in an ever-expanding web of startling connections and consequences, Franzen takes us to the grimly smothering world of the Stasi; franchised, feedlot-poisoned, and fracked Texas; and the Sunlight Project's Bolivian jungle hideout. As the surprising, suspenseful, archly comedic story unspools, Franzen takes measure of secrecy and transparency, altruism and selfishness, boldly paralleling the tyranny of socialism with the intrusions of the digital realm even as he asserts that nature . . . made a mockery of information technology. Franzen has created a spectacularly engrossing and provocative twenty-first-century improvisation on Charles Dickens' masterpiece, Great Expectations. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Purity will be one of the most talked about books of the season, and a national marketing campaign will fuel the buzz.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2015 Booklist

Theoretical Minimum

Theoretical Minimum
by Susskind, Leonard
530 SUS
A world-class physicist and a citizen scientist combine forces to teach Physics 101--the DIY way. The Theoretical Minimum is a book for anyone who has ever regretted not taking physics in college--or who simply wants to know how to think like a physicist. In this unconventional introduction, physicist Leonard Susskind and hacker-scientist George Hrabovsky offer a first course in physics and associated math for the ardent amateur. Unlike most popular physics books--which give readers a taste of what physicists know but shy away from equations or math--Susskind and Hrabovsky actually teach the skills you need to do physics, beginning with classical mechanics, yourself.

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
by Junger, Sebastian
302.3 JUN
We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding--"tribes." This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival.