Readers Advisor

Readers Advisor

I’m Mary K.–librarian, mom, blogger, reader. I believe there’s no such thing as too many books–if you do, too, you’re in the right place! Browse this page for great finds from across our collection. What will you read next?

Email Mary K.

Book Buzz
Historical Fiction - A Winning List Print Email

Jacket covers from five books on this list

Library Journal's editors have pegged some uncontestable winners in this best of 2013 historical fiction list.  The Good Lord Bird by James McBride won the National Book Award for fiction this year, and Life after Life was also picked as a best book of the year by Amazon, Publishers Weekly and Bookmarks magazine.  If you recall, Thomas Keneally is the author of Schindler's List; his novel Daughters of Mars travels back to WWI and two Australian sisters who volunteer as nurses.  If you are a Jane Austen or Downton Abbey fan, don't miss Jo Baker's retelling of Pride and Prejudice (where Elizabeth and Darcy take a backseat).  Turn-of-the-century East Texas is the setting for Joe R. Lansdale's The Thicket, a coming-of-age story laced with grave diggers, bank robbing bandits, and even a bounty-hunting dwarf named Shorty!

Best in Christian Fiction Print Email

Library Journal's Best of 2013 in Christian fiction list includes stories set in places as diverse as a medieval fantasy world and an Old Order Mennonite community, and topics ranging from domestic abuse to a fictional examination of Judas Iscariot's life.  Terri Blackstock is an extremely well-known CF author, but the other four authors might be new discoveries for readers of this genre.  I like that they have highlighted two books that are first titles in intended series - something to look forward to reading in the future if you enjoy these first-in-series titles!  Next week we'll take a look at their picks in historical fiction.

Library Journal's Top Ten Titles Print Email

Jacket covers from three books on the LJ Top Ten list - The Panopticon, The Searchers, and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

Library Journal (LJ) is arguably the most trusted and respected journal for the library community; each year, their reviewers evaluate 8000+ books, ebooks, audiobooks, videos/DVDs, databases, systems and websites!  (Did you know that our library director Christine Perkins is a long-time reviewer for LJ? Click here to read her review from the October 1st issue.)  Their end-of-the-year lists are particularly good and usually include plenty of titles not found on other more commercial lists.  Starting with their Top Ten list, we'll feature other LJ "best of" lists through the end of the year.  Of these top ten titles, LJ says that together they "form a picture of humanity’s struggle against injustices great and small but also kept us up late turning the pages."  Enjoy!

Ann Patchett's Personal Journey Print Email

Jacket cover from Ann Patchett's

Award-winning writer Ann Patchett, whose novels includes Bel Canto and State of Wonder, celebrates her 50th birthday on December 2nd.  Though she has never written an autobiography, Patchett traces the trajectory of her life as a writer in a new nonfiction collection, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage.  These personal stories range from an RV trip across the American West to her serious attempt to enter the L.A. Police Academy.  The essays are selected and arranged to create a cohesive whole, resulting in a book that's an absolute pleasure to read.  The title story of how Patchett found love again after an ill-fated first marriage is well worth the admission price alone, but thankfully this collection offers much more.

Publishers Weekly Top Ten Print Email

Jacket covers of four of the top 10 books

Publishers Weekly top ten books of 2013 are evenly divided between fiction and nonfiction, with a decided bent to the literary and geo- and sociopolitical.  Subjects include scientology, the war on terror, and immortality (as well as lives cut short by tragedy), and settings as diverse as Chechnya, Harlem, and Mississippi.  PW was right on in naming The Good Lord Bird to their top ten list, as several weeks later it was also named this year's National Book Award winner for fiction.  Check out the TOP TEN and the more expansive "best of" list that includes many categories.  Happy Reading!

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