5 New Books to Read in 2022

New year, new books! There are so many great books being published this year and below you’ll find five books that I’m particularly excited for! I can’t wait to read these titles and I hope you’ll get inspired by my picks as well.

In addition to stocking up on new releases in the coming months, this year I’m planning on revisiting some favorite classics as well. I’ll be spending some time with H.P. Lovecraft and Emily Bronte again, while making time to dive into some non-fiction titles and biographies (which is a bit out of my typical reading comfort zone).

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

The award-winning, best-selling author of Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel returns with a novel of art, time, love, and plague that takes the reader from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony on the moon three hundred years later, unfurling a story of humanity across centuries and space. Expected publication: April 2022

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic and Velvet Was the Night comes a dreamy reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Mexico. Expected publication: July 2022

Book of Night by Holly Black

#1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black makes her stunning adult debut with Book of Night, a modern dark fantasy of shadowy thieves and secret societies in the vein of Ninth House and The Night Circus. Expected publication: May 2022

Such a Pretty Smile by Kristi DeMeester

A biting novel from an electrifying new voice, Such a Pretty Smile is a heart-stopping tour-de-force about powerful women, angry men, and all the ways in which girls fight against the forces that try to silence them. Expected publication: January 2022

Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty

Set in a Native community in Maine, Night of the Living Rez is a riveting debut collection about what it means to be Penobscot in the twenty-first century and what it means to live, to survive, and to persevere after tragedy. Expected publication: July 2022

What books are you looking forward to checking out this year?

Shannon’s Top Ten of 2021

It’s the end of the year (where did the time go??), and there’s been a lot of really great books published in 2021! My list is of course very science fiction and fantasy heavy, but what can I say? I’m a lady who likes spaceships and unicorns.

Without further ado, here is my top ten of 2021 – click any of the book covers below to be taken to our catalog, where you can request a copy of the book with your library card number and PIN.

The Last Graduate book cover and RRPL catalog link
10. The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik
Hench book cover and RRPL catalog link
9. Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots
The Witness for the Dead book cover and RRPL catalog link
8. The Witness for the Dead by Katherine Addison

Broken (in the Best Possible Way) book cover and RRPL catalog link
7. Broken (in the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson
The Hidden Palace book cover and RRPL catalog link
6. The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker
Sorrowland book cover and RRPL catalog link
5. Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon

Light from Uncommon Stars book cover and RRPL catalog link
4. Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
The Empress of Salt and Fortune book cover and RRPL catalog link
3. The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
She Who Became the Sun book cover and RRPL catalog link
2. She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

And last but not least, my favorite book of 2021:

The Kingdoms book cover and RRPL catalog link
1. The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley

Time travelling alternate history queer love story – plus naval battles and the Napoleonic Wars… what’s not to love? You can read my review of this excellent novel here. You can also find all of these titles by searching in our digital library.

Well, that’s a wrap on 2021 for me. Be sure to check out the top ten lists of other staff members this week!

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

These are the books we are adding to our collection this week. Click on the blue text to go to our catalog and place a hold today!

The Becoming by Nora Roberts – Able to walk between the world of man and the world of magick called Talmh, Breen Siobhan Kelly must take the next step on the journey to becoming all that she was born to be when one member of her bloodline, the outcast god Odran, plots to destroy Talamh.

Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon – Jamie and Claire reunite after the Jacobite Rising but worry that their grown family, finally together, will be torn apart by the American Revolution in the latest addition of the popular series following Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.

The Christmas Promise by Richard Paul Evans – The #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Noel Collection presents this heartwarming new novel in which love and faith help restore the true magic of Christmas for the people we care for most.

These Precious Days: Essays by Ann Patchett – Turning her writer’s eye on her own experiences, the brilliant author transforms the private into the universal, providing us all a way to look at our own worlds anew, and reminds how fleeting and enigmatic life can be.

Flying Angels by Danielle Steel – After her brother is wounded in the attack on Pearl Harbor, Audrey and her best friend Lizzie enlist in the army as flight nurses in a new novel from the New York Times best-selling author of over 150 books.

Fear No Evil by James Patterson – When Dr. Alex Cross and Detective John Sampson are attacked by two rival teams of assassins in the rugged Montana wilderness in the latest addition to the popular, long-running series following Deadly Cross.

Harsh Times by Mario Vargas Llosa – Describes the international conspiracies and conflicting interests during the Cold War that led the CIA to assist in perpetrating a coup in Guatemala in 1954 in the new novel from the Nobel Prize in Literature Award-winning author.

City of Time and Magic by Paula Brackston – Believing that Liam was kidnapped by Lydia Flyte on a mission to Regency England, Xanthe is shocked to discover their involvement with a group of unscrupulous Spinners who sell their time traveling talents to wealthy bidders.

The Deathwatch Beetle by Kjell Eriksson – Even though she is no longer with the police, when Ann Lindell receives a tip that Cecilia Karlsson, who disappeared four years ago from the island of Gräsö in Roslagen, has been seen alive, cannot help getting involved.

The City of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – Filled with unforgettable characters, unique situations and a gothic atmosphere reminiscent of his beloved Cemetery of Forgotten Books quartet, this posthumous collection offers imaginative and enchanting stories that sum up the career of this amazing writer.

~Semanur

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Here some of the new exciting releases for you to take a look at this week!

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones & New York Times Magazine – This ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began on the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery reimagines if our national narrative actually started in late August of 1619, when a ship arrived in Jamestown bearing a cargo of 20-30 enslaved people from Africa.

The Left-Handed Twin by Thomas Perry – When Jane, who helps disappear people, agrees to help a woman escape a crazed ex-boyfriend who is friends with members of a Russian organized crime brotherhood, thus begins a bloodthirsty chase through the northeast where nothing—and no one—can be trusted.

Guild Boss by Jayne Castle – After being kidnapped and drugged in the colony world of Harmony, Lucy Bell’s safe return is met with skepticism while she is still being hunted by a potential killer in the latest addition to the series following Illusion Town.

The Wolf by J.R. Ward – Forced into bartering drug deals for the infamous Prison Colony, wolven Lucan finds things getting hot when he meets Rio, the second in command for the shadowy Caldwell supplier who needs his protection—and his love.

Clive Cussler’s the Devil’s Sea by Dirk Cussler – Dirk Pitt discovers a 60-year-old, forgotten plane crash in the Philippe Sea while recovering a failed hypersonic missile from Luzon Strait, in the latest addition to the long running series from the author known as the “grand master of adventure.

Mercy by David Baldacci – As the long search for twin sister Mercy reaches its conclusion, FBI agent Atlee Pine, when the truth is finally revealed, will face the greatest danger yet, one that could cost her everything.

Termination Shock by Neal Stephenson – In near-future world plagued by superstorms, rising sea levels, global flooding, heat waves, and deadly pandemics, one man has a big idea for reversing global warming despite the possible consequences for the planet and all of humanity.

Tom Clancy Chain of Command by Marc Cameron – To implement his most ambitious plan of all, a ruthless billionaire must get President Jack Ryan out of the way and assembles the most ruthless mercenaries alive to kidnap the First Lady.

Lesser Evil by Timothy Zahn – The Chiss, led by the Nine Ruling Families, feel their bonds of fidelity, stability and integrity are being eroded by a cunning foe trying to sabotage the Ascendancy in the third novel of the series following Greater Good.

The Dickens Boy by Thomas Keneally – The son of England’s most famous author, Edward Dickens is sent to Australia to make something of himself—or at least fall out of the public eye—where he works hard to prove to his parents and himself that he can succeed in this vast and unfamiliar wilderness.

~Semanur

Review of You Feel It Just Below the Ribs by Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson

You Feel It Just Below the Ribs by Janina Matthewson and Jeffrey Cranor book cover and RRPL catalog link

Miriam grows up during the Great Reckoning, an apocalyptic war that destroys nations, displaces thousands of people, and kills millions more. Later, when civilization slowly begins to function again, the nascent New Society government concludes that tribal loyalties, including familial bonds, are to blame for the Great Reckoning. As an adult, Miriam perfects a technique that helps children to forget traumatic memories, and the New Society uses it in ways she never intended to create the Age Ten Protocols. The government takes babies from their families and raises them in child care centers, then erases those memories when they turn ten years old, destroying those dangerous family ties. Now an elderly woman, Miriam writes a memoir of her extraordinary life in the new novel You Feel It Just Below the Ribs by Janina Matthewson and Jeffrey Cranor.

This book is a companion novel to Within the Wires, an audio drama podcast written by one of the writers of Welcome to Night Vale, Jeffrey Cranor, and writer and voice actor Janina Matthewson. Longtime listeners of Within the Wires will certainly find breadcrumbs of new information to chew over, as this novel provides much backstory to the world of the podcast. As a standalone novel, it is a stark dystopia that may confuse readers not aware of its extensive audio drama roots. I have listened to Within the Wires since its first episode, and as I read, I found myself preferring the podcast and the intimacy with which we get to know the characters. In this novel, the narrator is carefully writing her own memoirs in a New Society that will not publish anything too radical, so there is a substantial distance between Miriam and the reader that means we never really get to know her as a person.

However, the authors explore intriguing philosophical questions throughout the course of the novel: in a post-apocalyptic society, what lengths are too far to go in trying to prevent another worldwide war? Are family ties and tribalism truly the root of all war and conflict? Is it ethical – and if not ethical, then necessary – to erase memories and destroy families in the pursuit of peace? With Miriam as our unreliable narrator versus the New Society’s narrative, who is telling the truth? Fans of Within the Wires and new readers who are intrigued by this unique concept for a dystopian novel should check this one out. If you like the book, make sure to listen to the podcast in your favorite podcast app!

Release date: December 7, 2021

Thanks to NetGalley for the Advance Reader Copy!

Banned Books Week 2021: Shannon’s Favorites

The logo for banned books week: a yellow banner with black text that reads "Banned Books Week" over an icon of a red book.

It’s Banned Books Week again, and now more than ever, it is important to talk to about censorship and the right to read. We as librarians stand against censorship and banning books, and in fact, some of my favorite books are on the list of the most frequently challenged books.

In honor of this important week, here are some of my favorite books from the list:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas book cover + links to RRPL catalog

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

A powerful, moving story ripped straight from the headlines, of a Black girl who was the only witness to her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer; this book is number 30 of the 100 most challenged books of the decade.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi book cover that links to RRPL catalog.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

An excellent graphic memoir that details the author’s childhood growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution; I read this in college and it changed my perspective on regular people living in the Middle East. Number 40.

The Giver by Lois Lowry book cover that links to RRPL's catalog.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I read this dystopian classic in grade school, and it has remained one of my favorite books. It truly helped me see the world differently. This one is number 61.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan book cover that links to RRPL's catalog.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

A beloved series of science fiction space opera graphic novels, Saga is often challenged in libraries due to violence and sexual content. This series come in at number 76 on the list of most challenged books of the decade.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
book cover that links to RRPL's catalog.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
Number two on the list of most challenged books of 2020, this important book teaches racism to children of a new generation.

These are my favorite banned books, but plenty of books are challenged in libraries every day. To participate in Banned Books Week yourself, check out the Banned Books Week website for challenges, activities, interviews with authors, and more.

Image with two hands holding a book that reads: Censorship divides us. The picture is a link to the Banned Books Week website.

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Here some of the new exciting releases for you to take a look at this week!

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead – A furniture salesman in 1960s Harlem becomes a fence for shady cops, local gangsters and low-life pornographers after his cousin involves him in a failed heist in the new novel from the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad.

Guinness World Records 2022 by Guinness World Records – This latest edition of the world’s best-selling annual book looks at how despite pandemic and lockdowns, record-breaking has continued, with a focus on how people are going to extreme lengths to save the environment.

Talk to Me by T. Coraghessan Boyle – Becoming the assistant to animal behaviorist Guy Schermerhorn and his juvenile chimp, Aimee Villard finds herself in an interspecies love triangle that pushes hard at the boundaries of consciousness and the question of what we know and how we know it.

Travels With George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy by Nathaniel Philbrick – Written at a moment when America’s founding figures are under increasing scrutiny, the author, retracing George Washington’s journey as a new president through all thirteen former colonies, paints a picture of 18th-century America as divided and fraught as it is today.

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach – A best-selling author offers an investigation into the unpredictable world where wildlife and humans meet.

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty – A family of tennis stars debate whether or not to report their mother as missing because it would implicate their father in the new novel by the New York Times best-selling author of Big Little Lies.

Enemy at the Gates by Vince Flynn & Kyle Mills – CIA operative Mitch Rapp accepts a job protecting the world’s first trillionaire, but also uses him as bait to catch a traitor with access to government secrets in the latest addition to the series following Total Power.

Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan – Everyone knows television reporter Lily Atwood—and that may be her biggest problem.

The World Played Chess by Robert Dugoni – As his own son gets ready to leave for college, Vincent Bianco recalls his final summer before college in 1979 during which he received an education of a lifetime while working alongside two Vietnam vets as a laborer on a construction site.

Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement by Tarana Burke – The founder and activist behind the “me too” movement shares her own story of how she came to say those two words herself after being sexually assaulted, in this debut memoir that explores how to piece back together our fractured selves.

The Missing Hours by Julia Dahl – A standalone novel from an award-winning author confronts the aftermath of a campus rape and the lengths that some will go to keep the truth hidden.

Harrow by Joy Williams – With her mother missing and her boarding school closed, Khristen searches the post-apocalyptic landscape until she reaches a “resort” on the shores of a putrid lake in the author’s first novel since The Quick and the Dead.

Water: A Biography by Giulio Boccaletti – Spanning millennia and continents, here is a stunningly revealing history of how the distribution of water has shaped human civilization.

~Semanur

Review of Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki book cover and catalog link

Shizuka Satomi, revered and feared violin instructor, is known as the Queen of Hell in the classical music world. As it turns out, the name is more apt than most people know – Shizuka made a deal with the devil to deliver seven talented, tortured souls to hell. So far, she has sent six souls to the fire, and while seeking her seventh, meets Katrina Nguyen. Katrina is a young runaway trans girl who is seeking safety and peace to play violin and be herself, and to Shizuka, is the perfect seventh soul to complete her deal. To further complicate things, Shizuka begins to fall for Lan Tran, the local donut lady who is actually an interstellar starship captain in hiding from the Galactic Empire. Lyrical and moving, Ryka Aoki’s new novel Light from Uncommon Stars surprises and delights at every turn.

This sort of mash-up should clash like discordant notes played off-key, but instead it sings like the most harmonious melody. The novel somehow combines science fiction aliens and a fantastical deal with the devil into a larger, cohesive whole, and this is only by the skill of the author. Aoki’s novel is queer, light, and witty, but with a darker edge that does not shy away from the lived experience of many trans people, with lyrical and dreamlike prose that employs extensive musical allegory. The author examines questions of identity, purpose, existence, and the ineffable beauty of music: how one person can competently play a piece of music without that spark that makes music special, and another can play like a beginner but infuse their feelings and message into the song, lighting the world on fire. For a defiantly joyful, queer meditation on family and identity, try Light from Uncommon Stars, coming out on September 28, 2021.

Thanks to NetGalley for the advanced reader copy!

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

We have some new releases picked out for you to dive in for the following week. There is an adventure, humor, romance and many more for you to enjoy!

My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham  Jones – Protected by horror movies – especially the ones where the masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them, Jade Daniels, an angry, half-Indian outcast, pulls us into her dark mind when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian lake.

19 Yellow Moon Road by Fern Michaels – Maggie Spritzer and the other members of the Sisterhood investigate The Haven, a commune run by the dubious sons of a disgraced, Ponzi-scheme-running Chicago businessman in the latest novel of the series following Bitter Pill.

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson – June Jones emerges from her shell to fight for her beloved local library, and through the efforts and support of an eclectic group of library patrons, she discovers life-changing friendships along the way.

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang – When she suddenly loses her ability to play the violin, Anna Sun must learn to listen to her heart and falls in love with a man her parents disapprove of, forcing her to choose between meeting expectations and finding happiness in who she really is.

Whiplash by Janet Dailey – Returning to the family ranch, Val Champion, whose dreams of a Hollywood acting career have become a nightmare, finds that she is no safer at home when she comes face-to-face with her first and only true love – rodeo man Casey Bozeman.

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins – Three women unknown to each other are each questioned in connection with the gruesome murder of a young man found on a London houseboat in the new novel by the New York Times best-selling author of The Girl on the Train.

You Can Run by Karen Cleveland – To get her son back, CIA analyst Jill Bailey must do something she thought she’d never do with the help of a hard-hitting journalist, forcing them both to confront their loyalties to family and country.

What the Cat Dragged in by Miranda James – Librarian Charlie Harris and his faithful feline companion, Diesel, have inherited Charlie’s grandfather’s house, along with a deadly legacy: a decades-old crime scene, in an all-new mystery in the New York Times best-selling Cat in the Stacks series.

The Education of Nevada Duncan Carl Weber & C. N. Phillips – Heir to the Duncan and Zuniga crime family fortunes, Nevada Duncan must attend the world’s most elite school for the children of underworld figures where he learns the importance of friendship as an enemy lurks in the shadows who wants what Nevada has.

The Last Guests J. P. Pomare – A wife finds herself racing for answers when the decision to rent out her family vacation home takes a deadly turn.

Revelator by Daryl Gregory – Returning to the backwoods of Tennessee for her grandmother’s funeral, and to check on Sunny, a mysterious 10-year-old girl her grandmother adopted, professional bootlegger Stella soon discovers that Sunny is a direct link to her buried past and her family’s destructive faith.

The Devil You Know by Kit Rocha – Maya, genetically engineered for genius and trained for revolution, vows to stop an operation trading in genetically enhanced children with the help of Gray, who, unable to escape the time bomb in his head, has found his purpose in his final days – keeping Maya safe.

~Semanur

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Here are some of the new books coming to our shelves this week for you to add to your book list!

Lightning Strike by William Kent Krueger – In this prequel to the acclaimed Cork O’Connor series, 12-year-old Cork stumbles upon the body of a man hanging in a tree – the first in a series of events that cause him to question everything he took for granted about his hometown, his family and himself.

The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny – When a visiting professor spreads lies so that fact and fiction are so confused it’s near impossible to tell them apart, leading to murder, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache must investigate this case as well as this extraordinary popular delusion – and the madness of crowds.

The Guide by Peter Heller – Trying to return to normalcy after a young life filled with loss, Jack takes a job as a guide for the elite Kingfisher Lodge where he, while guiding a well-known singer, discovers that this idyllic fishing lodge may be a cover for a far more sinister operation.

The Women of Troy by Pat Barker – Held captive by the victorious Greeks, one time Trojan queen Briseis, formerly Achilles’s slave, forges alliances when she can with Priam’s aged wife, the defiant Hecuba and the disgraced soothsayer Calchas, all the while shrewdly seeking her path to revenge.

The Failed Promise: Reconstruction, Frederick Douglass, and the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson by Robert S. Levine – Drawing on letters, articles and the most important African American newspaper of the time, the author recreates the conflicts that brought Frederick Douglass and the wider Black community to reject President Andrew Johnson and call for a guilty verdict in his impeachment trial.

Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis De Lafayette in the Age of Revolution by Mike Duncan – The New York Times bestselling author looks at the life of the Marquis de Lafayette, who helped fight and finance the American Revolution as well as the French Revolution and the overthrow of the Bourbon Dynasty.

Feral Creatures by Kira Jane Buxton – After rescuing pets who had been trapped in their homes during the apocalypse, a Cheeto-loving crow, S.T., and his bloodhound bestie, Dennis, discover humanity’s last hope for survival in this follow-up to Hollow Kingdom.

The Secret Staircase by Sheila Connolly – After a body is discovered in a hidden staircase at Barton Mansion during renovations, Kate Hamilton hunts to identify this man who was murdered in 1880, and learns that digging up the past can be deadly when a second body is found.

Seeing Ghosts: A Memoir by Kat Chow – After her mother dies unexpectedly of cancer, a Chinese American writer and journalist weaves together the story of the fallout of grief that follows her extended family as they emigrate from China and Hong Kong to Cuba and America.

The Second Rebel by Linden A. Lewis – Astrid seeks to bring down the Sisterhood from within, while, on an outlaw colony station deep in space, Hiro val Akiro seeks to bring a dangerous ally into the rebellion, and Lito sol Lucious continues to grow into his role as lead revolutionary.

~semanur