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!

Nicole’s Top Ten of 2021

Beowulf: A New Translation by Maria Dahvana Headley– An iconic work of early English literature is updated in Headley’s feminist adaptation, bringing to light elements never before translated into English.

A Hawk in the Woods by Carrie Laben– A suspenseful, dark tale of family trauma, abuse of power, and the bonds of sisterhood that centers on supernaturally gifted twins Abby and Martha Waite and follows Abby’s choices after she discovers she has been diagnosed with late stage melanoma.

The Push by Ashley Audrain– A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family and one woman’s deeply affecting and difficult story of motherhood, womanhood, grief, and guilt.

Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith– Haunting and inspired, this novel looks at the stories of three women in Vietnam, weaving together Vietnamese folklore and themes of national and racial identity, women’s bodies and their burden, and sweet revenge.

Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca– A standout novella featuring an interesting combination of atypical structure, beautiful writing, and body horror about two women who meet in a queer chat room. This book, and the ending in particular, will keep you thinking long after you finish this short work.

Love and Fury: A Novel of Mary Wollstonecraft by Samantha Silva– An amazingly well-crafted and beautiful historical fiction novel of Mary Wollstonecraft – arguably the world’s first feminist and one of the world’s most influential thinkers. Inspiring and enlightening.

Betty by Tiffany McDaniel– Perhaps my most favorite book of the year, this heartbreaking and remarkable novel is inspired by the life of McDaniel’s own mother. Set in rural Ohio during the 50s, readers follow Betty Carpenter, as she endures terrible discrimination, violence, loss, and love in this luminous and often emotionally difficult book.

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling– A beautifully written gothic romantic thriller with a dash of magic and horror. Drawing inspiration from such classics as Bluebeard and working the dangerous bridegroom trope, Starling delivers an engaging and tense tale.

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo– A skillful and fantastical reimagining of The Great Gatsby that reimagines Jordan Baker as a queer Vietnamese immigrant, embellishing upon Fitzgerald’s original plot  with commentary on gender, race, and  sexuality, set in a magical Jazz Age New York.

Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness by Kristen Radtke– A timely and moving meditation on isolation and longing, both as individuals and as a society, delivered in a beautiful graphic novel.

December Holiday Films on Kanopy

Did you know that Kanopy has a great selection of films for the holidays? You can look at their curated collection of seasonal films available for home streaming here. From classics to comedies, ballet performances to holiday horror (yes, that’s a thing and its awesome) there is something for everyone on Kanopy this December. Take a look below to see my top 5 picks for holiday viewing- including the aforementioned classic Christmas slasher (Black Christmas, 1974) and a documentary all about the weird and wonderful world of Christmas music (Jingle Bell Rocks!, 2013). Hot chocolate and cookies are not required for viewing, but highly recommended. *wink wink*

Enjoy and happy holidays to you and yours this season!

Staff Picks- August

One of the best things about working in a public library is being exposed to so many different books! I know I can be guilty of sticking to my reading comfort zone, but thanks to the eclectic readership we have on staff, I’m always hearing personal recommendations and reviews from my amazing colleagues, including a wide variety of genres.

This month Adult Services staff shared some current favorites, including a discussion worthy nonfiction title, an updated classic with a fantasy twist, and a stand-out autobiography. Take a look below for our five staff picks!

Hop on over to our digital library to snag one of these titles now! Ilhan Omar narrates the audiobook version of This is What America Looks Like, which was highly recommended by our staff, so if you are an audiobook fan don’t miss out on this great title.