Children have spoken!

day the crayons quit They just announced the winners of the Children’s and Teen Choice awards last Wednesday night, and apparently a few of us here had our pulse on the picture book market. It was on the top books of 2013 for a few of us and the children have also spoken: The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers is the winner. Yay! If you haven’t read it, awesome book!

— Julie

Thirteen for 2013

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FICTION

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver  The butterflies are warning us!

Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt     Bittersweet with memorable characters

MYSTERIES & SUSPENSE

Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry  Wonderful first novel

Void Moon by Michael Connelly        Has you rooting for Cassie, the ex-con

A Cold and Lonely Place by Sara J. Henry   Almost as good as the first one

A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths   Another featuring the very cool Ruth Galloway

Suspect by Robert Crais       A wounded war dog and wounded police officer save each other. I loved this one!

The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indriðason   There’s a skeleton in a lake in Iceland

The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz   Koontz honors his beloved golden retriever, Trixie in this novel that is a blend of horror, thriller, and the supernatural

NON-FICTION/BIOGRAPHICAL/ANIMALS

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed  A thrilling true story

Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology by Caroline Paul   Clever with cool illustrations

A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life by James Bowen   Love that Bob!

CHILDREN’S BOOK

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo   Winn Dixie will steal your heart

~Ann

Top of the Heap 2013

So, another year come and gone; hard to believe. If you missed any of these great books, be sure to take the time in 2014 to catch up! Happy Holidays!

First, the fiction…

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

A spectacular first novel that should not be missed. Presents the story of Auggie, a young boy who is born with pronounced facial deformities. Due to his condition, his parents home-school him until 5th grade when they decide it is time for him to face the real world at school. Auggie must deal with not only his own feelings about his appearance, but with the reaction and subsequent treatment at the hands of others because of it. Geared toward tweens and teens but should be required reading for all. A real lesson in humility and tolerance.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Another stunning first novel. Kent visited Iceland as a student and heard about the legend of a woman named Agnus Magnúsdóttir – the last woman to be executed in that country in 1829. Her book is a fictionalized account of Agnes’ life after her conviction when she is placed on a rural farm in the north of Iceland where she awaits her death sentence. The descriptions of the barren, icy landscape and the meager human existence intertwined with the mysterious story of Agnes and the murder she is accused of committing make for compelling reading. One of my favorites this year.

The Returned by Jason Mott

Wow, this one sticks with you! All over the world, people’s loved ones are returning from beyond. Just walking back through the doors to their homes as if they never left. How is this happening? Why is this happening? Though at first it seems wonderful as people are reunited with loved ones they have lost, a larger ethical question looms. Is this right? Are these people dangerous? Are they really human? A special bureau is created to handle “the Returned,” to ferry them to their families and help them re-integrate back into society. But not everyone wants them back. And they are willing to go to great lengths to keep them at bay. A thought-provoking first novel which has been developed for television; it will be titled “Resurrection” and debut in March 2014.

The Dinner by Herman Koch

If you like dark psychological books, this one is for you. The story of two brothers and their families and the horrible event that has the adults meeting for dinner in an upscale Amsterdam restaurant. Paul, the father of fifteen-year-old Michel, is a mentally unstable but generally well-meaning father. His brother Serge is an up-and-coming politician currently running for prime minister. Over the course of their meal, family history and sinister secrets are revealed that will change everyone’s lives forever. This book reveals itself slowly but as the suspense continues to build, you will not be able to put it down. Gripping.

Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

A dishelved private eye with a domestic situation and his new temporary secretary who is whip smart get involved in the sensationalized death of a famous supermodel by request of an old childhood friend. Written by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym, this book is actually quite entertaining and definitely worth a read. She’s still got it!

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

A classic that I am now reading with my daughter! A book worth sharing.

Now the Nonfiction!

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higshida

Originally written in 2007 by a thirteen-year-old nonverbal Japanese young man with autism, this book is his attempt to explain to the outside world why he acts the way he does. David Mitchell (author of Cloud Atlas) and his wife KA Yoshida discovered the book and decided to translate the work into English. Broken into small “chapters,” the book addresses some of the most obvious behaviors Naoki exhibits. It is fascinating to read his reasons behind the behaviors and upon doing so, really come to realize the self-awareness he possesses. A very brief but very powerful book.

Remodelista by Julie Carlson

Wow is this a beautiful book on design! Tons of wonderful photographs and ideas! All I need now is a bunch of free time and a winning (billion dollar) lottery ticket!

Square Peg: My Story and What it Means for Raising Innovators, Visionaries, and Out-of-the-Box Thinkers by L. Todd Rose

This is one fascinating and inspiring book. The author, who began as a middle school troublemaker and moved on to being a high school dropout and teenage father, is now on the faculty at Harvard. In this book, he argues that the education system in the United States is failing some of our best and brightest, just because they think differently or cannot sit still. Makes you wonder.

What Katie Ate: Recipes and Other Bits & Pieces by Katie Quinn Davies

I loved this book by photographer and food blogger Quinn for it’s spectacular photographs and interesting recipes. It is like taking a personal journey through her eyes into the land of good food. Enjoy!

—Maureen

2013 FAVORITES

I made my list
I checked it twice
These are the books
That are oh so nice!

NONFICTION TITLES
Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown – triumphant quest for 1936 Olympic gold medal in Berlin
Backyard Parables by Margaret Roach – garden writer shares life philosophy and love of gardening
Fresh off the Boat by Eddie Huang – young chef’s cheeky, irreverent memoir

FICTION TITLES
Longbourn by Jo Baker – enthralling historical fiction from the servants’ point of view.
Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope – smart, updated version of Austen’s classic
Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – autistic young man reaches out to help barmaid find her father
Long Live the King by Fay Weldon – second in author’s delectable Edwardian trilogy
Norwegian by Night by Derek Miller – an 82-year-old American veteran risks his life to save a little boy
The Good House by Ann Leary – untrustworthy but completely endearing main character
Me before You by JoJo Moyes – powerful novel presents difficult moral choices

~Rosemary

Carol’s Top Ten (Thirteen, Actually) of ‘Thirteen

I’m happy to say, I’ve read some really, really fabulous books this year. I actually found it difficult to narrow my list of ‘great reads’ down to just 13!

I worked diligently and came up with what I consider the cream of the crop–a list that includes a few historical fiction goodies, 2 books about women awaiting executions!, 2 books about the afterlife!, a mystery, a teen title, and a couple of ghost stories too.

Jot down these titles, click on the links to see these books reviewed in the library’s Reading Room (http:\\readingroom.rrpl.org), and then find sometime to stop into the library to check out the following!

 ~My Top 13 of 2013~

 Where the Moon Isn’t by Nathan Filer

 Fin & Lady by Schine

 Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

 The Returned by Jason Mott

 Fever by Mary Beth Keane

 Joyland by Stephen King

  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver

The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell

 Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

The Midwife’s Tale by Samuel Thomas

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Until next year, I hope your Holidays are filled with warmth, happiness, & good reading! ~Carol