TPL Staff Picks 2023 – Mariah!

Mariah’s Top 5 of 2023

Show: Shrinking

I loved this show! There is so much tenderness and vulnerability in all of the characters as they grapple with various forms of grief and loss but also love and joy. It also made me laugh until I cried (episode 6, I’m looking at you).

Show: Lessons in Chemistry

Confession: I have not read the extremely popular book (I know! Always read the book before the film! oops!) so I can’t speak to how well it was adapted, but this series was so good! The last scene was so beautiful it had me weeping on the couch.

Book: Stickler Loves the World

Stickler is my role model! Stickler loves sticks more than anything, except for maybe EVERYTHING ELSE. Stickler bounds through this book exclaiming over the wonders in the world, wonders that include clouds, moss, plants, birds, wind, rocks, maple syrup, friendship, etc. Adorable, and a reminder of just how amazing the world is.

Book: An Immense World

Have I told you an interesting fact lately? If I have, it’s probably because I learned it from this book! Here’s a couple: Dogs have infrared sensors in their noses. Many birds that look indistinguishable to our eyes actually have vastly different patterns that show up in ultraviolet light (or regular bird vision). Mantis Shrimp love to punch, and their punches reach speeds of 50 miles per hour. This book describes how the world as we know it is far from the world as most other species know it, and after reading about all that we CANNOT sense, you will never see the world the same again!

Music: Brothers Osborne (ALL of their cds, but particularly Skeletons)

I went from not knowing who these guys were, to blindly buying tickets to see them in Portland, to listening to their music nonstop until the concert so I could sing along to every one of their songs. My phone stats tell me that they are my most listened-to artist of the year, and they are fantastic!

TPL Staff Picks 2023 – Jennifer!

Jennifer’s Top 5 of 2023

The Secret Hours by Mick Herron – For those of you who love Slow Horses (book one in the series written by Herron and also an award-winning TV series in its third season), this is a prequel that works well as a stand alone novel. This series delves into the lives of MI5 spies who have made career-ending mistakes, but one must wonder if they were really in the wrong. Herron writes with humor, intelligence, and insight that always leaves me looking forward to the next book.  

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead – This is the first book in a trilogy that tells the story of Ray Carney, a furniture store owner in New York during the 60s. Carney is a husband, father, and upstanding business man who may from time to time be involved in some shady deals and perhaps a heist or two. The second in the trilogy is Crook Manifesto, which is also just as good. I listened to both and the reader, Dion Graham, makes the stories sing. This book, this trilogy, is not just a story but a work of art.

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin – Goodwin, a well-known historian, is also an avid baseball fan. This book is her memoir not only of her family but also their unwavering support for the Brooklyn Dodgers. I can’t say I’m much of a baseball fan, but this story and how Goodwin and her father shared their joy of baseball is entertaining and a fun, informal history of baseball.

A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines – In 1970s Louisiana a white farmer is found murdered and a black man is automatically suspected, but a white woman and a gathering of old men all claim that they killed the farmer. The dialogue throughout was real and got to the heart of matters. Though much is happening in a short period of time, the story unfolds in a quiet but purposeful way that makes the story seem more real. But probably the real reason I love the book as much as I do is that, and I’m not exactly sure why, I kept thinking of my father as I read it. Many of what the gathering of men said are things that he said when he was old and thinking over the life he had lived. This is a book that will stay on my bookshelf for many years to come.

Accountable: The True Story of a Racist Social Media Account and the Teenagers Whose Lives It Changed by Dashka Slater – Slater delves behind the scenes of a group of friends who are torn apart by racism and out of control social media. Slater does an excellent job presenting all sides in a tragic unraveling of relationships.