We’re a little late with our top picks this year, so as it is February, we thought we’d keep with the theme and tell you the books (and media), the Topsham Public Library staff loved last year!
In no particular order here are my top picks of 2022:
Extraordinary, Ordinary People by Condoleezza Rice
The story of growing up Black and female in the United States in her own words.
Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Jason Griffin
Reynold’s poetry is succinct and all the more striking for it. He hits you right in the heart.
The Distant Land of My Father by Bo Caldwell
A beautifully written story about the father/daughter relationship.
The Road Dance by John MacKay
Set in Scotland as the Great War begins, a young woman’s future is upended by acts of violence near and far, and the fallout from those actions takes a toll on all.
All the Living and the Dead by Hayley Campbell
An interesting, gruesome, and yes, comforting, look at those who handle the body after death.
The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray
This was a delightful read. The setting is a house party at a country estate in England in 1820. A number of the guests are characters drawn from the novels of Jane Austen, including Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy, and Colonel Brandon and his wife Marianne. The house party had just gotten underway when Mr. Wickham, (from Pride and Prejudice) walks in uninvited. It seems everyone there has reason to hate him. When he turns up dead, there is no lack of suspects. Ms. Gray captured the mood and manners of the Regency Era very authentically, from my meagre knowledge, and I was happily immersed in the lives of the inhabitants of the house. With so many suspects, it was a challenge to discover the murderer, and it was near the end that I finally figured it out. Reading this book was a wonderful escape from the 21st century. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman
The third book in the Thursday Murder Club reunites us with the lovely characters at the Cooper’s Chase Retirement Village. These characters sneak right into your heart and take hold there. There are plenty of laughs and many poignant moments too. I laughed out loud and cried a little too. If you’re of a certain age, you will recognize yourself here, and if you’re young and want to understand your parents or grandparents, this is the book to read. To top it all off there is a thoroughly enjoyable mystery, as well. Prepare to be entertained.
Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner
Frankie Elkins is an alcoholic. She’s in recovery, but every day brings a new challenge to decide to stay sober, and her past is dragging her down. To keep her own demons at bay, Frankie chases other demons. She finds missing people., 14 so far, but none of them alive. She’s getting desperate. She needs a win, even more than she needs a drink. There is a teenage Haitian girl in Boston, who has been missing for months. The police have gotten nowhere. But there is something about Frankie. She somehow knows the right questions, and begins to get answers. There is way more to this story than originally thought, and Angelique isn’t the only girl missing. The police think Frankie is in way over her head, and perhaps she is. The danger gets closer and closer. Will Frankie get the girls back alive, or will she join the missing?