The following completes 2016’s top picks.
Cyndi’s Top 5 with some honorable mentions:
If you know Cyndi, you know she is intrigued by the workings of the body and how it’s intertwined. Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh, a leading neurosurgeon, delves into the working of the brain and the good and bad of brain surgery.
Idiot Brain: What Your Head is Really Up To by Dean Burnett continues the inner workings of the brain theme.
Part of a series, Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews, takes place in post-Shift Atlanta and follows the adventures of shape shifter Kate Daniels.
Gemina, the sequel to Illuminae (one of Julie’s top picks), finds Hannah and Nick teaming up to save the space station from enemy attacks.
Using her sharp-shooting skills to help her leave her dead-end town, Armani joins up with Jin a mysterious rebel running from the Sultan’s army, and this leads her to uncover truths about her nation and herself. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton is the first in a new series that you definitely want to try.
Cyndi’s Honorable Mentions are:
Their Fractured Light (Starbound #3) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese (Foreword)
Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life by Amy E. Herman
Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti
Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich
Mariah was able to find some time to read while finishing her master’s degree. Her Top 5 plus:
Replica by Lauren Oliver is two stories in one – read one, then flip the book and read the other! An unsettling story wrapped up in a cool format. The only bad thing: it’s a series…come on second book, I need to read you now!
The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf is about the sinking of the Titanic from multiple points of view, written in verse format. I loved this book! The iceberg’s verses are incredibly creepy, and the musician verses made me cry. If you are interested in the Titanic, you should definitely read this!
Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates. Read this and be angry! Seriously though, I would recommend this book to all adults, required reading!
Witches of America by Alex Mar is a fascinating look at the lives and rituals of practicing witches – this may be my FAVORITE favorite book of the year!
The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau is an enchanting story of a life-changing friendship between Teo, a young Mixtec boy in Mexico, and Esma, the self-proclaimed “Gypsy Queen of Lightning” who arrives in his village as part of a traveling Romany caravan. This is a beautiful book that has just as much adult appeal as kid appeal, so don’t let the juvenile tag fool you grownups – read this book!
Icebreaker by Lian Tanner is part of a planned trilogy, this book imagines a future where humans have turned completely against technology, and now live by superstition and fear in starving raggedy villages. I’m all for turning off the computer sometimes, but this book is downright creepy! Exciting and very original!
Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins was the picture book I read to every grade in the elementary schools this year. Funny on so many different levels, Mother Bruce is about a bear who finds himself adopted by some very persistent baby geese. Hilarious!
And to finish of the Top 5 picks of 2016, here are my suggestions:
I had not read any of Kent Haruf’s works until this year. A friend of mine insisted that I read Our Souls at Night. I’m glad I did. The story is about two people who are left alone after the death of their spouses. The writing is simple but lasting and the emotions explored are real. It’s short, but you will savor every word.
Another new-to-me author is Sharyn McCrumb, and her book Prayers the Devil Answers was suggested by one of our patrons. She returned the book and gave it such reviews I snatched it up. The story is about a female sheriff in rural Tennessee and the unexpected task set before her. This story is based on historical events. McCrumb is known for her Ballad Series and I’m going to read through that this year.
Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a book I picked up at the annual Friends of Topsham Public Library Book Sale. It was not until I had begun reading that I realized it was part of a series. I did not feel lost or that I was missing anything as I continued to read it. By the time I was done, I wanted to dive into the other books in this series. It also had challenged me to find out more about Spain’s history. The story is about mysterious and dangerous strangers, books, and love all set in 1957 Barcelona.
The Battle of Hastings is a major event in England’s history and I thoroughly enjoyed Helen Hollick’s retelling of the political intrigue that led to the battle in I Am the Chosen King.
A lighthouse on a small island off Australia’s coast is the setting for The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. It’s about love and loss and the small acts performed in the name of love that can lead to the greatest pain experienced.