Top Picks of 2017, Part 3


And last, but not least!



Lynne’s Top Picks:


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is the first in a Young Adult series. Six outcasts and a heist. What more do you need?


Replica by Lauren Oliver is told from two different points of view. Haven is a peaceful looking island from the outside, but it is a compound where human replicas are made and raised. What happens when two of the replicas escape?



It’s Halloween 1988 and four 12-year old newspaper girls uncover a story. Paper Girls Vols. 1-3 by Brian Vaughan is a graphic novel series that is worth the read.



Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child is part of a series, but it also works well as a stand alone, so if you want to try it but don’t want to commit, go ahead and give it a go. Jeremy Logan heads to the Adirondacks to work on his book, but when a body is discovered he is called to help in the investigation.



We Have Always Lived In the Castle by Shirley Jackson was a hot read among the staff and made it onto Lynne’s top picks list.



Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK by Mark Manson was on Cyndi’s list and has made it onto Lynne’s list, too.


The life of Queen Elizabeth II beginning with her marriage to Prince Philip, The Crown Season 1 is binge worthy as the cast, the costumes, the sets, and the story keeps one wanting more.



Emma’s Top Picks:

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. When I grow up, I want to be Shirley Jackson. So it is surprising it has taken me so long to read her classic story of Merricat and her sister, Constance. This book is a creepy masterpiece and now my favorite Shirley Jackson work. I am only sorry that I didn’t read it years ago.


Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. I am a big fan of Saunders’ work, and this one did not disappoint. It’s hard to explain just how truly strange and affecting this book is. Set in a graveyard over one night, it recounts the (true) story of Lincoln going to visit his son’s body after the young boy had passed away. The novel is structured from quotes (both real and imagined) and is told through the eyes of the ghosts who inhabit the graveyard. I also recommend listening to the audio book for different experience of the story. It features a cast of well-known people including Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Ben Stiller, Julianne Moore, Megan Mullally, Mary, Don Cheadle and many more.


Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix. Even if you’re not a fan of 70s/80s horror (and I am, I love those old covers, especially the fonts!), this is a well-written, informative and extremely entertaining book. Combining a look at some truly awesome covers—evil leprechauns, rabid slugs, murderous dolls and much, much more—with a heartfelt and extensive history of the horror boom in the 80s. This will appeal to anyone who spent their younger years glued to horror films like Nightmare on Elm Street and devouring Stephen King novels.


Sad Girl Poems by Christopher Soto. I came across this poet on twitter. This is their first chapbook that delves into domestic violence, queer youth homelessness and the suicide of a close friend. A powerful read puts you in the center of a life that you may never have experienced or had knowledge of. Simultaneously devastating and uplifting.

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Vol. 1 by Emil Ferris. This graphic novel is an astonishing piece of work. The artwork alone is mesmerizing, even if you don’t know that the artist had to teach herself to draw again after an illness paralyzed her. Art Spiegelman, creator of Maus has said, “Emil Ferris is one of the most important comics artists of our time.” As for the story, I literally couldn’t put this down. It tells the story of a young girl in late 60s Chicago trying to solve the murder of her upstairs neighbor, Anka, a holocaust survivor. Part crime noir, with reference to B-movie monsters and the reveal of Anka’s devastating back-story in Nazi Germany, this book explores relationships, gender and sexuality, race, fascism, body image, bullying, class, and a whole host of other issues without once making the reader feel like they are being lectured to. A warning though—part 2 is coming out in April, so be prepared to wait to know how the story ends.

Magdalene: Poems by Marie Howe. Marie Howe is my favorite poet so I was excited that she had a new collection out this year. I was not disappointed. Howe imagines the biblical figure, Mary Magdalene, navigating her way through ordinary, modern life. I would not hesitate to recommend any of this poet’s collections.


Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. This was a no-brainer for me. I’m a big fan of Neil Gaiman and I love Norse Mythology. Gaiman tells the old tales well without sugarcoating them for a modern audience.



Mariah’s Top Picks:


The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. Really, this whole series!  Also, WHEN IS THE NEXT BOOK GOING TO COME OUT?!?!



The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. Beautiful and unsettling stories based on folk and fairytales from one of my favorite authors!



A Colony in a Nation by Christopher Hayes. An eye-opening perspective on our country – I couldn’t put this book down.



Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. A memoir written in verse, this amazing book is deeply moving and absolutely beautiful.



Refugee by Alan Gratz. Tells the stories of three refugee children from three different time periods.  This is the book I’m recommending to every human this year – READ IT!!


The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. Beautiful language, endearing characters, magic, deep concepts, all wrapped up in a kids book – what’s not to love?!  This book won the Newbery medal and it DEFINITELY deserved it!




Thornhill by Pam Smy. Unexpectedly creepy, and extremely well-done!  This is a book that defies categorization – if you like strange formats you’ll probably like this!



Susan’s Top Picks:


Ernie’s Ark by Monica Wood. Wonderful, connected short stories by Maine author woods about perseverance, love and family.          


In the Land of Invisible Women by Qanta A. Ahmed. “In this stunningly written book, a Western trained Muslim doctor brings alive what it means for a woman to live in the Saudi Kingdom. I’ve rarely experienced so vividly the shunning and shaming, racism and anti-Semitism, but the surprise is how Dr. Ahmed also finds tenderness at the tattered edges of extremism, and a life-changing pilgrimage back to her Muslim faith.” – Gail Sheehy



Playing With Fire by Tess Gerritsen. Intriguing plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I loved the music, history, science and supernatural aspects thrown together. Great escape reading!



Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi CoatesAn important book about race as seen through the eyes of a black man trying to explain race relations to his son.




A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. High fantasy – fascinating and fast paced. I am excited that Emma gave me the first book in this series!



Well, that wraps up the Top Picks of 2017 from the staff at Topsham Public Library. What do you think? What would you add? Let us know. And happy reading in 2018!