Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Best of 2016: Adult Fiction

As the year comes to a close, library staff members and volunteers reflect on the best books they've read in 2016. Here are their suggestions for the best books in adult fiction:

Black Rabbit Hall
by Eve Chase
Also available as CD Audiobook and Large Type
Recommended by Diane Roberts, Information Specialist, Cumming Library




Lilac Girls
by Martha Hall Kelly
Also available as CD Audiobook, eAudiobook, and eBook
Recommended by Mary Ann Kowaleski, Information Specialist, Sharon Forks Library; Trina Schlecht, Library Trainer; and Melissa Reed, Information Specialist, Post Road Library
Trina says: "I've read a lot of stories set during World War II over the last couple of years, but Lilac Girls stands out. It tells the story of Ravensbruck, a re-education camp for women. The story is told from three perspectives, including a prisoner at the camp and the only female doctor at the camp. Lilac Girls was carefully researched and well written. Our Sharon Forks Book Chat group will discuss this compelling novel in February."


A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman
Also available as CD Audiobook, eAudiobook, and eBook
Recommended by Mary Ann Kowaleski, Information Specialist, Sharon Forks Library; Alicia Cavitt, Information Specialist, Sharon Forks Library; Martha, Materials Selector, Library Headquarters; and Amy Weiler, Information Specialist, Sharon Forks Library

Alicia says: "This story begins as a simply, but evolves into quite an emotional journey. It’s a recurring staff favorite at FCPL and our Book Chat selection for April 2017 at the Sharon Forks Library."

Amy says: "This is easily the best book I read in 2016 and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is one of the funniest books I have read it a long time while also being one of  the most heart breaking. The characters are all so well developed and I fell in love with each of them. Read this book and watch how curmudgeonly Ove, with the help of his big-hearted next door neighbor, learns to engage in life following the death of his beloved wife.  In April the Sharon Forks Library's Book Chat book club will discuss this intriguing story."


The Senility of Vladimir P.
by Michael Honig
Recommended by Joan Dudzinski, Collection Support Supervisor, Cumming Library






Smoke
by Dan Vyleta
Also available as CD Audiobook
Recommended by Alicia Cavitt, Information Specialist, Sharon Forks Library
Alicia says: "This one stood out as my favorite novel of 2016. In this historical fantasy, human sins produce smoke. It’s a phenomena both mysterious and misunderstood. Young ladies and gentlemen of the upper class are taught to control their smoke by controlling their thoughts and deeds. Schooling is somewhat effective, but the secret methodologies of priests and smugglers work even better. Three young friends are targeted when they start to question the society they’re growing up in. It's one of the most spellbinding stories I’ve come across in a lifetime of reading."

LaRose
by Louise Eldrich
Also available as eBook, eAudiobook, and CD Audiobook
Recommended by Sarah Reynolds, Collection Development Manager, Library Headquarters



Britt-Marie Was Here
by Fredrik Backman
Also available as eBook, eAudiobook, Large Type, and CD Audiobook
Recommended by Beth, Information Specialist, Hampton Park Library and Holly Raus, Youth Specialist, Cumming Library
Holly says: "Britt-Marie is a socially awkward, fussy busybody who is used to being organized. When she walks out on her cheating husband and gets a job as caretaker of the dilapidated recreation center in Borg, she is woefully unprepared for the changes. But as she takes on the task of leading the supremely untalented children's soccer team to victory, she just might find a place she belongs. You can’t help but root for Britt-Marie as she ventures out of her comfort zone and discovers new things she never dreamed about herself."

My Name is Lucy Barton
by Elizabeth Strout
Also available as Large Type, eAudiobook, eBook, and CD Audiobook
Recommended by Sarah Reynolds, Collection Development Manager, Library Headquarters


The Whale
by Mark Beauregard
Recommended by Joan Dudzinski, Collection Support Supervisor, Cumming Library





At the Water's Edge
by Sara Gruen
Also available a eAudiobook, eBook, Large Type, and CD Audiobook
Recommended by Jessica Phillips, Collection Support Aide, Cumming Library
Jessica says: "At the Water's Edge, written by the author of Water for Elephants, was a surprising love story filled with twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat."



To the Bright Edge of the World
by Ivey Eowyn
Also available in Large Type
Recommended by Joan Dudzinski, Collection Support Supervisor, Cumming Library




Faithful
by Alice Hoffman
Also available as CD Audiobook
Recommended by Beth, Information Specialist, Hampton Park Library





The Kindness of Enemies
by Leila Aboulela
Recommended by Joan Dudzinski, Collection Support Supervisor, Cumming Library





The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah
Also available in Spanish and Large Type and as an eBook, CD Audiobook or eAudiobook
Recommended by Alexis Belasco, Information Specialist, Hampton Park Library
Alexis says: "This has been such a popular book since it came out. Everyone I talked to about it said it was amazing, but I was skeptical. I’ve read really popular books before and finished them thinking, “Why was this book so popular?” I decided to try The Nightingale because it was chosen for the Hooked on Books book club. I am SO glad I gave it a try. It was as good as everyone told me it would be! I love historical fiction about WWII, but most of what I’ve read in the past focused on the persecution of the Jews. This book opened my eyes to an entirely different side of the war that I hadn’t learned about before. I really enjoyed learning about the Resistance, the women’s war, and the British involvement in WWII throughout The Nightingale. Instead of reading the book, I decided to listen to the CDB because there are a lot of French words in the book and my French is sub-par. The narrator did an excellent job of keeping me engaged in the story. She portrayed each of the characters uniquely and with accurate emotion. I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, or anyone who wants to branch out and try a new genre."

Fahrenheit 451
by Ray Bradbury
Also available as eAudiobook and DVD movie
Recommended by Alexis Belasco, Information Specialist, Hampton Park Library




The House We Grew Up In
by Lisa Jewell
Recommended by Beth, Information Specialist, Hampton Park Library





Another Brooklyn
by Jacqueline Woodson
Also available as eBook and CD Audiobook
Recommended by Stephen Kight, Assistant Director for Public Services




The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt
Also available as eBook, eAudiobook, Large Type, and CD Audiobook
Recommended by Jessica Phillips, Collection Support Aide, Cumming Library
Jessica says: "Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch was a book that I chose based on reviews I found on Pinterest. Glad I gave it a chance because it was an exciting read that kept my attention until the very last page."

Bless Me, Ultima
by Rudolfo Anaya
Recommended by Stephen Kight, Assistant Director for Public Services





Christodora
by Tim Murphy
Recommended by Stephen Kight, Assistant Director for Public Services





A Gentleman in Moscow
by Amor Towles
Also available as CD Audiobook, eBook, and eAudiobook
Recommended by Stephen Kight, Assistant Director for Public Services (Learn more about this book in this blog post.)



The Mothers
by Brit Bennett
Also available as CD Audiobook and eBook
Recommended by Beth, Information Specialist, Hampton Park Library




Mothering Sunday
by Graham Swift
Recommended by Stephen Kight, Assistant Director for Public Services





The Things We Keep
by Sally Hepworth
Also available as Large Type
Recommended by Beth, Information Specialist, Hampton Park Library




Stoner
by John Williams
Also available as an eAudiobook
Recommended by Stephen Kight, Assistant Director for Public Services




The Tie that Binds
by Kent Haruf
Recommended by Beth, Information Specialist, Hampton Park Library





The Summer Before the War
by Helen Simonson
Also available as Large Type, eAudiobook, and CD Audiobook
Recommended by Stephen Kight, Assistant Director for Public Services




Two Across
by Jeffrey Bartsch
Recommended by Stephen Kight, Assistant Director for Public Services





Under the Influence
by Joyce Maynard
Recommended by Beth, Information Specialist, Hampton Park Library


The Vegetarian
by Han Kang
Also available as an eBook
Recommended by Stephen Kight, Assistant Director for Public Services




The Universe Versus Alex Woods
by Gavin Extence
Recommended by Alicia Cavitt, Information Specialist, Sharon Forks Library
Alicia says: "I’ll always love coming-of-age stories and The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence is one of the best. Unforgettable characters, the most unlikely of friendships, and an homage to Kurt Vonnegut make this story unique."



The Wanderers
by Richard Price
Recommended by Stephen Kight, Assistant Director for Public Services





They May Not Mean To, but They Do
by Cathleen Schine
Also available in Large Type
Recommended by Martha, Materials Selector, Library Headquarters




What Belongs to You
by Garth Greenwell
Recommended by Stephen Kight, Assistant Director for Public Services





The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Also available as CD Audiobook, eAudiobook, eBook, and Large Type
Recommended by Martha, Materials Selector, Library Headquarters



Zero K
by Don DeLillo
Also available as eBook and CD Audiobook
Recommended by Stephen Kight, Assistant Director for Public Services




News of the World
by Paulette Jiles
Also available as eBook and CD Audiobook
Recommended by Trina Schlecht, Library Trainer
Trina says: "News of the World takes place after the Civil War and tells the story of a news reader, Captain Kidd, who is paid to accompany an orphaned 10-year-old girl back to her relatives in San Antonio. Johanna was kidnapped four years earlier by a tribe of Kiowa who killed her parents. She was spared and raised by the Kiowa until the U.S. Army rescued her. Captain Kidd must not only return Johanna to her aunt and uncle but also teach her English and how to behave appropriately."

The Wedding Shop
by Rachel Hauck
Also available in Large Type
Recommended by Lorraine Lane, Youth Specialist, Cumming Library
Lorraine says: "The Wedding Shop is a wonderful story of how two lives intersect. This is a great rainy day read. I have read several of Rachel Hauck's books and they are always a joy to read."

11/22/63
by Stephen King
Also available in SpanishLarge Type, and CD Audiobook
Recommended by Amy Weiler, Information Specialist, Sharon Forks Library
Amy Says: "This is a departure from Stephen King’s typical horror novels.  It is part science fiction, historical fiction, and romance. The premise of the book is that a man travels back in time to try to prevent the JFK assassination. I was fascinated by how small changes in someone’s actions and can radically affect history. The book makes you wonder if it is ever a good idea to try to change the past."

The Orphan Keeper
by Camron Wright
Recommended by Melissa Reed, Information Specialist, Post Road Library

Dark Matter
by Black Crouch
Also available as eBook, eAudiobook, and CD Audiobook
Recommended by Amy Weiler, Information Specialist, Sharon Forks Library
Amy says: "I don’t typically read science fiction, but could not put this science fiction thriller down. Jason Dessen is kidnapped one day and wakes up to discover that the life he has known is not actually his life. His wife is not his wife and his son was never born.  He spends the book traveling through many different alternative realities trying to find the reality that includes his wife and son."

The Forgetting Time
by Sharon Guskin
Also available as CD Audiobook
Recommended by Melissa Reed, Information Specialist, Post Road Library

Still Alice
by Lisa Genova
Also available as CD Audiobook, eBook,
Recommended by Amy Weiler, Information Specialist, Sharon Forks Library
Amy says: "This is the story of  a college professor slowly losing her brain to Alzheimer’s. The book is written in the first person and I found it both fascinating and devastating  to read about a woman who knows that her brain functionality is declining and is powerless to stop it."

The Guest Room
by Chris Bohjalian
Also available as Large Type, eAudiobook, eBook, and CD Audiobook
Recommended by Amy Weiler, Information Specialist, Sharon Forks Library
Amy says: "A brother hosts a bachelor party. By the night’s end, two men are dead and the two strippers are on  the run. It is not a murder mystery. The reader learns very early on how the two men were killed. The novel is really about human trafficking and the dissolution of a marriage. Warning: The subject matter is very heavy. It is not a light read."

Be Frank with Me
by Julia Claiborne Johnson
Also available as a CD Audiobook
Recommended by Lola Nichols, Information Specialist, Sharon Forks Library and Holly Raus, Youth Specialist, Cumming Library
Lola says: "This was my favorite audiobook this year. I grabbed it on a whim from the new releases shelf."
Holly says: "Reclusive literary legend M. M. 'Mimi' Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years. But after falling prey to a Bernie Madoff-style ponzi scheme, she's flat broke. Now Mimi must write a new book for the first time in decades, and to ensure the timely delivery of her manuscript, her New York publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. When Alice Whitley arrives at the Banning mansion, she's put to work right away-as a full-time companion to Frank, the writer's eccentric nine-year-old, a boy with the wit of Noel Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star, and very little in common with his fellow fourth-graders. Frank is an amusing, quirky, frustrating and heartbreaking character and what I loved best about this novel."


American Housewife
by Helen Ellis
Also available as eAudiobook, CD Audiobook, and eBook
Recommended by Martha, Materials Selector, Library Headquarters




Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
Also available as CD Audiobook
Recommended by Lola Nichols, Information Specialist, Sharon Forks Library
Lola says: "I listened to this audio narrated by Will Wheaton (of Star Trek Next Generation fame.) This is definitely a scifi read and I enjoyed it thoroughly, particularly with Will Wheaton as the reader."

Behold the Dreamers
by Imbolo Mbue
Also available as eAudiobook
Recommended by Martha, Materials Selector, Library Headquarters

The Little Paris Bookshop
by Nina George
Also available as CD Audiobook
Recommended by Alicia Cavitt, Information Specialist, Sharon Forks Library
Alicia says: "This is a love story for book lovers and literary fiction fans. I’m fascinated by the concept of a literary apothecary on a floating book barge. It truly sounds like my dream job!"

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin
Also available as eBook, eAudiobook, CD Audiobook, and Large Type
Recommended by Alicia Cavitt, Information Specialist, Sharon Forks Library
Alicia says: "Cranky A.J. Fikry runs his bookstore and life his own way. Is there anything more incongruous than raising a toddler he finds abandoned in his store?"


The Wangs vs. The World
by Jade Chang
Also available as eAudiobook
Recommended by Martha, Materials Selector, Library Headquarters




Heroes of the Frontier
by Dave Eggers
Also available as CD Audiobook
Recommended by Martha, Materials Selector, Library Headquarters




All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr
Also available as eBook, eAudiobook, Large Type, and CD Audiobook
Recommended by Jessica Philllips, Collection Support Aide, Cumming Library
Jessica says: "This was an excellent piece of historical fiction that might leave one feeling some mixed emotions. The story takes place during World War II and follows a blind girl through struggles, heartbreaks, and victories."

The Thirteenth Tale
by Diane Setterfield
Recommended by Jessica Philllips, Collection Support Aide, Cumming Library
Jessica says: "Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale had me feeling a bit as though I had entered a magical world. Another one of my Pinterest picks, this tale is centered on a set of odd twin girls who live by the beat of their own drum and have even created their own secret language! A fun and interesting read!"

Flight of Dreams
by Ariel Lawhorn
Also available as CD Audiobook
Recommended by Holly Raus, Youth Specialist, Cumming Library
Holly says: "This fictional account of the last tragic flight of the zeppelin Hindenburg portrays characters from the real passenger and crew lists and depicts what could possibly have happened to make the airship catch fire and burn to utter destruction in 32 seconds, ending the age of airship transatlantic travel. I was fascinated by the descriptions of the ship’s interior and its workings and the duties of the crew and the author’s plot regarding the source of the tragedy was very plausible."

The Golem and the Jinni
by Helene Wrecker






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