Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Librarians' Best 2012 Part One
This week and next, we will be sharing the MPL librarians' favorite books read in 2012.
“We don't need to have just one favorite. We keep adding favorites. Our favorite book is always the book that speaks most directly to us at a particular stage in our lives. And our lives change. We have other favorites that give us what we most need at that particular time. But we never lose the old favorites. They're always with us. We just sort of accumulate them.” ~Lloyd Alexander
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
My favorite book this year was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. It usually takes me a while to get into a book, but I was hooked from the first chapter. Wade Watts lives in the near future (2044) where the world has fallen on hard times, and most people escape to the virtual world, OASIS, to avoid facing it. OASIS was created by James Halliday who has become a recluse in recent years. When Halliday dies, it is revealed that he has left clues in OASIS, and whoever finds these clues will win Halliday’s giant fortune. And so the hunt begins. Along with the average Joe who dreams of finding the fortune, Halliday’s rival company, IOI wants to find the clues so it can take over OASIS and commercialize it. IOI is the quintessential evil corporation that will stop at nothing (not even murder) to win. So Wade, as his avatar Parzival, begins his quest.
Imagine The Da Vinci Code mystery with late 20th century pop culture references and a virtual world where anything is possible. So addicting and fun.
Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
Written by Barbara Pym and published in 1952, I was thoroughly delighted by Excellent Women and it was easily the best book I read in 2012. A comedy of manners, Excellent Women tells the story of spinster Mildred Lathbury and her involvement with church jumble sales, afternoon teas, and the goings on of her neighbors. If this doesn’t already make you faint with excitement, Mildred’s life gets a little more complicated with the arrival of Helena and Rocky Napier, a whirlwind of a couple who sweep into Mildred’s life and pull her into their dramatic hot-and-cold relationship.
And yet, through all of this, Mildred Lathbury remains an admirable, steadfast, excellent woman. Smart, supportive, and terribly taken for granted. This book is utterly charming, full of witty conversation and sharp social observation. An excellent book, indeed.
Ashfall by Mike Mullin
I read the start of a great new series, Ashfall by Mike Mullin.
Plot line: Super volcano in Yellowstone National Park explodes. Ash begins to fall. Alex had been left home while his mother father and younger sister went to visit his uncle’s farm. Alex decides to walk the 140 miles east to find his family. Along the way he meets good people, bad people, and gets a companion for the journey, Darla.
Why I liked it: It was very easy to get attached to the main character. Alex was not too knowledgeable which is a problem in some disaster fiction, nor did he seem too young for the book. The side characters had lots of depth and you could imagine the adventures and trouble they had outside of Alex’s view.
And I don’t read a lot of volcano books so it was a nice change.
**Tune in next week for the remaining three librarians' favorites!**
What was your favorite of 2012? Feel free to comment below. A book is always better when shared.