Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Librarians' Line-Up: Books I Recommend to Everyone

Working in a library, we are always recommending books to people. There are some books though, that we recommend over and over again. So why not collect them here and put them out in the internet for all to see (and then hopefully read these books that we recommend)? 

My go to book for recommendations is Jhumpa Lahiri's Pulitzer Prize winning collection, The Interpreter of Maladies. Lahiri has really cornered the market on moody, melancholic stories of those who straddle two cultures - immigrants forced to navigate the traditions they've inherited, and the new world in which they currently live. Really, I'm pushing the first story, "A Temporary Matter," which might be one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful things I've ever read.

Used as one of the source texts for HBO’s The Pacific miniseries, this is arguably the best memoir of the Second World War. Sledge was a civilized guy and he managed to stay that way through some of the heaviest fighting in the Eastern Theater. A story of real heroism told by a real American hero.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
I know we've talked about it before, but the book I recommend to everyone is Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. The book really has something for everybody in it, and is just so funny. I've read it through completely twice, and had to buy it for myself to flip through whenever I need it. The (intentionally) bad art is amazing, and the stories she tells are relatable and hilarious. Trust me on this, you want to read it. (By the way, how have you not read it yet?)

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
Feminism is a buzz word these days. I see it all over the internet, in articles, and on the lips of celebrities. If you are a feminist or are interested in the matter, please, please, please read Woolf's series of essays, which are much more readable than her novels. It is strewn with wisdom about being an individual, writing, history, feminism, and (my favorite) food. "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." She speaks to my soul.

I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone! This book is about a book store owner so if you love reading books about books this is for you. A.J. Fikry starts out as an unlikable character but his dry humor and witty voice grow on you and you soon love him and all of the other rich characters in the story. I hate to describe a book as heartwarming but… it was heartwarming. Give it a shot!

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Everyone needs to read Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Teen Sophie is resigned to live an unextraordinary life at the family’s hat shop, until the evil Witch of the Waste casts a spell on her, turning her into a little old lady. Her life gets even more exciting when she meets the mysterious wizard, Howl, who roams across the country in a (wait for it…) moving castle. Uncomplicated and incredibly charming, this story has long been near and dear to my heart. If you have seen Hayao Miyazaki’s animated adaptation, I highly encourage you pick up the book—the plot is very different—and in my opinion much more interesting.

Earlier this year I was incredibly excited to hear that Kamala Khan, a 16 year-old Muslim girl from New Jersey, would be taking over the title of Ms. Marvel in Marvel comics. I eagerly scooped up the first issue and have been telling everyone I know to read it ever since. No Normal is the collection of the first 5 issues which cover Kamala’s origin story and follow her as she struggles with her identity as a Muslim teenager living in America as well as her newfound superpowers. And for those of you who may not be too familiar with comics, it’s a great first title for non-comic readers because there isn’t too much Marvel lore weighing the story down.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
I recommend I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga to pretty much everyone I see. It is a teen book, but is very engaging, has great characters, and will hold an adult’s interest. As an action-adventure mystery, it has universal appeal. The storyline continues on with two additional books which are just as good as the first. The I Hunt Killers/Jasper Dent trilogy is one of my favorite series and I would recommend it to anyone.
~Mary P.

Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins
Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins is a great coming of age story, and a quick read, as it is technically a children’s book, but that’s never stopped you before (Harry Potter). Set in the 1960s, it’s got great setting, fun characters, and come on, who doesn’t like a good coming of age story?

And you, dear reader? What book are you constantly recommending to others? 

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