Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Librarians' Line-Up: Top Books of 2017

As librarians, we read more than your average bear. So if we say something was our favorite, you know it's up against a lot of competition. Check out our favorites and let us know what yours were in the comments below!

I have mentioned Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor multiple times on the blog now (here, here, and mentioned by Mary here and here). It was definitely my favorite book of 2017 and I would even put it in my top five favorite books in general. I have given a blurb for this book before, so instead I will just say Laini Taylor writes beautifully and pulls you into a world that you want don't want to leave. It has magic, mythical cities, and adventure; there isn't much more you can ask for! I am already thinking about rereading this one soon.

I really enjoyed The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965 by William Manchester and Paul Reid. Sure, it’s long, but it’s beautifully written with an eye for subtle detail and descriptions that bring the various historical figures (Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, and a host of others). By the end I felt like I knew all the characters personally, and that’s a real win for a biography.

One of few books I gave five stars to in 2017 was The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. I read a lot of historical fiction, but this one caught me off-guard. Half of the book takes place during WWI in occupied France, and the other half takes place in the early 2000s in London. These seemingly unconnected storylines merge over the history of a painting. This book got to me in a big way and I haven't been able to forget it. Curse you and your knives to my heart, Jojo Moyes!

Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the best book I read in 2017. It has everything I love in a good story: a fast-paced plot that keeps you eagerly turning pages, wonderfully descriptive writing that is both suspenseful and atmospheric, and a beautiful love story that defies the tired and clichéd romance tropes. It is the first book in a trilogy, but I am seriously apprehensive to read the sequel—I don’t want to somehow retroactively tarnish my experience of this fantastic book! Maybe I’ll muster up enough courage in 2018….

My best book of 2017 is The Good Stuff Cookbook by Spike Mendelsohn.
I lived in Washington, DC for one summer during college and my coworkers and I would often go to the Good Stuff restaurant for our lunch breaks. Everything on the menu was great, but my favorite item was the rosemary French fries with all of the different dipping sauce options. I always checked online for a copycat recipe for the different sauces but never found anything that tasted as good.
Turns out the answer was right in front of me in The Good Stuff Cookbook. Check it out, and take your fry dipping to the next level!

Full admission - I didn't really read that many books in 2017, so my pick for "best book" will just be the one I managed to get through. That would be Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray, which I will admit, I did enjoy. This book explores Leia as she faces the challenges of becoming the princess of her planet while also uncovering secrets her parents are attempting to hide from her about their involvement with the rebellion against the Empire. This book also offers a little background on my new favorite Star Wars character, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo from The Last Jedi who makes an appearance as one of Leia's classmates and eventual close friend.

Warcross – Marie Lu. Set in the near future, Warcross is about a destitute hacker girl who gets pulled into the worldwide Warcross (a virtual reality video game) Gaming Championships. She is tasked by the game's creator to find the terrorists trying to destroy the championships, the game, and the game's designers. This book has mystery, adventure, virtual reality, hacking, gaming, and great characters. I loved this book. It was my favorite of the year.

And please share! What was your favorite read of 2017?

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