Staff Picks: Best Reads of 2016
As the year comes to a close, we find ourselves musing over some of the best books we’ve read in 2016. Here are just a few favorites of the Warrenton circulation staff that you might enjoy before the 2017 titles arrive!
~Julia, Circulation Manager, Warrenton central library
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling
I love all things Harry and Hogwarts, but I’m a bit of a purist, so the idea of someone other than J.K. Rowling alone continuing these beloved characters’ story had me a little worried. (She collaborated with two other authors on this work.) Plus, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is a novelization of a play, so it’s not as fluid a read as the best-selling series. All things considered, though, I was pleasantly surprised with this add-on, which picks up with Harry and Ginny’s middle son, Albus, heading off to Hogwarts for the first time. Not nearly as self-assured as his older brother, James, Albus finds his worst fears realized when the Sorting Hat puts him in Slytherin house and he befriends Scorpius Malfoy, the son of his dad’s childhood nemesis. Together the two dabble in hijinks that are decidedly darker than were Harry, Ron and Hermione’s early adventures, which result in some solid lessons for both Albus and his famous father. This is a must-read for Harry Potter fans, but it has the same effect the original series did – it leaves you wanting to know more about these endearing characters’ lives.
~ Emily, circulation, Warrenton central library
Zika: The Emerging Epidemic by Donald G. McNeil, Jr.
The best book I read during 2016 would have to be “Zika: the Emerging Epidemic” by Donald G. McNeil, Jr. This book held my interest and made a complicated medical virus much more easily understandable. Is this health threat being given the attention it deserves? It’s importance and pertinence to the citizens of the United States and all people in today’s world can’t be understated. Definitely my best read of 2016!
~ Carol, circulation, Warrenton central library
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
While many books passed across my desk in 2016, “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi is undoubtedly the most striking of them all. It is a beautifully reverent autobiography of a doctor-writer who was diagnosed with a vicious cancer much too early in his life. Kalanithi details the journey he and his wife took through trials of love, wrestling with the acceptance of loss, and the propagation of what it means to truly live. Equal parts honest, warm and sorrowful, this book is a poignant tale that is certain to enrich every reader’s life.
~ Victoria, circulation, Warrenton central library
Back Roads Ireland (Eyewitness travel guides)
I had the pleasure of going to Ireland this year and, in preparation, was consumed with reading all the tour guides I could. The best one I read was “Back Roads Ireland.” The guide describes a series of comprehensive, interesting driving tours which include great information on sites, hotels and restaurants. There are beautiful photos, a pull out map, and also pictures and explanations of Irish road signs (very handy!). Whether you’re planning a trip to Ireland or just want to learn more about the country, this guide will occupy you for hours.
~ Ellie, library associate, Warrenton central library
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
I am a loyal reader of Liane Moriarty’s novels. The best-selling Australian author never disappoints me with her believable stories of families and friendship. Her newest book, “Truly Madly Guilty” delivers a suspenseful story of domestic bliss that goes wrong…at a neighborhood barbecue. Moriarty has a gift for creating characters that come to life off the page and this book is no exception. Have patience with this story, which takes over 400 pages for Moriarty to tell, because the end is worthwhile.
~ Jennifer, circulation, Warrenton central library
Where I Lost Her by T. Greenwood
The cover caught my eye….the colors, the lighting, the child…I needed to see what story the book told. It is the story of a successful couple, Tess and Jake, from New York. Struggling in her marriage and uncertain of her future , Tess, along with Jake, visits her childhood home and best friend in rural Vermont. During a return trip from town, Tess barely misses hitting a very small child in the road….a child that only she has seen. The twists and turns with law enforcement, the local towns people and her past take Tess on an emotionally gripping roller-coaster ride through her marriage, her own history with children and media. It kept me guessing where it would end. I recommend it as a quick, engaging read.
~ Donna, circulation, Warrenton central library
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
I think, with few exceptions, the best book I’ve read is always the one I just finished. I just finished reading “Born to Run,” the autobiography by Bruce Springsteen, which is a terrific read. His memoir is written in his voice alone – he had no ghost writers or co-writers. His writing is similar to the way he writes music, so the entire book is sort of written as one long song lyric, reflecting on his life from early childhood. There were a lot of things I learned, including his laser-focus on his music and where he wanted it to take him, the musicians who have influenced him throughout his career (including Elvis, Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger), his relationships with his bandmates, the E Street Band, as well as his bouts of depression. I have a special appreciation for this musician, as I grew up in the same area in New Jersey at the same time he did, so all the geographic references are particularly familiar and relatable. I highly recommend it to fans of The Boss or any music fans. Listening to his music while reading was a great, too!
~ Cheryl, circulation, Warrenton central library