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Saturday, April 1, 2017

All-Time Favorite Books (Part 3): Staff Picks

Posted by Staff
We recently asked the staff here what their all-time favorite books were. Some of us had a hard time picking only one, but we did limit ourselves to five.  What is your all-time favorite book? 


Stoner by John Williams
If you like literary fiction, this is a masterpiece! It is bleak with little plot (right up my literary fiction alley) but you still won’t be able to put it down, because it is written so beautifully.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders – (NEWLY RELEASED)
This book will take what you think of a historical novel and turn it upside down! Saunders’ approach is so unusual that I have never read anything like it. The novel takes place in one single night in one place with dozens of voices telling the story. Kirkus describes it as based on “ a moment of historical ephemera – the report of an 1862 visit by then President Abraham Lincoln to the crypt of his 11-year-old son Willie – as a launching point for a remarkable inquiry into life and death and love and moral responsibility.” I read the book & listened to the audiobook (available on our CloudLibrary), and both versions are wonderful.

Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
Perla by Carolina De Robertis
I would group these books together, because they are both intense, tragic and hauntingly beautiful stories set in times of war. I felt a wide range of emotions while reading these books, and while the descriptions of the cruelties make you feel desperate at times, they are both finally about hope and redemption. I was a sobbing mess at the end of Perla (but in a good way).  

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
This is my non-fiction favorite, because I think this book is so powerful and eye-opening that you are changed by reading it.


The diary of a young girl by Anne Frank 

The diary of a young girl: definitive edition by Anne Frank
The voice of this young author is as powerful today as it was when she wrote not only of her activities but of her thoughts and emotions.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A classic. The well defined characters by their choices shape their future. 


Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
I believe it was around 2002 when I found this book while browsing the shelves of the library and I have read again once a year ever since. Everything about this book is interesting and thought provoking for me from the fact that it was originally a romance novel to how it is based on the biblical story of Hosea and Gomer. The author does a wonderful job creating the characters and making a world that you want to stay in with the characters until the end of the journey of the book. The reason I reread this every year is because there is always something for to gain from that I might not have picked up in the first reading.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou 

I read this book when I was 16 years old and the contents have stayed with through the years. For several reasons, I could identify with Maya Angelou when she decided never to use her voice again because she felt like it killed someone, it totally made sense to me. Angelou colorfully explains how living in the small town of Stamps, Arkansas affected who she became on a major level. For anyone struggling with understanding race relations in America, this a must read.

The Shunning (The Heritage of Lancaster County #1) by Beverly Lewis 

This is the first Amish novel that I read and I believe it is one of Lewis' best.  


Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut 
I like it because it makes me think about war, war's effect on people's lives, and many other things. I admire how the author can say a lot using few words. Part of the reason I'm drawn to this book, I feel, is because my dad was injured in the Korean War and never talked about it. For whatever reason, I connect with this book and always find something new in it.


Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky 
The story was engaging and is one of the best science-fiction stories I’ve ever read. It’s a book that I intend on reading again someday.  

American Gods by Neil Gaiman 
I first read this book in my early teen years and I credit it with being the book that got me into reading. This book also got me hooked on learning about mythology.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown 
An epic trilogy that has elements of the Hunger Games and A Song of Ice and Fire (both of which I enjoyed).

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 

This was one of the first books to ever make me laugh out loud, and it has stayed as solid each time I’ve reread it – for that, it will always stand out in my mind as a must-read classic.

Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams 
It’s lesser known that Adams took a trip to see some of the world’s endangered animals in an attempt to raise awareness for them and see what the world might soon lose. The sincerity and humor of the book make it stand out as a book that should be read by those who appreciate Adams’ style and who are fascinated by animals.


Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This book is the first I can remember reading in which I was completely absorbed because of the beautiful writing and amazingly crafted descriptions. Ever since reading it I have been on the hunt for books like it. It is a gorgeous book!

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman
I love this book for its fantastic storytelling and the emotions that come from reading it. I appreciate authors that make you feel things and Fredrick Backman is a master. This book mixes and combines events occurring in the "real" world with things that have occurred in a world created by a loving grandmother for her granddaughter. Very imaginative and beautifully written.

Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr
This book helped me discover that I don't hate short stories! All of the stories in this book are interconnected and woven together in an amazing way and I loved discovering the common elements running through them. 

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