(NOT) The Ten Best Books of 2019

That time of year has rolled around again when all the “Best Of” lists begin to appear, those tempting listicles claiming to reveal the best books of the year, decade, and century. We all click on them: they’re irresistible.

I’m kind of over these “best of” lists. The premise that something so magnificently multivariate as books can fall into a neat qualitative queue just seems silly to me. As I watch fellow readers agonizing over what will make their own ten best cut, and taking serious issue with others’ rankings, I’m thinking no: I don’t need to add to the hubbub. So here is my own list of ten from 2019 that are definitely not the best books of the year. Just a fairly arbitrary sampling of some things this reader found interesting and worthwhile.

Mars: Stories, by Asja Bakic. With wry prose and skewed humor, Bosnian writer Asja Baki explores 21st century promises of knowledge, freedom, and power. “Bakic takes an off-kilter look at sexuality, death, and the power of literature … bizarre and often inscrutable…” – Kirkus.

Night Boat to Tangier, by Kevin Barry. Two Irish drug-smuggling partners reevaluate a career marked by violence and betrayal during a vigil in a sketchy ferry terminal. “Barry adds an exceptional chapter to the literary history of a country that inspires cruelty and comedy and uncommon writing.” – Kirkus.

Diary of a Dead Man on Leave, by David Downing. Stumbling across the hidden diary of a boarder who had been a father figure to him, Walter discovers the man’s undercover work as an anti-Nazi Moscow spy. “Downing has never been better than in this moving and elegiac thriller framed as a diary…” – Publisher’s Weekly. Continue reading “(NOT) The Ten Best Books of 2019”

Library Reads for September 2018

New novels from Kate Atkinson and Gary Shteyngart, a new book in the October Daye series by local fantasy author Seanen McGuire, and another installment in a mystery series set in a library (by Jenn McKinlay) — plus six more books librarians across the U.S. are excited to see on the shelves next month.

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Library Reads: May 2018 books

Psychogical suspense, historical fiction, thrillers, fantasy and general fiction — 10 novels that librarians across the U.S. nominated as their top picks for May 2018. We await your holds!

Furyborn by Claire Legrand: Fierce, independent women full of rage, determination, and fire. The first novel in the Empirium trilogy holds appeal for both young adult and adult readers. For fans of Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time, and The Hunger Games. ~ Kristin Friberg, Princeton Library, Princeton, NJ

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Five horror novels to read now

Why wait until everyone else is looking for ghost stories and horror to enjoy the gothic, the ghoulish and the ghastly? We see a big uptick in horror readers in October, but YOU can get ahead of the curve by diving into horror novels right now, mid April, when the days are getting longer (sunset today is at 7:51 p.m.!) and your body is enjoying replenished stores of vitamin D.

Our librarians chose some recent horror novels, published between 2016 and 2018, for just this purpose. You’ll see how the Donner Party can get even creepier, find out what havoc a Frankenstein-esque mindset can do in Baghdad, and keep the pages turning while the heart is pounding.

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The 2016 Elections: Library Resources

The mission of The Seattle Public Library is to bring people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and build community. We value equality, inclusion and openness and strive to be welcoming safe spaces. No matter what the current events are locally and beyond, the Library provides a collection of materials to patrons of all ages, backgrounds, and opinions. Over the last few weeks, library staff have answered many people’s questions about the recent elections and helped them with finding information. Below you will find some lists created by librarians at The Seattle Public Library to address topics we’ve been asked a lot about lately.

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