Would you be surprised to know that librarians compile lists of their favorite books each year? Believe it or not, we do. When I read the lists, I am struck by a couple of thoughts. First, there seems to be a little posturing going on if you read things meant for the eyes of other librarians. Librarians trying to impress other librarians with their erudition–It’s not pretty.
But I am also struck by the diversity in the profession. We are book sluts, we’ll read just about anything and everything, and we have opinions, too. Some books are light and fun, and others on these lists are heavy tomes—for example, Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics by Graham Harman was one person’s pick. [See my comment above about posturing].
So, what would I recommend? My number one favorite audiobook this year was The Help by Kathryn Stockett, read by four different actors who do a superb job of voicing the African American characters. The performance was exceptional, and the story entirely worthy of the talent employed to read it.
I just finished reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson on audiobook, another gripping book. Going in, I did not think this was my style, and there are extremely graphic sections that are difficult, but the story keeps the listener engaged. I look forward to reading the next in the trilogy. Larsson died in 2004 of a heart attack when he was only 50 years old, so this series ends too quickly.
I read Jan Karon’s latest Father Tim book, In the Company of Others. I like to read Karon when life seems particularly crazy. This book was set in Ireland and had a bit of a mystery woven in. Karon proclaimed it her favorite of her own books, and I enjoyed it.
Some of you may know that I have more than a passing interest in theology. I decided to read Stanley Hauerwas’s autobiographical Hannah’s Child recently—just named one of the top ten theological books of the year by Publishers Weekly–and it was the type of book that you continue to think about for weeks afterward. Compelling and thought-provoking , honest, and impossible to put down.
I could go on, of course, but enough about me. Here is a list of recommended books I have culled from other librarians.
Columbine by Dave Cullen
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalierr
Alice I have Been by Melanie Benjamin
Unfinished Desires by Gail Godwin
The Blind Contessa’s New Machine by Carey Wallace
Read My Pins by Madeleine Albright
The Air We Breathe by Andrea Barrett
Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory Maguire
Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman
There are many more recommendations from my fellow librarians than I can list here. Now how about you? What would YOU recommend as a great book from 2010?