Monday, December 16, 2013

Our Favorite Books of 2013, part two

It's time once again for the staff of Carnegie-Stout Public Library to pick our favorite books of 2013. It's a mix of books new in 2013, and books new to us in 2013. This is the second half of our list, you can check out the first set of our favorite books of 2013 by clicking here. If you're wondering what other patrons have been reading this year, you can check out the What Dubuque is Reading Pinterest Board. We'd love it if you'd share your favorite books from this past year in the comments

Andrea, Circulation: Growing up, I did not read many books that are considered “the traditional classics.” Trying that now as an adult, I finally picked up To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Published in 1960 and set in the South, this is a time that I do not know very well.  Aware of this fact, I wanted to keep reading it once I started.  Seeing the world through the eyes of Scout and Jem in 1930s Alabama, I was able to learn many lessons about inequality and justice.  I can't imagine this is how people used to live, yet this was a normal occurrence to them with change slow in coming.   Now I am finally able to understand all of the nuances brought out by this book in the world today and how many actual Boo Radleys there are in our own lives.  I am now thankful for my first journey into the classics and I am waiting for my next trip very soon. 

Amy, Youth Services: Pure Trilogy by Julianna Baggott (Pure, Fuse, and Burn): These books take place during the post-apocalyptic future world.  A cataclysmic event has happened and all of the people outside the "dome" suffer from fusing's of materials and other people that were near them at the time.  Pressia has a doll head fused to her hand.  She meets up with Partridge who is an escaped "pure" dome-dweller.  Together they brave the desolate and treacherous countryside to find her mother that she is sure survived the cataclysm.  They also search for the secret that will free the Wretches (those outside the dome) of their fusing's forever.  I'm anxiously awaiting the 3rd installment of this trilogy.  It's due to be released in February 2014.  I liked the fast pace of these books and the intriguing story.
You might also enjoy checking out Allison's review of Pure.

Sarah, Adult Services: It's hard to pick just one book for this list, which is why it's nice that I get to post reviews for my favorites throughout the year.  Even so, I'm picking two books. A friend insisted that World War Z by Max Brooks was worth reading despite the zombies, and while I did have zombie themed nightmares, it was an amazing audiobook. It's a full cast recording, so each narrator who shares their experiences in the zombie war has a unique voice and character. Zombie stories, like much of science fiction, are used as metaphors for the problems in modern society, and Brooks does a brilliant job of that. My second choice is The Human Division by John Scalzi. I read this in a standard print copy, as opposed to its original release as a series of short stories. I think this was the strongest title in his Old Man's War series, but I'm a sucker for collections of interconnected short stories. If I have a complaint, it's that the ending is a little too open, but I'm hopeful that means there will be a book six.!725690~!3100001~!3100002&aspect=basic_search&menu=search&ri=1&source=~!horizon&term=Cinders+%3A+a+chicken+Cinderella+%2F&index=PALLTI
Michelle, Adult Services: Jan Brett's brand new book Cinders: a chicken Cinderella is my Christmas present to myself.  Cinderella is not my favorite fairy tale, but Jan Brett's spin on the story and her illustrations are incredible.  The four page center foldout is a magical ballroom scene that gives new meaning to "chicken dance"!  I love looking at the details in the borders around each set of pages.  Brett knows chickens; this is evident in her drawings and her description of the flock's pecking order.  Cinders, her Cinderella, reminds me of Doofus and Dorcas, my Silver Gray Dorking hens.

Angie, Circulation: The House of Hades is the 4th book in the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan– a secondary series that follows the original Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Much like the Harry Potter series, the heroic adventures in this book appeal to a wide audience - middle-grade through adult readers. For those unfamiliar with the Percy Jackson world - the setting is the modern world, with a twist: The gods of Olympus (Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, etc.) and the monsters of mythology like giants, the Titans and Tartarus, are real and causing chaos) and it is the job of a group of 7 demi-gods (teens who have one mortal parent, one godly parent) to defeat those monsters who are out to destroy the human race. This book takes a darker turn than some of the other books in the series, but the demigod characters really come into their own in this book. With humor and daring, the demigods come to believe that they might be able to pull off the impossible when they work as a team.I listened to the audiobook version of this book– and the performance by narrator Nick Chamian was commendable. I highly recommend anyone listen to the entire series on audiobook. The stories are exciting and funny.

Emily, Youth Services: Gulp by Mary Roach. One would not expect a "journey through the alimentary canal," which is what we now call the digestive tract, to be an enjoyable, let alone funny, read but it is! The subject is well researched with both historical and modern references. Mary Roach covers every - yes, every - aspect of the digestive process with facts, stories, and humor. Gulp is a thorough yet light-hearted examination of a serious and often unpleasant subject.

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