Library Column for December 12, 2018

@ Your Library

Books can be a terrific gift to give, especially if you also read it aloud sharing time together. But knowing what to give can be difficult like any other gift, finding just the right title takes knowledge and patience to spend time looking, which can be hard in a town without a book store. Here is a selection of titles and who I think might enjoy reading them.

Mystery readers should all know about Louise Penny and her wonderful series set in a small village in rural Quebec with the ever delightful Armand Gamache. The first book in the series Still Life is still available as a paperback and her latest is the series Kingdom of the Blind released November 28, 2018 in hardcover so if you have avid mystery readers this is a great title to give, although you might want to tell them they can’t buy anything for themselves in the month of December so they don’t buy a copy for themselves.

Readers who like their fiction dark and thrilling will be pleased to receive the latest Lee Child book Past Tense by Lee Child, his twenty-third Jack Reacher tale. Michael Connelly pairs stalwart Harry Bosch with Renee Ballard in their first adventure together. Dark Sacred Night has them trying to solve the 2009 murder of a young runaway in a book that released last month. Tana French released a new stand alone thriller in October called The Witch Elm which has begun appearing on a number of best of 2018 lists.

Historical fiction can run the gamut from Circe by Madeline Miller, a retelling of Homer’s Odyssey to Diane Setterfield’s Once Upon a River on the winter solstice in 1887 when a photographer pulls an apparently dead 4 year old girl from the Thames. Continue moving forward in time to Tony’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani for a story beginning in the 1940’s with a talented pair of working class Italian-American kids who pursue dreams and life together or Tom Barbash’s The Dakota Winters set in 1973 in a transitional moment in United States history.

Literary fiction titles that are being noticed include Kate Atkinson’s Transcription which is a traditional WWII spy novel while raising questions about the nature of truth. And of course, Leif Enger’s new title Virgil Wander set in a small Minnesota town where everyone’s a little worse for wear.

Non-fiction readers will enjoy Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou which reads like a thriller as does the bizarre book The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson about a flautist who breaks into the British Museum of Natural History and steals hundreds of rare bird specimans. I Contain Multitudes: the microbes within us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong is a “microbe’s-eye view” of the world that reveals a marvelous, radically reconceived picture of life on earth.

Next week I’ll provide recommendations for books to give children of a variety of ages.