by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 23rd, 2016
ICPL staff combed through their 2016 reading logs to select the books they loved for our annual end-of-the-year Staff Top Picks lists.
The nominations were divided into eight categories: fiction; young adult; children’s; mystery; science fiction/fantasy; biography/memoir; nonfiction; and graphic novels. The only rule was that the book had to be released in 2016; books released in hardback in 2014 and paperback in 2015 were disqualified. Any book that was nominated by more than one staff member made our 2016 Best of the Best list.
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by Morgan Reeves on December 20th, 2016
Take a break from the winter cold and enjoy these new titles aimed at kids in 4th-7th grades. Mostly realistic fiction with some hints of mystery and speculative science themes, these will appeal to readers who relate best to real world issues.
First, check out The Best Man by Richard Peck. What do you want to be when you grow up? Archer isn’t quite sure, but he has a pretty good idea of who he wants to be. He’s picked out some role models to emulate in his family; his grandfather, father and favorite uncle. He’s even found a fantastic teacher to look up to. As middle school starts, Archer tackles all of the surprises and changes that come his way with humor and a love for the Chicago Cubs.
Check out The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz for an eye-opening look at the hardships refugees and immigrants face as they look for a safer future. Jaime lives in Guatemalan village with his close-knit family. Life would be fine if it weren’t for the violent gang that controls the whole town. When his cousin is killed and a target placed on Jaime’s back, his family sends him on the dangerous and illegal journey through Mexico to the United States.
Take a look at The Wolf Keepers by Elise Broach for fast-paced adventure for animal lovers. Lizzie has grown up with a love for all animals, as her father is a zookeeper. She often accompanies him to work and considers the John Muir Wildlife Park a second home. Her life takes a turn for the adventurous when she meets Tyler, runaway who has been living in the zoo. He’s sure something strange is going on at the zoo after dark, and asks Lizzie for help figuring out the mystery. Soon they end up running for their lives in the wilderness of Yosemite National Park.
by Dennis Cooper on December 17th, 2016
What does it mean to be “human”? What does it mean to be “ordinary”? What does it mean to be a “family”? These deep philosophical questions (and more) are explored by the android Avenger in Marvel Comics’ Vision, v.1: Little Worse Than a Man. Former CIA agent and current comic book rising star Tom King wrote this future classic, with refreshingly understated and stunningly subdued artwork by Spanish illustrator Gabriel Hernandez Walta. Read the rest of this entry »
by Kara Logsden on December 15th, 2016
Alternating between 1952 and 2016 in the Barbizon Hotel in New York City, the lives of four women are illuminated by ghosts of the past and future uncertainty.
Darby is a Midwesterner who moves to the city to attend secretarial school. Her first day in town she meets Stella who is a model. Darby also befriends Esme, who aspires to a singing career while fighting discrimination because of her Puerto Rican roots. Rose is intrigued by the women of Barbizon’s past and a tragedy that changes all of their lives.
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by Brian Visser on December 14th, 2016
Want the read some new Star Wars books after watching Rogue One? The Library has you covered!
Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide by Pablo Hidalgo is the essential, comprehensive guide to Rogue One. This detailed title features in-depth character profiles, plus five new, fully annotated cross-sections of vehicles and mapped-out locations. This book is packed with information and stills from the movie.
Star Wars Galactic Maps: An Illustrated Atlas of the Star Wars Universe readers learn about all of the various planets of the Star Wars universe with detailed maps showing the different worlds and characters. This looks like the perfect book for any avid Star Wars fan. There’s also a spread introducing the planet and characters featured in Rogue One.
And for something really different, we have Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy: Propaganda art has been synonymous with life in the galaxy far, far away. Whether it’s a poster of a Star Destroyer hovering over a planet in a display of Imperial domination; a symbol painted on a wall to deliver a message of hope on behalf of the Rebellion; or a mural depicting a line of stormtroopers to promote unity within the First Order, this type of art, as an instrument of persuasive fear mongering and impassioned idealism, captures the ever-changing tides of politics and public sentiment across the galaxy. Star Wars Propaganda is an in-world history that threads together the stories behind these images–why they were created, how they were indicative of the times, who were the artists behind them–and delivers a glimpse into the anger, passion, and corruption that fuel the galaxy’s greatest wars.
I’m excited to look through all of these titles, and there are many more available here at ICPL!
by Candice Smith on December 9th, 2016
I grew up with a Christmas experience that I think will be familiar to many in one way or another. I was raised Catholic, so for the first 18 years of my life I did attend mass; this was usually on Christmas Eve, and it was very exciting to me as a child because the church lights would be turned off as the priest walked down the aisle, swinging a thurible filled with smoky incense. It seemed very exotic, not the regular day at church. We would hear the story of the birth of Christ and the three wise men, sing songs, and depending on which mass we were at, there would be a children’s pageant. After, we would go home and have a meal together, and my sister and I would head to bed while my parents stayed up a little longer. In the morning, we would be led from our rooms to the kitchen, eyes covered so that we couldn’t peek at the presents under the tree. Only after breakfast were we allowed to go open the presents; one person was designated to pass out the gifts, and they were opened one at a time. In this way, a good hour or two was spent opening presents and watching others do the same, eventually covering our living room floor with colored paper. Read the rest of this entry »
by Dennis Cooper on December 5th, 2016
Batwoman is one of the most high-profile LGBTQ super-heroes in comic books today. She has become an interesting and integral part of the Batman Family. In February 2017, she will be joining forces with Batman to co-lead a new squad of crime fighters to protect Gotham City in Detective Comics: v.1: Rise of the Batmen (Rebirth). This is an excellent time to catch-up on her background and origin story in Batwoman: Elegy by the superstar creative team of Greg (Wonder Woman, Gotham Central) Rucka and J.H. (Promethea, Sandman Overture) Williams III. Part super-hero epic, part military thriller, with elements of the supernatural and horror thrown into the mix, this book, with stunningly designed artwork by Williams, will have you clamoring for more, which fortunately there is. Although Rucka does not continue writing Batwoman after this initial volume, Williams does a bang-up job of co-plotting as well contributing artwork starting with Batwoman: Hydrology.
by Melody Dworak on December 1st, 2016
Every once in a while, I catalog an art book that is so beautiful it makes my jaw drop. Such was the case with Benjamin Grant’s Overview. Grant took satellite images of the earth and humans’ impact on it, and turned them into art. He has a website with such images, too. He captures the geometric beauty in these aerial portraits of landscapes. It’s the kind of book you don’t see everyday, perfect for art and earth lovers.
Postelection Therapy: View Swing States From Space from The New York Times
Earth from the Air from The Economist
You’ll Never See Earth from Space, but this Book is Close from Wired
by Tom Jordan on November 30th, 2016
One of my favorite radio programs/podcasts is On Point with John Ashbrook. A few weeks ago, Ashbrook had John McWhorter on his show to talk about his latest book, Words on the move: why English won’t – and can’t – sit still (like, literally). McWhorter is a linguist and an English professor and he’s a delight to listen to. He has his own podcast too. The gist of McWhorter’s book is that English, and all languages, change over time and that, all things considered, it’s better that way. Language is best viewed like a story, he argues, and we want a story to go new places. Dictionaries are merely snapshots in time of those stories.
As you may guess from the title, McWhorter makes a case for the frequent use and varied meanings of like and for using literally to mean figuratively. He’s pretty convincing with these, I suppose, but I’ll be curious to see if those two words are still so prominent in ten or twenty years. Read the rest of this entry »
by Kara Logsden on November 28th, 2016
Swedish writer Fredrik Backman is my new favorite author. A friend recommended A Man Called Ove and I really enjoyed it. It was a feel-good heartwarming story that I couldn’t put down.
Recently an ICPL Friends Foundation Board Member recommended another of Backman’s books in a spread in an upcoming Library newsletter (you can see a preview here – look on page 6). The book, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, is a heartwarming story about a seven year old girl who goes on a journey of discovery after the death of her beloved grandmother. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s a compelling story that shows there are many good people in the world. Read the rest of this entry »