Staff Picks: Books

Staff-recommended reading from the KPL catalog.

Final 2009 “Best” List

The first month of the new year is not quite over, so I’m thinking I can share one more “best” list from 2009 before it is time to move on. Earlier this week, I shared some year end observations from the New York Times Book Review. Publishers Weekly (PW) summarizes its bestseller lists from the past year also. Not surprisingly, there are some similarities between the two lists, but also some differences. Obviously the lists are compiled differently.

PW entitles its list “longest-running bestsellers” in various categories. The Host tops the fiction hardcover list at 29 weeks with The Help a close second at 28 weeks.

In hardcover nonfiction, Outliers is the clear favorite at 51 weeks; The Last Lecture was on the list for 40 weeks.

Paperbacks are listed separately. The top two spots in the mass market were From Dead to Worse at 28 weeks, closely followed at 26 weeks by Dead Until Dark.

The Shack was on the trade paperback bestseller list for 51 weeks with the popular Three Cups of Tea at 47.

It is always interesting to learn what books others are reading or buying, what is most popular. Although I don’t have our circulation statistics by title at hand, I know many of these books were popular with KPL patrons, too.

Now I’m ready to move on to 2010 bestsellers and new titles. Let the new year of reading begin.


The Host

Different Twist on “Best Of”

It’s about the end of the season for “best of” lists. A recent New York Times Book Review had a different twist on “best of.” Their focus was a year end summary of titles that appeared on their weekly bestsellers lists. I share a few of their observations that I found particularly interesting:

  • The hardcover nonfiction list was dominated by sports, celebrities, and conservatives. Liberty and Tyranny held on to the number one spot the longest, 11 weeks.
  • Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol was first on the fiction list for eight weeks so far. It’s still at the top. The Help, considered a “sleeper hit”, but a top choice on many “best of” lists and a favorite of several KPL staff members, was on the NYT list for 39 weeks – a record for 2009.
  • Girl Who Played with Fire was the first translation to reach the top spot on the fiction list in the last 25+ years.
  • Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking was number one on the Advice (how-to) bestseller list, 48 years after it was first published. A movie tie-in can certainly revive interest in a book!

KPL staff have blogged about many of the titles on the NYT lists and they are all in our collection.

Come visit soon. If these titles aren’t on the shelf, put them on “hold” so you are on the waiting list. Staff can help if you aren’t familiar with that process.


Mastering the Art of French Cooking

E-Readers @ KPL

The e-reader choices are expanding – the Kindle, the Sony E-Reader, the recently announced Nook, and the Apple Tablet expected later this month. With each new device, there is more news coverage in the popular press.

Amazon announced that on Christmas Day, for the first time ever, it sold more e-books than regular paper books. It sounds as if lots of folks received Kindles for Christmas.

If you, like me, did not receive an e-reader but would like to try one, visit Central Library, AV department. We have Sony E-Readers to loan. We chose that model as a better fit for library use than the others.

I still don’t think paper books will go away, at least not in my library career, but e-readers certainly have a place and it good to keep up with the latest “gadget.”

Come visit soon for an e-reader or a book….we have both!


Audiobooks & eBooks

New Look for Circulation Area

If holiday activities kept you away from Central Library for the past few weeks, make it a new year’s resolution to visit soon and see all the changes underway.

The first thing to catch your eye will be the big wooden barricade around the circulation desk area. Behind that barricade a smaller, more user friendly desk is being constructed. Book and AV return slots will be relocated from the elevator lobby to the wall behind this new desk, and shelving will be installed on the back wall for self pick-up of holds.

The second thing you will notice is the checkout kiosk, a triangular shaped unit with three checkout stations. Staff are standing by to help first and second (!) time users become comfortable with this equipment. It has been enthusiastically used by patrons when I have been on duty there.

While this work is underway, there is temporary circulation desk by the curving stairs with self pick-up of holds nearby. Registration for library cards is now available from any computer in the library or from home, but there is also a computer dedicated to registration by the temporary circulation desk.

The target completion date is the end of the month.

We are grateful to an anonymous donor who left us a bequest to pay for these changes. What a good friend to the library!

Come visit soon. See the work in progress, then return in a few weeks to see it completed.


Temporary Circulation Desk at Central Library

Fiction Favorites of 2009

I’m impressed and amazed by those who can pick their favorite book, movie, or music of the decade. I’m still struggling to decide on my favorite fiction titles of the year and I’m allowing myself to select several from those I read this year, not necessarily published this year.

I’m glad I waited this long to decide since I just finished That Old Cape Magic over the weekend and I’m adding it to my top five. My other four include Piano Teacher, The Vagrants, Exiles in the Garden, and Invisible Mountain in no particular order.

These five are closely followed by Shanghai Girls, The Lace Reader, The Story of a Marriage, Gardens of Water, and Telex from Cuba.

I’ll stop there and continue to ponder my favorites of the decade. Please share your favorites – the year or the decade.

Come visit soon. All of these favorites of mine are from our collection, along with the many other good books, of course.

I wish you a healthy and happy 2010 and hope there is time for leisure reading and many good books.


That Old Cape Magic
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