From the Director
I like book lists... “best of” and favorites from reviewers, friends, and our staff. I always add more titles to my “list of books-to-read-sometime.”
Here is another one: 2014 Michigan Notable Books
This list is announced each year by the Library of Michigan. The twenty books focusing on the state, notable residents, and events in our state’s history are selected by a committee of folks from libraries, bookstores and related organizations.
I’ve read a few of these books and have added a few more to my list.
2014 Michigan Notable Books:
- Beyond Pontiac’s Shadow: Michilimackinac and the Anglo-Indian War of 1763 by Keith R. Widder (Michigan State University Press)
- The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych by Doug Wilson (Thomas Dunne Books)
- Birth Marks by Jim Daniels (BOA Editions Ltd.)
- Bluffton: My Summers with Buster by Matt Phelan (Candlewick Press)
- Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Farm by Mardi Jo Link, (Alfred A. Knopf)
- The Colored Car by Jean Alicia Elster (Wayne State University Press)
- Detroit: Race Riots, Racial Conflicts and Efforts to Bridge the Racial Divide by Joe T. Darden and Richard W. Thomas (Michigan State University Press)
- Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff (The Penguin Press)
- The Great Lake Sturgeon Edited by Nancy Auer and Dave Dempsey (Michigan State University Press)
- I Invented the Modern Age: The Rise of Henry Ford by Richard Snow (Scribner)
- In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell (Soho Press)
- November’s Fury: The Deadly Great Lakes Hurricane of 1913 by Michael Schumacher (University of Minnesota Press)
- Poetry in… Michigan… in Poetry – Edited by William Olsen and Jack Ridl (New Issues Poetry & Prose)
- The River Swimmer by Jim Harrison (Grove Press)
- Something That Feels Like Truth by Donald Lystra (Northern Illinois University Press)
- Sweetie-licious Pies: Eat Pie, Love Life by Linda Hundt, Photography by Clarissa Westmeyer (Guilford)
- Taken Alive: The Sight’s Rock and Roll Tour Diary by Eddie Baranek, Edited and Forward by Brian Smith (Hiros Rise Music)
- Tear–Down: Memoir of a Vanishing City by Gordon Young (University of California Press)
- Tuesdays With Todd and Brad Reed: A Michigan Tribute by Brad Reed and Todd Reed (Todd & Brad Reed Photography)
- The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works Edited by Ron Riekki (Wayne State University Press)
2014 Michigan Notable Books
Most librarians like to read, compile, and share book lists. We seek them out, we check off the ones we’ve read, and add still more titles to our ever growing list of books we want to read.
Of course there are many annual lists and best of lists in all different categories, but there are also subject lists that are timely. I want to share two that are vastly different but both timely.
The young adult division of the American Library Association has compiled a list of basketball books to support March Madness. There are some good suggestions to help extend the college basketball season.
To mark the ten year anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, The Washington Post has compiled its list: “10 Years of the Iraq War: 10 Great Books.” They write that “like all wars, this one has produced a library of great books.”
Do you have any to add to either list?
The Final Four
The awards and “best of” season continues in the entertainment and publishing fields. The Library of Michigan just announced the “2013 Michigan Notable Books.”
This designation began in 1991. Each year 20 books published during the previous year are featured. The books are about, or set in Michigan or the Great Lakes region, or are written by a native or resident of our state. Fiction and nonfiction titles with a wide appeal on an array of topics are selected.
In the news release announcing this year’s choices, our state librarian, Nancy Robertson, wrote that “this program successfully shines the spotlight on the number of talented writers and illustrators we have in Michigan; these books help tell Michigan’s story.”
By coincidence, I happened to be reading Detroit City Is the Place to Be, one of this year’s selections. I’ve also added several titles to my ever-growing list of books I’d like to read.
I hope your reading year is off to a good start; mine is.
Michigan Notable Books
My Ideal Bookshelf was recently published. We have it in our collection, although it is checked out and I haven’t yet seen it. I have read about it, however.
The premise is that the books we keep, let alone read, say a lot about who we are and how we see ourselves. The author asked dozens of cultural figures – authors, filmmakers, chefs, architects – to select a small bookshelf worth of books to represent themselves.
What books would you select if you had been asked? I’m still pondering this for myself. As I look around my bookshelves at home, I see favorite novels, biographies of presidents especially Lincoln, memoirs by women, some autographed children’s books. I’m not sure these are the ones I would select to say who I am but for various reasons and at various times, those are the books I have chosen to have on my shelves.
What’s on your shelf that says who you are? If you can’t select the entire shelf, how about one title?
My Ideal Bookshelf
I like lists, especially lists of books. The Library of Congress recently selected a list of 88 books they judge to have shaped America. All the titles are by American authors; Benjamin Franklin is the only author with multiple titles on the list…..he has three.
The list includes a wide variety of titles and has generated some interesting online comments: thin on books from the 60s; what, no John Updike or Maya Angelou; few writers of color.
The books are on display at the Library of Congress through September. They also have an online survey on their website.
What do you think of the list? What’s missing or shouldn’t be included?
Books that Shaped America
Many “best of” and “book winners” are announced at year-end so announcing winners at this time of year caught my attention and is probably a good marketing strategy.
The American Booksellers Association recently announced the winners of the “2012 Indies Choice Book Awards” with the following description: “after a month of voting by the owners and staff at independent bookstores across the county, we have an outstanding list of winners that reflects the types of books independent bookstores champion best.”
And the winners are….
- Adult Fiction Book of the Year: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
- Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year: Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
- Adult Debut Book of the Year: The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht
- Young Adult Book of the Year: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
The full list of winners, 2012 Honor Award recipients, and Most Engaging Author Awards designees are listed on their website.
Readers can support independent booksellers by purchasing these titles or any books, of course, or borrowing them from the library. Independent booksellers and public libraries are good partners in promoting books and reading.
2012 Indies Choice Book Awards
The “best of” lists are out in full force. Along with these lists, nominations for awards for 2011 books, music, and movies are also being announced.
Many KPL staff are sharing their favorite books, movies, and music from the year to support our priority of “reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure.” Our lists, along with ones from previous years, are on our website.
I freely admit I am not current on music or movies, but I think I am current on books until I see these lists. I realize how many titles I haven’t even heard of that are staff favorites. I’ve also learned whose reading interests are similar to mine – I’ve likely to enjoy the book if it is on their list.
What was your favorite from the year?….a new book, an older one you had missed….doesn’t matter. Please share!
I hope the new year provides time and opportunity for reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure for you. Best wishes.
Best of 2011
As year-end approaches, almost every publication has its “best of” list. Lists of best books, movies, and music, at least in some editor’s or reviewer’s opinion, are especially popular. When I see such list of books, I immediately want to begin checking off those I have read and adding those I haven’t read and sound good to my “list of books to read sometime.”
Some lists are divided by genre….travel , romance, historical fiction, mysteries….and on and on. Library staff are working on our lists to share. We are dividing ours by format: books, movies, and music to match our strategic priority of “reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure.” We want to share with you what we liked, no matter what the reviewers or critics might have said about the title.
Our lists are due December 5 so look for our “best of the year” shortly thereafter on our website. In the meantime, you can review our favorites from past years. When you see our lists, please share yours on one of our blogs.
I hope it has been a good year of reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure for you. As always, I’ve added more titles to my list than I read ; it gets longer each year. I need more reading time in 2012!
Best Of 2011
Cookbook awards were recently announced by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. More than 500 titles were entered in seventeen categories.
I’m pleased we already have many of the winners in our collection. To name a few you might want to put on hold or look for next time you are here:
• In the “American” category: The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern
• “Baking: Savory or Sweet” category: Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies
• “Children, Youth and Family” category: Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners
• “Compilations” category: The Essential New York Times Cookbook
Cookbooks are popular. We are restocking our current display of “grilling” books daily. Although the many food and cooking sites on the internet make it easy to find a particular recipe, it’s not the same as leafing through a new cookbook with mouthwatering photos as you get inspired to try some new recipes and make the grocery list.
Browse our cookbooks on line or on the shelf.
Simple fresh southern : knockout dishes with down-home flavor
It’s that time of year that most every publication I pick up seems to have a “Best of the Year” list of one type or another. The ones I am most drawn to, not surprisingly, are those of best books.
I want to immediately start checking off the ones I have read and add the others to my “list-of-books-to-read-sometime.”
Most lists of best books of the year are from those published during the past year; mine is of books I have read that year, not necessarily those published.
It’s hard to decide, but here is my list:
Many staff have shared their favorite books, movies, and music from 2010 on our website under “Best of 2010” and we share routinely on our blogs in these same categories.
What were you favorite books of the year OR what do you think of mine? I’d appreciate hearing what you read and enjoyed.
Best wishes for the new year – good times, good health, good friends, and, of course good books!
Let the Great World Spin
…a book that doesn’t grab your attention, that is.
Some of us feel an obligation to finish a book once we have started it. We’ve become invested in it and should press on to the end.
Reader advisory expert and book reviewer, Nancy Pearl, encourages readers to give themselves permission to stop reading a book. She even has a “rule”: if you are 50 or younger, read at least 50 pages before you commit to reading it. If you are over 50, subtract your age from 100 and that is the number of pages you should read before deciding to read to the end or give up and move on to another title. Her theory is the older you are, the less time you have to read all the books on your list.
I like this “rule”. Some books just don’t grab my attention or it’s not the right time. I might want a lighthearted book, this one is serious. For those titles, I’ll keep them on my list, but come back to them at another time.
I think it is Thomas Jefferson who wrote “so many books, so little time”, but whoever it is, it makes the point of Nancy’s approach – move on to a book that engages you, ignites your imagination, takes you to new places.
We have many good books, come visit soon.
Nancy Pearl visited Kalamazoo Public Library in 2006
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.
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
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