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Each year the librarians at the J.V. Fletcher Library compile a list of books for holiday gift-giving. Below is their 2017 contribution. Happy Holidays to one and all!
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Eleanor Oliphant is a social misfit. She has a tendency to speak her mind before thinking, has been known to wear the same outfit year in and year out and has become quite a loner. By chance, she becomes friends with Raymond when the two of them save an elderly man named Sammy after he falls on the sidewalk. Raymond is the slightly disheveled IT guy from her office who is also somewhat quirky and a loner. This motley crew of three save each other from the isolated lives they’ve been leading. This novel is funny, moving, romantic, and fast becoming one of the most popular books of the year.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. In the suburb of Shaker Heights everything is planned and seemingly perfect. Elena Richardson delights in the order and tidiness of her town and neighbors. Then Mia Warren and her daughter move in and rent a house from the Richardsons. Mia is a single mother and artist who is somewhat of a free spirit. Elena’s four children are drawn to her and her daughter and soon form a strong friendship. However, secrets in Mia’s past and opposing viewpoints on motherhood cause her and Elena to clash and will soon divide their peaceful town. [Scroll past the video to continue reading.]
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. This is a prequel to Hoffman’s popular novel, Practical Magic. It’s the 1960’s and the three Owens children are slowly discovering that they aren’t like other children. Their mother has long tried to hide the magic and witchcraft that has existed in her family since the 1600’s. She specifies certain rules for her children, no wearing black, no cats, no books about magic and most importantly, no falling in love. As each child discovers their own otherworldly powers, they learn that magic can be a dangerous gift. A visit to their elderly Aunt Isabelle reveals more family secrets and they realize they will have to work hard to outwit the family curse.
The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg. Arthur goes to the cemetery to eat lunch every day by the graveside of his late wife. At the cemetery he meets Maddy, a lonely and angry teenage girl. Surprisingly, they strike up a friendship that helps both of them move on with their lives. This touching novel will stay with you long after the book ends.
The Hello Girls: America’s First Women Soldiers by Elizabeth Cobbs. During World War I, over 300 women were sworn into the army and sent over to serve in Europe. These brave women went out on the field and operated the telephone switchboard, sometime the only means of communication for relaying commands to soldier in the trenches and on the frontlines of the war. Despite their crucial role, they were discharged without benefits and weren’t even recognized until 1979. Cobbs tells their heroic story through engrossing personal narratives.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It! By Ree Drummond. The bestselling cookbook author offers quick and easy recipes for families on the go. Everything from sheet pan suppers to Ree’s favorite meals in under 20 minutes. The beautiful photographs of her family and their ranch make this fun to peruse even if you don’t feel like cooking.
Reading with Patrick: a Teacher, a Student, and a Life Changing Friendship by Michelle Kuo. After graduating from Harvard, Michelle Kuo joined “Teach for America” and soon found herself deep in the Delta teaching in a poor town in Arkansas. There she meets 15-year-old Patrick. Patrick has never been a strong student but under her mentorship his reading and writing improve and he begins to flourish. She spends two years teaching and then returns to Harvard to start law school. Just as she is preparing to graduate, she learns that Patrick is in jail awaiting trial for murder. She puts her life on hold and returns to the Delta. She spends the next seven months reading and teaching Patrick in prison while she tries to understand how things went so terribly wrong.
The Getaway (Diary of a Wimpy Kid series) by Jeff Kinney. Greg Heffley and his family are going on a tropical vacation. They hope a trip to a luxury resort will transport them away from all the craziness of the holiday season. However, things never go as planned for the Heffleys and soon sun poisoning, stomach bugs, and venomous creatures threaten their time in paradise.
Napastrophe by Jarrett Krosoczka. A funny picture book with Lucy the rabbit who insists she does not need a nap. She realizes how tired she actually is when she accompanies her father for a day of errands. It’s a napastrophe!
She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton. An inspirational picture book that profiles the lives of thirteen American women who have left their mark on U.S. history, including Sally Ride, Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, and Sonia Sotomayor.
Geekerella by Ashley Poston. Elle Wittimer is obsessed with the classic sci-fi series, Starfield that she grew up watching with her late father. When she hears about a contest for a new Starfield movie, she knows she must enter and win the coveted prize; tickets to a Cosplay ball. Teens will enjoy this quirky romance and modern makeover of Cinderella.
Me and Marvin Gardens by A.S. King. Obe Devlin’s family farm has been taken over by developers and he worries about the resulting pollution and the loss of his family legacy. His friends prefer to hang out with the new development kids and he finds himself alone more and more. He spends most of his time picking up trash down at the creek. One day he sees a small animal that looks like a cross between a dog, a pig, and a goat, after watching him, he realizes the animal is eating all the plastic debris. He names him Marvin Gardens and it’s clear he has to keep this unusual animal a secret. As time goes by, it becomes harder to keep the secret and Obe will be forced to make a decision that will reveal Marvin’s existence to the outside world.