Library Moments: Top Reads of 2013

Erin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: Hello, I’m Erin Kernohan-Berning from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

‘Tis the season! There is a dusting of snow on the ground, and a chill in the air as our year starts to come to a close. Around this time of year, we like to review some of the best books we’ve read over 2013. Today I have Sherrill Sherwood and Amanda Wilk here to talk about some of our favourite reads over the past year.

QuietSherrill Sherwood, Collection Development: The three books that stand out for me this year are Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, Quiet by Susan Cain and The Spark by Kristine Barnett. I like books that make me think deeply about the world we live in, our behavior, and what affects our happiness. Daring Greatly proved to me that happiness and fulfillment won’t come from trying to control your life. It’s quite the opposite – happiness and fulfillment come when you do something that really matters to you even when the outcome is unsure. Quiet allowed me to accept my introversion, to be aware of it and to make sure my energy isn’t depleted by being social when I don’t want to be, just for the sake of not hurting other’s feelings. When I say yes to others when I don’t want to, I say no to me. And The Spark spoke to me about doing things in your life that you are passionate about and trusting that the rest will all work out, because when you are doing what you love a lot of the time, the energy to do the rest will be there when it’s needed.

Amanda Wilk, Public Services Librarian: I’ve already spoken at length about a number of my Fangirlfavourite reads of 2013, because let’s face it, one of my favourite parts of my job is being able to promote books that I absolutely adore like Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes—all of which made my 2013 list of favourite titles.

I could also continue gushing over Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables and how much I love characters like Grantaire, Enjolras, and Gavroche…but it just seems to strange to be over-promoting a title published more than 150 years ago.

So instead, I’ll talk about More Than This by Patrick Ness, whom I consider to be one of the most creative authors writing today. The novel opens explicitly outlining the drowning death of a boy (Seth) in the wintry cold ocean. But after Seth’s apparent demise, he awakes outside of his childhood home in a neighbourhood that has been abandoned and left to decay. Both the readers and Seth must determine whether he has in fact died, and why he has returned to his childhood residence, where something unthinkable happened many years ago. Ness crafts all of his novels with a raw intensity, at a break neck pace. More Than This is no exception, and is filled with heart-breaking writing and stunning revelations.

HadfieldErin: I’ve spoken at length about Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Jr, as well as An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield – both excellent reads, and both included in my top reads of 2013. Also among the books that grabbed me in 2013 were The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan, and The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida. The Girls of Atomic City chronicles the women who worked at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, one of the sites for the development of the atomic bomb during the Manhattan Project. In The Reason I Jump, Naoki Higashida tells his story as a non-verbal 13 year old with autism, and how even though he has difficulty communicating with the spoken word, he wants those around him to understand how he experiences his world. Something I realized when looking back at my list is that it is heavily weighted toward non-fiction. Really good non-fiction can speak to a person with as much passion and imagination as a fictional story. There are so many stories out there in our world, and non-fiction is an important way of sharing those stories – in some ways I think of non-fiction authors as modern day travelling minstrels.

You can check out our complete lists of top reads for 2013 on our Pinterest. Just go to www.haliburtonlibrary.ca and click on the Pinterest icon. As always, all of the titles we discuss are available from the Haliburton County Public Library.

That’s it for this week’s edition of Library Moments, thanks for listening here on 100.9 Canoe FM.

*originally aired on 100.9 Canoe FM from December 9th-16th 2013

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