Tag Archives: nonfiction

HPL’s Best Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction Books of 2022

7 Dec

Adult Fiction
Demon Copperhead
by Barbara Kingsolver
The teenage son of an Appalachian single mother, who dies when he is 11, uses his good looks, wit, and instincts to survive foster care, child labor, addiction, disastrous loves and crushing losses.

by Nicholas Sparks
A poignant love story about two young people who risk everything for a dream and try to leave the past behind. They will navigate the exhilarating heights and heartbreak of first love.

by Ian McEwan
The story of one man’s life across generations and historical upheavals from his childhood in a boarding school to his marriage. As he searches for his vanished wife, he is forced to confront his restless existence.

The Last Chairlift
by John Irving
A young man moves from N.H. to Aspen, Colo., where he was conceived, to learn the truth about his mother, a former slalom skier and ski instructor. He meets some ghosts there involving his past.

Lucy by the Sea
by Elizabeth Strout
As the pandemic forces the world into lockdown, Lucy is uprooted from her life in NYC and whisked away to a small town in Maine by her exhusband. For several months, they relive their complex past together.

Mad Honey
Jodi Picoult
A married woman uproots from her ideal life in Boston to return to her hometown in N.H. to start over. Her teenage son then becomes a suspect in a murder when his new girlfriend is suspiciously killed.

Our Missing Hearts
by Celeste Ng
A 12 year-old Asian boy receives a mysterious letter and sets out on a quest to find his mother, a ChineseAmerican poet who left when he was nine. His journey leads him to NYC where a new act of defiance may bring about change.

Marriage Portrait
by Maggie O’Farrell
A compelling story about the young duchess Lucrezia de Medici who is thrust into the limelight upon the death of her older sister. She must adjust to an unfamiliar court where she’s not universally welcomed.

The Night Ship
by Jess Kidd
In 1629, a young orphaned girl is bound for the Dutch East Indies on the Batavia, one of the greatest ships of the Dutch Golden Age. She spends the long journey searching for a mythical monster above and below deck.

The Passenger
by Cormac McCarthy
After a plane crash in 1980, a salvage diver discovers that the pilot’s flight bag, the plane’s black box, and the 10th passenger are missing. He is drawn into a conspiracy beyond his understanding.

The Rabbit Hutch
by Tess Gunty
An odd assortment of residents are struggling to survive in a low-cost and crumbling housing complex in the postindustrial Midwest. A bizarre act of violence finally changes all of their trapped and lonely lives forever.

The Winners
by Fredrik Backman
Two young Swedish people return to their small forest town and reunite with childhood friends. A new ice rink has been built, which has given folks optimism. However, an act of violence may change the mood.

Adult Nonfiction
Starry Messenger
by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Tyson brings his cosmic perspective to civilization on Earth by shining new light on the crucial fault lines of our times: war, politics, religion, truth, beauty, gender, and race. His views stimulate a deeper sense of unity for us all.

And There Was Light
by Jon Meacham
This illuminating new portrait of Lincoln and the American struggle shows a very human, yet imperfect man. His moral antislavery commitment was essential to the story of justice in America.

The Queen: Her Life
by Andrew Morton
An in-depth look at Britain’s longest reigning monarch and how she influenced both Britain and the world for much of the last century, This reluctant, but resolute Queen was one of the greatest sovereigns of the modern era.

The Light We Carry
by Michelle Obama
A series of fresh stories and insightful reflections on change, challenge, and power. She shares the habits and principles she has developed to successfully adapt to change and overcome various obstacles.

Year of the Tiger
by Alice Wong
Essays, conversations, graphics, and photos are used as a scrapbook of Wong’s life as an Asian American disabled activist. She traces her origins, tells her story, and creates a space for disabled people to be in conversation with each other.

Finding Me
by Viola Davis
An emotional story from a crumbling apartment in R.I. to the stage in NYC and beyond. Awardwinning actress and icon, Davis examines her life journey with honesty & humility.

Invisible Kingdom
by Meghan O’Rourke
A landmark exploration of the rise of chronic illness and autoimmune diseases. These diseases are poorly understood, marginalized, and undiagnosed. A revealing investigation into “invisible” illnesses.

Books are available in print from BCCLS libraries and as ebooks from eBCCLS and/or eLibraryNJ.

Written by:
Ethan Galvin
Information and Digital Services Librarian

Six Books I’ve Read So Far for the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge

21 Feb

There are 24 tasks in the 2018 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, and as of this writing I have finished 6! I have written before about taking on past Read Harder Challenges, and haven’t finished one yet. For 2017 I read 13 of 24 books, the best I’ve done so far. My approach this year is to aggressively tackle the challenges early on as life happens, which can impede my reading. So far the cold winter has inspired me to stay indoors and read lots of books.

These are the six completed tasks and the corresponding books.

The Task: A children’s classic published before 1980.


Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

I chose Julie of the Wolves as one I can read with my nieces to discuss–I’m still waiting for their thoughts! The story is about a thirteen-year-old girl named Julie who is escaping an unstable home situation. Her goal is to travel from Alaska to San Francisco and live with her pen pal. In the frozen tundra she struggles to survive by observing wolves and eventually becoming part of the pack by mimicking their behaviors. I appreciated how deeply passionate Jean Craighead George was about this book: the story grew from a rejected proposal for a magazine article she wrote about wolves and the Alaskan tundra. 

The Task: A celebrity memoir.


Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

This task was pretty easy to accomplish as I lead the Lady Memoir Book Club at Little City Books, and have read plenty of celebrity memoirs as part of the group and on my own time. I picked Year of Yes for the January 2018 discussion as the premise was how Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and Shondaland, changed after she committed to saying yes to opportunities that scared her, a good theme to start off a new year. The book was fun to read and has a positive message about making the most of our lives. 

The Task: A book of social science.


Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

The premise of Option B is how Sheryl Sandberg coped after her husband’s sudden death in 2015. Adam Grant provides solid research about grief and resilience that are masterfully woven into Sheryl’s story (this is why I consider Option B social science) and those of others who have faced tragedy. This book has incredibly sad moments–Sheryl’s retelling of finding her husband unconscious, and having to tell her children that their father died are heartbreaking–but is ultimately hopeful and encourages people to not retreat from life’s hard moments. From this book came the Option B organization.

The Task: A one-sitting book.


The Four Agreements: A Toltec Wisdom Book by Don Miguel Ruiz

At first I was stymied by this task. But then I found The Four Agreements in my TBR (to-be-read) pile. This book clocks in at 138 pages, and I blew through it while at my dad’s bedside as he waited to go in for a recent surgery. Ruiz uses Toltec wisdom to frame the four agreements around which people should live their lives to be happy. This is a good book to buy and refer to when needed–in particular for the reminder that other people’s behavior is not about you.

The Task: A book of true crime.


Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History by Maureen Orth

I planned to read Vulgar Favors, the source text for American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, last summer but didn’t get around to it until January. While a lot isn’t known about Andrew Cunanan’s motives (he committed suicide before authorities could capture him) this heavily reported book includes stories from Andrew’s friends, as well as authorities from multiple jurisdictions that pursued him during his 1997 murder spree. What stands out in this book was how misunderstood gay communities were by police in the 1990s, which negatively impacted the investigation into Cunanan’s crimes.

The Task: A romance novel by or about a person of color.


Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

I considered describing Hate to Want You by using like 10 fire emoji–it’s that steamy. Author Alisha Rai and her heroine Livvy Kane are women of color, so this book doubly completes the task. The book blogs I read highly praised this title. In addition to the sexy stuff, this book has a compelling story about a long-running family feud. I am now obsessed with Rai’s work and will soon read the next book in the Forbidden Hearts series Wrong to Need You, which features Livvy’s twin brother Jackson and her sister-in-law Sadia. Note: If you prefer your romance novels chaste then this series is not for you.

I feel quite accomplished being one-fourth of the way through the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. Hopefully I can maintain this momentum! I will update you when I finish another six books.

Are you following any reading challenges? Tell me in the comments!

-Written by Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

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