OPL staff look back on their favorite books of 2016.
As it draws to a close, some have declared 2016 the worst year ever. Whether or not we all agree with that sentiment, we can look back fondly on at least one thing: the books! Here are some of our favorite books from the past twelve months.
Please share your favorite books of 2016 in the comments.
Cozy up to a mystery this winter.
"A party without cake is just a meeting." -- Julia Child
December is here and the winter holidays are at our heels. The Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa all call for desserts. I don't know about you, but I'm in the mood to bake.
Though the internet is a fine place to start, the volume of material to sort through can be, well, overwhelming. When you've got a spare minute or two, Google "cookies" and work your way through 2 1/2 billion entries. Me? I love a good cookbook, and the library is just full of cookbooks to get you baking. Read on for a few suggestions and some jacket photos from our wide selection. If you're browsing the shelves go to 641.815 for most baking books. Our ebook platforms also boast an ample supply of baking and dessert cookbooks.
Two terrific go-to bakers with cookbooks in collection are Dorie Greenspan and David Lebovitz. Greenspan has a new title out this fall, Dorie's Cookies,
Books that shed light on race and class dynamics in the U.S.
In the past, and especially during this election cycle, I've been committed to reading books that help me better understand race and class dynamics in this country. One of the books on my reading list is The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, edited by Jesmyn Ward. Ward uses James Baldwin's 1963 book The Fire Next Time as a starting point to discuss current questions of race in the U.S. Contributors such Carol Anderson, Edwidge Danticat and Isabel Wilkerson speak to their concerns about race through essays and poems.
What's the best gift to give or receive? In our opinion: a book!
If we do it two years in a row, can we call it a holiday tradition? Either way, we're glad to help you once again with your seasonal gifting duties. Our second ever Holiday Gift Guide features some of our favorite books from the past year, with a list of local indie bookstores where you can buy these gems. (Call ahead to confirm availability!)
Books for Adults
American Panic is a sober discussion of past upheavals experienced by Americans through the media, political factions, public violence, and personal persecution.
By Mark Stein
“Political panic, the irrational fear that one’s government is in danger, is by no means unique to any country. In America, it dates back to the 1692 Salem witch hunt … “Witch hunt” remains a phrase in the American vernacular, ensconced in our dictionaries as an investigation of disloyalty based on unverified assertions and public fear.” - Mark Stein
In the past week I have been searching for meaning, explanation, comfort,
The darkening days of the year lead us to read darker books.
It’s November. The days are getting shorter and we all seem to be in a gloomy mood. What could be more bracing that to read a big bunch of noir. May we suggest a hardboiled book or three? There are hundreds of choices, from pulp paperback potboilers to dark Scandinavian frostiness. Here’s a very short sampling to get you started.
L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy. It’s got everything. Los Angeles in the ‘50s. Murder. Prostitution. Drug trafficking. Conspiracy. Political and police corruption.
Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler. This is the second of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe stories and in it Marlowe investigates two murders. There’s a missing woman, drugs, corruption, and gambling to add complication for Marlowe.
Sanctuary by William Faulkner. Noir by Faulkner? Yes. He claimed he wrote it for the money. Set during Prohibition, among bootleggers in Mississippi, the story revolves around the kidnapping of a young woman, a murder, and the ugly events that ensue.
Stop Dieting Right Now! You Are Totally Perfect! A booklist from author and activist Virgie Tovar
“Every person, regardless of size, weight or health status deserves a life free of discrimination.”
Words straight from the mouth of Virgie Tovar, author, activist and one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She holds a Master's degree in Human Sexuality from San Francisco State University with a focus on the intersections of body size, race and gender. Her writing has appeared in tons of print and online publications and she has lectured all over the country. She also runs Babecamp, an online course “designed to help those who are ready to break up with diet culture.”