Towards the end of December and into the beginning of January I love reading all the end of the year best lists. It is a great time of year to slow down and reflect on the books I've read. As a group we have continued our tradition at the library to look back at what we read and list what impacted us the most. Here's a few that we recommend and can be checked out at the library.

Anne's picks:

"Calypso" by David Sedaris

I've been a Sedaris fan for a long time and this book is one of his best. As always he is very funny but this book delves deeper into dark truths about his family.

"Circe" by Madeline Miller

This book about the Greek goddess is a grand tale that also feels very intimate. As a middle schooler I was most interested in mythology but this book has reinvigorated my fascination. I love this subversive goddess!

"Florida" by Lauren Groff

The Floridian landscape is described in this book of short stories so well that I felt I could see it, smell it and taste it. The stories are sometimes luscious and sometimes lurid.

"Heart Berries" by Therese Marie Mailhot

This memoir was not what I expected and it was a gut punch. Poetic trauma.

"Hey, Kiddo" by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

This is a graphic novel memoir that chronicles the author's heartbreaking childhood. This book is honest and real and also full of hope. I loved it.

"I Am I Am I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death" by Maggie O'Farrell

Another memoir that is a set of linked stories -charming and terrifying. It is less about death and more about chance. Intense.

"The Library Book" by Susan Orlean

I would love to give this book to every person that loves libraries. It is true crime, fire, the history of libraries (one in particular), as well as a personal story of the author and her mother. I could not put it down.

"The Ninth Hour" by Alice McDermott

A striking story of what it was like to live in early 20th century Irish-Catholic Brooklyn. I hadn't read anything by McDermott before this book and now I know I need to read more from this brilliant writer.

"There There" by Tommy Orange

For me the first chapter can't be beat - it is so unique and powerful. The rest was a whirlwind of characters and stories that are modern, devastating, and unforgettable.

Rilee's picks:

"How Long 'til Black Future Month" by N.K. Jemisin

I was waiting all year for this release in November and I was not let down. This is a compilation of Jemisin's short stories and I love every single one of them. Despite being short stories, the world building and attention to detail is outstanding!

"There There" by Tommy Orange

I read this book in less than 24 hours because I could not put it down. I appreciate many things about this novel, especially Tommy Orange's weaving together of fact and fiction.

"The Night Masquerade (Binti #3)" by Nnedi Okorafor

Through a non-eurocentric lense, Okorafor created a genuinely different future unlike anything I have read before. I think this was a satisfying conclusion to the Binti novella series.

"The Prince and the Dressmaker "by Jen Wang

I love the art style and the story in this graphic novel. I think my favorite aspect was how well Jen Wang integrates gender rolls/norms and identities.

"Akissi: Tales of Mischief" by Marguerite Abouet

This graphic novel made me laugh out loud several times. Akissi was relatable and brought up good childhood memories. Abouet's other graphic novel series, Aya, is also a great and quick read!

Sharon's picks:

"Lost Vintage" by Ann Mau

If you like World War II historical fiction as I do, you will enjoy this book.

"Joe Pickett" series by C.J. Box

I started reading this series about a Wyoming game warden this year. Several people have recommended the books to me in the past. I started with the first book "Open Season" and have read seven of the 19 books in the series so far. I have several Minnesota mystery authors that I continue to read books within their series.

"Desolation Mountain"by William Kent Krueger is the latest in the Cork O' Connor mystery series set in northern Minnesota.

Alter Ego by Brian Freeman is the newest in the detective Jonathan Stride series which is set in Duluth.

"Deep Dark Descending" by Allen Eskens. This was a Minnesota author that I just discovered and enjoyed reading several of his books this year including the one I listed which is his latest.

Roxane's picks:

"A Stranger in the House" by Shari Lapena

Shari Lapena's books are always filIed with lots of suspense and hard to put down. This one is no different!

"Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House" by Donna Brazille

I have always enjoyed listening to Donna Brazille when I see her on TV. The book was very interesting and I could just hear her talking when I read it.

" A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership" by James Comey

I didn't know what to think of James Comey before I read this. But after reading it, I think he is a decent, honest guy and got a raw deal by the person in the White House.

"Lies Jane Austen Told Me" by Julie Wright

I have read many, many Jane Austen retellings. So I knew I would like this one and I did!

"See What I Have Done" by Sarah Schmidt

You can't go wrong with a Lizzie Borden retelling!

"A Murder for the Books (Blue Ridge Library #1)" by Victoria Gilbert

In the past few months, I have been reading cozy mysteries. I never liked them before but I sure do now. This one takes place in a library, so I could relate to many things that happened, except the murder of course!

"Wicked Witch Murder (Lucy Stone Mysteries)" by Leslie Meier

Lucy Stone is a reporter for her small town newspaper. She is married and has four young daughters. These books are all holiday-based which makes them extra fun! So far, I have read this one (Halloween) and three Christmas ones.

"Books Can Be Deceiving (Library Lover's Mystery #1)" by Jenn McKinlay

This is another library-based mystery and I really liked her way of writing. I know I will read more of them!

Rachel's picks:

"Ms. Ice Sandwich" by Mieko Kawakami

Short but nonetheless sweet, this playful coming-of-age Japanese novella tells the story of a young boy's infatuation with a woman who sells sandwiches at the supermarket. Our unnamed narrator's voice is delightfully authentic, perfectly capturing the loneliness of childhood as well as the thrill of first crushes.

"Hunger: a Memoir of (My) Body" by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay lets us into the some of the darkest moments of her life in this poignant memoir about her trauma, disordered eating, and navigating the world as an obese individual. She poetically weaves heartbreak with sharp witticisms, exploring the way her identity has both shaped and been shaped by her relationship with food. It's certainly not a light memoir, but one that stuck with me long after I put it down.

"The Grip of It" by Jac Jemc

What a fun read-and by fun, I mean terrifying. This is a great psychological horror novel told from the alternating perspectives of a couple who struggle to get a fresh start in their strange new home outside the city. Sure to keep your hair standing on end.

"Not That I Could Tell" by Jessica Strawser

A small suburban neighborhood is reeling after a woman and her two children disappear without a trace. I enjoyed the dynamic between all of the women as Strawser gradually peels away the façade of perfect appearances to reveal the underbelly of "perfect" suburbia, which is a common theme in many of my favorite books!

"Baby Teeth" by Zoje Stage

I really enjoyed reading this haunting suspense novel about a mother and child's toxic relationship. Great, fast-paced prose that explores the darkest crevices of parental love and human nature keeps you on your toes as the young daughter's mischief becomes increasingly malicious.

"The Perfect Nanny:" a novel by Leila Slimani

This gripping French read was hard to put down, though not in the way most

suspense novels are. This novel opens up with the disturbing murder of two children by their seemingly perfect nanny and what unravels is a gradual build up to the murder. It's an engrossing, albeit dark, character study of this reserved woman who is simultaneously deeply intimate with and detached from the family.

Roberto's picks:

"The Magicians" by Lev Grossman

This book is fascinating because it depicts one man's adventure to discover the wicked and tumultuous truth about magic.

"The Five Kingdoms Series" by Brandon Mull

I've been following this series for a few years now! There are five books in total. Unfortunately, all good things things come to an end. This series definitely doesn't disappoint!

"President Squid" by Aaron Reynolds

I read this book for story time. It is such a fun book to read aloud! I felt as if the book gave me energy to be more lively as I read it, which in turn kept the kids interested.

"The Prince and the Dressmaker" by Jen Wang

This is a graphic novel about being true to who you are. It's captivating because it portrays people who don't feel entirely valid in the world they live in and their struggle for acceptance.

"Losing Leah " by Tiffany King

The story this author weaves is very powerful and darkly intriguing. I'm not going to lie, this book made me cry. If you're looking for a book with a great story, this is it. Just make sure you have tissues by your side.

"Three Dark Crowns" by Kendare Blake

I couldn't get enough of this book. It does sound morbid, triplets fighting to the death for the right to rule. This book is centered around that but it's also about so much more than that. There's so much depth and that causes a bond between the reader and characters that grips you so tight that you won't ever want to let them go.

"The Witch Boy" by Molly Knox Ostertag

What would you do if you had two options and the option you liked better was forbidden? Would you break all the rules and risk being exiled? Follow along on one boy's journey to figure out the truth behind his family.

Stop by the Morris Public Library this 2019 and check out some of these fabulous books! Happy New Year!