Nice New Book Goodness!

Selected by Jen
Selected by Jen

Here is what you can find on the shelves that is new next week. Come in and visit us, or put your items on hold from home! We will let you know when they are ready for you to pick up!

You Are What You Read!

Hosted by Jen Dayton
Hosted by Jen Dayton

Happy New Year!  We are pleased to announce that we have kicked the Hellidays to the curb and we are full speed ahead for a glorious new year and getting back to what passes for normal.  As is the case, sometimes the recovery time for things getting back to normal lags. The SoNo Loft has no new words for us.  Sweet Ann wishes she had words but she is too busy coughing to speak.  I know that you join me in wishing her a speedy recovery. We have no playlist for the New Year.  But I am pleased to announce that The TC made it back safe and sound from The Homeland, and the decorations are coming down. So yes.  Back to what passes for normal. This week we have some mystery, romance, miracles, Paris, Detroit, coincidence, Rilke and sheep.  Yes.  Sheep.


Let us begin!

Darien Library's Top 10 Books of 2013: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Darien Library's #1 Book of 2013!
Darien Library's #1 Book of 2013!

Announcing Darien Library's #1 book of 2013, as voted in by the Darien librarians: Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes! This book got more votes than any other book by far. It swept us away early in the year and never stopped charming librarians or patrons. Pat T. summed it up perfectly when she added it to our Pinterest board, saying: "A lovely romantic story about a young lady who becomes a caregiver for a quadriplegic man and how their relationship develops in unexpected ways."

Ann added, when she wrote it up for You Are What You Read: "This is the heartfelt story of Louisa Clark and Will Traynor. Lou Clark is twenty-six and stuck in her life by an event that happened to her when she was younger. She is content to work at a cafe and live in her small girlhood bedroom with her parents. When her job ends abruptly she becomes the paid companion to Will Traynor, a quadriplegic, who was injured in an accident at the height of his fast-paced career and life. Will is trapped in his life, wheelchair bound and unhappy. After some initial difficulty, Will and Lou begin to enjoy their time together and their lives become larger. Decisions will impact their lives in ways they can’t predict. This is a wonderful book with beautifully written characters that will remain with you long after their story is finished."

Jeanne chimed in: "I joined the Jojo Moyes fan club when I finished reading and listening to Me Before You. Susan Lyons is a terrific British narrator and the story of Will Traynor, sentenced to life in a wheelchair when he is hit by a motorcyclist on a rainy day and Louisa Clark, his feisty new care companion is written in a way that you can’t put it down until the last tissue is crumpled. So, I needed both print and audio!"

Well, there you have it--our favorite books of the year! Below, reminders of the rest of the list. Now, on to 2014!

#10: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
#9: A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
#8: Going Clear by Lawrence Wright
#7: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
#6: The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
#5: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
#4: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
#3: Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
#2: Transatlantic by Colum McCann

Nice New Book Goodness!

Selected by Jen
Selected by Jen

Here is what you can find on the shelves that is new next week. Come in and visit us, or put your items on hold from home! We will let you know when they are ready for you to pick up!

Darien Library's Top 10 Books of 2013: Transatlantic by Colum McCann

Number 2!
Number 2!

For the rest of the year, we're counting down our top ten favorite books of 2013, one a day, as voted on by the Darien librarians! Coming in at number 2: Transatlantic, by Colum McCann. This book was not just one of our Fall Book Discussion Picks, but was also featured in November's Five Minutes with Jen video (along with a few other Top 10 favorites!). Stephanie wrote for You Are What You Read: "“I approached this with trepidation. McCann is a great writer so one always does. Short sentences, short thoughts, then deep thoughts. Interwoven stories through modern Irish history, from several perspectives, a chain. Imitable. As you can see. But nothing I do can truly imitate McCann’s clean sentences and flawless metaphors; they guide you across the pages like so many neon lights on the runway, coming in for a landing on a clear and moonless night.”"

And this isn't just a great read--it's a great listen, too. When Jeanne listened to it, she said: "I am listening to Transatlantic by Colum McCann, beautifully narrated by Geraldine Hughes in her lovely Irish lilt. Like his Let the Great World Spin, Transatlantic has a huge scope that spans centuries and continents and brings together both real and fictional characters. McCann brings his characters alive with wonderful details that surprise and alarm as they cross the great ocean, struggle against war, hunger, and inequality and make their marks on history."

We'll be announcing our #1 pick tomorrow--any guesses? Remember, our top 10 so far are:

#10: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
#9: A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
#8: Going Clear by Lawrence Wright
#7: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
#6: The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
#5: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
#4: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
#3: Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.

Darien Library's Top 10 Books of 2013: Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.

Number 3!
Number 3!

For the rest of the year, we're counting down our top ten favorite books of 2013, one a day, as voted on by the Darien librarians! Coming in at number 3: Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. Janet was one of our first champions for this book, writing in You Are What You Read: “Empty Mansions is an exhaustively researched and fascinating portrait of copper heiress Huguette Clark, wealthy beyond measure yet a ghostly presence in her own life which I read on the plane coming home. The story would not be believable as fiction, but it all really happened. I would recommend it for book groups and must add that is does not disappoint.”

Stephanie seconded the book group recommendation, saying: "“So far in my reading year, Empty Mansions wins the award for hardest to sum up neatly. What I expected was another breezy story about the crazy things rich people do with all their money. As I already knew Huguette’s main obsession was dolls and dollhouses, how could I resist? What I got was a complex story about a complex woman whose wealth protected her from the real world for her entire 104-year life, both for better and for worse. And what’s more, because she lived so long, the story of her life is both a fascinating slice of American history and an interesting commentary on modern America. There’s a lot to unpack in this one. It’d be a fabulous book group pick.”

Darien Library's Top 10 Books of 2013: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown

Number 4!
Number 4!

For the rest of the year, we're counting down our top ten favorite books of 2013, one a day, as voted on by the Darien librarians! Coming in at number 4: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown. This was one of our Fall Book Discussion titles and has been a book group favorite since its release. Barbara M., one of the discussion leaders, wrote: "It’s a compelling story about the American rowing team which won a gold medal in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The book focuses on one crew member, Joe Rantz, a young man who endured many hardships growing up. It’s easy to compare this book to Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand as they are both about underdogs succeeding against insurmountable odds.”

And Ann, the other discussion leader, added: “This is one of the best books I have read in quite a long time. This is the wonderful true story of the University of Washington’s crew team that made it to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. As a reader you follow the makings of the team and their journey to gold. The author interviews Joe Krantz, one of the crew members, and various teammates and family. You might not be interested in crew as a sport but you will care about these young men and the rowing aspects will only be a part of the story. I also found the historical facts that Mr. Brown included about America at the time as well as Germany to be fascinating. I can’t recommend this book enough.”

(Miss the earlier parts of our countdown? Check out books #10, #9, #8, #7, #6, and #5 and follow along...)

Darien Library's Top 10 Books of 2013: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Number 5!
Number 5!

For the rest of the year, we're counting down our top ten favorite books of 2013, one a day, as voted on by the Darien librarians! Coming in at number 5: The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. Though it's only been out for a few months, it seems like everybody in the library has read it. Jen piqued everybody's interest by posting to You Are What You Read: "This is the sort of book that as you are reading you say to yourself, I really need to speak to that character and set them straight. Because you forget that these are not real people, they are not your friends, and you could now be declared insane. Yes. It is that kind of crazy good."

And Barbara M. recently picked it up as well, adding: "It is the story of a hapless young man, Theo, whose mother dies in an attack on the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is taken in by a friend’s family and for a while lives with them on the Upper East Side before being sent to Las Vegas to live with his father, a man who abandoned him and his mother several years earlier. Though Theo seems to have lost everything, he has one reminder of his mother and that terrible day at the museum – a small painting of a goldfinch. While the story is engrossing, what makes this book a good read is the beautiful writing and the wonderfully interesting characters."

We're now over halfway through our Top 10 of 2013! Check out #10, #9, #8, #7, and #6 and place your bets as to what will be revealed next...

Darien Library's Top 10 Books of 2013: The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Number 6!
Number 6!

For the rest of the year, we're counting down our top ten favorite books of 2013, one a day, as voted on by the Darien librarians! Coming in at number 6: The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer. Stephanie reviewed it for You Are What You Read back in April, saying: “This week I could not put down The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, the story of four friends who meet at summer camp and think they are going to change the world and be fascinating their entire lives—that then follows them through their adolescence and adulthood and their entrance into the real world. There are a lot of things to say about this book, and smarter people than me are going to say them, so I will just note that I loved it and very highly recommend it to pretty much everybody I know. How much did I love it, you ask? So much that I accidentally ate an entire bag of chips while reading it because I was so engrossed.”

Ann did not love it at first, but soon came around: “At first I didn't find this too interesting, but then on approximately page 145, it became quite interesting. This is the story of four friends who bond at camp as teenagers and we as readers will follow for the next forty years. Ash and Goodman are brother and sister, Jonah is the son of a famous folk singer and Julia, renamed Jules by the group is not as privileged as the rest. Yes, this is a coming of age story but there are certainly some twists that keep you ‘interested’ especially as jealousy and secrets simmer below the surface. The characters are easy to relate to and very well developed. This is a terrific read.”

We were lucky enough to be visited by Meg, in conversation with Jami Attenberg and Rosie Schaap, earlier this year. You can see their amazing and hilarious conversation here.

Darien Library's Top 10 Books of 2013: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Number 7!
Number 7!

For the rest of the year, we're counting down our top ten favorite books of 2013, one a day, as voted on by the Darien librarians! Coming in at number 7: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. This book is on Jen's List of Wonderful for 2013, and when she first read it, she said: “Ursula in Life After Life has a unique gift. The gift of 'do-overs.' By manipulating the smallest details in her life she can change the course of her own life and the course of history. Haven't we all played woulda, coulda, shoulda? In Life After Life, Atkinson shows us how the smallest decisions in our lives have huge repercussions. I have to admit that I am rather angry at Kate Atkinson. Her book has wrecked me for everything that has come after it as far as reading goes. She is a genius and this is her masterpiece."

(Miss earlier installments of this list? Check out number 10, number 9, and number 8 and get your post-holiday reading lists ready!)

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