A common problem among MCPL employees is that the list of books we want to read continues to grow week after week but we just don't have the time to read everything. If you can sympathize, you probably love to sit down with a good book just as much as we do!
2017 was a great year for literature. Among the 50+ members of our staff, we read everything from comical children's books about a mouse and a chipmunk who covet the same nut to a graphic novel about a post-apocalyptic teen who ventures into the hellish Spill Zone to photograph grotesque sites for a rich benefactor.
Take a look at some of our staff members' favorite books of 2017 and let us know what you think. Then, tell us in the comments what YOUR favorite of the year was. Did you read an engrossing new best-seller or did you re-read an old favorite and fall in love with it all over again? We want to know!
Since our staff members read numerous good books a year (you can read our staff reviews any time of the year,) many of us were torn over which title to pick as our favorite. As a result, we've listed some of their "runners-up" below!
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. Lisa says: "I like Picoult's style of writing, as each chapter tells the story from a different character’s perspective. I’ve always liked that about her writing. The author took her careful time writing this book and doing her research. It made me really think about my own views on racism in this country and in myself and community. It is a very relevant novel for our present cultural climate."
Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson. Sarah says: "I really enjoyed this psychological thriller about a woman who swaps apartments and ends up in the apartment next to a recent murder, fearing for her life."
The Breakdown by B.A. Paris. Sarah says: "This novel kept me on my toes as I followed the story of a woman who accidentally stumbles upon a murder scene and slowly starts to doubt her sanity."
Vegan Burgers & Burritos: Easy and Delicious Whole Food Recipes for the Everyday Cook by Sophia DeSantis. Sarah says: "This cookbook is filled with enticing, fully illustrated recipes that will tempt even the meat-eaters in your life!"
Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix. Chad says: "The gorgeously macabre collection of cover art could stand on its own, but it's also a funny read thanks to Hendrix's commentaries and summaries of the stories behind the covers."
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh. Chad says: "The tale of a young woman consumed by resentment and self-loathing in both her personal and professional life, with just the right mix of comedy and creepy."
Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig. Chad says: "Doig's last novel before his death in 2015 is a really fun cross-country, coming-of-age story that settles down for a bit in Wisconsin amid the escapades of a boy and his great-uncle."
Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. Rachel says: "The main character is a delight, and the unique structure adds to the complexity of the story and characters and kept me wonderfully off balance."
Walking to Listen: 4,000 Miles Across America, One Story at a Time by Andrew Forsthoefel. Dave says: "A young person’s journey to discover the real America (and himself). Insightful and uplifting."
Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King. Dave says: "A very 'King' take on the man/women relationship issues of today."
Hello Glow by Stephanie Gerber. Jen says: "An inspirational book for those who wish to create their own beauty products. Easy step by step organic recipes to follow for beautiful skin."
Gnomes by Wil Huygen. Jen says: "This timeless classic published in 1976 is filled with playful and whimsical illustrations. A great book for all ages and those with a beautiful imagination."
One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline. Janice says: "An emotional thriller about a suburban crime story with killer twists and characters you won’t forget."
Laura L., Library Specialist at MCPL Wausau, says: "This book devastated me in the best possible way. It's been almost a year since I read it and I still can't write about it without tearing up."
Dan R., Library Specialist at MCPL Wausau, says: " Mrs. Fletcher is the most entertaining book I've read in a long time. I loved the characters, story and writing style, and it has become a new favorite of mine!"
Ralph I., MCPL Library Director, says: "This title helps me to better understand the underlying issues that affect a global economy."
Audrey K., MCPL Spencer Branch Coordinator, says: "This book was filled with secrets, mystery and humor. It had such a great ending, and the epilogue just pieced everything together so perfectly."
Lisa H., MCPL Marathon City Branch Coordinator, says: "I loved the plot twists and the character development of each of the main AND supporting characters. It was also cool to see the HBO mini-series based on the book."
Kate S., Librarian and Adult Collection Development Specialist at MCPL Wausau, says; "David Grann’s books are always well-researched and the facts always emphasize the story without slowing it down. It is true crime at its finest."
Jana S., Library Specialist at MCPL Wausau, says: "I am, of course, a fan of Nora Ephron (who isn't?), but I had never read Heartburn, one of her most popular novels. I picked it up on a whim this winter and devoured it. I have absolutely nothing in common with Rachel, the novel's main character, but Ephron's writing allowed me to connect with her pain and frustration."
Elizabeth L., Library Assistant at MCPL Marathon City, says: "It’s a story told through diary entries, and it was one of the only books I read this year that I didn’t want to put down! The characters were so real. In addition to that, I was satisfied with the ending. Some books lose steam towards the middle and the end, but this author did a very nice job of tying up loose ends without making the plot too predictable."
Dawn A., MCPL Athens Branch Coordinator, says: "This is a well-researched, book with a dual story-line linked to an escalated Viking ship. I read the book while I was in Norway and visited the ship that inspired the book."
Sarah M., MCPL Mosinee Branch Coordinator, says: "This excellent, fast paced thriller about a string of women in danger had so many twists and turns I couldn’t put the book down or predict the final revelation at the end!"
Chad D., Library Specialist at MCPL Wausau, says: "It's both infuriating and inspiring, and shows how perseverance can be rewarded...sort of."
Laura W., MCPL Rothschild Branch Coordinator and Branch Services Lead, says: "With a new baby at home, we've been reading lots of picture books. This was silly and so much fun! I think it will make kids and their parents laugh out loud!"
Caley E., Library Assistant at MCPL Rothschild Branch, says: "I loved this book for the creative, insightful, and heartfelt the way it delved into the human heart during times of sadness and conflict."
Rachel H., Adult Services Librarian at MCPL Wausau, says: "The story is firmly rooted in the characters but manages to tell a family history rooted in America’s history that is realistic and unflinching but also allows for the mystical, and the audiobook is amazing!"
Dave G., Library Assistant at MCPL Rothschild Branch, says: "This stories in this book are filled with amazing imagination and very topical subjects. The story 'Loaded' was especially thoughtful, but uncomfortable."
Deb F., Library Assistant at MCPL Wausau, says: "This book had a great story, great writing and was by far my favorite of 2017."
Jen T., Library Assistant at MCPL Rothschild Branch, says: "This is an informative book for anyone beginning natural dyeing. Natural Color contains great recipes to follow and is a beautifully put together book."
Janice P., MCPL Stratford Branch Coordinator, says: "It's a mystery with a little romance included about a family resort and a murder mystery to keep you guessing."
Sharyn H., Children's Librarian at MCPL Wausau, says: "This small but important multi-generational story showcases the importance of kindness, acceptance, responsibility and relationships. I loved this book, especially the quirky character, Mrs. Fa La La."
Julie K., Young Adult Librarian at MCPL Wausau, says: "The whole package of story, characters and illustrations is wonderful. It was a fun fast read, that left me hanging waiting for a sequel!"
image credit: Image by Marathon County Public Library staff.