One surefire way to grow a booklist is to ask the Roseburg Public Library team members their favorite reads of the year. I’m sharing only a few of the many great books we read; check out our Staff Picks shelves at the library or go to roseburg.biblionix.com and click on Booklists for even more recommendations. The selectors wrote the descriptions.
My pick of the year was “In the Dream House,” a memoir by Carmen Maria Machado. Machado chronicles her relationship with a charming woman that becomes a harrowing, emotionally abusive experience, and she spends significant time exploring the fallacy that lesbian relationships are not subject to the same dynamics as all couples. I read the book in one day because it was engaging and amazingly constructed.
RARE AmeriCorps Participant Katie Fischer tapped “The Hating Game” by Sally Thorne, calling it “hands-down one of the best contemporary romances I have ever read. The pacing was phenomenal, and the chemistry between the two main characters was so good I read this in one sitting.”
Youth Services Librarian Aurora Oberg picked “Ink and Bone,” a young adult novel by Rachel Caine, because it is a fun story about the library of Alexandria being the ultimate power in the world. It addresses the importance of people’s freedom and access to information, and, of course, young people are rebelling and correcting the government’s overreach.
Volunteer Pat S. selected “Horizon” by Oregon author Barry Lopez, a hybrid travelogue, history, indigenous peoples’ history, natural history, biography and memoir. Over his lifetime, Lopez has traveled to the most remote places on the planet, usually in the company of scientists engaged in various sorts of research. He weaves together his observations of these landscapes and their current and former people with his thoughts about the problems we face today. Lopez is an elegant writer whose humanity is evident throughout this work.
Volunteer Mary C. chose “Unmarriageable” by Soniah Kamal, a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” set in Pakistan. With humor, an abundance of literary references and a heroine worthy of Austen’s original Elizabeth Bennett, this adaptation is a satisfying addition to any Austen or romance fan’s bookshelf. It is a version of “Pride and Prejudice” told for everyone.
Finally, for audiobook fans, my favorite listen of 2019 was “The Lost Man” by Jane Harper. This standalone mystery has a great location (the Australian outback), compelling family dynamics (three brothers who survived their childhood with a volatile father), and an explosive ending I did not expect (and which I’m not sharing), presented by a narrator with the perfect accent, Stephen Shanahan.
From all I’ve read, 2020 is shaping up to be another amazing year in the literary world, and you can count on the library crew to keep sharing our favorite books. Happy reading.