Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence

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Originally published in: 2017

What it’s about: A librarian writes love letters (and some break up ones) to all the books she has loved.

What made me pick it up: List of books, written by a librarian? It was a no-brainer.

My favorite things: This book is hilarious, even if you don’t get all the library work references. But they did make it even more enjoyable for me. I’ve recommended it to all my coworkers and library working friends. It’ll make you remember all those books you love, or at least used to love, and why and maybe reminisce or pick them back up and read them again. While it did remind me a little of other books about books, most notably those by Will Schwalbe, the repeated doses of levity helped this one rise above the rest. She’s not trying to change your life, she’s just someone who wants to talk about the books she loves/hates. So get a glass of wine and enjoy this book chat from your new author bestie.

Who it’s great for: Readers of every variety. Librarians.

Erica’s rating: four shells


Find this book in your local library, or if the holds lists are too long, on Amazon (affiliate link).


 

Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun

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This post contains affiliate links.

Originally published in: 2017

What it’s about: Jomny, a lonely alien, is sent to Earth to study humans in this charming graphic novel. Instead, he encounters a variety of Earth’s creatures and, through their humanity, learns some of life’s biggest lessons.

What made me pick it up: When I saw the word aliebn on a book spine I thought my fever brain was playing tricks on me, but after I took a closer look I needed to know more about these aliebns.

My favorite things: It was adorable, funny, poignant, and smart. Each of the creatures Jomny meets teaches him something new about what it means to be an individual and still be part of a community. Like the story, the art is simple but compelling. I especially enjoyed the endpapers of the book, which contained a log Jomny keeps of his adventures on Earth as well as his charming interpretations of each interaction.

Who it’s great for: If you loved The Giving Tree but also love The Oatmeal, this book is for you.

Abby’s rating: four-and-a-half-shells


Find this title at Amazon or in your local library.


 

Angel Catbird Vol. 1 by Margaret Atwood

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Originally published in: 2016

What it’s about: A new superhero is born when a genetic engineer, along with an owl and a cat, accidentally becomes his own next project.

What made me pick it up: A Margaret Atwood comic book sounded too good, and weird, to pass up.

My favorite things: Atwood has a strong interest in animal welfare, particularly that of cats and birds, and this comes out in the form of weird footnotes with stats about both. It’s odd but charming. The amusing cast of characters doesn’t fail to deliver and the overall effect is campy and fun. Like all good superheroes, Angel Catbird is plagued by a complicated inner struggle-mostly between his cat and bird instincts.

Who it’s great for: I loved this, but if you’re looking for a comic that takes itself seriously at all then Angel Catbird is not the superhero for you. Good for fans of campy older comics and cat lovers who want to read about their furry friends as heroes.

Abby’s rating: four-and-a-half-shells


Want a copy? Find one at Amazon (affiliate link) or see if it’s available at a library near you.


The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel

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Originally published in: 2008

What it’s about: This is a nearly comprehensive collection of Bechdel’s syndicated strip that ran from the mid 1980’s-2008. It follows a group of politically engaged friends, almost exclusively lesbians, as they navigate societal and personal drama.

What made me pick it up: Although this has been out for nearly a decade, it was new to our library, and I’m a big fan of Bechdel’s graphic memoirs Fun Home and Are you My Mother?

My favorite things: I enjoyed reading this as a sort of queer retrospective on political history from the mid-80’s through the 2008 election. Bechdel’s characters are fun but complicated and both lovable and frustrating.

Who it’s great for: Fans of Bechdel’s other works. Committed Doonesbury readers.

Abby’s rating: four-and-a-half-shells


Want a copy? Find one at Amazon or see if it’s available at a library near you.


You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson

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Originally published in: 2016

What it’s about: Phoebe Robinson reflects on her experiences as a black woman in comedy and on her observations about race and gender. She challenges her readers to do better.

What made me pick it up: This one has been making the rounds at work so I’ve had it on my TBR list for a while.

My favorite things: Robinson easily discusses race and gender in a way that is both accessible and unapologetic. Her sharp wit is so compelling that you can’t help but laugh even if what she’s calling out is you or something you do. I appreciate that she writes the same way she talks – with a lot of unnecessary abbreviations. Although, I’m not sure I agree with her spelling of cazsh (casual).

Who it’s great for: Fans of her stand-up or her podcasts, Sooo Many White Guys and 2 Dope Queens. Readers looking for humor with depth and purpose.

Abby’s rating: three-and-a-half-shells


Want a copy? Find one at Amazon (affiliate link) or see if it’s available at a library near you.


Best. State. Ever. by Dave Barry

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Originally published in: 2016

What it’s about: Longtime Florida resident Barry makes the case for his adopted state.

What made me pick it up: Dave Barry is hilarious and I consume his writing voraciously. I was so excited to see he had a new book coming out.

My favorite things: This takes you on a tour of all the best random bits of Florida, in Barry’s opinion, and it’s like going on a vacation. A very funny vacation through all of Florida’s oddball locales.

Who it’s great for: Teens or adults. Anyone interested in laughing while also learning tidbits about our Sunshine State.

Erica’s rating: four-and-a-half-shells


Get a copy of Best. State. Ever at Amazon (affiliate link) or your local library.


 

2017 Most Anticipated Books – Nonfiction

It’s the start of a new reading year and there is a lot to look forward to! Especially these upcoming nonfiction titles:

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxanne Gay – Like the other issues she has tackled in writing, in this book Gay will take on body issues and image in herself and other women. Pub date: June 2017

South and West: From a Notebook by Joan Didion – The inimitable Didion will release a series of notes from her road trip through the American South during the 1970s and all her observations from it. Pub date: March 2017

Theft By Finding: Diaries 1977-2002 by David Sedaris – Didion is not the only one releasing past notes on life. The always entertaining Sedaris will publish this collection from journals he kept over 25 years. Pub date: May 2017

You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie – This book will be a tribute to Alexie’s mother who died at the age of 78. It will feature 78 stories and poems that Alexie wrote to process his grief. Pub date: June 2017

Erica’s Best Books of 2016

thousandBest Nonfiction: A Thousand Naked Strangers by Kevin Hazzard

What it’s about: A former paramedic in Atlanta tells you how he got into the gig and what it was like patrolling some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods.

What made me pick it up: It has a good font on the cover. It’s about a paramedic. It was nonfiction. Sold!

My favorite things: This book is a trip! The author drops you right into the action and keeps it going the whole time. As someone who works with a sometimes outrageous public I could both relate and still be surprised by his narratives. You feel like you’re riding along on his emergency calls. Also, it’s hilarious.

Who it’s great for: Teens or adults. Anyone interested in nonfiction, especially about medicine. Those looking to be shocked and awed and made to laugh out loud.

Erica’s rating: five-shells

a-man-called-ove-9781476738024_hrBest Fiction: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

What it’s about: A man who loses his wife of 40 years and his job all at once and how he picks up the pieces, or doesn’t.

What made me pick it up: It came highly recommended from a coworker. I’m obviously into books about older men adjusting to some massive change in their later lives, so I placed it on hold. Also, I liked the font on the cover.

My favorite things: This book is perfect. I am still in awe of the mastery of character and emotion (and audio narration, as I listened to it) in what is Backman’s debut novel. It’s the best combination of happysad I’ve read all year, hence why it’s on this list. More than that though, this shows the complexity of grief and community and how much we can misunderstand an individual just because of the front they put up. You will love Ove. You will ache for him and laugh at his antics and root for him. You will recognize him in your grandfather or your neighbor and you will not forget.

Who it’s great for: Adults looking for an outstanding novel. Anyone who wants to laugh while they are crying or vice versa. Fans of the movie UP.

Erica’s rating: five-shells

What were your favorite books in 2016?


Get a copy of either book on Amazon (affiliate links): A Thousand Naked Strangers; A Man Called Ove or from your local library.


 

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

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Originally published in: 2016

What it’s about: Newly minted The Daily Show host Noah recounts his childhood in South Africa just as apartheid ended.

What made me pick it up: I’m a huge fan of Noah. I’ve watched his stand up and enjoyed immensely his new hosting duties. He shares many key features with former host Jon Stewart – a quick wit and a wide understanding among them.

My favorite things: This was a great tale well told about Noah but the best bits were actually the inter-chapter focus pieces on apartheid. I really liked how he wove them in so seamlessly. He reads his own books, so the audio is equally great.

Who it’s great for: Noah fans. Daily Show fans. Anyone who has a strong interest in Africa or apartheid. Those looking for a great, quick, memorable memoir.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Get a copy of this book on Amazon (affiliate link) or at your local library.