So, yeah. 2020. It’s been a year. In the world of books, 2020 has seen book tours and book clubs (including mine) moving online and the delay of a lot of new releases. Books that were supposed to come out in the spring and summer got pushed to the fall. Other books got pushed to next year. You kind of never knew when something would be available, and you just rolled with whatever you could find that would bring you some enjoyment.
That’s why when I went around asking the folks who work here at the library what their favorite books were this year, I said I didn’t care when the book was published as long as they read it this year and they liked it. Some folks picked books published this year, including me, which is interesting, since I’m devoted to classic lit and always read far more older books than new ones. But other people found delight in older classics and in books written for a variety of ages.
Below is a selection of what the staff loved. If you’re looking for something to see out the end of the year, one of these might just be up your alley. Or you might just be ready for the year to end. That’s a totally valid option, too. Feel free to leave a comment or hit us up on social media (@NCantonLibrary) with your favorite book his year. Because I’m certainly not done yet!
It’s probably not a huge surprise that when asked to name the books they loved, the folks at the library mentioned a lot of adult fiction titles. They mentioned thrillers, horror, romance, and others. (More on one specific genre below.) It’s the sort of eclectic list you get when you ask a bunch of library workers this sort of question. For instance, our new Director, Andrea, is a Stephen King fan, and Nancy from Patron Services is responsible for the romance title on this list. And more than one of my colleagues in Reference Services loved The Silent Patient. It’s a little something for everyone who enjoys fiction, in other words.
Adult Historical Fiction
Of the genres of adult fiction the staff here enjoy, the one that got the most love is historical fiction. This is where you can find my favorite book this year, Tyll, a German novel set during the Thirty Years War that is part adventure, part magical realism, and all really beautiful writing. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, this list has a Victorian mystery, WWII English family saga, and more. So here are the books that swept some of the staff off to a different time and place this year.
I’m a big fan of reading nonfiction for fun, although I didn’t read a ton of it this year. (I’ll make a note of this for 2021.) But just because I didn’t read a lot of nonfiction this year, doesn’t mean others on staff did not. Jen in Patron Services can always be counted on for some true crime recommendations, and our new Head of IT and Reference, Trevor, picked a very IT sort of book, that honestly would probably be fascinating if I could wrap my head around it. But there are also dog books, cartoons, and Caste, one of the hottest nonfiction titles of the year from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Warmth of Other Suns.
Interface Between Quantum Information and Statistical Physics edited by Mikio Nakahara and Shu Tanaka
For their jobs, a lot of folks around here read kids and young adult books to keep up with work. Some (OK. Most of us.) also read kids and YA books because we like them. For instance, more than one person around here will be happy to tell you all about how great Sarah J. Maas is. And a couple of the folks up in our Children’s Department enjoyed spending time with classics by Kenneth Grahame and Betty Smith. (Aside—Have you heard about the new edition of Smith’s novel Tomorrow Will Be Better? We have copies.) In other words, you’re never too old to enjoy these titles.