By Amy Adams ι Jan. 28, 2014

Back when I worked in the newspaper industry, I started paying attention to Best of the Year lists. This is when a columnist or critic tries to narrow down a year of new books, music or movies to a few “best” picks. They often admit the futility of the exercise, but still take a shot at it.

While what is “best” is subjective, I do find these lists to be a good starting out point for adding new books to my “to read” list. This year I took a look at NPR’s Book Concierge (an attempt at breaking the top 10 list mold) and The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2013.

Here are three books that made my “to read” list:

  • “The Golem and the Jinni” by Helene Wecker. The story combines Jewish and Arab The Golem and the Jinnifolklore in the setting of 19th century New York. I looking for it to illuminate the immigrant experience and the add to the discussion on cultural divides.
  • “Boxers” and “Saints” by Gene Luen Yang. This is a two-volume graphic novel that explores the 1899-1900 Boxer Rebellion in China. Each volume is told from a teen on a different side of the conflict. Graphic novels my seem like a childish genre, but I find the simplicity of pared down narration with action-oriented images can equal powerful storytelling. Check out “Maus” and “Persepolis”.
  • “Vampires in the Lemon Grove” by Karen Russell. Okay, this one is a bit of a toss up for Vampires in the Lemon Groveme. I’m not sure I’ll actually like it, but it sounds unique enough to have potential. This is a collection of story shorts similar to Russell’s popular “Swamplandia.” In “Vampires,” Russell aims to combine fantastical situations with human elements.

What books have you added to you “to read” list lately?

Amy Adams


Amy Adams is the library’s Public Relations Coordinator.