Rainbow Rowell

Happy Books by Cindy Hulsey

I’ve been thinking about the concept of happiness quite a bit lately.  Maybe it’s because I’m growing older and wondering what it’s all about, or because I lost my father-in-law this year, or because the world becomes more complex and demanding by the minute.  The good news is that science has revealed that we can actually change our brains, making happiness attainable.  Two good books about how our brains adapt are The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr, whi

Embracing Eccentricities by Rebecca Howard

Generally speaking, I love strange people.  Let me clarify.  I love the quirky, offbeat, and freakishly brilliant.   These are people who might obsess over a certain historical figure or know everything imaginable about farming practices during the Neolithic period.  They might read 5 books a week on whatever topic has captured their keen attention and then move onto their next area of study.  If they were teenagers in the late 1980s, they made hundreds of mix tapes full of songs by unknown bands.  While perhaps a bit socially awkward, these kinds of people are both infinitely gifted and g

Christmas in July, New Year's in August by Laura Raphael

Every late December or early January, I peruse my reading list from the year just ending or ended and pick my favorites. Here at the library, we even share our lists. It’s always one of the reading-related highlights of my year: both considering and choosing what stayed with me the most, and discovering what my colleagues considered and chose.

It’s not the end of the year yet (not even close), but if we can have Christmas in July, why not New Year’s in August?

With that in mind, here’s my list of favorite fiction reads for 2013 – so far:

Discovery by Rebecca Howard

I discovered the last couple of books I’ve read quite by accident.  More accurately, I discovered them the way that I once did—before I read so many books reviews and had such a long list of items on request from the library.  I browsed.  Browsing for fiction can be a daunting task, and I fully understand how people can be thoroughly overwhelmed at the prospect of finding something they will enjoy.  Books are arranged by author, after all, not their characteristics.  Readers’ Advisory guru Nancy Pearl has even suggested a pie chart method labeling books, so that potential readers could see

Feast on This by Laura Raphael

Photo of Laura Raphael

Some books are light confections, amuse-bouches that please in the moment but as soon as they are closed, disappear from the mind as quickly as cotton candy on the tongue. These lovelies absolutely have a place in my personal reading diet, and they are far harder to write than they seem.

Pages