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Alternative Services Top Picks for 2016

23/02/2017

Are you looking for something new and exciting to read, and interested in learning more about some great books with buzz?  Staff from the Alternative Services team (encompassing Homebound, Accessibility, Bookmobile, and Kiosk Services) have compiled a list of their recommended reads from 2016. From children's materials, to biographies, to historical mysteries—here are our top picks in various genres!  Check out some highlights below, and for the full list click here.

If you have read any of these, or if particular titles have piqued your interest let us know in the comments section below!

(Stay tuned throughout the year for more posts on readers' advisory trends, topics, and great book lists!)

Alternative Services Top Picks for 2016 by charmaine_library

Looking for a great read? Check out some of the top recommendations from the Alternative Services team!

  • Image: Homegoing

    Homegoing

    By Gyasi, Yaa
    This book reads a bit like a short story, multi-generational version of The Book of Negroes. Two half-sisters are raised in very different worlds in 18th century Ghana. One is married to a white slave trader, who unwittingly sells her sister and sends her to America. The story follows two characters in each subsequent generation, descendents of each sister, with each decision made having ripple effects traced down to the present day. Along the way, readers face the geopolitical realities of everything from tribal warfare among the Asante to coal mining as an precursor to the American penal system.
  • Image: When Breath Becomes Air
    Kalanithi writes most beautifully about his experiences as a new neurosurgeon, who at the age of 36 was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. He continued to work during much of his treatment, and through this book he explored what it meant to live a meaningful life. Kalanithi chronicled the shift from medical student to doctor, his relationships with patients, his significant other, of new life, and how he came to face his mortality. Truly inspirational, this may be the best book I read all year.
  • Image: Dinosaur Dance!

    Dinosaur Dance!

    By Boynton, Sandra
    Classic Boynton. Good for fans of Boyton, not good for ... unfans. Must be read enthusiastically.
  • Image: Happy

    Happy

    Secrets to Happiness From the Cultures of the World
    Short glimpses of happiness secrets from around the world- as easy as "enjoy the finer things in life'. Easy to pick up and read 1 or 2 stories when you need inspiration.
  • Image: The Mothers

    The Mothers

    A Novel
    By Bennett, Brit
    Narrated by a group of church mothers acting as a kind of Greek chorus, this novel follows a young couple through young adulthood, both in real life and in terms of what might have been. A decision made in their teens haunts them through to their thirties, and the “road not taken” looms large over the story. While the story tackles difficult questions about parenthood, politics, religious life and friendship, it also wholeheartedly celebrates the beautiful complexity of relationships and the opportunities we have in life for second chances.
  • Image: Empty Mansions

    Empty Mansions

    The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of A Great American Fortune
    By Dedman, Bill
    Written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Bill Dedman, this biography traces the life of reclusive heiress Huguette Clarke. Dedman came across Huguette’s ‘empty mansion’ (which had been unoccupied for the last 60 years) and started digging into her life. He discovered that she had been living in a hospital for the last 20 years of her life, despite the fact that she was healthy.... and that she had given her nurse more than 30 million in gifts. An engrossing biography that traces three generations of the Clark family, and attempts to unravel some of the secrets and mysteries of this incredibly private woman.
  • Image: Vita Brevis

    Vita Brevis

    A Crime Novel of the Roman Empire
    By Downie, Ruth
    Yes, historical detective fiction is my genre of choice. This series is well-written and well-researched (a must for anything historical for me, especially if genre fiction).
  • Documentary about older adults in US living with dementia and the benefits that music has on these individuals that is unlike any other drug or treatment. “music has more ability to activate more parts of the brain than any other stimulus.”
  • Image: The Bricks That Built the Houses
    This book reads like it was written by the award-winning rapper and poet that Tempest is! The plot takes place in the darkly criminal world of contemporary London, where a female drug dealer named Harry may have finally gotten in over her head. Usually I read for plot, but in this case, Tempest’s language (which annoyed some reviewers as grandstanding) swept me away and I could not put this down. It’s like Pulp Fiction, as written by Erykah Badu.
  • Image: Dark Matter

    Dark Matter

    A Novel
    By Crouch, Blake
    By the author of Wayward Pines, this novel takes us on a thrill ride through parallel universes, and altered realities. Jason wakes up one day in a different life, in a different universe-- he never had a son, and he never married his wife—everything is slightly off...how did he get here? How does he get back? A fast-paced read that will have you on the edge of your seat, and questioning... what if?