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Best of 2017: Staff Picks


We believe that books make great gifts so, just in time for you last minute shoppers, here is our gift to you: the ultimate list of Richmond Public Library staff picks from 2017.

Nideria: You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero. I love this book because it has helped me to develop a new outlook on my finances. As a beginner in the journey to financial freedom, I’d recommend this book to anyone who is ready to break down the barriers and boost their money making mentality. Own it and make it happen!

Adam: The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn by Nathaniel Philbrick.

Lisa: The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. Timely, with the Ken Burns series released this year, and it won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The writing is incredible, with moments of laughter and then cringing within the same scene. Favorite quote:  “…strip malls like kudzu…”

Sarah: Usually I do fiction but…Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. Crazy smart (really) scientific description of the mysteries of the natural world. Sounds boring but is one of a kind. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. Haven’t read the newest one, but this is a good book club book. Best audiobook: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. This man can do languages. Very funny, very informative.

Scott: A Walk In the Woods, by Bill Bryson. Always wanted to know more about the AT. It was adventurous, informative, compelling and funny. It’s an older book but it was well written.

Laura: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. A young woman tries to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance while working at the Brooklyn Navy Yards during World War II. A nostalgic yet modern story.

Tara: Rosie Revere, Engineer is our toddler’s favorite picture book right now, and I’m glad, because I really enjoy reading it to him. Rosie is a budding engineer that, thanks to some encouragement from her inspirational aunt, starts inventing again after a hiatus.

Jonah: The Sarah Book by Scott McClanahan. This book is about people and losing things and then getting things back. It’s beautiful and real and full of truth. You’ll laugh and probably cry. It’s good to read aloud too. So read it to some friends and they’ll probably laugh or cry too. Or maybe read it to a stranger on the street and they’ll just give you weird looks because you’re laughing and/or crying and reading a book out loud in the street. But you won’t be crazy, because Scott captures in words how a story is spoken. And something so wonderfully done must be shared. Be sure to get a copy. But don’t just stop there, buy all your friends a copy too.

Nancy: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Editor’s note: We recommend getting both the print AND audiobook version.)

Teshawna: Gentlewoman: Etiquette for a Lady by Enitan O.Bereola II. This book was a great “go to guide” for 2017 for me personally. It gave me the necessary insight on a man’s perspective of a woman and an understanding of what I should expect from myself, as a woman. I’ve learn a lot from just 250 pages.

Krista: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. This book provided a new perspective on what it’s like to live in a world that judges a person by what they look like- both the advantages and disadvantages. It illuminated some of the challenges that a person of mixed parentage and poverty faces. Trevor Noah’s voice was funny and touching and very enlightening as he shared his personal journey.

Kerry: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate.  I don’t know how many times I have recommended it and everyone who read it has loved it! Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals–in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country–Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

Natalie: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jessmyn Ward. It’s hard for me to declare just one book my number one for a whole year but this book was truly outstanding. Part family saga, part road novel, and part ghost story, Sing, Unburied, Sing is powerful and scary, beautifully written, and utterly un-put-downable.

(Psst, don’t forget to support your local independent bookseller. They give the best recommendations, next to ours of course.)