With the year half over, media outlets are announcing their picks for the best books of 2017 so far. Their selections are helpful whether you need ideas for your summer reading list or are curious about titles that could become the next award winners. The following books appear on several “best-of 2017” lists and are thus safe bets for a good read:
Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid. Described as “one of the most bittersweet love stories in modern memory,” this novel by a British-Pakistani author addresses the global refugee crisis through the tale of a couple fleeing civil war in an unnamed Muslim country by escaping through a magic portal. In its review of “Exit West,” the New York Times states the book is “poised to become one of this year’s most significant literary works.”
Anything Is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout. “Anything Is Possible” is a collection of stories focusing on peripheral characters from Strout’s previous novel, “My Name Is Lucy Barton.” Though the book’s characters endure a variety of hardships, in the end they manage to find redemption and solace. NPR describes Strout’s new work as a “welcome literary salve for these anxiety-inducing times.”
Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders. This unusual first novel by short-story master Saunders is set in the cemetery that Abraham Lincoln visits to mourn his young son, who died of typhoid. The graveyard is inhabited by ghosts, who are caught between the worlds of the living and the dead and who become the book’s narrators.
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann. The new book by the author of “The Lost City of Z” revisits a largely forgotten series of murders that happened in the 1920s to members of the Osage Indian tribe. The victims were targeted for their ownership of oil-rich land in Oklahoma, and when investigators were sent to look into the crimes, they were killed as well. Eventually, the murders were solved by a team of FBI agents assembled by the agency’s new director, J. Edgar Hoover, but in his fascinating true-crime thriller, Grann brings new evidence to light.
The Bright Hour, by Nina Riggs. This insightful and moving memoir was written by a woman who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in her late thirties, and it has been compared by many critics to “When Breath Becomes Air.” Riggs was a direct descendent of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and she quotes him often in her book, which examines how to live a meaningful life when time is running out.
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, by Yuval Noah Harari. A follow-up to Harari’s celebrated bestseller “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” “Homo Deus” focuses on what the future of our species might look like. Harari speculates that technological advancements will result in engineered humans with godlike attributes—but he warns that if only the superrich can afford these evolutionary improvements, a dystopian society will arise.
You can find these titles in the Library’s catalog by going to www.sedonalibrary.org and clicking the My Account or Search Catalog button. Most of the books are available in several formats. Please call or email the reference desk if you need assistance locating a book or placing a hold.
Sedona Public Library, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, receives support from individuals, the City of Sedona, Coconino and Yavapai Counties, and Friends of Sedona Library. Your tax-deductible donations can be sent to Sedona Public Library, 3250 White Bear Road, Sedona, AZ 86336, or made online at sedonalibrary.org or on Facebook.
Sedona Public Library
Column for June 23, 2017
Written by Elizabeth Cate, Collection Development Librarian
Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News and is also presented on Sedona Biz.