Best of 2017 & more generous donations

I know it’s not even close to over yet, but I am ready to name my two favorite books of the year. It’s a very auspicious award, the Likey; highly sought after.

I rarely love a non-fiction book. In general I find them dry or boring or both – I prefer to be moved when I read and, in general, fiction is better at that. BUT, I just finished listening to Trevor Noah read his own memoir Born a Crime. The subtitle describes it as “stories from a childhood in South Africa” but it is also an incredible investigation of what apartheid really did to the citizens of the country. It makes you think more clearly about what institutionalized racism really means. It’s personal and harrowing. Despite all that happens, in the end, it’s a love letter to his mother who guided him through such a terrible time.

Noah spends many pages describing how names are given to babies. Children have a traditional African name but must also, by law, have a western name too. Many families don’t know much about western culture so they simply choose a name to pass on the trait they associate with it. Noah had several friends named Hitler, who most simply knew was a famous leader. That, alone, is fascinating, but it’s all to set the stage for a heart breaking public misunderstanding. It is just one beautifully crafted and revealing scene in a book of many.

I also want to give another big recommendation to this year’s One Book One Valley book, One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood. I have been noticing a trend lately of elderly-fiction. I think their plots can be generalized: young person meets older person and is blown away by their wisdom and perspective. The genre, in general, has always turned me off and I was really close to writing this book off as more of the same.

I’m so glad I didn’t. Wood makes 103-year-old Ona Vitkus a full fledged character instead of a precious artifact to exploit. She is flawed and complicated, as well as full of wisdom and poise. The story explores her vulnerability, but also the others who come into it too. In fact, thinking about it now, Ona is probably the least fearful of the bunch.

We discussed the novel in Book Group last week and there was lots to talk about. Often when everyone likes a book, the conversation ends with ‘I liked it.’ But for this one we went on and on discussing the plot and exploring the people. I am really looking forward to dinner tomorrow night at the Black Cap Grille (10% goes to support the One Book One Valley program) with Monica Wood and then hearing her talk afterward at Kennett High School. I know I’ll see a lot of you there, but even if you can’t make it, please read the book. We’ll keep our 10 copies on the shelf for you for a bit longer.

And, finally, we have been having a magical week in the Library. More Amazon boxes arrive every day with purchases from our Wish List. Here is what came in Tuesday:

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More anonymous donations

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Again, these just arrived with no indication of who sent them. They are mostly selections for the children’s room with a movie and a novel for adults too. The entire Kingdom of Wrenly series which caused a tremor in my household. Lotte, age 7, absolutely loves the series and I won’t buy her more since she left the first four I got in the rain. She better not do that with the Library’s copies!

Whoever you are, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You are making three librarians so happy as well as sharing these generous gifts with our whole town. Thank you!

Addendum: two more after the post was written – overwhelmed with gratitude:

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Four more came in today!

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