Best Bets 2015

Every year we pick our favourite books that we can’t stop recommending to people. Check them out below!

Download a PDF of this list.

01

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

A God in Ruins is the companion novel to Life After Life which features Ursula Todd – as she lives her life over and over again – trying to get things right. A God in Ruins turns its attention to the much-loved Teddy, Ursula’s younger brother. Teddy is recruited as an RAF bomber pilot in the WWII and has accepted the fact he would die during the war. However, when the war is over, and he is still alive, he must adjust to a life he never thought he would live.

-Theresa de Sousa, Richmond Public Library

 

02

The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia by Michael Booth

Although I’m half Danish, I don’t know that much about the Nordic/Scandinavian countries, so this book was a light and engaging way to learn a little history, politics, sociology and psychology – along with some entertaining travel stories. The author is a British travel writer who lives with his Danish wife in Denmark. His writing is great: funny, quirky, and enlightening.

-Jenny Fry, Surrey Libraries

 

03The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

Melanie loves school, especially when Miss Justineau reads the class Greek myths, but it doesn’t matter that she is smart and inquisitive. Not only is she kept in a cell, restrained in a wheelchair, watched by armed soldiers, she is also going to be dissected soon.

A haunting post-apocalyptic tale with superb world building.

-Virginia McCreedy, Port Moody Library

 

04Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us by Murray Carpenter

This book is a wander through the strange world of caffeine, touching on history, science, commerce, globalization, and politics. It is both an expose and a love story, complex yet still unable to catch the full range of complexities caffeine embodies. This fascinating book is a good, light read for people who like the micro-history format or anyone who is willing to examine their caffeine habit a little bit closer.

-Anna Ferri, West Vancouver Memorial Library

 

05All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Marie-Laure is 12 and blind when Nazis invade Paris. She and her father flee to the walled waterfront city Saint-Malo with a most valuable and dangerous item in their possession. Young orphan Werner grows up in a German orphanage. Skilled at fixing radios, he finds himself tracking the resistance for the Nazis. The war brings him to Saint-Malo where his life and Marie-Laure’s converge. This story was a beautiful, suspenseful, illuminating perspective on WW2.

-Meghan Savage, Surrey Libraries

 

06The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

This dazzling novel centres around twelve sisters in Prohibition-era New York. While their repressive father plots to marry them off, the sisters, led by the eldest, Jo, begin sneaking out to dance in night clubs and speak-easies. An elegant and non-magical retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale, this novel is full of emotionally complex relationships, brought to vivid life with Genevieve Valentine’s deft storytelling and lyrical language.

-Chloe Riley, UBC School of Library Archival and Information Studies

 

07

The Woman Who Borrowed Memories by Tove Jansson

Perhaps best known for her Moomins books, this volume introduces English readers to the first major collection of Jansson’s short fiction. One of the major themes running through the stories is characters in physical or emotional isolation. This would be a good, representative collection for fans of short-stories and Scandinavian literature.

-Caroline Crowe, Vancouver Public Library

 

 

08

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Americanah is the work of a masterful storyteller: thoughtful, witty and irreverent. It is a novel of ideas: race, aspiration, and nationality. It is also a star-crossed love story that wends its way across three continents and three decades. Original and absorbing.

-Tara Matsuzaki, West Vancouver Memorial Library

 

 

09

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

A post-apocalyptic literary thriller with beautiful writing, compelling characters, and a stand-out plot. Even if you are sick of dystopian novels, you’ll want to read this.

-Heidi Schiller, North Vancouver City Library

 

 

 

10Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

A quirky, edgy memoir by the creator and star of HBO’s Girls. Dunham examines her life from childhood, dating, and college life to fame and fortune through individual essays that are humourous, dark, and thought provoking.

-Sarah Dearman, Fraser Valley Regional Library

 

 

 

11The Good Luck Right Now by Matthew Quick

This novel tells the story of Bartholomew Neil and his struggle to find meaning after the death of his mother. Written as a series of letters to Richard Gere after Bartholomew finds a “Free Tibet” postcard in his mother’s drawer, this book is quirky, funny and philosophical and makes for a great departure from the ordinary.

-Michelle Whitehead, Greater Victoria Public Library

 

 

12The Martian by Andy Weir

Mark Watney may not have been the first human on Mars, but he might be the last. Left behind when the rest of his team was forced to evacuate, Mark must use all of his ingenuity to stay alive until, or if, help will arrive. Funny, gripping, and you’ll never have wanted more for someone to succeed in their attempts to grow potatoes.

-Matthew Murray, UBC School of Library Archival and information Studies

 

13The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston

A powerful, sweeping novel with unforgettable characters that tells the story of Newfoundland’s first premier. Don’t let the subject fool you – Joey Smallwood and Sheilagh Fielding will stay with you long after you finish the book – which is just as rewarding a read the second time around.

-Shelley Wilson-Roberts, New Westminster Public Library

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This entry was posted in Best Bets, Booktalking on by .

About thematthewmurray

Matthew recently completed his MLIS at the University of British Columbia School of Library, Archival & Information Studies in Vancouver, Canada. He currently spends his time acting as webmaster for the BCLA Readers' Advisory Interest Group and ASIS&T's Digital Libraries special interest group, content editing for the graphic novel review site No Flying No Tights, and organizing gaming and zine related events for American Library Association conferences. He's the editor of the fiction anthology zine Two-Fisted Library Stories, and is really into Raspberry Pi computers and maker stuff in general.

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