Good Reads from Friends of the Plymouth Library

These library-lovers each pick 10 of their favorite page-turners.
Friends of the Plymouth Library member LuAnn Svendsen picks her top 10 adult nonfiction reads.

Get your library card ready! Friends of the Plymouth Library, a volunteer-based organization devoted to the support and betterment of Hennepin County Library, is ready to help you and your family hit the books this fall. They’ve written up a few Top 10 suggested books lists of their favorite books that they think you’ll love, too. Ready, set, read!

Adult Fiction
Compiled by Cathy Fischer

  1. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (BookPage, April 2014) A down-on-his-luck bookseller who finds love in an unusual way is a “paean to the power of books.”
  2. The Promise of Stardust by Priscilla Sibley (Harper Collins, February 2013) In a plot mirrored by current events, a man must choose what to do about his unborn child when his pregnant wife suffers a massive stroke.
  3. The Soldier’s Wife by Joanna Trollope (Simon & Schuster, June 2012) A British Army major returns to his wife and daughters after a six-month tour in Afghanistan, and all members of his family must deal with the unforeseen consequences of his deployment.
  4. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (Picador, September 2008) The Queen of England, who has never had much interest in books, becomes an avid read in this delightful satire.
  5. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (Atria, March 2014) This author won the prestigious Edgar Award in May for his novel about a 13-year-old boy whose life is changed forever by events in his small Minnesota town in 1961.
  6. The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian (Doubleday, June 2012) A modern-day New Yorker makes discoveries about her Armenian ancestors and how they were affected by the events of 1915–1916.
  7. Emily, Alone by Stewart O’Nan (Penquin Books, December 2011) A new widow waits for visits from her grandchildren and deals with both the personal and societal changes brought about by aging.
  8. Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (Random House, January 2013) Twelve-year-old Julia narrates events in her life and in her neighborhood as the rotation of the world slows down.
  9. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (Penquin Books, December 2008) A book conservator, called on to restore the Hebrew codex known as the Sarajevo Haggadah, decides to find out where the book has been for the past 400 years.
  10. Longbourn by Jo Baker (Knopf, October 2013) The servants are the primary characters in this homage to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Adult Nonfiction
Complied by LuAnn Svendsen

  1. Under a Flaming Sky by Daniel James Brown (Lyons Press, May 2006) After the first couple pages, this story of the Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894 reads like a novel—a true page-turner for any Minnesotan.
  2. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House, November 2010) An inspiring and captivating biography of an Olympic runner turned World War II POW and war hero.
  3. Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (Vintage, February 2004) Two intertwined stories, both true—one a serial killer and the other the building of the Chicago World’s Fair.
  4. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (W. W. Norton & Company, May 2004) An informative but humorous examination of the uses, medical and otherwise, for our corpses.
  5. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster, September 2005) A fascinating account of how President Lincoln was able to bring diverse people together to save our nation.
  6. Outcasts United: An American Town, Refugee Team & One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference by Warren St. John (Spiegel & Grau, December 2009) This book is about soccer, about refugees, about discipline and inner strength—it’s an eye-opening story.
  7. Kevin Kling’s Holiday Inn by Kevin Kling (Borealis, November 2009) A compilation of autobiographical essays from Minnesota’s own master storyteller—some are funny, others are poignant.
  8. I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman by Nora Ephron (Vintage, April 2008) Mostly humorous universal essays on the perils of aging and on being a woman, of any age.
  9. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (Viking Adult, June 2013) A compelling story of an Olympic hopeful and experiences at Hitler’s “Jesse Owens” Olympics.
  10. The Summer of Beer and Whiskey: How Brewers, Barkeeps, Rowdies, Immigrants and a Wild Pennant Fight Made Baseball America’s Game by Edward Achorn (PublicAffairs, April 2014) A fascinating history of professional baseball in the 1880s.

Young Adult
Compiled by Becca Brangard and Max Sigal

  1. The Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix (Scholastic Paperbacks, July 2013) This seven-book fantasy-adventure series chronicles the adventures of Arthur Penhaligon, a 12-year-old boy who has been chosen to become the Rightful Heir of The House.
  2. The Immortals series by Tamora Pierce (Simon Pulse, 2006) Veralidaine Sarrasri is an orphan with the gift of “wild magic,” which allows her to talk to, heal, take the shape of and control animals.
  3. The Raft by S.A. Bodeen (Square Fish, May 2013) In this thriller, Robie is stranded after her plane goes down in a storm, forcing her to face the grueling conditions and survive.
  4. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (Greenwillow Book, April 2008) Now an Academy Award-nominated film, this classic fantasy shares how a girl’s unlucky fate is unexpectedly turned around.
  5. Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books, February 2012) This very popular series is set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago where members of society are assigned to one of five virtue-cultivating factions.
  6. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Dutton Books, January 2012) Terminally-ill teen Hazel’s story gets a divinely romantic twist after Augustus Waters shows up at her Cancer Kid Support Group.
  7. The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott (Ember, June 2008) Sophie and Josh are twins whose lives are turned upside down when they become involved in a fantastical battle over the ancient book, The Book of Abraham the Mage.
  8. Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore and James Frey (Harper Collins, January 2010) John, a 15-year-old from planet Lorien, his protector and eight other teenage Lorics are on the run from the Mogadorians, another alien race that is hunting them.
  9. Maximum Ride series by James Patterson (Warner Vision Books, April 2005) Using the unique gift of flight, Maximum Ride and the rest of the Flock face a series of adventures after escaping from a lab facility.
  10. Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, June 2002) Published in 30 languages, this immensely popular saga tells the story of a teenage boy and his struggles after getting involved in a world of vampires.

Compiled by Sydney Frank

  1. Biscuit series by Alyssa Satin Capucilli (Harper Collins, January 1996) Follow along with Biscuit, a cuddly yellow puppy, as he uses each day to find adventures, make friends and learn something new.
  2. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems (Disney-Hyperion, September 2004) This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Trixie, Daddy and Knuffle Bunny’s trip to the laundromat, where the day’s adventure takes a hilarious turn.
  3. We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems (Disney-Hyperion, September 2010) Discover the joy of reading with Gerald and Piggie, a pair of very different best friends.
  4. Fancy Nancy series by Jane O’Connor (HarperCollins, December 2005) The more glitter the better! Get to know Nancy, a little girl who is on a mission to show that there’s no such thing as being too fancy.
  5. Olivia series by Ian Falconer (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, January 2000)This Caldecott Honor book series is based on the spunky, endearing Olivia, a 6-year-old pig who likes to sing and scare her little brother, but hates naps.
  6. Fly Guy series by Tedd Arnold (Scholastic, Inc., September 2005) This silly series uses slapstick humor and goofy illustrations to share all the crazy fun that zany Fly Guy and his friend Buzz have.
  7. Minnie and Moo books by Denys Cazet (Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, November 2003) Cows and BFFs Minnie and Moo like to have fun and help out on their farm, especially if dressing up is involved.
  8. You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You by Mary Ann Hoberman (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, September 2012) Use these twelve short stories to help your child get a jump start on reading.
  9. Katie Woo series by Fran Manushkin (Katie Woo, September 2010) These early chapter books feature Katie Woo, a sassy schoolgirl that’s impossible not to fall in love with.
  10. Amelia Bedelia series by Peggy Parish (Greenwillow Books, 1972) Amelia Bedelia is a lovable maid who finishes her chore list a little too literally, always to hilarious results.


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