MOST VOTED

  1. All the devils are here by Louise Penny. The 16th novel by #1 bestselling author Louise Penny finds Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec investigating a sinister plot in the City of Light.
  2. The splendid and the vile: a saga of Churchill, family, and defiance during the Blitz by Erik Larson. Draws on personal diaries, archival documents and declassified intelligence in a portrait of Winston Churchill that explores his day-to-day experiences during the Blitz and his role in uniting England.
  3. American dirt by Jeanine Cummins. Selling two favorite books to an unexpectedly erudite drug-cartel boss, a bookstore manager is forced to flee Mexico in the wake of her journalist husband’s tell-all profile and finds her family among thousands of migrants seeking hope in America.
  4. Indians on vacation by Thomas King. Inspired by a handful of old postcards, sent by Uncle Lenny nearly a hundred years before, Bird and Mimi attempt to trace the steps of Mimi’s long-lost uncle and the family medicine bundle he took with him to Europe. By turns witty, sly and poignant, this is the unforgettable tale of one couple’s holiday trip to Prague. The often grumpy Bird and optimistic Mimi and their wanderings through the European capitals reveal a complicated history, both personal and political.
  5. Mudlark: in search of London’s past along the River Thames by Lara Maiklem. Tirelessly trekking across miles of the Thames’ muddy shores, where others only see the detritus of city life, Maiklem unearths evidence of England’s captivating, if sometimes murky, history — with some objects dating back to 43 AD, when London was but an outpost of the Roman Empire.
  6. Greenwood by Michael Christie. A shining, intricate clockwork of a novel, Greenwood is a rain-soaked and sun-dappled story of the bonds and breaking points of money and love, wood and blood–and the hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light.

GENERAL FICTION

  1. Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano. A 12-year-old lone survivor of a plane crash investigates the stories of his less-fortunate fellow passengers before making a profound discovery about his life purpose in the face of transcendent losses.
  2. Yes no maybe so by Becky Albertalli. Jamie Goldberg, who chokes when speaking to strangers, and Maya Rehrman, who is having the worst Ramadan ever, are paired to knock on doors and ask for votes for the local state senate candidate.
  3. Girlwomanother by Bernardine Evaristo. From one of Britain’s most celebrated writers of color, a magnificent portrayal of the intersections of identity among an interconnected group of Black British women. Co-winner of the Booker Prize with Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments.
  4. Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy. A woman who has dedicated her life to protecting the environment convinces a fishing captain and his salty crew to follow the world’s last flock of Arctic terns on a migration of dark revelations.
  5. Where the crawdads sing by Delia Owens. Viewed with suspicion in the aftermath of a tragedy, a beautiful hermit who has survived for years in a marsh becomes targeted by unthinkable forces.
  6. My brilliant friend by Elena Ferrante. Beginning in the 1950s Elena and Lila grow up in Naples, Italy, mirroring two different aspects of their nation.
  7. All adults here by Emma Straub. A warm, funny, and keenly perceptive novel about the life cycle of one family–as the kids become parents, grandchildren become teenagers, and a matriarch confronts the legacy of her mistakes.
  8. Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman. A socially awkward, routine-oriented loner teams up with a bumbling IT guy from her office to assist an elderly accident victim, forging a friendship that saves all three from lives of isolation and secret unhappiness.
  9. The debt to pleasure by John Lanchester. An impeccable, Epicurean Englishman and lifelong Francophile recounts his past pleasures in Provence, in a meditation on food, vodka, and restaurant-going that becomes a dark satire on hedonism.
  10. The heart’s invisible furies by John Boyne. In 1945, Cyril Avery was born to an unmarried teenager and adopted by a wealthy if rather eccentric Dublin couple. As readers, we visit Cyril every seven years, as he grows and comes to terms with his homosexuality in a violently repressive Ireland, flees his home country, and falls in love.
  11. Nightsleepdeaththe stars by Joyce Carol Oates. An intimate exploration of race, class warfare and healing follows the unexpected reactions of a wife and her adult children to a powerful patriarch’s death.
  12. Such a fun age by Kiley Reid. A story about race and privilege is centered around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.
  13. Noopiming: the cure for white ladies by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. This is a world alive with people, animals, ancestors, and spirits who are all busy with the daily labours of healing–healing not only themselves, but of the web that connects them all together.
  14. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. As the Reverend John Ames approaches the hour of his own death, he writes a letter to his son chronicling three previous generations of his family, a story that stretches back to the Civil War and reveals uncomfortable family secrets.
  15. Ask againyes by Mary Beth Keane. A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the friendship between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, and the power of forgiveness.
  16. Queenie Malone’s paradise hotel by Ruth Hogan. When her mother dies, Tilda goes back to Brighton and with the help of her beloved Queenie sets about unravelling the mystery of her exile from The Paradise Hotel and discovers that her mother was not the woman she thought she knew at all.
  17. Poles apart by Terry Fallis. An anonymous male feminist creates a blog that goes viral after a celebrity talk show host tweets about it and promotes it on her show.
  18. L’oeil de Jupiter by Tristan Malavoy. ”Il y a quatre ans, lors d’un repas de famille, un cousin éloigné m’a raconté l’histoire de son aïeule acadienne. Cette dernière aurait perdu sa famille lors de la révolte des esclaves, avant de se retrouver à la dérive sur la mer des Caraïbes. J’ai su immédiatement que je tenais le début d’un roman”

BIOGRAPHIES

  1. Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. Traces the personal crisis the author endured after the death of her mother and a painful divorce, which prompted her ambition to undertake a dangerous 1,100-mile solo hike that both drove her to rock bottom and helped her to heal.
  2. Begin again: James Baldwin’s America and its urgent lessons for our own by Eddie Glaude. James Baldwin grew disillusioned by the failure of the Civil Rights movement to force America to confront its lies about race; in the era of Trump, what can we learn from his struggle?
  3. Untamed by Glennon Doyle. An activist, speaker and philanthropist offers a memoir wrapped in a wake-up call that reveals how women can reclaim their true, untamed selves by breaking free of the restrictive expectations and cultural conditioning that leaves them feeling dissatisfied and lost.
  4. From the ashes: my story of being Metis, homeless, and finding my way by Jesse Thistle. In this heart-warming and heart-wrenching memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful past, the abuse he endured, and how he uncovered the truth about his parents. Through sheer perseverance and education – and newfound love – he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family.
  5. Bush runner: the adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson by Mark Bourrie. A biography of French fur trader and explorer Pierre-Esprit Radisson.
  6. On the move by Oliver Sacks. An autobiography of the British neurologist Oliver Sacks.
  7. Educated by Tara Westover. Traces the author’s experiences as a child born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, describing her participation in her family’s paranoid stockpiling activities and her resolve to educate herself well enough to earn an acceptance into a prestigious university and the unfamiliar world beyond.

MYSTERY FICTION

  1. The word is murder by Anthony Horowitz. When a wealthy woman is found murdered after planning her own funeral service, disgraced police detective Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, author Anthony Horowitz, investigate.
  2. The sweetness at the bottom of the pie by Alan Bradley. Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, begins her adventure when a dead bird is found on the doorstep of her family’s mansion in the summer of 1950, thus propelling her into a mystery that involves an investigation into a man’s murder where her father is the main suspect.
  3. Sweetness in the belly by Camilla Gibb. Orphaned at the age of eight, British-born Lilly devotes her life to the teachings of the Qur’an from within a Sufi shrine, but is persecuted for her foreign heritage, forcing her to flee to London, where she is equally disconnected.
  4. Maisie Dobbs novels by Jacqueline Winspear. Set in post-World War I era England, these satisfying historical mysteries, rich with historical detail, unfold gradually and feature well-developed, compelling characters, especially the eponymous Maisie Dobbs. The independent Miss Dobbs investigates mysteries head-on, and social issues are indirectly highlighted along the way. Always upbeat despite the seriousness of some issues, the books feature a hint of romance.
  5. Still life by Louise Penny. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of Canada’s Surete du Quebec is called to Three Pines to investigate the suspicious hunting “accident” that claimed the life of Jane Neal, a local fixture in the village.
  6. The second sleep by Robert Harris. Arriving in a remote mid-15th-century Exmoor village, a young priest discovers his late predecessor’s possibly fatal obsession with the ancient coins, glass and human bones strewn throughout the region.

HISTORICAL FICTION

  1. The henna artist by Alka Joshi. A talented henna artist for wealthy confidantes finds her efforts to control her own destiny in 1950s Jaipur threatened by the abusive husband she fled as a teenage girl.
  2. A gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Deemed unrepentant by a Bolshevik tribunal in 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in a hotel across the street from the Kremlin, where he lives in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history unfold.
  3. The vanishing half by Brit Bennet. Twin sisters, inseparable as children, ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.
  4. Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell. The members of a music band in 1967 London navigate the era’s parties, drugs and politics as well as their own egos and tragedies while exploring transformative perspectives about youth, art and fame.
  5. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Hurtled back through time more than two hundred years to Scotland in 1743, Claire Randall finds herself caught in the midst of an unfamiliar world torn apart by violence, pestilence, and revolution and haunted by her growing feelings for James Fraser, a young soldier.
  6. The red coat: a novel of Boston by Dolley Carlson. When an Irish domestic worker asks her wealthy employer for a red coat the matriarch has marked for donation, the coat triggers unexpected changes throughout subsequent generations in both families.
  7. The pull of the stars by Emma Donoghue. A novel set in 1918 Dublin offers a three-day look at a maternity ward during the height of the Great Flu pandemic.
  8. The giver of stars by Jojo Moyes. Volunteering for Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library in small-town Kentucky, an English bride joins a group of independent women whose commitment to their job transforms the community and their relationships.
  9. Little fortress by Laisha Rosnau. Based on the true story of the Caetanis, Italian nobility driven out of their home by the rise of fascism who chose exile in Vernon, BC. It is the story of a shifting world and the intricacies of the lives of women caught up in these grand changes.
  10. The night watchman by Louise Erdrich. A historical novel based on the life of the author’s grandfather traces the experiences of a Chippewa Council night watchman in mid-19th-century rural North Dakota who fights Congress to enforce Native American treaty rights.
  11. Hamnet and Judith by Maggie O’Farrell. Presents the evocative story of a young Shakespeare’s marriage to a talented herbalist before the ravaging death of their 11-year-old son shapes the production of his greatest play.
  12. The women of the copper country by Mary Doria Russell. Presents a story inspired by the life of Annie Clements, retelling in historically authentic detail how in 1913 she led a courageous strike against the world’s largest copper-mining company.
  13. A bout de l’exil by Micheline Duff. Au bout de l’exil, où la vérité et la fiction s’entremêlent habilement pour raconter l’exode d’une famille vers la Nouvelle-Angleterre. À la recherche d’une vie meilleure, comme tant d’autres Canadiens français
  14. Deverill chronicles by Santa Montefiore. (First book in series) A first installment in a trilogy follows the experiences of Kitty, who enjoys a life of privilege on Ireland’s wild countryside at the side of an increasingly resentful best friend and the vet’s son she loves, until the Irish revolt threatens her beloved home.

THRILLER

  1. The unquiet dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan. Detective Esa Khattack and his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, investigate the death of a local man who may have been a Bosnian war criminal with ties to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995.
  2. The order by Daniel Silva. Enigmatic art restorer and master spy Gabriel Allon is pitted against an international threat that tests the limits of his skills.
  3. The lantern men: a Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery by Elly Griffiths. When a convicted murderer offers to lead her to the bodies of four additional cold-case victims, Ruth Galloway embarks on a search in a fens-bordering village reputed to be haunted by mysterious lantern-carrying beings.
  4. Slow horses by Mick Herron. Intelligence agent River Cartwright, after being banished from high-profile work for incompetence, suspects a prominent British journalist with ties to an extremist party of being behind the kidnapping of a Muslim teenager.

ROMANCE

  1. Blossom Street series by Debbie Macomber. Set in contemporary downtown Seattle, these inspiring stories bring together women of all ages and backgrounds for knitting classes at Lydia Hoffman’s A Good Yarn shop. As they work together on projects, the characters grow in self-awareness and work through personal issues, often also finding true love in the process.
  2. Ayesha at last by Uzma Jalaluddin. A modern Muslim adaptation of Pride and Prejudice finds a reluctant teacher who would avoid an arranged marriage setting aside her literary ambitions before falling in love with her perpetually single cousin’s infuriatingly conservative fiancé.

FANTASY

  1. Widdershins by Charles De Lint. A work that brings readers back into the bohemian fairy courts of “Timeskip’s” Jilly Coppercorn and Geordie Riddell finds Jilly’s sister taken captive and Geordie, in his attempts to help, plunged into an even more dire situation.
  2. The magicians by Lev Grossman. Harboring secret preoccupations with a magical land he read about in a childhood fantasy series, Quentin Coldwater is unexpectedly admitted into an exclusive college of magic and rigorously educated in modern sorcery.
  3. Penric and Desdemona series by Lois McMaster Bujold. Set in the World of Five Gods and starring young Lord Penric, gifted with magical powers by a dying woman, this fantasy series is banter-filled and sardonic, marked by Penric’s droll wit.

SCI-FI

  1. To sleep in a sea of stars by Christopher Paolini. A space voyager living her dream of exploring new worlds lands on a distant planet ripe for colonization before her discovery of a mysterious relic transforms her life and threatens the entire human race.
  2. The threebody problem by Cixin Liu. Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project’s signal is received by an alien civilization on the brink of destruction, which plans to invade Earth; meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion.
  3. Vatta’s war by Elizabeth Moon. Thrown out of the Space Academy in disgrace, Ky Vatta, daughter of a leading interstellar trading dynasty, is given the chance to redeem herself by captaining one of Vatta’s oldest ships on its voyage to the scrapyards.
  4. Broken Earth novels by N. K. Jemisin. This award-winning series tackles themes of metaphorical racism and climate change apocalypse behind the stunning Afrofantasy story of Essun, a woman who is part of an oppressed group of people called the Orogenes who can manipulate the Earth’s geological forces

NON-FICTION

  1. A mind spread out on the ground by Alicia Elliot. L’oeil de Jupiter by Tristan Malavoy-Racine. A personal meditation on trauma, legacy, oppression and racism in North America, in an urgent and visceral work that asks essential questions about Native people in North America.
  2. Rage by Bob Woodward. An essential account of the Trump presidency draws on interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, diaries, and confidential documents to provide details about Trump’s moves as he faced a global pandemic, economic disaster, and racial unrest.
  3. Invisible womendata bias in a world designed for men by Caroline Criado-Perez. In a ground breaking, unforgettable expose, a leading feminist activist examines how a gender gap in data perpetuates bias and disadvantages women by diving into women’s lives at home, the workplace, the public square, the doctor’s office and more.
  4. Paddlenorth: adventure, resilience, and renewal in the Arctic wild by Jennifer Kingsley. The story of Jennifer Kingsley’s 54-day paddling adventure on the Back River in Nunavut, as she and her five companions battle wind, ice and rapids.
  5. The radium girls: the dark story of America’s shining women by Kate Moore. Recounts the struggles of hundreds of women who were exposed to radium while working factory jobs during World War I, describing how they were mislead by their employers and became embroiled in a battle for workers’ rights.
  6. The gift is in the making: Anishinaabeg stories by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. A collection of twenty traditional Nishnaabeg stories and one original short story that teach how to promote good relationships, how to function within a community, how to relate to the land, how to make collective decisions, and how to be a good person.
  7. My conversations with Canadians by Lee Maracle. Essays of the author’s thoughts about some of the questions with Canadians, which involve subjects such as citizenship, segregation, labour, law, prejudice, and reconciliation, have asked her.
  8. Gambling with Armageddon: nuclear roulette from Hiroshima to the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1945-1962 by Martin Sherwin. In this ground breaking look at the Cuban Missile Crisis, Martin Sherwin not only gives us a riveting sometimes hour-by-hour explanation of the crisis itself, but also explores the origins, scope, and consequences of the evolving place of nuclear weapons in the post-World War II world.
  9. Climate justice: hope, resilience, and the fight for a sustainable future by Mary Robinson. A former president of Ireland and U.S. special envoy on climate change describes the impact of climate change and offers uplifting stories of ordinary people who have stepped up to help save our planet, including a Mississippi hair dresser and a Ugandan farmer.
  10. The new Jim Crow: mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. Argues that the War on Drugs and policies that deny convicted felons equal access to employment, housing, education, and public benefits create a permanent under caste based largely on race.
  11. Baseless: my search for secrets in the ruins of the Freedom of Information Act by Nicholson Baker. The National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author presents a deeply researched assessment of the Freedom of Information Act that reveals how deliberate obstructions, from extensive wait times to copious redactions, conceal government corruption and human-rights violations.
  12. Our wild calling: how connecting with animals can transform our lives; and save theirs by Richard Louv. How cultivating the powerful, mysterious, and fragile bond between humans and other animals can improve our mental, physical, and spiritual health, protect our planet, and serve as an antidote to the loneliness of our species.
  13. The river at the center of the world: a journey up the Yangtze and back in Chinese time by Simon Winchester. The author recounts his experiences traveling along the Yangtze river, from the Tibetan border to the East China Sea, and shares his impressions of the people of China.
  14. Learning from the Germans: race and the memory of evil by Susan Neiman. A philosopher and director of the Einstein Forum examines the recent surge in white nationalism in an increasingly polarized America through the lens of Germany and how that country was able to come to terms with its own historical wrongdoings.
  15. The great pretenderthe undercover mission that changed our understanding of madness by Susannah Cahalan. The award-winning, bestselling author investigates the 50-year-old mystery behind a dramatic experiment that broke open the field of psychology, closing down institutions and changing mental health diagnosis forever.
  16. Conversations with a rattlesnake: raw and honest reflections on healing and trauma by Theo Fleury. Canadian hockey player Theo Fleury speaks to therapist Kim Barthel about the trauma he has experienced after years of sexual abuse at the hands of his hockey coach.

YOUTH

  1. Yes no maybe so by Becky Albertalli. Jamie Goldberg, who chokes when speaking to strangers, and Maya Rehrman, who is having the worst Ramadan ever, are paired to knock on doors and ask for votes for the local state senate candidate.
  2. Twilight saga by Stephanie Meyer. Moving to the small town of Forks in Washington State, high school student Bella Swan is captivated by the mysterious Edward Cullen who she later finds out is a vampire. The series follows their love story and the dangers they face in order to be together.
  3. High school by Tegan Quin. Award-winning identical twin music artists Tegan and Sara share the coming-of-age story of their high school years, detailing how their early relationships, family tragedies and high expectations shaped their rise to celebrated musicians and global LGBTQ icons.

CHILDREN

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling. When the government of the magic world and authorities at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry refuse to believe in the growing threat of a freshly revived Lord Voldemort, fifteen-year-old Harry Potter finds support from his loyal friends in facing the evil wizard and other new terrors.

We asked you what books were the most memorable reads of 2019 and here’s what you said:

(Book descriptions by NoveList Plus)

A Better Man – Louise Penny: Searching for a missing woman amid a catastrophic flood and blistering social media attacks, a demoted Armand Gamache bonds with the victim’s distraught father, who contemplates a murder of his own.

Ready to Come About – Sue Williams: Sue Williams sets sail for the North Atlantic with her husband after her sons have become adults.

The Library Book – Susan Orlean: The author reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution: our libraries.

Becoming – Michelle Obama: An intimate memoir by the former First Lady chronicles the experiences that have shaped her remarkable life, from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago through her setbacks and achievements in the White House.

Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens: Viewed with suspicion in the aftermath of a tragedy, a beautiful hermit who has survived for years in a marsh becomes targeted by unthinkable forces.

There were many honorable mentions. This is the list, separated by genre, of the best loved books in Mississippi Mills in 2019. Happy readings!

GENERAL FICTION

American Pastoral – Philip Roth: A former athletic star, devoted family man, and owner of a thriving glove factory, Seymour “Swede” Levov finds his life coming apart during the social disorder of the 1960s, when his beloved daughter turns revolutionary terrorist out to destroy her father’s world.

Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin: When David meets the sensual Giovanni in a bohemian bar, he is swept into a passionate love affair. But his girlfriend’s return to Paris destroys everything. Unable to admit to the truth, David pretends the liaison never happened – while Giovanni’s life descends into tragedy.

Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaristo: From one of Britain’s most celebrated writers of color, a magnificent portrayal of the intersections of identity among an interconnected group of Black British women.

Immigrant City: Stories – David Bezmozgis: A collection of stories about the various aspects of immigration and how it affects lives from author David Bezmozgis.

Neapolitan Novels (Series) – Elena Ferrante: This leisurely, engrossing series lyrically chronicles the deep, essential, and fraught friendship between Lila and Elena, both intelligent and ambitious women, through 40 years of shifting fortunes and diverging paths. Throughout their personal stories and inner dialogues runs the grit, violence, and beauty of Italy from 1944 into the 1980’s. These moving novels of ideas are best read in order.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong: A letter from a son to a mother who cannot read reveals the impact of the Vietnam War on their family history and provides a view into parts of the son’s life that his mother has never known.

On the bright side: the new secret diary of Hendrik Groen, 85 years old – Hendrik Groen: A follow-up to the best-selling The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen finds octogenarian curmudgeon Hendrik emerging from a year of mourning to help the Old-But-Not-Dead Club save their homes from demolition plans.

One summer – David Baldacci: Jack, terminally-ill and preparing to say goodbye to his family, has a miraculous recovery after his wife is killed in a car accident and struggles to reunite his family at her childhood home on the South Carolina oceanfront.

Postscript – Cecelia Ahern: It’s been seven years since Holly Kennedy’s husband died – six since she read his final letter, urging Holly to find the courage to forge a new life. She’s proud of all the ways in which she has grown and evolved. But when a group inspired by Gerry’s letters, calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, approaches Holly asking for help, she finds herself drawn back into a world that she worked so hard to leave behind.

Still Alice – Lisa Genova: Feeling at the top of her game when she is suddenly diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, Harvard psychologist Alice Howland struggles to find meaning and purpose in her life as her concept of self gradually slips away.

The beekeeper of Aleppo – Christy Lefteri: Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind & so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain.

The book of dreams – Nina George: Rendered comatose after an act of heroism, a man revisits memories of his British youth, while his ex forges an unexpected, profound friendship with the teenage son he has never known.

The clockmaker’s daughter – Kate Morton: More than 150 years after an artist’s retreat on the banks of the Upper Thames ends in murder, theft and ruin, a London archivist is drawn by a striking photograph and a sketchbook to discover a manor’s secrets.

The goldfinch – Donna Tartt: Taken in by a wealthy family friend after surviving an accident that killed his mother, thirteen-year-old Theo Decker tries to adjust to life on Park Avenue.

The Dutch house – Ann Patchett: A tale set over the course of five decades traces a young man’s rise from poverty to wealth and back again as his prospects center around his family’s lavish Philadelphia estate.

The great alone – Kristin Hannah: When her volatile, former POW father impulsively moves the family to mid-1970s Alaska to live off the land, young Leni and her mother are forced to confront the dangers of their lack of preparedness in the wake of a dangerous winter season.

The heart’s invisible furies – John Boyne: In 1945, Cyril Avery was born to an unmarried teenager (the book opens with a dramatic scene in a rural Irish church that sets this up with relish) and adopted by a wealthy if rather eccentric Dublin couple. As readers, we visit Cyril every seven years, as he grows and comes to terms with his homosexuality in a violently repressive Ireland, flees his home country, and falls in love. An absorbing story, this novel offers richly drawn characters, plausibly life-altering choices, and an often humorous writing style. — Description by Shauna Griffin.

The Nest – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney: Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab.

The Overstory – Richard Powers: Presents an impassioned novel of activism and natural-world power that is comprised of interlocking fables about nine remarkable strangers who are summoned in different ways by trees for an ultimate, brutal stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest.

Tin man – Sarah Winman: A heartbreaking celebration of love in all its forms gradually reveals a fallout between two longtime friends and Oxford students over the course of a decade marked by the marriage of one and the disappearance of the other.

Unsheltered – Barbara Kingsolver: Traces the experiences of a woman whose efforts to protect her family from sudden unemployment are shaped by the story of an ostracized 19th-century science teacher.

Women talking – Miriam Toews: After learning the men in the community have been drugging and attacking more than a hundred women, eight Mennonite women meet in secret to decide whether they should escape to a place outside the colony or stay in the only world they’ve ever known.

BIOGRAPHY

A Broken Hallelujah – Liel Leibovitz: This meditation on the life of the Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist discusses his performing career, which began despite his crippling stage fright, to his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

All Things Consoled: A Daughter’s Story – Elizabeth Hay: Jean and Gordon Hay were a colourful, formidable pair. Jean, a late-blooming artist with a marvellous sense of humour, was superlatively frugal; nothing got wasted, not even maggoty soup. Gordon was a proud and ambitious schoolteacher with a terrifying temper, a deep streak of melancholy, and a devotion to flowers, cars, words, and his wife. As old age collides with the tragedy of living too long, these once ferociously independent parents become increasingly dependent on Lizzie, the so-called difficult child. By looking after them in their final decline, she hopes to prove that she can be a good daughter after all.

Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood – Alexandra Fuller: Alexandra Fuller tells the idiosyncratic story of her life growing up white in rural Rhodesia as it was becoming Zimbabwe. The daughter of hardworking, yet strikingly unconventional English-bred immigrants, Alexandra arrives in Africa at the tender age of two. She moves through life with a hardy resilience, even as a bloody war approaches.

Educated – Tara Westover: Traces the author’s experiences as a child born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, describing her participation in her family’s paranoid stockpiling activities and her resolve to educate herself well enough to earn an acceptance into a prestigious university and the unfamiliar world beyond.

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng: Explores the fallout of a favorite daughter’s shattering death on a Chinese-American family in 1970s Ohio.

They Called Us Enemy- George Takei: The iconic actor and activist presents a graphic memoir detailing his experiences as a child prisoner in the Japanese-American internment camps of World War II, reflecting on the hard choices his family made in the face of legalized racism.

How to Be an Antiracist – Ibram X Kendi: From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a bracingly original approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves. Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America—but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other.

Into the planet: my life as a cave diver – Jill Heinerth: A renowned cave diver and expert consultant presents a firsthand account of a trailblazing career spent exploring the hidden depths and sunken caves of the world’s oceans, detailing the field’s important scientific and historical discoveries.

Lenin: A Biography – Robert Service: A biography of the first Soviet leader delves into his heavily mythologized life to show why he was so feared, respected, and loved in Russia.

Love lives here: a story of thriving in a transgender family – Jette Amanda Knox: An inspirational story of accepting and embracing two trans people in a family–a family who shows what’s possible when you “lead with love.”.

Pope Joan revealed: the true story of the woman who ruled Christendom – Lone Jensen:

Rules of civility – Amor Towles: A chance encounter with a handsome banker in a jazz bar on New Year’s Eve 1938 catapults Wall Street secretary Katey Kontent into the upper echelons of New York society, where she befriends a shy multi-millionaire, an Upper East Side ne’er-do-well, and a single-minded widow.

The ghost orchard: the hidden history of the apple in North America – Helen Humphreys: Looks at the secret history of the apple in North America, and explores the intricate link between agriculture, settlement, and human relationships.

MYSTERY

Bruno, Chief of Police (Series) – Martin Walker: Captain Bruno Courreges goes by the grand title of Chief of Police, though in truth he’s the only municipal policeman on staff, in the small town of St Denis. He has a gun, but never wears it. He has the power to arrest but never uses it. But that might be about to change. When the body of an old man, head of an immigrant North African family, is found in his home, eviscerated, the conclusion is that this killing must be racist. But Bruno isn’t convinced and suspects this unusual crime may have its roots in a tortured period of recent French history.

Lethal white – Robert Galbraith: When a troubled young man asks him to investigate a crime he thinks he saw as a child, Cormoran Strike sets off on a twisting trail that leads from London’s backstreets, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a country manor house.

Birder Murder Mysteries (Series) – Steve Burrows: (First book in series) Domenic Jejeune is a reluctant police hero but an enthusiastic birdwatcher. After he’s promoted to a post in the heart of Britain’s birding country, his first case involves the murder of an environmentalist. Torn between loyalties to his job and his hobby, Jejeune faces mistrust from his colleagues and self-doubt as he works to solve the case.

The life we bury – Allen Eskens: College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe’s life is ever the same. Iverson is a dying Vietnam veteran–and a convicted murderer. As Joe writes about Carl’s life, especially Carl’s valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth.

The unquiet dead – Ausma Zehanat Khan: Detective Esa Khattack and his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, investigate the death of a local man who may have been a Bosnian war criminal with ties to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995.

The ruinous sweep – Tim Wynne-Jones: Tossed out of car onto a remote highway with no memory of the past 24 hours, Donovan causes a fatal accident trying to flag down help and is forced to assume the dead person’s identity to prove he is innocent of murder.

ROMANCE

The Rosie result – Graeme C. Simsion: Don and Rosie help their eleven-year-old son who is struggling at school and having trouble fitting in while trying to open a cocktail bar.

Twilight saga (Series) – Stephenie Meyer: Moving to the small town of Forks in Washington State, high school student Bella Swan is captivated by the mysterious Edward Cullen who she later finds out is a vampire. The series follows their love story and the dangers they face in order to be together.

THRILLER

The bad daughter – Joy Fielding: Estranged from her family because of her difficulties getting along with her stepmother, Robin returns home in the aftermath of a brutal home invasion, hoping to mend fences, only to uncover horrible family secrets that may have led to the attack.

HISTORICAL FICTION

A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles: Deemed unrepentant by a Bolshevik tribunal in 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in a hotel across the street from the Kremlin, where he lives in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history unfold.

The innocents – Michael Crummey: Two orphans forage for survival on an isolated Newfoundland cove during years marked by storms and ravaging illness, before the mystery of their nature tests the limits of their bond.

Barkskins – Annie Proulx: Working as woodcutters under a feudal lord in 17th-century New France, two impoverished young Frenchmen follow separate journeys, one of extraordinary hardship, the other of wealth and craftiness, that shape their families throughout three centuries.

Circe – Madeline Miller: Follows the banished witch daughter of Titans as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.

Gilead – Marilynne Robinson: As the Reverend John Ames approaches the hour of his own death, he writes a letter to his son chronicling three previous generations of his family, a story that stretches back to the Civil War and reveals uncomfortable family secrets.

The Alice network – Kate Quinn: In 1947, pregnant Charlie St. Clair, an American college girl banished from her family, arrives in London to find out what happened to her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, and meets a former spy who, torn apart by betrayal, agrees to help her on her mission.

The book thief – Markus Zusak: Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

The book woman of Troublesome Creek – Kim Michelle Richardson: A last-of-her-kind outcast and member of the Pack Horse Library Project braves the hardships of Kentucky’s Great Depression and hostile community discrimination to bring the near-magical perspectives of books to her neighbors.

The nightingale – Kristin Hannah: Reunited when the elder’s husband is sent to fight in World War II, French sisters Vianne and Isabelle find their bond as well as their respective beliefs tested by a world that changes in horrific ways.

The Sealed Letter – Emma Donoghue: Emily “Fido” Faithfull, a spinster pioneer in the British women’s movement, is distracted from her cause by the details of her friend’s failing marriage and affair with a young army officer, in this drama of friends, lovers, and divorce, Victorian style.

The world that we knew – Alice Hoffman: Sent away to 1941 Paris when Berlin becomes too dangerous for Jewish families, a young girl bonds with her protective mystical golem; while her friend, a rabbi’s daughter, rises to become a defender of their people.

FANTASY

Outlander Novels (Series) – Diana Gabaldon: Who would have known stepping into a circle of standing stones would transport you back in time to eighteenth century Scotland? Claire Randall learned this the hard way in the year 1945. While there, she falls in love with the young Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser as they are swept up in the events of the Jacobite uprising.

The Dark Artifices (Series) – Cassandra Clare: (First book in series) “Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs and her parabatai Julian Blackthorn race to stop a demonic plot that threatens Los Angeles”

The Pisces – Melissa Broder: Bottoming out after a dramatic breakup, a habitual student accepts her sister’s invitation to dog-sit on Venice Beach for the summer, where she meets an eerily attractive swimmer one night whose Sirenic identity transforms her understanding of what real love looks like.

SCIENCE FICTION

Ready player one – Ernest Cline: Immersing himself in a mid-twenty-first-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty, and disease, Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world’s creator.

Red rising – Pierce Brown: A tale set in a bleak future society torn by class divisions follows the experiences of secret revolutionary Darrow, who after witnessing his wife’s execution by an oppressive government joins a revolutionary cell and attempts to infiltrate an elite military academy.

Lunar Chronicles (Series) – Marissa Meyer: This science fiction/fantasy mash-up — set on a plague-ravaged future Earth — retells the stories of four oppressed, but empowered, fairy tale heroines. New characters are woven into each book creating a separate but layered story connected to Cinder, a cyborg version of Cinderella. The stakes are high as each heroine fights for a happy, and romantic, ever after.

NON-FICTION

I’ll be gone in the dark: one woman’s obsessive search for the Golden State Killer – Michelle McNamara: An account of the unsolved Golden State Killer case, written by the late author of the TrueCrimeDiary.com website traces the rapes and murders of dozens of victims and the author’s determined efforts to help identify the killer and bring him to justice.

Scientific American (Magazine) – Various Authors: An American popular science magazine. Many famous scientists, including Albert Einstein, have contributed articles to it. It is the oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the United States (though it only became monthly in 1921).

The ghost orchard: the hidden history of the apple in North America – Helen Humphreys: Looks at the secret history of the apple in North America, and explores the intricate link between agriculture, settlement, and human relationships.

The vagina bible – Jennifer Gunter: Dr. Jen Gunter now delivers the definitive book on vaginal health, answering the questions you’ve always had but were afraid to ask – or couldn’t find the right answers to. She has been called Twitter’s resident gynecologist, the Internet’s OB/GYN, and one of the fiercest advocates for women’s health… and she’s here to give you the straight talk on the topics she knows best.

The war that ended peace: the road to 1914 – Margaret MacMillan: Presents a narrative portrait of Europe in the years leading up to World War I that illuminates the political, cultural, and economic factors and contributing personalities that shaped major events.

CLASSIC LITERATURE

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte (1847): In early nineteenth-century England, an orphaned young woman accepts employment as a governess and soon finds herself in love with her employer who has a terrible secret.

MISSISSIPPI MILLS READS TEENS 2019

We asked you what books were the most memorable reads of 2019 and your answer was:

Red rising – Pierce Brown: A tale set in a bleak future society torn by class divisions follows the experiences of secret revolutionary Darrow, who after witnessing his wife’s execution by an oppressive government joins a revolutionary cell and attempts to infiltrate an elite military academy.

Ready player one – Ernest Cline: Immersing himself in a mid-twenty-first-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty, and disease, Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world’s creator.

Lunar Chronicles (Series) – Marissa Meyer: This science fiction/fantasy mash-up — set on a plague-ravaged future Earth — retells the stories of four oppressed, but empowered, fairy tale heroines. New characters are woven into each book creating a separate but layered story connected to Cinder, a cyborg version of Cinderella. The stakes are high as each heroine fights for a happy, and romantic, ever after.

The ruinous sweep – Tim Wynne-Jones: Tossed out of car onto a remote highway with no memory of the past 24 hours, Donovan causes a fatal accident trying to flag down help and is forced to assume the dead person’s identity to prove he is innocent of murder.

How to Be an Antiracist – Ibram X Kendi: From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a bracingly original approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves. Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America—but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other.

Circe – Madeline Miller: Follows the banished witch daughter of Titans as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.

The Dark Artifices (Series) – Cassandra Clare: (First book in series) “Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs and her parabatai Julian Blackthorn race to stop a demonic plot that threatens Los Angeles”

Twilight saga (Series) – Stephenie Meyer: Moving to the small town of Forks in Washington State, high school student Bella Swan is captivated by the mysterious Edward Cullen who she later finds out is a vampire. The series follows their love story and the dangers they face in order to be together.

Tin man – Sarah Winman: A heartbreaking celebration of love in all its forms gradually reveals a fallout between two longtime friends and Oxford students over the course of a decade marked by the marriage of one and the disappearance of the other.

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng: Explores the fallout of a favorite daughter’s shattering death on a Chinese-American family in 1970s Ohio.

Mississippi Mills Reads Junior 2019

We asked you what books were the most memorable reads of 2019 and your answer was:

Dog Man: For whom the ball rolls – Dav Pilkey: Dog Man has been working hard to overcome his bad habits, but when his obsessions turn to fears, he finds himself the target of an all-new supervillain, while Petey the Cat, who was just released from jail, starts a new life with Li’l Petey. GN

School for Good and Evil (Series) – Soman Chainani: (First book in series) Best friends Sophie (princess wannabe) and Agatha (witchy loner) are headed (via kidnapping) to the School for Good and Evil, but their assumed destinies are reversed.

The confidence code for girls: taking risks, messing up, & becoming your amazingly imperfect, totally powerful self – Katty Kay: Offers inspiration and practical advice to encourage girls to take risks, have big adventures, and challenge themselves in ways they never imagined.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney: (First book in series) Greg records his sixth grade experiences in a middle school where he and his best friend, Rowley, undersized weaklings amid boys who need to shave twice daily, hope just to survive, but when Rowley grows more popular, Greg must take drastic measures to save their friendship.

The Puppy Place (Series) – Ellen Miles:

(Goldie) Charles and Lizzie Peterson love puppies. They want a puppy of their own more than just about anything. They know dogs are a lot of work. But their Mom still doesn’t think their family is ready for a puppy. Then, Goldie arrives. She is a sweet golden retriever who needs a home. Goldie is very young. She doesn’t know how to be a good puppy yet. Will Charles and Lizzie be able to help her? (Angel) While hiking with her new environmental club, Lizzie sees a dog stranded in the woods. After a dramatic rescue, The Peterson’s decide that have to foster Angel, an adorable Havanese. With everything this playful pup has been through, will she find the writer new owner?

There were also many honorable mentions. This is the list. Happy readings!

B Magical (Series)– Liz Connor: (First book in series) Now that Beatrix (known to her friends as B) is eleven, she should be able to cast spells, just like everyone else in her magical family, but no matter how hard she tries, it doesn’t work.

Creepella Von Cacklefur (Series) – Geronimo Stilton: (First book in series) Creepella von Cacklefur, an amateur journalist, heads to the scary Squeakspeare mansion to interview some ghosts, where they meet Billy Squeakspeare, who is too afraid to go into his haunted house alone.

Drama – Raina Telgemeier: Callie rides an emotional roller coaster while serving on the stage crew for a middle school production of Moon over Mississippi as various relationships start and end, and others never quite get going. GN

Guts – Raina Telgemeier: Developing a chronic upset stomach that she initially dismisses as a bug, young Raina discovers that her symptoms are related to her anxieties about school, food and changing friendships, in a story based on the Eisner Award-winning author’s childhood. GN

Smile – Raina Telgemeier: An autobiography in graphic novel format describes how the author lost two of her front teeth in an accident when she was twelve, and her subsequent struggles with various corrective dental techniques throughout adolescence. GN

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling: When the government of the magic world and authorities at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry refuse to believe in the growing threat of a freshly revived Lord Voldemort, fifteen-year-old Harry Potter finds support from his loyal friends in facingthe evil wizard and other new terrors.

Magic Misfits (Series) – Neil Patrick Harris: (First book in series) “Six young magicians and illusionists team up to save their small town from a crooked carnival owner and his goons”

Wings of fire. (Original series) – Tui Sutherland: In this fast-paced, plot-driven epic fantasy series, five young dragons are stolen and raised by the secret Talons of Peace, who hope that this plan will bring an end to the long-standing war between the dragon tribes. The series features distinctive characters, dramatic and graphically violent battle scenes, and plenty of plot twists.

Wonder – R. J. Palacio: Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.