The beginning of a new year is always a great time to reflect back on the past year, prior to jumping in to the new one feet first. In that vein, one of our hard working staffers, Sean Farrell, has put a list together for you of Avalon Free Public Library’s top-circulating books of 2013. Here are the top 10 in fiction and nonfiction from that list (all blurbs provided by Novelist or Amazon):
Top 10 Fiction
1. And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini (request it!) (get ebook!)
The best-selling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns presents a story inspired by human love, how people take care of one another and how choices resonate through subsequent generations.
2. The Castaways, by Elin Hilderbrand (request it!) (get ebook!)
Vacationing together in accordance with their tight-knit friendships, four Nantucket couples are shattered by a boating accident that kills two of their number, an event that sends the island into mourning and reveals unexpected truths about their private lives.
3. Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn (request it!) (get ebook!)
The first book from the bestselling author of Gone Girl centers around reporter Camille Preaker, who returns to her hometown after an eight-year absence to investigate the murders of two girls, and is reunited with her neurotic mother and enigmatic, thirteen-year-old half-sister as she works to uncover the truth about the killings.
4. Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline (request it!) (get ebook)
Close to aging out of the foster care system, Molly Ayer takes a position helping an elderly woman named Vivian and discovers that they are more alike than different as she helps Vivian solve a mystery from her past.
5. The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling) (request it!) (get ebook)
Private investigator Cormoran Strike has a day he’ll not soon forget. The 35-year-old, who lost a leg in Afghanistan, spends the night in his bare-bones London office after a relationship-ending fight with his girlfriend. That morning, he sports a cut on his face (she threw an ashtray) as he rushes out the door, barreling into a new temp secretary he can’t afford, almost sending her down a staircase. The forgiving temp, Robin, quickly proves useful when they get a case: a famous young model supposedly jumped from the top of her penthouse apartment, but her brother believes she was murdered. Entering the realm of the mega-rich, Strike and Robin question celebrities and fashionistas, trying to uncover the truth.
6. Inferno, by Dan Brown (request it!) (get ebook)
In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces–Dante’s Inferno. Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle.
7. Starting Now, by Debbie Macomber (request it!) (get ebook!)
After she is laid off, high-powered lawyer Libby Morgan, with no job prospects in sight, volunteers at a hospital where she meets a handsome doctor and rediscovers the joy of knitting, but when she is offered her job back, she must decide what matters most.
8. Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson (request it!) (get ebook!)
Ursula Todd is born on a cold snowy night in 1910 — twice. As she grows up during the first half of the twentieth century in Britain Ursula dies and is brought back to life again and again. With a seemingly infinite number of lives it appears as though Ursula has the ability to alter the history of the world, should she so choose.
9. Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, by Jennifer Chiaverini (request it!) (get ebook!)
Presents a fictionalized account of the friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and her dressmaker Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave.
10. The Apple Orchard, by Susan Wiggs (request it!) (get ebook!)
Set to inherit half of Bella Vista, a 100-acre apple orchard in a town called Archangel, along with a half-sister she’s never heard of, Tess Delaney, who makes a living restoring stolen treasures to their rightful owners, discovers a world filled with the simple pleasures of food and family.
Top 10 Nonfiction
1. The Guns at Last Light, by Rick Atkinson (request it!)
The magnificent conclusion to Rick Atkinson’s acclaimed Liberation Trilogy about the Allied triumph in Europe during World War II.
2. Unsinkable: a Memoir, by Debbie Reynolds (request it!) (get ebook!)
Actress, comedienne, singer, and dancer Debbie Reynolds shares the highs and lows of her life as an actress during Hollywood’s Golden Age, anecdotes about her lifelong friendship with Elizabeth Taylor and her experiences as the foremost collector of Hollywood memorabilia, and intimate details of her marriages and family life with her children, Carrie and Todd Fisher.
3. Shred: The Revolutionary Diet, by Ian K. Smith (request it!) (get ebook!)
Dr. Ian K. Smith’s Shred is the answer to every dieter’s biggest dilemmas: how to lose that last twenty pounds? How to push through that frustrating plateau? What to do when nothing else is working? Here, Smith has created a weight loss program that uses all he knows about strategic dieting in one plan–like putting all the best players on the field at once to create a can’t lose combination.
4. Wave, by Sonia Deraniyagala (request it!) (get ebook)
In 2004, at a beach resort on the coast of Sri Lanka, Sonali Deraniyagala and her family—parents, husband, sons—were swept away by a tsunami. Only Sonali survived to tell their tale. This is her account of the nearly incomprehensible event and its aftermath.
5. Lost Philadelphia, by Edward Arthur Mauger and Bob Skirba (request it!)
Organized chronologically, starting with the earliest losses and ending with the latest, the book features much-loved Philadelphia institutions that failed to stand the test of time, such as the Horn & Hardart automat or the Market Street ferries. It highlights grand buildings erected in the Victorian era that were too costly to be refurbished, and movie theaters that the age of television made redundant.
6. Home Made Summer, by Yvette Van Boven (request it!)
Home Made and Home Made Winter blew readers away with their stunning packages, delicious recipes, beautiful photos, step-by-step instructions, and hand-drawn artwork throughout. Now, in Home Made Summer, Yvette van Boven takes the same signature approach and presents her absolute favorite recipes for spring and summer. Inspired by her childhood in Ireland and her frequent sojourns in France, van Boven has created a collection of recipes that will truly inspire you to step into the kitchen.
7. Carrie & Me: a Mother-Daughter Love Story, by Carol Burnett (request it!)
Carrie and Me is Carol Burnett’s poignant tribute to her late daughter and a funny and moving memoir about mothering an extraordinary young woman through the struggles and triumphs of her life. Sharing her personal diary entries, photographs, and correspondence, Carol traces the journey she and Carrie took through some of life’s toughest challenges and sweetest miracles. Authentic, intimate, and full of love, Carrie and Me is a story of hope and joy that only a mother could write.
8. Keep it Pithy, by Bill O’Reilly (request it!) (get ebook!)
In Keep It Pithy, O’Reilly offers a classic collection of the most memorable writings from his bestselling books, and looks back at how his opinions and ideas have been proven right or wrong by the passage of time.
9. The Outsider: a Memoir, by Jimmy Connors (request it!) (get ebook!)
The Outsider is a no-holds-barred memoir by the original bad boy of tennis, Jimmy Connors. More than just the story of a tennis champion, The Outsider is the uncensored account of Connors’ life, from his complicated relationship with his formidable mother and his storybook romance with tennis legend Chris Evert, to his battles with gambling and fidelity that threatened to derail his career and his long-lasting marriage to Playboy playmate Patti McGuire.
10. Ike & Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage, by Jeffrey Frank (request it!)
One of the most acclaimed political biographies of our time, Jeffrey Frank’s Ike and Dick takes you inside the strained and complex relationship of two fascinating American leaders—hailed as “top-drawer as political history” (Russell Baker, The New York Review of Books) and “one of the best books ever written about Richard Nixon” (Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker).