This Olympic Gold Medal was won by Gretchen Fraser in the 1948 Winter Olympics at St. Moritz, Switzerland in the slalom skiing event. She and her husband Don would call Sun Valley home for many years and she was a mentor to many young racers. Don and Gretchen Fraser Collection, Regional History Museum, F94.01.114.
“Every book its reader.”
~Third Law of Library Science, S. R. Ranganathan, 1931
Every January, The Community Library curates a list of the 50 best book releases from the past year. Titles are chosen in Fiction, Science Fiction, Graphic Novels, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Graphic Non-Fiction, and Biographies & Memoirs. This year’s Best of 2021 was curated by Circulation Manager Pam Parker.
It’s hard to decide what to read next! Whether it’s a suggestion from a friend of a friend or C-Span Book TV discussion, the number of new titles vying for our attention continues to grow exponentially. And that doesn’t account for the must-reads that we’ve been meaning to read for years.
As librarians, we struggle with the same quandary. So I offer these kernels of inspiration as you look for your next great read:
• Our new website features Book Rivers that offer various suggestions for good reads. A collection of these rivers—from Fresh Fiction and Notable Nonfiction to Award Winners and Staff Picks—are now provided on our Book Recommendations page.
• Visit the New Book area off the Foyer, an alcove where we generally keep six months of the newest releases. Titles include sections for fiction, mystery, science fiction and nonfiction.
• Another tool we offer our borrowers is NoveList, a database of titles with genre, subject and critical reviews.
• Reviews are not a guarantee for a good read, but they are a tool we sometimes use to decide what’s worthy of our time. I particularly like the The New Yorker’s book reviews as well as their Briefly Noted. There are many, many good sources for reviews including NPR, Kirkus Reviews and the New York Times.
• You can always check out distinguished book awards for your next good read. The biggies are the National Book Awards, the Pulitzer Prizes, the Booker Prize awards, the Kirkus Prize, the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Awards for Excellence.
• Our Best Reads of 2021 list below is another option. This is mix of staff picks from fiction, nonfiction and mystery genres. This year, we added poetry and graphic novel/nonfiction categories to encourage all to read broadly.
Invariably, someone drops by the circulation desk in mid-January, picks up our ‘Best of’ list and asks, “What determines which books make your list?” The short answer is, the library staff do—all of us are invited to contribute, and this makes for an eclectic mix of books, indeed.
You might say it’s crafted with a dash of ‘word of mouth’ and a pinch of ‘must read’ gathered from other curated lists, awards, reviews and even our neighbor’s book club in some cases.
Yes, it’s pretty subjective, and we kind of like it that way. And, we invite you to drop by the desk and let us know what you think is a stand-out read; maybe it will make the ‘Best of 2022’ list.
All the Water I’ve Seen is Running | Elias Rodriques | FICTION Rodriques
American Delirium | Betina González | FICTION González
Billy Summers | Stephen King | FICTION King
Brood | Jackie Polzin | FICTION Polzin
Cloud Cuckoo Land | Anthony Doerr | FICTION Doerr
The Committed | Viet Thanh Nguyen | FICTION Nguyen
Cowboy Graves | Roberto Bolaño | FICTION Bolaño
Dangerous Women | Hope Adams | FICTION Adams
The Every | David Eggers | FICTION Eggers
The Five Wounds | Kristen Valdez Quade | FICTION Quade
Great Circle | Maggie Shipstead | FICTION Shipstead
Harrow | Joy Williams | FICTION Williams
The Historians | Ceclian Ekbäck | FICTION Ekbäck
How Beautiful We Were | Imbolo Mbue | FICTION Mbue
Klara and the Sun | Kazuo Ishiguro | FICTION Ishiguro
The Last Green Valley | Mark Sullivan | FICTION Sullivan
Late City | Robert Olen Butler | FICTION Butler
The Lincoln Highway | Amor Towle | FICTION Towles
MacArthur Park | Judith Freeman | NEW FICTION Freeman
Malibu Rising | Taylor Jenkins Reid | FICTION Reid
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict | FICTION Benedict
The Prophets | Robert Jones Jr. | FICTION Jones
This Tender Land | William Krueger | FICTION Krueger
West with Giraffes | Lynda Rutledge | FICTION Rutledge
What’s Mine is Yours | Naima Coster | FICTION Coster
Wish You Were Here | Jodi Picoult | FICTION Picoult
The Women’s March | Jennifer Chiaverini | FICTION Chiaverini
Amoralman | Derek DelDaudio | 793.8 DEL (True Crime/Confessional)
The Anthropocene Reviewed | John Green | 306 GRE (Science/Culture)
Atlas of the Heart | Brené Brown | 158.1 BRO (Self-Help; Language)
The Bomber Mafia | Malcolm Gladwell | (WW II)
The Book of Hope | Jane Goodall | 304.2 GOO (Extinction/Nature)
Bravey | Alexie Pappie | (Running/Elite Female Athlete)
The Code Breaker | Walter Isaacson | NEW NONFICTION 576.5 ISA (Science/Genetics)
Craft: An American History | Glenn Adamson | 680.973 ADA (Art and Crafts; historical)
Crying in H Mart | Michelle Zauner | NEW NONFICTION 782.42 ZAU (Coming of Age/Korean American)
The Doctors Blackwell | Janice Nimura | 610.92 NIM (Women in Medicine; historical)
Four Hundred Souls | Ibram X. Kendi | 973.049 KEN (Slavery)
Fox & I | Catherine Raven | 570.92 RA (Nature/Animals)
The Hard Crowd | Rachel Kushner | 814.6 KUS (Essays by a Writer)
Horizontal Vertigo | Juan Villoro | 972.53 VIL (Mexico City/Americas)
How to Make an Apple Pie from Scratch | Harry Cliff | 523.01 CLI (Science/Nuclear Physics)
Land | Simon Winchester | 333.3 WIN (Land use; historical)
The Last Winter | Porter Fox | NEW NONFICTION 363.738 FOX (Climate/Earth Science)
The Mission | David W. Brown | 610.92 NIM | (Space/Exploration)
The Musical Human | Michael Spritzer| 780.9 SPI (Humankind and Music)
Nine Days | Stephen Kendrick | 323.09 KEN (MLK/Civil Rights Movement)
The Spymaster of Baghdad | Margaret Coker | 956.7044 COK (Espionage)
There’s Nothing for You Here | Fiona Hill | 339.22 HIL (National Security/Foreign Affairs)
Under a White Sky | Elizabeth Kolbert | 304.28 KOL (Climate/Technology)
The Unusual Suspect | Ben Machell | 364.155 MAC (True Crime)
We Are Bellingcat | Eliot Higgins | NONFICTION 070.43 HIG (Journalism/Internet)
What Happened to You? | Bruce D. Perry, Oprah Winfrey | 616.85 PER (Trauma/Mental Health)
Under the Whispering Door | TJ Klune | SCIFIC Klune
When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain | Nghi Vo | SCIFIC VO
Memorial Ride | Stephen Grahm Jones | GRAPHIC NOVEL FIC JON
The Secret to Superhuman Strength | Alison Bechdel | GRAPHIC NOVEL FIC BEC
In the Lateness of the World | Carolyn Forche | 811.54 FOR (Migrations/Crossings)
West: Fire: Archive | Iris Jamahl Dunkle | 811.6 DUN (Mountain West Poetry)
Biographies & Memoirs
1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows | Ai Weiwei | 709.2 AI (Art/China)
Carry On | John Lewis | 328.73 LEW (Civil Rights)
Chasing Me to My Grave | Winfred Rembert | 759.13 REM (African American Experience)
Home Waters | John Maclean | 978.66 MAC (Reflection on Family/Father-Son)
More To Life Than More | Alan Pesky | 92 PES (Loss/Purpose)
Stranger Care| Sarah Sentilles | 362.73 SEN (Foster Parenting/Adoption)
On Tyranny | Timothy Snyder | GRAPHIC NON-FICTION 321.9 SNY (Despotism; historical)
Search Our Catalog for these titles.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Hi! My name is Madeline, I am in 9th grade and live in Hailey Idaho. I love politics, philosophy, writing, and playing the violin. I could talk about these topics all day. I also love reading, my favorite books are The Lord of The Rings, anything written by Tolkien, and Fahrenheit 451.
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, is a suspenseful story about life in a dystopian America.
Guy Montag is a fireman, but instead of putting out fires, he starts them. Whenever books are found in a house, he and his crew burn the books, along with the house. Books are considered dangerous and are banned for fear they might offend someone or raise uncomfortable topics. Instead, people are encouraged to watch T.V., live in the present, and not think twice about anything.
Guy accepts this life and believes he is content until he meets a young girl named Clarisse. Clarisse takes time to think, and never takes anything for granted. She is unlike anyone Guy has ever known, and the two easily become friends. Clarisse encourages Guy to think and wonder if life was always this way.
Guy starts to question everything he has been told and begins reading the banned books he has taken from the burnt houses. He undertakes a journey to discover the past where people weren’t afraid, and there was more to life than what is in front of you at the moment. Guy rebels against the life of a fireman and becomes a hunted enemy of state as result.
This is an amazing book about the dangers of government control and standing up for freedom. I recommend it for ages 12 and up. This is one of my favorite books, because it is very exciting and makes you think deeply. I also like that even though it is fiction, it is realistic and it feels like the events in the book could really happen in a few hundred years.
In Greek with English translation by John Daley with Page duBois, includes 23 wood engravings by Anita Cowles Rearden and 20 prints by Julie Mehretu. 400 numbered copies plus 26 hors de commerce, signed by the artist. Portfolio of four relief prints, “Sapphic Strophes”, three of them hand colored. 40 sets numbered and signed by the artist, 2011.
“Until we’re like clouds that tear like bread but mend like bones…”
Cloud Anthem art from the Two Ponds Press edition of Boundaries, poems and words by Richard Blanco, in the Special Collection.
“Boundaries is a collaborative project between Presidential Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco and contemporary landscape photographer Jacob Bond Hessler. Blanco’s poems and Hessler’s photographs together investigate the visible and invisible boundaries of race, gender, class, and ethnicity, among many others; they challenge the physical, imagined, and psychological dividing lines–both historic and current–that shadow America and perpetuate an us vs. them mindset by inciting irrational fears, hate, and prejudice.
In contrast to the current narrowing definition of an America with very clear-cut boundaries, Blanco and Hessler cross and erase borders. As artists, they tear down barriers to understanding by pushing boundaries and exposing them for what they truly are–fabrications for the sake of manifesting power and oppression pitted against our hopes of indeed becoming a boundary-less nation in a boundary-less world.”
The Joseph Heller book Catch-22 turned 60 in 2021. Some Community Library trivia: Our first edition was read to bits years ago, but the current copy has circulated 46 times in the last 20 years.
Catch-22 remains a cornerstone of American literature and one of the funniest—and most celebrated—books of all time. In recent years it has been named to “best novels” lists by Time, Newsweek, the Modern Library, and the London Observer.
Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved. Source: Goodreads
Find it in print, eaudiobook, and DVD here: Adult Fiction Main, FICTION Heller