Books We Loved in 2019

Happy Holidays from the DiMenna-Nyselius Library!

At the end of the year, we asked all our staff here at the Library to tell us ONE book that they loved in 2019- here are their picks, (with blurbs taken from GoodReads):

Robert Hoyt (Director of Library Systems): The Gene, An Intimate History, by Siddhartha Mukherjee. "Weaving science, social history, and personal narrative to tell us the story of one of the most important conceptual breakthroughs of modern times, Mukherjee animates the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices."

Mat Blaine (Research & Outreach Librarian): On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong. "On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family's history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity."

Lisa Thornell (Student Engagement & Outreach Librarian): The Beekeeper of Aleppo, by Christy Lefteri. "The unforgettable love story of a mother blinded by loss and her husband who insists on their survival as they undertake the Syrian refugee trail to Europe. Moving, powerful, compassionate, and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. It is the kind of book that reminds us of the power of storytelling."

Grace Bissenden (Library Specialist for Non-licensed Resources): She Said:Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement, by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey. "From the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters who broke the news of Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment and abuse for the New York Times, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the thrilling untold story of their investigation and its consequences for the #MeToo movement."

Nicole Jurgot (Library Specialist for Licensed Resources): Thinner, by Richard Bachman (Stephen King). "The 'extraordinary' novel of one man's quest to find the source of his nightmare and to reverse it before he becomes … nothing at all. This #1 national bestseller from Stephen King, writing as Richard Bachman, pulsates with evil … it will have you on the edge of your seat."

Jennifer Mottolese (Library Services & Archives Assistant): The Giver of Stars, by Jojo Moyes. "Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic--a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond."

Dawn Olson (Assistant to the Dean): The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World, by Sarah Weinman. "A gripping true-crime investigation of the 1948 abduction of Sally Horner and how it inspired Vladimir Nabokov’s classic novel, Lolita."

Curtis Ferree (Collection Development Librarian for Non-licensed Resources): My Favorite Thing is Monsters, by Emil Ferris. "Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ’60s Chicago, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is the fictional graphic diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, filled with B-movie horror and pulp monster magazines iconography."

Emily Porter-Fyke (Research & Instruction Librarian): A Hat Full of Sky, by Terry Pratchett. "A Hat Full of Sky continues Terry Pratchett’s brilliant look into the world of a young witch: this time, with more angst."

Matt Schirano (Senior Research Librarian & Instruction Coordinator): Cities of the Plain, by Cormac McCarthy. "With the terrible beauty of Cities of the Plain--with its magisterial prose, humor both wry and out-right, fierce conviction and unwavering humanity--Cormac McCarthy has completed a landmark of our literature and times, an epic that reaches from tales of the old west, the world past, into the new millennium, the world to come."

Nina Peri (Collection Development Librarian for Licensed Resources & Institutional Repository): Shout, by Laurie Halse Anderson. "In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she's never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society's failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #metoo and #timesup, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts."

John Cayer (Interlibrary Services Coordinator): Marley, by Jon Clinch. "From the acclaimed author of Finn comes a masterful reimagining of Dickens’s classic A Christmas Carol with this darkly entertaining exploration of the relationship between Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley. “Marley was dead, to begin with,” Charles Dickens tells us at the beginning of A Christmas Carol. But in Jon Clinch’s ingenious novel, Jacob Marley, business partner to Ebenezer Scrooge, is very much alive: a rapacious and cunning boy who grows up to be a forger, a scoundrel, and the man who will be both the making and the undoing of Scrooge."

Stefanie Parry (Library Technical Specialist): The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood. "In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades. When the van door slammed on Offred's future at the end of The Handmaid's Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her--freedom, prison or death. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood's sequel picks up the story more than fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead."

Christina McGowan (Dean of the Library and University Librarian): Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens. "Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps."

Barbara Ghilardi (Assessment Librarian): The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women, by Kate Moore. "Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the "wonder" substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives."

Elise Bochinski (University Archivist): The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis. "The Screwtape Letters by C.S.  Lewis is a classic masterpiece of religious satire that entertains readers with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to "Our Father Below." At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written."