South Lake Tahoe Library provides top books for winter season
Winter officially started earlier this week — combined with the increasing cold, holiday breaks and time spent relaxing, the season makes for ideal reading conditions. Whether you’re visiting the lake on vacation, or a local looking for a good book to curl up with this winter, search no more: the South Lake Tahoe Library provided its top picks in a variety of categories, ranging from fiction to nonfiction, classics and everything in between.
“Moonglow, A Novel” by Michael Chabon — Based on the youthful memories of Chabon’s terminally ill grandfather, the novel examines the relationship between husband and wife through Jewish slums in Philadelphia, a retirement village in Florida and New York’s Wallkill prison. Highlighting pivotal events in the timespan of one life, “Moonglow” identifies itself as fictional nonfiction and a blend between autobiography, novel and memoir.
“Barkskins” by Annie Proulx — Two Frenchmen arrive in New France in the late 1600s and become bound to a feudal lord for three years in exchange for land. The author then dives deeper, describing the Frenchmen’s descendants and their relationship with natural resources over a span of 300 years as society verges on ecological collapse.
“Eligible, A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice” by Curtis Sittenfeld — Liz Bennet is a magazine writer who lives in New York City like her older sister Jane, a yoga instructor. Prompted to return to their home of Cincinnati, the Bennets meet Chip Bingley, a doctor who appeared on the reality TV dating show “Eligible,” and Fitzwilliam Darcy, a neurosurgeon. You know the rest … or do you?
“A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles — A late summer 2016 release, Towles’ New York Times bestseller tells the story of a man ordered to spend the remainder of his life in a luxury hotel.
“Before the Fall” by Noah Hawley — The creator of FX’s “Fargo,” Hawley seems to have a knack for tragic tales — a trend he continues in this novel. Eleven people board a New York-bound jet one evening, but when the plane plunges into the ocean, only two survive. Told through a combination of flashbacks and scenes after the crash, readers are left guessing who is behind the attack, which seems to be a conspiracy.
“Hidden Figures, The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race” by Margot Lee Shetterly — As the title suggests, Shetterly tells the true story of NASA’s black female mathematicians who sparked a handful of America’s achievements in space. On the cusp of both the feminist and civil rights movements, the four women played key roles in America’s victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War. You might have heard a bit about this story lately: its big screen counterpart is slated for release on Christmas Day.
“Born a Crime, Stories from a South African Childhood” by Trevor Noah — Star of “The Daily Show,” Noah’s autobiography writes of his birth to a Swiss father and Xhosa mother in apartheid South Africa. Kept indoors for much of his early life, Noah grapples with understanding a world in which he should not have been born.
“When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi — At age 36, Kalanithi — a neurosurgeon with nearly a decade’s worth of experience — was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Transforming from medical student to Stanford neurosurgeon and eventually a patient, Kalanithi’s autobiography examines what makes life worth living when confronted with imminent mortality, and what to do when you can no longer plan for a future.
“Hillbilly Elegy, A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis” by J.D. Vance — Vance offers an analysis of white working-class Americans in this New York Times bestseller. His grandparents moved to Ohio in an attempt to escape poverty, and raised a middle-class family — most of whom struggled and were unable to escape the binds of alcoholism, abuse and poverty that defined their America. Vance offers a moving story of the struggles of upward mobility in his memoir.
“Right Ho, Jeeves” by P. G. Wodehouse — This hit from the early 1900s follows Bertie Wooster as he deals with broken engagements, resignations and more. His only help comes in the form of his gentleman’s gentleman, Jeeves.
“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen — If you haven’t read this, you might want to do so before you read the modern version listed in the new fiction section. Austen’s 19th century classic is a social commentary on relationships and provincial middle-class life, told through a coming-of-age lesson of avoiding judgment based on first impressions.
“One of Ours” by Willa Cather — Nebraska native Claude Wheeler is the son of a successful mid-western farmer who grows up comfortably at the start of the 20th century. Despite his privileged childhood, Wheeler views himself as a victim of his father’s success. Cather paints a portrait of the American personality at the turn of a century, as people transform with the changing frontier.
“Winter World” by Bernd Heinrich — Ever wonder how animals are able to adapt and survive harsh winters? Heinrich provides enriching details on animal survival and how creatures from squirrels to bears, turtles, insects and more are able to live through cold temperatures and a changing environment.
“Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, Donner Dinner Party” by Nathan Hale — In the third installment of the author’s series he provides a snapshot of the United States’ westward expansion. Examining journey preparation, each leg of the expedition and poor decisions along the way, Hale’s graphic story expertly tells the true story of a catastrophic trek.
“The Snow Leopard” by Peter Matthiessen — Accompanied by naturalist George Schaller on the Himalayas’ Tibetan Plateau, Matthiessen spent two months searching for the evasive snow leopard. The author writes about the journey while detailing his outer path and inner quest, which resulted in a deeper understanding of Buddhist reality, suffering and beauty.
“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak — Liesel Meminger is a foster child living in Nazi Germany in 1939. She spends her life stealing books, learning to read and sharing the stories with neighbors and the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
“Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline — Nearly 30 years in the future, reality is not a place everyone wants to spend time. Teenage Wade Watts wiles away the hours in a virtual utopia known as OASIS. As Watts gets deeper into the digital world, he gets caught up with other players who want to kill him in order to win the ultimate prize.
“Ruby Red” by Kerstin Gier — The German author’s first installment in her time traveling trilogy centers on Gwyneth Shepherd’s journey through multiple centuries as she unearths family mysteries.
“Penguin Problems” by Jory John — According to a penguin, life in Antarctica isn’t all it’s hyped up to be. Written by a South Tahoe High School graduate, “Penguin Problems” follows one of the black and white animals as he avoids natural predators, searches for his mom through a mass of identical birds and navigates his daily schedule.
“Blizzard” by John Rocco — Based on the infamous blizzard of 1978, which brought over 50 inches of snow to the author’s Rhode Island town, the story covers all aspects of a snowstorm. From initial excitement to sighs of relief upon seeing the first snowplow, “Blizzard” is a perfect story for those wanting a white Christmas.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” by J. K. Rowling — Potter fans will know the title as required reading for Hogwarts students. The 2001 encyclopedia is a short, fast read detailing magical beasts and their identifying characteristics. Can’t get enough of the movie of the same name that released in November? The screenplay is on shelves, too.
“Pax” by Sara Pennypacker — Peter and his pet fox, Pax, have been inseparable since they first met in childhood. One day the unthinkable happens: Peter’s father enlists in the military, and the boy must return Pax to the wild as he moves in with his grandfather. What follows is a tale of Peter’s journey to reunite with his pet.
All books are available in the El Dorado County Library system, and keep in mind when scanning the shelves that some of the above have long waitlists — requests might be required.