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ALA Notable Books – 2016 – Selected Titles


2016 ALA Notable Books List
American Library Assocation — Reference and User Services Association
Bethany Branch BooksTalk, November 18, 2016 and Gere Branch BooksTalk, November 6, 2016 and Lunch at the Library, April 5, 2017
Library Director Pat Leach


book coverIn the Country: Stories
by Mia Alvar [Alvar]

Exploring the Filipino experience spanning decades and continents, these fully rendered tales express wonder and sadness leavened with humor.

book coverThe Sellout: A Novel
by Paul Beatty [Beatty]

Poking the underbellies of many sacred cows, this biting social satire examines race, culture and politics in modern America.

book coverDid You Ever Have a Family: A Novel
by Bill Clegg [Clegg]

The aftermath of a tragedy and its rippling effects in a small Connecticut town.

book coverDelicious Foods: A Novel
by James Hannaham [Hannaham]

Themes of race, addiction, wage slavery and corporate greed coalesce in this startling, darkly comic coming of age odyssey.

book coverBlack River: A Novel
by S.M. Hulse [Hulse]

This modern literary western explores a man’s redemptive journey and the possibility (and cost) of forgiveness.

book coverFortune Smiles: Stories
by Adam Johnson [Johnson]

Humanity: Quirky, disturbing, endearing, striving, resigned and fascinating.

book coverThe Prophets of Eternal Fjord: A Novel
by Kim Leine, translated by Martin Aitken [Leine]

An epic and evocative tale of colonialism in Greenland, translated from the Danish.

book coverThe Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories
by Anthony Marra [Marra]

Beauty and humanity are found in the darkest and grimmest of places in these interconnected pieces.

book coverThe Sympathizer: A Novel
by Viet Thanh Nguyen [Nguyen]

A half-French, half-Vietnamese man serves as a double agent after the war, and struggles with the contradictions of his identity and loyalties.

book coverThis is the Life: A Novel
by Alex Shearer [Shearer]

Spare prose mixes with heart-wrenching humor in this gem of a story about two brothers coping with terminal illness.

book coverThe Book of Aron: A Novel
by Jim Shepard [Shepard]

The perspective of a boy whose only goal is to live another day gives a sharp edge to the mind-numbing tragedies of the Warsaw Ghetto.

book coverA Little Life: A Novel
by Hanya Yanagihara [Yanagihara]

A visceral, provocative story of four New York City lives marred by ambition, abuse and addiction.


book coverThe Interstellar Age: Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission
by Jim Bell [629.43 Bel]

An enthusiastic account of our reach for intergalactic space — and the people who made it possible.

book coverGive Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America
by Ali Berman [324.62 Ber]

A sobering and impassioned popular history of the fight for universal suffrage in the United States.

The End of Plenty: The Race to Feed a Crowded World
by Joel K. Bourne Jr. [not in library collection]

An agricultural revolution supported our booming population in the twentieth century, but we’ll need another one to sustain us in the years to come.

book coverBetween the World and Me
by Ta-Nehisi Coates [305.8 AfrYc]

Framed as a letter to the author’s teenage son, this chronicle of race in America works as memoir, meditation, and call to action.

book coverThe Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle
by Lilliam Faderman [306.766 Fad]

An authoritative, affecting account of the effort to establish and solidify legal rights and cultural acceptance in the United States,

book coverRomantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter, Mary Shelley
by Charlotte Gordon [920.02 Gor]

From A Vindication of the Rights of Woman to Frankenstein, this dual biography provides fresh insight about these groundbreaking authors.

book coverDead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
by Erik Larson [940.451 Lar]

A race to the finish, even though we know it won’t end well.

book coverThe Wright Brothers
by David McCullough [Biography Wright]

A strong work ethic and keen oservation fueld the quest to conquer manned flight.

book coverThe Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the World of Consciousness
by Sy Montgomery [594.56 Mon]

A charming, revelatory journey into the world of cephalopods.

book coverM Train
by Patti Smith [Biography Smith]

Part memoir, part travelogue and ultimately an elegy to her beloved husband, written by an iconic American artist.

book coverNagasaki: Life after Nuclear War
by Susan Southard [940.544 Sou]

Bearing witness to hibakusha, those left behind.

book coverStalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva
by Rosemary Sullivan [Biography Alliluyeva]

A portrait of a woman unable to escape the terrible shadow of her father.


Bastards of the Reagan Era
by Reginald Dwayne Betts [not owned by the libraries]

Drugs, violence and incarceration during a period of fear and chaos told in a brutal and haunting poetic voice.

Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems
by Joy Harjo [not owned by the libraries]

Folklore, history, personal journeys and modern times are entwined in this absorbing work by a Native American poet.

Annotations from American Library Association