Every year, the New York Times Book Review chooses a panel of judges to select the top 10 books based on artistic merit. This is the only annual award of its kind, and these books are sure to satisfy your artistic cravings! Check out the winners.

Draw! by Paul Colon

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill


 Time for Bed, Fred by Yasmeen Ismail

Here is the Baby by Polly Kanevsky and Taeeun Yoo

Where’s Mommy? by Beverly Donofrio and Barbara McClintock

The Promise by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin

The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall  and Laura Carlin

The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sis

Haiti, My Country: Poems by Haitian School Children by Roge

Harlem Hellfighters by J. Patrick Lewis and Gary Kelley

With only a few days until Halloween, you may be looking for something to help get you in the Halloween spirit. That’s where we come in. Listed are some spooky reads to help you celebrate. What’s Halloween without a little spookiness?

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill:  A novella about an evil specter lurking in a secluded house


The Turn of the Screw by Henry James: The governess of a country house begins to suspect something unusual


House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski: A meditation on love with some spooky punches


The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: This tale is considered one of the greatest ghost stories of the 20th century


The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe: The tale of Roderick Usher and his dead sister


Pet Sematary by Stephen King: King himself almost didn’t publish his because he found it too scary


Dracula by Bram Stoker: Try the original for the darkest tale of Dracula there is


Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill: Stephen King’s son writes just like his father; try this spooky tale about an aging rock star who collects memorabilia


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: After the murders of his family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where ghosts raise him


Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks by Dick Cavett







Legendary talk show host Dick Cavett introduces us to some of the fascinating characters he crossed paths with in his new book, Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks. He shares his reflections and reminiscences about these icons he interviewed during his career. Pick up this book and enjoy the conversation he shares.

Hiding in Plain Sight by Nuruddin Farah







Hiding in Plain Sight explores the tensions between freedom and obligation, gender roles and how politics disrupt personal issues. Bella’s half brother has been murdered and she feels obligated to help his now orphaned children. But when their mother, who left them years earlier, resurfaces, she must decide how far she will go.

The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber







Peter, a man of faith, is called to a mission that takes him miles away from his wife. He teaches the bible to a native population struggling with illness but is rattled when his wife sends troubling letters from home. Peter must reconcile the needs of his congregation with his wife’s struggle for survival. He will be tested in faith, love and his responsibility to those closest to him.

The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and The Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin







This in depth volume is a comprehensive history of the Seven Kingdoms, providing vivid accounts of the battles, rivalries and rebellions that led up to the events in A Song of Ice and Fire. All Game of Thrones fans will love this newest edition to the world of the Seven Kingdoms.

Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder and the Battle for Modern New Orleans by Gary Krist







Empire of Sin tells the tale of New Orleans’s other Civil War, a 30 year battle pitting the city’s elite against the world of vice and crime. Focused on Tom Anderson, the Czar of the city’s Storyville vice district, who fights to keep his empire intact despite pressures from many outsiders, the war was all about primacy in a wicked city told beautifully by Krist.

The Peripheral by William Gibson







The Peripheral is a thrill ride, telling the story of a brother and sister who work as security officers in cyberspace. They end up accepting a job tying them to murder, but readers beware – it follows multiple timelines and is told in different futures that converge on one story line. Fans of Philip K. Dick will enjoy Gibson’s newest novel.

Blood Magick by Nora Roberts







Blood Magick is the final book in Roberts’ The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy. Branna and Fin’s relationship offers them both comfort and torment as it holds no promises for tomorrow. In the end, Fin’s power, loyalty and heart will prevail in this age old battle between friends and evil. If you are intrigued, don’t miss the previous two books in the series – Dark Witch and Shadow Spell.

Prince Lestat by Anne Rice







Prince Lestat is Rice’s latest addition to the Vampire Chronicles series. With the vampire world in crisis, the beings of all the vampire chronicles come together to seek out what is threatening them.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler








This highly anticipated book by Amy Poehler is full of words to live by as she tells personal stories and offers advice she has gathered throughout her life. Fans of comedic celebrity memoirs will be thrilled to get their hands on this book.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss







Auri, a young woman, lives deep below the university, a place with passageways, abandoned rooms and tunnels. Her life is explored in this story, offering readers a chance to learn things only she knows. Rothfuss brings us into the world of one of the Kingkiller Chronicle’s most mysterious characters, a tale of a broken girl in a broken world.

A Christmas Prayer by Kimberla Lawson Roby







Ever since Alexis’s mother passed away five years ago, holidays haven’t been very merry. With a new fiance, Alexis is ready for them to make their own happy holiday memories, but as tensions rise, their trip to the alter is in question. Will she get her wish for a happy holiday season or will her prayer go unanswered?

Havana Storm by Clive Cussler and Dick Cussler







Dirk Pitt returns in this thrilling new novel by Cussler. Pitt becomes involved in something dangerous while investigating a toxic outbreak in the Caribbean Sea. At the same time, his children are chasing down an Aztec Stone and land in Cuba. The three of them end up in a dire situation … and you’ll have to read this novel to find out how or if they make it out in tact.

Pegasus by Danielle Steel







Pegasus, a novel that follows a family during World War II, is being touted as one of her strongest books to date. It is a story about transformation, fate and love as two childhood friends struggle with Nazi Germany.

Us by David Nicholls


Us follows the story of Douglas Peterson, a scientist with a struggling marriage and a moody teenage son. They go ahead with a planned European adventure in which Douglas hopes Connie will change her mind about the divorce, but his detailed itinerary is threatened from the start. Will this be his last summer as a husband and father or will he turn the world marriage, and his life, around?

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story by Barbara Leaming







Leaming explores Jacqueline’s life, from her youth through her marriage, her stint as First Lady and the trauma of her husband’s murder. This is the first time readers will hear about her struggle with PTSD, giving a new appreciation for this iconic woman.

Looking for your next great read? The editors at Library Journal just put out their Best Books of 2014. Below are their lists, and any of these are sure to give you an excellent read. Of course, if these don’t strike you, your librarians at WPL are here to help you find a book you will love!


Top Ten:

1. An Untamed State – Roxane Gay

2. No Place to Hide – Glenn Greenwald

3. Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War – Mark Harris

4. A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James

5. The Sixth Extinction – Elizabeth Kolbert

6. Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans – Gary Krist

7. The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell

8. Us -David Nicholls

9. Some Luck – Jane Smiley

10. The Storied Life of AJ Fikry

More of the Best:

Liar Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War – Karen Abbott

Schubert’s Winter Journey – Ian Bostridge

So We Read On: How the Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures – Maureen Corrigan

Kill My Mother – Jules Feiffer

Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War – Robert M. Gates

My Life in Middlemarch – Rebecca Mead

A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing – Eimear McBride

The Bees – Laline Paull

Fives and Twenty Fives – Michael Pitre

Bellweather Rhapsody – Kate Racculia

The Spinning Heart – Donal Ryan

Family Life – Akhil Sharma

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette – Hampton Sides


Beautiful You: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk







Palahniuk’s latest is about the apocalyptic marketing possibilities of female pleasure. A new line of toys for women is out and millions line up to get one. The manufacturer has a plan for world domination with these new toys that must be stopped… but how?

Burned by Valerie Plame with Sarah Lovett







CIA Officer Vanessa Pierson is on the hunt for a notorious arms dealer, but as she gets close, she must align with a criminal to capture her target. This is the second book of the Vanessa Pierson series.

Gray Mountain by John Grisham







After losing her job to the recession, Samantha Kofer moves from Manhattan to Virginia to work at a legal aid clinic. This new job plunges Samantha into the world of coal mining, and within weeks she gets involved in a deadly investigation.

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan







Jim Gaffigan, stand-up comedian and author of Dad is Fat, writes about his thoughts on all things food in his second book. His insights will delight readers of all ages.

Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella






Luke is in LA to manage the career of famous actress Sage Seymour, and when his wife joins him, she believes she should be Sage’s stylist. When his wife Becky joins a team with Sage’s arch rival, will Luke be able to handle the conflict or will Becky end up hurting those she loves most?

 On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller by Richard Norton Smith

On His Own Terms is the first complete biography of Nelson Rockefeller, an American icon. Rockefeller longed for the White House from a early age, and after completing terms as governor of New York and seeking the presidency, the closest he got to the White House was Vice President under Ford. His life was one of color, range and relevance that is captured beautifully by noted historian Richard Norton Smith. 

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson







Lawyer Bryan Stevenson writes an account of his coming of age in the legal system. Founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, he dedicated his career to defending those most in need. This transformed his understanding of mercy and justice, which he shares in Just Mercy.

Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America by Dana Loesch







Dana Loesch, talk show host and TV commentator, writes about the intent of the Second Amendment and what would happen if gun confiscation became a reality.

Change of Heart by Jude Deveraux







Based on Deveraux’s short story by the same name, Change of Heart focuses on two childhood friends who grow into much more. Like her other novels, she combines love and passion with unexpected twists in this new novel.

Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown-up by Grace Helbig






Grace’s Guide is a handbook for millennials that goes over everything adults should know, featuring interactive elements and stories from her own misadventures.


October is National Reading Group month, put on by the Women’s National Book Association. Book clubs are popular in Willmar, and here at the library we offer two for individuals to join. The organization puts out a list of great group reads, with the goal being to “help passionate readers find those great gems of mid-list fiction and memoir that may be overlooked in the clamor over the bestsellers.” Whether you’re looking for a book club read or just a great personal read, check out these selections as they are sure to be a hit! Click on the link below to see the list!


On October 15, the National Book Award finalists were announced, narrowing each field down to 5 choices. Below are the finalists from each category. Let us know if you’re rooting for one or have read any of the choices! Winners will be announced next month.



All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

An Unnecessary Woman – Rabih Alameddine

Lila – Marilynne Robinson

Redeployment – Phil Klay

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel


Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China – Evan Osnos

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? – Roz Chast

The Meaning of Human Existence – Edward O. Wilson

No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes – Anand Gopal

Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh - John Lahr


Citizen: An American Lyric – Claudia Rankine

Faithful and Virtuous Night: Poems – Louise Gluck

The Feel Trio – Fred Moten

 Second Childhood – Fanny Howe

This Blue – Maureen N. McLane

Young People’s Literature

Brown Girl Dreaming – Jacqueline Woodson

Noggin – John Corey Whaley

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights – Steve Sheinkin

Revolution – Deborah Wiles

Threatened – Eliot Schrefer


October 13, 2014

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult







Bestselling author Jodi Picoult is back with her new book, Leaving Time. Jenna’s mother disappeared a decade ago and she has never stopped searching for the truth. She enlists the help of a psychic and a private detective but soon realizes that in asking the hard questions comes facing even harder answers. Like all Picoult books, this is definitely a page turner as the story races to a surprising finish.

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens





Joe Talbert, a college student, must interview a stranger and write a brief biography of their life for an assignment. He heads to a nursing home to find a subject where he meets Carl, a Vietnam veteran who has been medically paroled to the home after spending 30 years in prison for rape and murder. Joe throws himself into uncovering the truth about Carl but the stakes grow higher as he races against time in pursuit of the truth.

The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered by Laura Auricchio







Auricchio provides a fresh, new look at Marquis de Lafayette, the French hero of the American Revolution. Lafayette was a man driven by dreams of glory but felled by tragic, human weaknesses and this biography explores that and more, revealing the complex life of this man. Readers interested in historical biographies will find this new one fascinating.

The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt by Kara Cooney







This biography traces the life of Hatshepsut, the longest-reigning female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt. She had to overcome obstacles to rise to power in a man’s world but was successful. Cooney uses her story to explore our reactions to women in power.

Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore by Jay Sekulow







ISIS is a hot topic in the news today and anyone who is seeking a better grasp on the conflict from this group must read this new book. In addition to examining the rise of power of ISIS, the book serves as a guide for what we as individuals can do to protect ourselves from this growing threat.

Winter Street by Erin Hilderbrand







Hilderbrand has written her first Christmas novel about a family gathering on Nantucket that is full of surprises. The dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, a pregnancy, a crime, a fire and Christmas caroling in this novel focusing on coming home for the holidays that all Hilderbrand fans will love.

One in a Million by Jill Shalvis







One in a Million is the twelfth book in Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor series. When Callie returns to her hometown, she reunites with her high school crush. Will this trip to Lucky Harbor hold a beautiful future for Callie?

Deadly Tasting by Jean-Pierre Alaux







A serial killer in Bordeaux has left 12 wine glasses at the scene of a murder with one full. When a second one is filled as a second victim is identified, it is a race against time for detectives as they seek to solve the mystery before all 12 glasses are filled.

Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver







Amory Ames is a wealthy young woman who regrets her marriage to her playboy husband but as she accepts an offer to help her former fiance, she becomes unknowingly tied in with a murder investigation. As she searches for answers, she must decide where her heart lies and work against time to catch the killer before she becomes a victim too.

The Counterfeit Heiress by Tasha Alexander







The Counterfeit Heiress is the latest addition to Alexander’s Lady Emily series. In this story, Lady Emily travels to Paris in search of a murderer that seems to have more questions than answers.

Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page

Page, one of the world’s most iconic guitar players, has chosen photos to represent his life in this photographic autobiography.

The Missing Place by Sophie Littlefield







The mothers of two boys who have gone missing while working on the oil rigs in North Dakota come together to uncover the mystery. They question each other but must ultimately work together to find the answers they want.

Eat More Better: How to Make Every Bite More Delicious by Dan Pashman







Eat More Better teaches individuals to eat for maximum pleasure, delivering insights that will satisfy minds and stomachs, changing the way you look at food forever.

The Real Food Revolution: Healthy Eating, Green Groceries, and the Return of the American Family Farm by Tim Ryan







In The Real Food Revolution, Congressman Tim Ryan offers steps anyone can take to help improve the quality of life for ourselves and future generations.

The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law and Justice in the Reconstruction Era by Michael A. Ross

Ross explores an 1870 kidnapping investigation and trial to look into the complexities of the Reconstruction Era.

The Lost Tribe of Coney Island: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Spectacle of the Century by Claire Prentice

The Lost Tribe of Coney Island explores the story of the Ignorrotes, a group of “savages” from the Philippines who were taken to New York in 1905 to be human exhibits at Luna Park. Prentice brings this tale of adventure and the American dream to light. Fans of Erik Larson will love this new release.

The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded yesterday, going to French writer Patrick Modiano. Modiano is known for his novels set during the Nazi occupation of France, focusing on themes of memory, loss and identity. He is the 15th French writer to receive the award. His body of works include about 30 titles, of which a dozen have been translated into English however sales of his works in United States are very minimal. His most famous work, Missing Person, is held at the library and is a novel about a man who travels the world piecing together his identity. The prize, which includes a $1.1 million reward, is given for a lifetime of writing rather than focusing on just a single work.

In related news, Malala Yousafzai, the author of I Am Malala, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Kailash Satyarthi. I Am Malala is Yousafzai’s story about standing up to the Taliban about rights to an education and being shot in the process, almost losing her life. We read the book in the Lunch Bunch Book Club and had a great discussion and I highly recommend it.

October 6, 2014

The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander







A professor and a mysterious woman set out to uncover the truth about the person hunting her. They must work together to solve this centuries old mystery in this novel that weaves historical with contemporary fiction.

Some Luck by Jane Smiley







The Langdon’s and their 5 children live on a farm in Iowa and abide by time-honored values. Moving from post World War II to the 1950s, Smiley gives us a look into the realities of farm life and the emotional cycles of families across generations. Fans of Phillip Meyer and Louise Erdrich will love this novel.

The Luminous Heart of Jonah S. by Gina B. Nahai

The Luminous Heart of Jonah S. tells the story of the Soleymans, an Iranian Jewish family that is tormented by a financier known as Raphael’s son. When Raphael’s son disappears, he is presumed to have been murdered and the list of possible suspects is long. The story examines the bonds of family and community and the lasting effects of exile.

Tehran at Twilight by Salar Abdoh







Reka Malek, a former reported in the Middle East now living in New York and teaching at a university, returns to Iran and finds much more than he intended to. Abdoh uses this story to paint a picture of contemporary Iran, exploring Reza’s search for identity, his friendship and the limits of loyalty in a place filled with corruption.

Lila by Marilynne Robinson







Lila, a homeless girl, steps into a small town church in Iowa to seek shelter from the rain and ends up the wife of a minister, beginning a new existence. She struggles, however, with her past as a girl on the run and the new, gentle Christian ways of her husband. This novel revisits the characters and setting of Robinson’s previous two books, Gilead and Home.

Man v. Nature: Stories by Diane Cook







Cook’s compilation of stories pits men and women against the realities of nature, often struggling to survive. Through these stories Cook asks: What is at the root of our most heartless, selfish impulses? Why are people drawn together in such messy, complicated, needful ways? When the unexpected intrudes upon the routine, what do we discover about ourselves?

Paris Match by Stuart Woods







Paris Match is #31 in Woods’ Stone Barrington series. Barrington returns to Paris and finds himself in trouble on both sides of the pond. Stone has never before faced so many threats from so many directions. What will happen?

The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue







Donohue’s latest horror novel explores a young boy who is trapped inside his own world. Jack Peter spends his time drawing monsters but when the drawings take on life, no one is safe. This is the perfect read for a dark night.

Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman’s Journey of Love, Identity, and Adoption by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris







Brandi Rarus lost her hearing at age 6 and with her husband, Tim, had 3 sons. She always wanted a daughter, however, and eventually the pieces fell into place as they found Zoe, a girl given up for adoption who was going deaf. In addition to a stunning memoir, Finding Zoe gives readers a look into the deaf community.

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain







Riley MacPherson spent her life believing her older sister committed suicide. When she returns to clean out her father’s house after her death, she finds evidence that her sister is alive, living under a new identity. As she looks for answers, she begins to question everything she thought she knew about her family.

The Question of the Missing Head by E.J. Copperman






Hoening and Washburn are put on a case to figure out what happened to a preserved head from the Garden State Cryonics Institute. Suspecting a theft, they learn of a murder and despite overwhelming odds, they must work to find the killer.

Nora Webster by Colm Toibin







Nora Webster is set in Ireland and tells the story of a young widow and mother of 4. After losing her husband, Nora is deep in sorrow. As she begins to sing, she finds a haven from her grief.

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan







Fans of this series will be delighted that book #5 is out this week.

Deadline by John Sandford







Sandford’s latest, titled Deadline, is #8 in his bestselling Virgil Flowers series. A school board in southeast Minnesota is deciding whether to authorize the killing of a local reporter. Flowers is called to investigate the murder of … you guessed it, a local reporter.

Mr. Miracle: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macomber







Macomber is back with a Christmas novel about romance, hope and comforts of home. Forced to spend Christmas together, “rivals” Addie and Erich find out they have more in common than they thought, prompting a holiday miracle. This will be made into a Hallmark Channel original movie so be sure to check it out.

Confessions: The Paris Mysteries by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro







Confessions: The Paris Mysteries is the latest in Patterson’s Confessions series. As Tandy Angel is finally reunited with her lost love in Paris, she must face disturbing questions about him and her long dead sister. As a teenage detective, she travels Paris on a trail of lies with revelations about every turn.

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson







The Innovators is the story of pioneers, hackers, inventors, and entrepreneurs who collaborated, leading to the digital age. While many people think these individuals had great accomplishments, the ability and willingness for collaboration prompted the real innovations we have today.

Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace by Leon Panetta






Worthy Fights is the eye opening autobiography of Leon Panetta, the Defense Secretary and CIA Director who led the intelligence war that killed Bin Laden. Never losing touch with where he came from, the autobiography is a reflection of Panetta’s values in a tough world of politics.

Night Blindness by Susan Strecker





When her father is diagnosed with a brain tumor, Jensen Reilly returns to her childhood home and must face memories of a horrible accident she was in as a teen. Night Blindness is ultimately about risk and redemption as Jensen comes face to face with the problems she’s tried so hard to escape.

The Color of Justice by Ace Collins







1964: A black man is accused of murdering a white teenager in Mississippi, dividing the town. Coop Lindsay, the defense attorney, knows he is in for the case of his life.

2014: Coop’s grandson returns to the town to find answers to the case that changed his family’s legacy. With a new case looming, he tries to right the wrongs of the past, but the Lindsay family won’t escape unscathed.

Fat Chance by Nick Spalding







Zoe and Greg Milton have let themselves go. When they find out about Fat Chance, a weight loss reality show pitting couples against each other to see who can lose the most weight. Through the misery, tears and frustration, they realize this might be the best thing to happen to them.

Finding Sky by Susan O’Brien







Finding Sky is the first book in a new series by Susan O’Brien. Widow and P.I. in training Nicki Valentine is on a case involving her best friend. Set to adopt a baby, the birth mother suddenly disappears and Nicki investigates in places few moms dare to go, all in pursuit of the truth.

Lost Under a Ladder by Linda O. Johnston







Rory’s fiance is killed after walking under a ladder, and searching for closure she heads to a town named Destiny. When her dog saves the life of a pet store owner, Rory is offered a job. When the owner becomes a suspect in a murder, Rory searches to find answers to save her boss.