2016 Pulitzer Prize Winners



The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen

A layered immigrant tale told in the wry, confessional voice of a “man of two minds” — and two countries, Vietnam and the United States.


custer's trials

Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America, by T.J. Stiles 

A rich and surprising new telling of the journey of the iconic American soldier whose death turns out not to have been the main point of his life. (Moved by the Board from the Biography category.)

Biography or Autobiography

barbarian days

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan 

A finely crafted memoir of a youthful obsession that has propelled the author through a distinguished writing career.

General Nonfiction

black flags

Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, by Joby Warrick

A deeply reported book of remarkable clarity showing how the flawed rationale for the Iraq War led to the explosive growth of the Islamic State.

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Books to Read Before They Hit Theaters 2016

billionaire's vinegar billy lynn's born to run brain on fire east of eden emperor's children six years girl on the train home is burning in the garden of beasts it's what i do live by night me before you night circus struck by genius the black count the lost city of z thicket

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Listen to an Audiobook from the Audie® Award Finalists

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman









The Starling Project by Jeffrey Deaver









Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling









Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius









The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant









Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray









The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah









Dead Wake by Erik Larson









The English Spy by Daniel Silva









A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson









Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal









Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson









All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer









Drunken Fireworks by Stephen King

drunken fireworks


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National Library Lovers Month

February was Library Lovers Month so we gave patrons the chance to tell us what they love about the library. With almost 400 responses, we could feel (and see) the love!








A drawing was held at the end of the month and the following patrons were the lucky winners:

Adults: Karen K. and David F.

Teens:Daniel R. and Angel E.

Kids:  Halimo H. and Brenden K.

Congratulations to our winners! Here are some of our favorite responses to the question “What do you love about your library?”doc00638420160307123115_001

“I love the selection of books that you have on CD. I also love that I can fax things here. The computer lab is great and I have fun with ladies who help me.” Jackie E.

“Being able to have a healthy family outlet of reading books and engaging in activities that the library provides.” Carrie O.

“Wonderful facility, very helpful staff and access to books throughout the system.” Cheryl S.

“eBooks and audiobooks on my Kindle without leaving the house!” Jenna W.

“We love our library because of all the fantastic kid’s activities. Thank you!” Ingelcia A.


“1.Being able to order books online 2.Getting notices of book at the library or when due through e-mail. 3. Ability to get books from many different libraries 4. Having use of upstairs conference room 5. Variety of programs for all ages” George K.

“Hands down, the library is my kids FAVORITE place in town. For this homeschooling momma, it is my favorite. Averaging 30 books checked out a week, the interlibrary loan is a savior for me!” Emily S.

“The library has wonderful workers who are happy to find you whatever you need – either information or entertainment.” Sam B.

“I love that you get current music and are of a system where I can request things of multiple subjects.” James T.

“Study rooms and wifi.” Susan D.


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2016 Reading Challenge Update

A Book You Can Finish in a Day – Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the world and Me


At 176 pages, Between the World and Me is a quick read, but the power of Coates’ words will stay with you long after you turn the last page. Written as a letter to his adolescent son, Coates explores what it is like to inhabit a black body drawing from the past, personal experiences, and leaving questions for the future.




A Book Based on a Fairytale – Winter by Marissa Meyer




Winter is the fourth and final book in the Lunar Chronicles, a YA series that has gained popularity with teens and adults alike. Winter is based on Snow White and includes Cinder and her allies as they try to win a war  that’s been raging for far too long.



A Book from the Library – A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

A Spool of Blue Thread


A Spool of Blue Thread was this month’s pick for Lunch Bunch Book Club. Since I finished it, I had to find a place for it on my challenge list. Much to my surprise, the only category it fit in was “a book from the library”. I listened to Spool on audiobook and greatly enjoyed the story of four generations of a family, the Whitshanks, whose stories were anchored by their house in Baltimore.

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2016 Edgar Award Nominations

The Edgar Awards, named after Edgar Allan Poe, are awarded by the Mystery Writers of America for distinguished work in the mystery genre. The winners will be announced April 28th. 

Best Novel

Best Paperback Original

Best Fact Crime

Operation Nemesis: The Assassination Plot that Avenged the Armenian Genocide
by Eric Bogosian
Where The Bodies Were Buried: Whitey Bulger and the World That Made Him
by T.J. English
Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully
by Allen Kurzweil
Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime
by Val McDermid
American Pain: How a Young Felon and his Ring of Doctors Unleashed
America’s  Deadliest Drug Epidemic

by John Temple

Best Critical/Biography

The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards
The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue
by Frederick Forsyth
Meanwhile There Are Letters: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and Ross Macdonald
by Suzanne Marrs and Tom Nolan
Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming’s Jamaica
by Matthew Parker
The Lost Detective: Becoming Dashiell Hammett
by Nathan Ward




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New Books for the Week of February 1, 2016: Focus on Nonfiction

Preserving Family Recipes: How to Save and Celebrate Your Food Traditions by Valerie J. Frey



This book is a guide for gathering, adjusting, supplementing, and safely preserving family recipes and for interviewing relatives, collecting oral histories, and conducting kitchen visits to document family food traditions from the everyday to special occasions.



The Brain: The Story of You by David Eagleman



Join renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman for a journey into the questions at the mysterious heart of our existence. What is reality? Who are “you”? How do you make decisions? Why does your brain need other people? How is technology poised to change what it means to be human?




Make ‘Em Laugh: Short-Term Memories of Longtime Friends by Debbie Reynolds and Dorian Hannaway



In this fabulous personal tour, Debbie Reynolds recalls wonderful moments with the greats of the entertainment world—Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis, Phyllis Diller, and many, many more—sharing stories that shed new light on her life and career and the glittering world of Hollywood then and now. Debbie has plenty to tell—and in Make ’Em Laugh, she dishes it in the warm, down-to-earth voice her fans adore.


Home Fires by Julie Summers


Home Fires, Julie Summers’s fascinating social history of the Women’s Institute during the war (when its members included the future Queen Elizabeth II along with her mother and grandmother), provides the remarkable and inspiring true story behind the upcoming PBS Masterpiece series. Through archival material and interviews with current and former Women’s Institute members, Home Fires gives us an intimate look at life on the home front during World War II.


Maple: 100 Sweet and Savory Recipes Featuring Pure Maple Syrup by Katie Webster


Step into the sugar shack as seasoned sap-tapper Katie Webster takes you behind the scenes of her backyard maple sugaring hobby. Then try your hand at her Maple Ginger Roasted Salmon or Smoky and Sweet Turkey Chili. Pour yourself a Maple Peach Old Fashioned and enjoy a helping of Bananas Foster Bundt Cake. Explore 100 sweet and savory recipes, including plenty of vegan, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly options, all featuring the incomparable taste of maple.


The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution by David Wootton



The Invention of Science goes back five hundred years in time to chronicle this crucial transformation, exploring the factors that led to its birth and the people who made it happen. Wootton argues that the Scientific Revolution was actually five separate yet concurrent events that developed independently, but came to intersect and create a new worldview.



Tasting Wine & Cheese: An Insider’s Guide to Mastering the Principles of Pairing by Adam Centamore


Tasting Wine and Cheese explains how to taste, evaluate and appreciate wine and cheese, helping you learn how ‘taste’ works, how to think about food and wine in general, and how to bring them together in combinations that will bring a smile to your face! But, learning is only half the fun. Tasting Wine and Cheese accompanies you on a tasty safari into pairing principles through individual chapters that highlight wines and the cheeses that love them.



Food Gift Love: More than 100 Recipes to Make, Wrap & Share by Maggie Battista


In Food Gift Love, Maggie Battista, a food-gift guru and rising star of the blog world, celebrates her expertise in and enthusiasm for small-batch, hand-crafted foods. She features 100 memorable, edible gifts for any occasion with simple, delicious recipes, detailed wrapping instructions, and stunning photography.

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New Books for the Week of January 24, 2016

Keeper of the Stars by Robin Lee Hatcher

keeper of the  stars


When her mother died from pneumonia, Penny Cartwright was heartbroken. But now, after burying her younger brother just 12 years later, she is devastated. Anger, guilt, and sorrow cloud Penny’s mind, and the last thing she wants is to be reminded of her pain—but that’s exactly what happens when a stranger comes to town.




love in lower-case by Francesc Miralles

love in lowercase


When Samuel, a lonely linguistics lecturer, wakes up on New Year’s Day, he is convinced that the year ahead will bring nothing more than passive verbs and un-italicized moments—until an unexpected visitor slips into his Barcelona apartment and refuses to leave. The appearance of Mishima, a stray, brindle-furred cat, becomes the catalyst that leads Samuel from the comforts of his favorite books, foreign films, and classical music to places he’s never been (next door) and to people he might never have met (a neighbor with whom he’s never exchanged a word).


Perchance to Dream by Charles Beaumont

perchance to dream


It is only natural that Charles Beaumont would make a name for himself crafting scripts for The Twilight Zone—for his was an imagination so limitless it must have emerged from some other dimension.Perchance to Dream contains a selection of Beaumont’s finest stories, including seven that he later adapted for Twilight Zone episodes.



Hunters in the Dark by Lawrence Osborne

hunters in the dark



Adrift in Cambodia and eager to side-step a life of quiet desperation as a small-town teacher, 28-year-old Englishman Robert Grieve decides to go missing. As he crosses the border from Thailand, he tests the threshold of a new future.



In a Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donvan and Caren Zucker

in a different key

Nearly seventy-five years ago, Donald Triplett of Forest, Mississippi, became the first child diagnosed with autism. Beginning with his family’s odyssey, In a Different Key tells the extraordinary story of this often misunderstood condition, and of the civil rights battles waged by the families of those who have it. Unfolding over decades, it is a beautifully rendered history of ordinary people determined to secure a place in the world for those with autism—by liberating children from dank institutions, campaigning for their right to go to school, challenging expert opinion on what it means to have autism, and persuading society to accept those who are different.


The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bavald

readers of broken wheel recommend


Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy’s funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor―there’s not much else to do in a dying small town that’s almost beyond repair.

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New Books for the Week of January 17, 2016

KooKooLand by Gloria Norris



In the tradition of The Glass Castle and With or Without You, a bracingly funny and chilling true crime memoir about a girl’s gutsy journey to escape her charismatic yet cruel father’s reign–an unforgettable story of violence, love, and, ultimately, triumph.



Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz



The New York Times bestselling author of Trust No One and River Road delivers a novel that twists and turns into a read that will leave you breathless. Madeline and Daphne were once as close as sisters–until a secret tore them apart. Now it might take them to their graves.



The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray


While marooned at his banking job in the bewilderingly damp and insular realm known as Ireland, Claude Martingale is approached by a down-on-his-luck author, Paul, looking for his next great subject. Claude finds that his life gets steadily more exciting under Paul’s fictionalizing influence; he even falls in love with a beautiful waitress. But Paul’s plan is not what it seems–and neither is Claude’s employer, the Investment Bank of Torabundo, which swells through dodgy takeovers and derivatives trading until–well, you can probably guess how that shakes out.


How to Break Up with Anyone by Jamye Waxman



Not all relationships are made to last forever. Sometimes what starts as a beautiful friendship or productive partnership turns toxic, or one-sided, or unhealthy – and the best solution for both parties is to end it. In How to Break Up With Anyone, relationship expert Jamye Waxman has written a guide to every step of a non-romantic breakup.


The First Hostage by Joel C. Rosenberg


The president of the United States . . . is missing. With these words, New York Times journalist J. B. Collins, reporting from the scene of a devastating attack by ISIS terrorists in Amman, Jordan, puts the entire world on high alert. Collins must do his best to keep the world informed while working to convince the FBI that his stories are not responsible for the terror attack on the Jordanian capital. Struggling to clear his name, Collins and the Secret Service try frantically to locate and rescue the leader of the free world before ISIS’s threats become a catastrophic reality.


American Carnage: Wounded Knee, 1890 by Jerome A. Greene


As the year 1890 wound to a close, a band of more than three hundred Lakota Sioux Indians led by Chief Big Foot made their way toward South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation to join other Lakotas seeking peace. Fearing that Big Foot’s band was headed instead to join “hostile” Lakotas, U.S. troops surrounded the group on Wounded Knee Creek. Tensions mounted, and on the morning of December 29, as the Lakotas prepared to give up their arms, disaster struck.

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2016 Reading Challenge

I don’t know about you, but I like to challenge myself. Whether it is lifting more weight at the gym than last time or cooking a more delicious pasta sauce than ever before, there is something about a challenge that really gets me motivated.  So why not try a reading challenge? A quick Google search led me to the 2016 Reading Challenge by Popsugar. As I peruse the list, I think to myself about how I’m going to fit in all of these books and still read everything else that I need to, but that’s the challenge.

So, a National Book Award winner, what titles come to mind? Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections”, but I’ve already read that. So a look at the recent winners leads me to “Salvage the Bones” by Jesmyn Ward. Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
Its narrator, a young girl in a family of three brothers, tells the story of her family and community during Hurricane Katrina. I think I will give it a try.

Also on the list, a book from Oprah’s Book Club, this might be harder to find since I have already read most of these books. Wild by Cheryl Strayed Then I remember I have a copy of “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed sitting on my bookshelf at home, a gift from a friend that I have not gotten to yet.  “Wild” is a nonfiction book about Strayed’s life changing decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Taking on this thousand mile journey with no experience and alone, Strayed entertains us with her fierce, gritty, and sometimes funny story.

A little farther down the list I see, a book with a Blue Cover. Now this could get interesting.El Deafo by Cece Bell  “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green pops in my head, but again I’ve already read that. “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio has a striking blue cover, but as a former youth librarian I can’t count this book that I read a few years ago. But that gets me thinking, I never got to “El Deafo” by Cece Bell. This is a juvenile graphic novel about a girl who loses her hearing at the age of four and the challenges of starting school and fitting in with an awkward hearing aid.

Now I have a good starting point for my 2016 Reading Challenge. If you are looking for some book suggestions, stop at the information desk at the Willmar Public Library or send me an email.


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