‘Tis the season for year-end lists. It’s always fun to see what newspapers, magazines, and websites deem the best books, movies, and albums each year. Here at the Bettendorf Public Library, we celebrate the winding down of each year with a list of staff, board, and volunteer favorites.
Compiling the list is always revealing. While there are a few contributors who are devoted to particular genres or subject matter, most read widely. The fiction suggestions on our 2018 list include literary fiction, mysteries, science fiction, and young adult fiction. There’s even a picture book, courtesy of Youth Services staffer DeeAnn Sisam. Lucas Berns really likes author Amor Towles, counting two of his books as favorites. If you have read her past Bettendorf News columns concerning her reading habits, then you know that staff member Chris Little reads avidly and across genres. That said, I know a thriller or two will usually appear in her year-end favorites. If your taste runs more to historical fiction, Jill Hayes recommends three titles that draw on the lives of real women. If you have been avoiding "A Man Called Ove," let Shannon Murcia persuade you to stop doing that.
Our nonfiction selections display a similar variety. We have several true crime fans among us. Young Adult Librarian John Gillette suggests two titles that illuminate racial division and refugee migration. Our Board of Trustees President David Pratt always recommends a couple of his nonfiction favorites; this year, he suggests titles concerning both the opioid crisis and the universe. For more buoyant fare, Carol Crane and David Otten recommend humorous essay collections by David Sedaris and John Hodgman, respectively. April Crowder discovered a favorite by enjoying nonfiction in a new format: a downloadable audiobook.
As you know, the library’s collection includes more than books, so our favorites list also features movie and music recommendations. Like our book suggestions, they are diverse and cover both new and time-honored material. If you missed one of last year’s Oscar winners or big blockbusters, our list will help you remember what you need to catch up on. Or maybe there’s an older classic you need to discover. Will you agree with Cody Noble that "Joe Dirt" is perhaps “the most underrated comedy of all time”? Will you find yourself hooked, as I am, on the original cast recording of "Spongebob Squarepants, The New Musical?"
Year-end lists are a great way to reflect on what books, movies, and music touched us in some way during the past 12 months. They are also useful tools for planning your New Year ahead. Ours comes in a handy booklet form. We hope you’ll come in and pick one up before saying goodbye to 2018.