Goodreaders’ Favorite 2017 Under-the-Radar Books

by Cybil, December 06, 2017, first appearing on Goodreads Blog
As you might imagine, Goodreads employees love both reading and recommending books. So before 2017 comes to an end, we asked our colleagues to tell us which gem of a book they want more readers to discover.

You’ll see from their picks that our co-workers’ reading habits are as varied as those of Goodreads members (although it should be noted that four of our co-workers recommended the book Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship).

Let us know which 2017 book you want more people to read. Tell us in the comments!

Sins of Empire
by Brian McClellan
“Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage series is still one of the best-kept secrets in modern fantasy, and this new book, whether you call it the start of a new series or a continuation of that one, is just really darned good,” says Alex Lewis, program manager.

Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs
by Beth Ann Fennelly
“I hadn’t heard of Beth Ann Fennelly before I stumbled upon this book, but after reading this little ditty, I’ll be seeking out more. Heating & Cooling is a mere wisp of a book at 112 pages, but each of its 52 ‘micro-memoirs’ packs a punch. It’s a cliché to say you’ll laugh and cry, but it’s likely you’ll do both. Bonus that you can read the whole thing in an afternoon,” says Danny Feekes, managing editor.

Girl in Snow
by Danya Kukafka
“This slow burn mystery will impress you with its complex characterization and beautiful prose,” says Emily Fortner, community manager.

“Boozy meals, surly cheesemongers, French swear words, and a lot of fascinating heritage—this book has everything!” says Sarah Chang, experts manager.

An Enchantment of Ravens 
by Margaret Rogerson
“Why should readers discover this gem? Because it’s like being transported back into a 1980s fantasy movie—think The Labyrinth, The Neverending Story, and The Dark Crystal. It’s a book that Jim Henson would have loved to adapt!” says Marie Pabelonio, associate editor.

“There are so many aspects of the life of a musician—and particularly one of the hip-hop/rap genre—that go unmentioned by the media, and this autobiography is packed with must-read trials and tribulations that we might not consider when reflecting on the ludicrous life of a superstar,” says Tristan Leigh, software engineer.
Young Jane Young 
by Gabrielle Zevin
“The distinctive voice of Zevin’s multiple narrators brings humor to sensitive hot-topic issues of women, sexuality, and feminism,” says Jessica Johnson, senior product manager.

The Roanoke Girls 
by Amy Engel
“I loved this book because it is dark and twisted in the best possible way. I didn’t want to put it down. If I owned my own copy, I would have been re-reading it all year!” says Tamsyn Van Vuuren, Goodreads expert.

“The key strength of Reading with Patrick is how it weaves together information about our education system, the judicial system, and the history of slavery and civil rights with poetry and (my favorite childhood book), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” says Suzanne Skyvara, communications manager.

by Jess Kidd
“Beautifully written blend of literary fiction and mystery set in Ireland that’s made for fans of Tana French,” says Emily Finley, director of operations.

“The writing was candid and human and down-to-earth, while the subject matter was—literally—about outer space. Massimino did a great job of reigniting the childlike wonder and awe of looking up at the stars,” says Brandi Luedeman, lead user researcher.

“It’s a fun, feel-good book that you don’t have to take too seriously to enjoy the adventure,” says Vernice Brown, Goodreads expert.

“There’s nothing funny about a psychotic break, yet Zack, a 26-year-old public defender in Brooklyn, writes about his experience with such humor, empathy, and disdain for himself that you laugh and cry with him—and for him,” says Lisa Jablonsky, sales director.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo 
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
“This book transports you back to old Hollywood and everything that came with it: the glamour, the secrets, the affairs. The story isn’t really about the husbands; it’s about Evelyn and the one true love of her life, and at the end of reading this book, you’ll wish her kind of celebrity were still around today,” says Cynthia Shannon, author marketing specialist.

by Anna Faris
“A book about relationships, puberty, fame, fortune, Chris Pratt, college…I could go on and on, but this is a gem that needs to be shared!” says Rozeltte Crooks, Goodreads expert.

Forever On
by Rob Reid
“A fun, humorous, fast-paced, and fascinating take on what happens when an AI awakens,” says Otis Chandler, Goodreads founder & CEO.

“I can’t promise this will turn your baby into a quantum physicist, but it’s never too early to start, and even better, it’s never too late for adults (like me!) to grasp these big ideas,” says Mimi Chan, senior marketing manager.

“Excuse me while I pack my bags and move to Denmark,” says Margo Throckmorton, senior account manager.

“If you thought you were socially awkward, lonely, stuck in a rut, or even just unhappy—meet Eleanor Oliphant!” says Leslynn Jongebloed, Goodreads expert.

“It’s a hilarious firsthand account of the 2016 election that makes you want to cheer with joy and break down into uncontrollable sobbing at the same time,” says Katie Luttrell, site merchandiser.

When the English Fall 
by David Williams
“It imagines the fallout of climate change, told from an innocent but wise perspective with ribbons of magical realism throughout. It’s also mercifully short for people trying to hit their 2017 reading challenge goal,” says Amy Bickerton, senior user experience designer.

The Tales of Two Rivers

They’ve got us surrounded – we’d better listen to what they have to say.

river tales with susan fowler

Authors’ Birthdays – January

… The end of January, at least.


Zane Grey (b. January 31, 1872, Zanesville, OH; d. October 23, 1939, Altadena, CA)

I was picturing a handlebar mustache and a stetson.“I will see this game of life out to its bitter end.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Riders of the Purple Sage

For more information on Zane Grey, click here.


Norman Mailer (b. January 31, 1923, Long Branch, NJ; d. November 10, 2007, New York City, NY)

Biblo?“Culture’s worth huge, huge risks. Without culture we’re all totalitarian beasts.” You can find more quotes here.

What you should read: The Naked and the Dead

For more information on Norman Mailer, click here.


Langston Hughes (b. February 1, 1902, Joplin, MO; d. May 22, 1967, New York City, NY)

Where is he? I would freak out in that room.“Humor is laughing at what you haven’t got when you ought to have it.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Collected poems

For more information on Langston Hughes, click here.


James Joyce (b. February 2, 1882, Rathgar, Ireland; d. January 13, 1941, Zürich, Switzerland)

I just think "off-kilter"“The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Ulysses

For more information on James Joyce, click here.


Ayn Rand (b. February 2, 1905, Saint Petersburg, Russia; d. March 6, 1982, New York City, NY)

She just looks Russian... with a bit of Annie Oakley“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Atlas Shrugged

For more information on Ayn Rand, click here.


Everybody needs a friend!

Welcome to National Friends of Libraries Week!

As a thank you for all you do all Friends of Libraries can read this blog free of charge for the whole week!

FotMPLSeriously though, if you enjoy programming at your local library (or just your library in general) thank a Friend today. Friends groups across the country help to keep their libraries going. The people that are part of these groups have made a commitment to helping their libraries by volunteering their valuable time and energy to raise funds that help make library programming and services possible. Since their founding in 1990, the Friends of the Moline Public Library have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from dues, fundraisers and sales from the Friend’s Book Store (located right by the new material shelves in the library) and fund many of the programs that the library puts on for the public, as well as helping to provide other services and equipment the library needs. They are an invaluable resource and greatly appreciated! We couldn’t do it without you! Thank you Friends!

If you are interested in becoming a Friend of the Moline Public Library and/or volunteering in the Friend’s Book Store please call (309) 524-2470 or stop by the library for more information.

“I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture, and our concern for the future, can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.”     – Carl Sagan; astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author and all-around smart guy