Resolving to read more in 2022? Worcester Public Library staff suggests these titles

·4 min read
“Great Circle” by Maggie Shipstead
“Great Circle” by Maggie Shipstead

WORCESTER — If there is one person you can trust to give you a good book recommendation, it's a librarian.

The following list has a total of eight books, four fiction and four nonfiction, and comes from recommendations by Worcester Public Library reference librarians.

Readers who are interested in suggestions and book lists should check out the library's Reader's Corner page.


"Great Circle" by Maggie Shipstead

Rescued from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, Marian and her twin are raised by their uncle in Missoula. As a teen, she discovers her passion for flight and finds a patron who provides her with a plane and lessons, thus allowing her to fulfill her destiny: piloting around the globe.

"'Great Circle' by Maggie Shipstead is one of the best novels I’ve read in a while," said Devon Evans, a public service librarian at WPL. "Its story is sprawling and page-turning with a strong female protagonist. It's a book club pick and was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize."

"Exhalation" by Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang wrestles with the oldest questions on Earth — What is the nature of the universe? What does it mean to be human? — in stories that prove that science fiction can rise to new heights of beauty, meaning and compassion.

"A Master of Djinn" by P. Djèlí Clark

Though Fatma is the youngest woman working for the Ministry, she's certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer. So when someone murders a secret brotherhood, she’s called to the case.

"Eggshells" by Caitriona Lally

Vivian lives in the house of her deceased great aunt in North Dublin. She does things her own way, like eating blue food and posting an ad for a friend named Penelope to ask why it doesn’t rhyme with antelope. But behind her heroic charm, something isn’t right.

"I loved 'Eggshells' by Caitriona Lally because of the whimsical language and the quirky main character, Vivian," Evans said. "You get to know her so well by the end of the book and appreciate her new sense of freedom."


"The Dead are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X" by Les Payne and Tamara Payne

This is an epic biography by Les Payne, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. For over 30 years, he interviewed anyone who had known Malcolm X: siblings, classmates, street friends, cellmates, Nation of Islam figures, FBI moles and cops, and political leaders.

"To many of us who grew up in the 1960s, Malcolm X was either a devil or an angel," said Joy Hennig, genealogy and local history librarian at WPL. "I recommend this book because author Les Payne rejects either option and instead paints a powerful portrait of a complex, multifaceted man who was not afraid to embrace change and whose message continues to resonate today."

"The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together" by Heather McGhee

This book is a brilliant analysis of how we arrived here — divided and self-destructing, materially rich but spiritually starved, vastly unequal — and leaves us with a new vision for a future in which we finally realize that life can be more than a zero-sum game.

"Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains" by Kerri Arsenault

An investigative memoir and cultural critique that depicts the rise and collapse of the working class, the hazards of loving and leaving home, and the ambiguous nature of toxins and disease.

"I recommend this book because it encapsulates the dilemma faced by small towns all over America. Economic prosperity versus good health," Hennig said. "Arsenault’s work is an indictment and a call to action, but it is not relentlessly grim. She braids together strands of family history, French Canadian history, and meditations on what it means to be home, into a work of compassion and tenderness that illuminates life in one small, vulnerable mill town."

"The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth" by Sam Quinones

From the best-selling author of "Dreamland" comes a searing follow-up that explores fentanyl and the quiet yet groundbreaking steps communities are taking to end the opioid crisis nationwide.

The library also recently published a list of upcoming titles to look forward to in 2022.

This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: Worcester Public Library staff offers book suggestions for 2022

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