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The Princess and the Pony




Best books of 2015
Local booksellers and librarians offer their favorites

12/31/15
By Kelly Sennott ksennott@hippopress.com



If you’ve missed some of the best books of 2015, it’s not too late to check them out. Here are some recommendations from local booksellers, librarians and writing teachers.

 
Kids’ books
You Nest Here with Me by Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Plot: How parents of all animal species tuck in their children at night.
Recommended by: Katharine Nevins, MainStreet BookEnds. “Sweet rhyming bedtime book from beloved author Jane Yolen and daughter Heidi Stemple.”
 
The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
Plot: Princess Pinecone doesn’t get quite the horse of her dreams for her birthday; hers does not share her enthusiasm for battle, but he is effective at being cute and making other knights swoon at his adorable, sweet face.
Recommended by: Grace Larochelle, Hooksett Library. “This picture book will make everyone smile.”
 
This Orq. (He Say “Ugh!”) by David Elliott, illustrated by Lori Nichols
Plot: Warner’s own bestselling children’s author’s follow-up to last year’s This Orq. (He Cave Boy), with Orq and Woma taking on a couple of Stone Age bullies. 
Recommended by: Katharine Nevins. “Great stuff.”
 
The Runaway’s Gold by Emilie Burack
Plot: Christopher Robertson’s brother frames him for stealing his father’s secret bag of coins, forcing Christopher to leave his home and embark on a journey to return the coins and clear his name.
Recommended by: Michael Herrmann, Gibson’s Bookstore. “A book for middle readers and young adults by local author Emilie Burack.”
 
Nonfiction
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Plot: Ta-Nehisi Coates shares stories and his impression of the world through a series of revelatory experiences, in a letter to his adolescent son. Winner of the National Book Award.
Recommended by: Katharine Nevins. “Simply the best-written and most important book of the year.”
Also recommended by: Monica Bilson, New Hampshire Institute of Art creative writing department chair. “Beautifully written. … Coates’ book helped me understand what’s it like to be black in America today.”
 
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
Plot: The behind-the-scenes story of the brothers who taught the world to fly.
Recommended by: Michael Herrmann.
 
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
Plot: The story behind the sinking of the Lusitania.
Recommended by: Michael Herrmann.

We Are Market Basket: The Story of the Unlikely Grassroots Movement That Saved a Beloved Business by Daniel Korschun and Grant Welker
Plot: First-hand accounts about how the Market Basket leader provoked such ferocious loyalty that hundreds of employees protested his leave.
Recommended by: Carol Luers Eyman, Nashua Public Library. “Welker is a reporter for the Lowell Sun who was on the front lines of the 2014 protests, and Korschun is an associate professor of marketing at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. Welker adeptly captures the day-to-day events while Korschun puts them in context, highlighting the contrast between the Demoulas family’s nurturing of its employees and more typical management/labor relations. This story offers a glimmer of hope to the battered American worker.”
 
In the Evil Day by Richard Carey
Plot: Carey, a Southern New Hampshire University faculty member, immerses the reader in the small town of Colebrook, New Hampshire, where, in 1997, a carpenter with a grudge and an assault rifle took vengeance on local officials.
Recommended by: Carol Luers Eyman. “A sensitive, engrossing storytelling style.”
 
Mount Kearsarge: History, Stories, Legends and Folktales by Larry Sullivan, illustrated by Mimi Wiggin
Plot: History of Mount Kearsarge, plus more than 30 stories and folktales related to the mountain.
Recommended by: Katharine Nevins. “Our No. 1 best-seller this year. All the history and lore of our beloved mountain, tons of photos, and gorgeous paintings by Mimi Wiggin.”

438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea by Jonathan Franklin
Plot: The account from the man who survived alone and adrift at sea longer than anyone in recorded history, as told to journalist Jonathan Franklin in dozens of exclusive interviews.
Recommended by: Sarah St. Martin, Manchester City Library. “An extraordinary, well-written account of how the human body and mind can survive life aboard a fishing boat lost at sea, ending with a poignant message from the survivor.”
 
Fiction
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Plot: In a quiet village, a cold, driven wizard known as the Dragon keeps powers at bay for a terrible price: one young woman, who must be handed over to serve him for 10 years.
Recommended by: Meryle Zusman, Derry Public Library. “An adult fairy tale, beautifully written, with memorable characters and action. The imagery will stay with me a long time.”

Golden Son by Pierce Brown
Plot: Book II of The Red Rising dystopian trilogy, in which societal strictures determine your lot in life. Golden Son continues the journey of rebel Darrow, who is battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from inside the enemy’s side.
Recommended by: Meryle Zusman.
 
Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins
Plot: In a parched Southern California of the near future, Luz and Ray are squatting in a starlet’s abandoned mansion. When they cross paths with a mysterious child, they begin thirsting for a better future and head east to find a dowser — a diviner for water — and his cult-like followers.
Recommended by: Tim Horvath, New Hampshire Institute of Art writing faculty. “My expectations were lofty, and it nonetheless managed to exceed them with sentences that swoop and swirl with this inexorable force like the Amargosa, the dune sea that she depicts running amok. She stares into the abyss of our environmental crisis and doesn’t relent or sugarcoat or airbrush, but she also made me feel profoundly for the characters she’d placed amid that landscape.”
 
God’s Kingdom by Howard Frank Mosher
Plot: A 1950s coming-of-age story in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.
Recommended by: Katharine Nevins. “No one can better spin these tales of complex family relations and generations of racism and bigotry than Howard Frank Mosher.”
 
Poetry
The Selected Poems of Donald Hall by Donald Hall
Plot: The best poetry of Donald Hall, hand-selected by the New Hampshire poet (and former U.S. poet laureate) from more than 70 years of published works.
Recommended by: Katharine Nevins. “This is a gift of honesty, intimacy, and the pure genius that is Donald Hall. … As he is no longer writing poetry, this ‘concise gathering of my life’s work’ is the perfect introduction to Hall’s literary contributions, as well as closure for his many ardent followers.” 





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