What’s the best book you read in 2013? Here are some picks from the Doherty staff:
I’ve been consistently amazed by David Ferry’s book of poetry, Bewilderment (winner of the 2012 National Book Award). Ferry, born in 1924, has been a leading poet and translator for decades. I love his translation of the Gilgamesh epic, for example, and his book of selected poems, Of No Country I Know. He has always made his formal mastery seem more like a practice of grace than a tool for cleverness or invention. But the stakes, of age and heartbreak, are higher in this book. It is late work in the most elevated sense.
-Joe Goetz, Information Literacy Librarian
Outliers: the Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell is very interesting. To quote from Amazon: “Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?”
-Jim Piccininni, Dean of Libraries
My pick is Mary Oliver’s A Thousand Mornings (2012) a recent book of poetry by a very popular and perhaps best-selling American poet. I’ve been reading it over and over again. There’s a special quietness as she walks in solitude in nature on Cape Cod almost becoming one with the sand, the sea, the animals, the birds, the fish, even the snake, and yet she’s always transcending to some special place. I always feel very serene. Poetry, she says, is prayer.
-Pat Gerson, Aquisitions
I was blown away by Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. NPR’s Barrie Hardymon sums up everything that is great about it: “The Goldfinch begins with a shocking and tragic event that leaves 13-year-old Theodore Decker without a parent and in possession of a stolen Dutch masterwork. Winding its way through Manhattan, Las Vegas, Amsterdam … Goldfinch is the rare novel that prompts you to read a beautiful sentence out loud even as you gobble it whole for the plot.” I couldn’t put it down.
-Emily Couvillon, Public Services Librarian