Library Clearance Rack

When ordering books for the library, we do our best to stay ahead of media buzz so patrons can start queuing up for hot titles.  Reasonably enough, folks get - we’ll say... anxious - if they aren’t able to place a hold on an exciting title when they first hear of it.  This means we try to order popular books about a season ahead of release dates. So around Labor Day it’s holiday books, St. Pat’s it’s beach reads, and when Lawrence is sweating through the sidewalk sale, I'm sitting in the library's cool offices perusing fall blockbusters.

I won’t be using this space to talk about what is going to be popular this coming fall (hint, hint, hint, hint), rather I want to reminisce about last year’s blockbusters.  Now that the TV appearances are done and book tours are over (until the paperback!), it’s a great time to get your hands on a previously-coveted title, especially if a long holds list scared you away last year.  It’s the library equivalent of a clearance rack - and who doesn’t love a sale?

Here are some of last fall’s finest, with little-to-no wait:

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
"In this exceptionally involving and rewarding novel, Kingsolver considers how our ways of living are threatened by the changing climate and our ever-increasing pressure on the biosphere..." Booklist *Starred Review*

Transcription by Kate Atkinson
"With a fascinating cast of characters, careful plotting, and lyrical language in turns comical and tragic, Atkinson's complex story carefully unveils the outer demands and inner conflicts that war inflicts on people." Library Journal

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
"From the hospital rooms and living spaces of Lagos, Nigeria, comes a dryly funny and wickedly crafty exercise in psychological suspense...Even your most extravagant speculations about what's really going on with these wildly contrasting yet oddly simpatico siblings will be trumped in this skillful, sardonic debut."  Kirkus

The Witch Elm by Tana French
"It's as good as the best of [French's previous] novels, if not better. In theme and atmosphere, it evokes her earliest two books, Into the Woods and The Likeness, using the driving mystery--of course, there's a murder--as a vehicle for asking complex questions about identity and human nature." Publisher's Weekly

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
"After a disastrous and highly public proposal gone wrong, a no-nonsense freelance writer rebounds with her knight in shining armor... A charming book for the modern romance lover." Kirkus

Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly
"...Connelly pairs series stalwart Harry Bosch with Renée Ballard in their first (but hopefully not their last) adventure together...this latest pairing is truly inspired." BookPage

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
"Under her Galbraith pseudonym, J.K. Rowling impressively sustains suspense over the course of a lengthy mystery in her fourth outing for London PI Cormoran Strike and his partner, Robin Ellacott...Rowling's emotionally intelligent portrayal of her protagonists never overwhelms the whodunit story line." Publishers Weekly

Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs
"An epic, sharp coming-of-age story from the daughter of Steve Jobs.It's rare to find a memoir from a celebrity's child in which the writing is equal to--or exceeds--the parent's reputation, but that is the case with Brennan-Jobs' debut." Kirkus

Heartland by Sarah Smarsh
"Journalist Smarsh uses her background growing up in rural Kansas to illustrate the economic plight of the rural working poor... While Smarsh ends on a hopeful note, she offers a searing indictment of how the poor are viewed and treated in this country." Library Journal

The Library Book by Susan Orlean
"An engaging, casual history of librarians and libraries and a famous one that burned down... Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey." Kirkus

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung
"Chung's birth parents gave her up for adoption when she was two months old. Raised by white parents five hours outside Portland, OR, she went 18 years without getting to know another person of Korean heritage... This touching memoir explores issues of identity, racism, motherhood, and sisterhood with eloquence and grace. Highly recommended."  Library Journal

—Ransom Jabara is a Collection Development Librarian at Lawrence Public Library.