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Staff Favorites of 2017: Adult Fiction & Nonfiction

What was the County of Los Angeles Public Library staff reading in 2017? Here are some selections from our staff of the best books we read this year.

See our Staff Favorites of 2017: Teens and Children list too. Find even more reading suggestions at Books & Media.

 Meddling Kids book jacket

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

What if the guy in the costume wasn't the real villain? That's the question that The Blyton Summer Detective Club--what's left of them anyway--have to answer 13 years later. For Scooby Doo fans who wished the monsters were real.

Genre: Mystery, 2017

Recommended by: Sarah of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library

 Sourdough book jacket

Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Lois Clary feels beaten down by her robotics job, but finds unexpected bliss in the cuisine of two mysterious brothers. When they leave the city, they bring Lois a parting gift: their sourdough starter. Lois embraces a life of baking, but the starter takes on a life of its own. Quirky and comical, this novel comes with some serious carb cravings.

Genre: Fiction, 2017

Recommended by: Karen of Florence Library

 Behold the Dreamers book jacket

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Imbolo Mbue humanizes the 2008 Financial Crisis in this novel about Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant who becomes a driver for Clark Edwards, a Lehman Brothers executive. Highly recommended for anyone who likes character-driven novels.

Genre: Fiction, 2016

Recommended by: Katherine of Central Regional Office

 The Bear and the Nightingale book jacket

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

We all need a little magic in our lives and this book has that and more: royalty, a strong female heroine, folklore, and history. This captivating book tells the story of a wild young girl, born into magic and the Russian feudal system, who can see the spirits of the home, woods, lake, and land.

Genre: Fantasy, 2017

Recommended by: Iris of Paramount Library

 The Forever Summer book jacket

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner

When her office romance comes to light, Manhattan lawyer Marin Bishop finds herself out of a job at the same time she discovers a long-lost half sister and a grandmother she didn't know existed. She heads to Provincetown, Massachusetts, for the summer to regroup as more family secrets come to light. A fantastic multi-generational family drama.

Genre: Women's Fiction, 2017

Recommended by: Wendy of Library Headquarters

 My (Not So) Perfect Life book jacket

My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

It's a great quick summer read about how social media projects only what we want people to know about us and not what is really happening.

Genre: Women's Fiction, 2017

Recommended by: Stephanie of El Monte Library

 Holding book jacket

Holding by Graham Norton

A debut mystery novel from the host of The Graham Norton Show. The story takes place in a very small Irish village. A construction crew finds a set of bones prompting the local police sergeant to begin an investigation, revealing secrets from the past for many involved. Norton infuses the book with his own snarky/gossipy humor. A definite must read.

Genre: Cozy Mystery, 2017

Recommended by: Gina of Collection Development

 Conclave book jacket

Conclave by Robert Harris

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at the Vatican when the cardinals meet in secret to choose the next pope? This page-turner takes you behind the scenes, after the death of a fictional pope who bears a superficial resemblance to Pope Francis. Who among these supremely political cardinals will be chosen?

Genre: Suspense, 2016

Recommended by: Margo of San Dimas Library

 American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road book jacket

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton

This book IS epic. Fast-paced narrative nonfiction about the hunt and capture of Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the Silk Road, a free market for drugs (lots and lots of drugs), guns, fake IDs, and poisons. It's one of those books where you can picture the entire movie while reading it.

Genre: Nonfiction, 2017

Recommended by: Mary of Library Headquarters

 Havana: A Subtropical Delirium book jacket

Havana: A Subtropical Delirium by Mark Kurlansky

Being Cuban, I sadly don't know much about my ancestral island. This book is a wonderful collection of the history (both beautiful and brutal) and culture of Cuba I didn't know about. Kurlansky writes as an outsider who loves the island as a native. If you’re curious about this paradise, and don’t want to get into politics, pick it up.

Genre: Nonfiction, 2017

Recommended by: Teresita of City Terrace Library

 Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood book jacket

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Trevor retells many stories of his childhood and while not all of them are happy stories, there is still a good amount of humor mixed in. I highly recommend listening to the audiobook because Trevor is the narrator. Reading words in a different language versus hearing them pronounced properly was quite awesome.

Genre: Memoir, 2016

Recommended by: Erika of Live Oak Library

 Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body book jacket

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay's strong, poetic voice tells the story of her becoming. She examines her fatness, her self-image, and her anxieties. The book is alternately honest and ugly, poignant and tender.

Genre: Memoir, 2017

Recommended by: Kelly of West Hollywood Library

 The Most Beautiful: My Life With Prince book jacket

The Most Beautiful: My Life With Prince by Mayte Garcia

The story of a hardworking dancer from Puerto Rico who fell in love with one of the most enigmatic rock stars in the world. A love story and a heartbreaking tragedy, Garcia's openness and frankness make this a celebrity memoir not to be missed.

Genre: Memoir, 2017

Recommended by: Wendy of Library Headquarters

 Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes From My Corner of the South book jacket

Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes From My Corner of the South by Vivian Howard

This is the first cookbook I've ever read through and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The author Vivian Howard, the star of A Chef's Life, shares personal stories and recipes she's created from her culinary experiences in North Carolina and New York City. Along with great writing, this book is put together beautifully with appealing photographs and illustrations.

Genre: Cookbook, 2016

Recommended by: Camille of View Park Library

 Milk and Honey book jacket

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

A heartbreaking and moving book in verse. It's beautiful and uplifting. A must read for those who are looking for self-healing and self-love.

Genre: Poetry, 2015

Recommended by: Kascia of Alondra Library

 While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man's Descent into Madness book jacket

While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man's Descent into Madness by Eli Sanders

Eli Sanders, who won a Pulitzer for his newspaper coverage, has crafted a disturbing yet compelling account and of a horrible crime in Seattle, 2009.

Genre: True Crime, 2016

Recommended by: Kelly of West Hollywood Library