We are enormously lucky to be part of NOBLE (North of Boston Library Exchange). As many of you know, the NOBLE network allows you, our beloved patrons, to borrow books from the other libraries around us–including academic libraries at North Shore Community College and Salem State University–and utilize the programs and resources at our fellow NOBLE libraries. It’s a fantastic system that we all value enormously.
So this year, we thought it might be fun to invite the other NOBLE libraries and staff members to join us in our end-of-the-year celebrations! This week, we bring you Beverly Library’s list of the Best Books of 2017.
The Beverly Library (located at 32 Essex Street in Beverly) was established in 1855, three years after the Massachusetts Legislature became the first in the nation to authorize cities and towns to expend tax funds to support free public libraries. The institution was originally known as the Social Library, a private subscription library which traced its founding to a collection of books seized by Beverly privateers from a British merchantman during the Revolutionary War (I think that might be one of the coolest starts a library has ever had). Elizabeth P. Sohier, a trustee of the Beverly Public Library, led the fight to establish the first state library agency in the country, and served as the State Library Commission’s first secretary. The Essex Street site was opened in 1913, and was designed by architect Cass Gilbert, who was also the architect of the Minnesota State Capitol, the Woolworth Building in New York City and the United States Supreme Court. The building was subsequently enlarged in 1993.
In addition to its stunning Essex Street location, the Beverly Library also has a branch in Beverly Farms (located at 24 Vine Street, Beverly) and a Bookmobile! On average, the Beverly Library loans over 280,000 items annually to almost 27,000 regular borrowers. The Main Library collection consists of over 125,000 books and the Beverly Farms Branch of 22,000 books. They also have regular programs, displays, and book clubs–you can learn more about them by checking out their Events Calendar.
And, just as we in Peabody have Breaking Grounds, the Beverly Library is right near the Atomic Cafe, as well as number of small restaurants, cafes, and shops–so why not pay them a call and tell them we say Hello? You can also check out their selections for the best books of 2017. The full list can be found on their website here, and a few selections can be found below!
Beverly Library’s Best Books of 2017:
Startup : a novel: Mack McAllister has a $600 million dollar idea. His mindfulness app, TakeOff, is already the hottest thing in tech and he’s about to launch a new and improved version that promises to bring investors running. Katya Pasternack is hungry for a scoop that will drive traffic. An ambitious young journalist at a gossipy tech blog, Katya knows that she needs more than another PR friendly puff piece to make her the go-to byline for industry news. Sabrina Choe Blum just wants to stay afloat. The exhausted mother of two and failed creative writer is trying to escape from her credit card debt and an inattentive husband–who also happens to be Katya’s boss–as she rejoins a work force that has gotten younger, hipper, and much more computer literate since she’s been away. Before the ink on Mack’s latest round of funding is dry, an errant text message hints that he may be working a bit too closely for comfort with a young social media manager in his office. When Mack’s bad behavior collides with Katya’s search for a salacious post, Sabrina gets caught in the middle as TakeOff goes viral for all the wrong reasons. As the fallout from Mack’s scandal engulfs the lower Manhattan office building where all three work, it’s up to Katya and Sabrina to write the story the men in their lives would prefer remain untold. Doree Shafrir’s debut has been hailed as one of the most anticipated books of the year, and which Wired.com called “a dramedy-of-errors, a Shakespearean yarn of secrets, sex, miscommunication, misogyny, and money…Crack this one open on the beach and you just might find yourself a little more enlightened when you return to the workplace.”
Boundless: This is one of those books that proves just how far comics have come, and the real power that they have to convey stories, and move readers with images as well as text. This collection of short stories from Jillian Tamaki features stories about the virtual realities and real-world stories of a number of ‘normal’, and beautifully unique women: Jenny becomes obsessed with a strange “mirror Facebook,” which presents an alternate, possibly better, version of herself. Helen finds her clothes growing baggy, her shoes looser, and as she shrinks away to nothingness, the world around her recedes as well. The animals of the city briefly open their minds to us, and we see the world as they do. A mysterious music file surfaces on the internet and forms the basis of a utopian society–or is it a cult? In addition to earning top praise from the staff at the Beverly Library, Boundless also earned a starred review from Booklist, who called it “A profoundly honest, bittersweet picture of human nature, made all the more haunting by her enchanting artwork.”
Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World: Historians are some of the best people to help us avoid the mistakes in our past, and in this fascinating work, Dutch historian Rutger Bregman addresses how we can avoid the endless rounds of depressing jobs and needless purchasing in order to live a better life. Bregman offered two TED talks in the past three years on the concept of universal basic income, an idea which seemed utterly far-fetched originally, but is being seriously considered by leading economists and government leaders the world over. Using this idea, and building on some engrossing and enlightening global examples, Bregman argues that every progressive milestone of civilization–from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy–was once considered a utopian fantasy. Bregman’s book, both challenging and bracing, demonstrates that new utopian ideas, like the elimination of poverty and the creation of the fifteen-hour workweek, can become a reality in our lifetime. Being unrealistic and unreasonable can in fact make the impossible inevitable, and it is the only way to build the ideal world. This is a challenging, thought-provoking work that won praise from economists, academics, and reviewers alike (no mean feat, that!), with The Guardian noting that Bregman’s book “is not a dry, statistical analysis-although he doesn’t shy from solid data-but a book written with verve, wit, and imagination. The effect is charmingly persuasive, even when you can’t quite believe what you’re reading . . . Listen out for Rutger Bregman. He has a big future shaping the future.”