Our Staff’s Best of 2017, Part 2!

Here at the Peabody Institute Library, we are truly fortunate to have a staff with wonderfully diverse tastes in books, graphic novels, films, audiobooks, and more.  And so we are always on-hand to help you find whatever you are looking for when you come into the Library.

It also means that when we at the Free For All ask our staff for their favorite books/films/audiobooks from the past year, the results are fascinating, beautifully varied, and totally engaging.  So it is our pleasure today to begin our survey of our staff picks for the “Best of 2017”.

The rules are simple: the media in question doesn’t have to have been created during this year, they just have to be enjoyed this year.  As a result, you’ll see books from the nineteenth century and films made released in the past few months, and audiobook adaptations of classic novels, as well as recordings of new thrillers.  We hope you enjoy these suggestions, and that you find some books to help usher in the New Year!

Best of 2017

From the Upstairs Offices:

Flawless : Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History: On February 15, 2003, a group of thieves broke into an allegedly airtight vault in the international diamond capital of Antwerp, Belgium and made off with over $108 million dollars worth of diamonds and other valuables. They did so without tripping an alarm or injuring a single guard in the process.  Although the crime was perfect, the getaway was not. The police zeroed in on a band of professional thieves fronted by Leonardo Notarbartolo, a dapper Italian who had rented an office in the Diamond Center and clandestinely cased its vault for over two years.  The “who” of the crime had been answered, but the “how” remained largely a mystery…Enter Scott Andrew Selby, a Harvard Law grad and diamond expert, and Greg Campbell, author of Blood Diamonds, who undertook a global goose chase to uncover the true story behind the daring heist. Tracking the threads of the story throughout Europe—from Belgium to Italy, in seedy cafés and sleek diamond offices—the authors sorted through an array of conflicting details, divergent opinions and incongruous theories to put together the puzzle of what actually happened that Valentine’s Day weekend, in a story that earned a starred review from our staff, and from Booklist, who called it “an exciting and suspenseful story, and it reads like the best caper fiction, with lively characters and some surprising twists.”

A Court of Mist and Fury:  In the second book of Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy, we find Feyre returning to the Spring Court–but the cost of her journey is a steep one.  Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save her fiance. Tamlin, the High Lord of the Spring Court.   Though grateful for her sacrifices Tamlin is all too happy to lock Feyre up in his castle and protect her from the many dangers of his world, making Feyre’s depression that much more difficult to handle.   She is rescued by Rhysand, the feared High Lord of the Night Court, who draws her into a dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power that is both fascinating and terrifying.  As dark political tensions brew, Feyre realizes that she has to power to shape the world for the better–but only if she can learn to harness her powers before it is too late.  This is a phenomenal series, with some dazzling world-building, and any fan of fantasy would do well to start this trilogy from the beginning, and learn just why USA Today called this series “A thrilling game changer that’s fiercely romantic, irresistibly sexy and hypnotically magical.”

From the Reference Desk:

A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel For Humans:  A tail-wagging three hanky boo-hooer, this delightful fiction debut from Bruce Cameron proposes that a dog’s purpose might entail being reborn several times, and examines the life (lives) of one doggie as it journeys from family to family, story to story.  A book for anyone who admire canine courage, this is a heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny book that offers a dog’s-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.  Temple Grandin, a world-respected animal scientist praised this book, saying “I loved the book and I could not put it down. It really made me think about the purpose of life.”  Bailey’s story continues in A Dog’s Journey, which is also a staff pick for this year!

 Slow HorsesSlough House is where the washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what’s left of their failed careers. The “slow horses,” as they’re called, have all disgraced themselves in some way to get relegated here. Maybe they messed up an op badly and can’t be trusted anymore…Maybe they got in the way of an ambitious colleague and had the rug yanked out from under them…One thing they all have in common, though, is that most of them would do anything to get back in the game─even if it means having to collaborate with one another.  River Cartwright, one such “slow horse,” is bitter about his failure and about his tedious assignment transcribing cell phone conversations. When a young man is abducted and his kidnappers threaten to broadcast his beheading live on the Internet, River sees an opportunity to redeem himself. But is the victim who he first appears to be? And what’s the kidnappers’ connection with a disgraced journalist? As the clock ticks on the execution, River finds that everyone has his own agenda.  This is a funny, emotionally gripping, and absolutely sensational novel that proves that the spy genre didn’t die out in the Cold War.  Also, River Cartwright is one of my favorite characters of the year, and I cannot wait to follow him through the rest of the Slough House adventures!

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