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Community Reading List: 2012 Complete List

Each year the library compiles reading recommendations for the Winter Break.

Barbara Alfano

John Bullock

Kathleen Dimmick

Camille Guthrie



Mary Lum

Jean Randich

Donald Sherefkin

Kerry Woods

three books totaling nearly 2300 pages -- should keep you busy for a good chunk of FWT. Individual titles are; Quicksilver; The Confusion; and The System of the World. I suppose this would be classified as historical fiction; it's also nerd-fiction, and has a bit of magical realism to it as well (there's a guy who appears to be literally ageless – he turns up in another Stephenson novel set in 21st century).  The sweep is pretty broad; Cromwell through the Restoration Stuarts in England, Court of Louis XIV in France,Mustafa Pasha's Ottoman Army at the gates of Vienna, various German principalities, Massachusetts (at an imagined proto-MIT in still-Puritan New England).  Characters include a number of kings and queens and other nobility (mostly historical, with a fictional "vagabond-kind" as an important character), everybody involved in the English Enlightenment (Newton, Hooke, etc.), W. G. Liebniz, Jean Bart (a real French privateer) -- and a couple of fictional protagonists who turn out to have been indirectly responsible for much of what happened during a very lively European generation.  Stephenson seems to have mastered the history in intimate detail (except where he doesn't mean to be factual). One reviewer called his treatment of the intellectual discourse of the tim "magisterial" and I can't argue.  AND he's very funny.  Great dialogue (given what a lot of it's about -- development of calculus, enlightenment philosophical debates, and so on -- it seems like it ought to feel really didactic, but it doesn't) and just generally delightful narrative writing. All of Stephenson's novels are good reading.  They share style, but not genre. Snow Crash has been described as "postcyberpunk" science fiction.  Cryptonomicon is more nerd stuff --
Stephenson's obsession with cryptography running from WWII to near future -- but full of implausible adventures.  I just read Anathem -- a 1000-pager that combines speculative/scifi, some swashbuckling, a lot of nimble philosophical/cultural/linguistic ruminations, AND a good dose of quantum physics. It involves FIVE alternate universes (ours is one of them). I liked it almost as much as the last book of the Baroque Cycle.

Doug Bauer

Ron Cohen

Mansour Farhang

Jon Isherwood

Amie McClellan

I suggest spending some snow days snuggling up with the entire series of Kurt Wallender police detective novels by Henning Mankell. I never thought I liked police detective novels but I can't get enough of these!

Isabel Roche

Betsy Sherman

Megan Mayhew Bergman

Annabel Davis-Goff

Marguerite Feitlowitz

Jonathan Kline

Andrew McIntyre

Jim Voorhies

Michael Bisio

Liz Deschenes

Becky Godwin

Scott Lehrer

Carol Meyer

Mirka Prazak

Allen Shawn

Stephen Shapiro

Mark Wunderlich