@theLibrary: Oakland Press Picks


Psst… You can catch our bi-monthly column of reading recommendations in The Oakland Press! Here’s the latest from Head Reference Librarian Darlene Hellenberg!

@TheLibrary: Best Fiction of 2015

by Darlene Hellenberg & Jeff Milo


You see so many books go by when you work in a library. Darlene Hellenbreg is the Head Reference Librarian at the Ferndale Library and she’s chief selector for its fiction collection. If there’s anyone in this building who could best advise you on what to read next, it’s her; trust us, she’s constantly researching new releases, an abundance of reviews and readings lists as well as just having her own naturally acquired fine taste in fiction. Darlene could have told you about the stark yet captivating tale in “The Farm” by Tom Rob Smith or the exciting sci-fi romance of a graphic novel series called “Saga…” But instead, she has bravely aired some dirty library laundry and compiled a list of some of the most enticing, imaginative and buzzed-about reads of 2015 that she just couldn’t get to in time… As we said, there’s just too many books in this building! That said, Dar’s a veritable diviner of fine fiction… So, take her word for it.

A Librarian’s Fiction Wish List of 2016

Confession: Of the 34 books I read in 2015, I only truly loved 4 of them! Another confession: only one of the them from my reading list was actually published in 2015. That being the case, to start 2016 off on a better foot, I decided to compile a list of The Books I Wish I Had Read in 2015. Each of these titles received top ratings from review sources and they’re included on various Best Of 2015 lists. If you haven’t read them yet, check ‘em out:



  • ”Uprooted” by Naomi Novik

I love children’s fantasy, but for some reason I shy away from adult fantasy novels. I should have gotten my act together and read Novik’s novel about a dangerous wizard known as the Dragon who protects a local village at a high price. Uprooted was given starred reviews from Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and can be found on NPR’s Best of the Year List.


  • ”The Turner House” by Angela Flournoy

Viola’s family has lived in their house in Detroit for over 50 years. When she’s faced with moving, her children assemble to decide what must be done. A local setting and family drama? I can’t believe I missed this book. Flournoy’s novel appeared on the best of lists for Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, Essence and was nominated for a National Book Award.


  • ”Fates and Furies” by Lauren Groff

In Groff’s highly acclaimed novel, she examines the intricacies of a long marriage from both sides and shows that sometimes it’s what we don’t say that keeps relationships alive. I loved Groff’s novel The Monsters of Templeton and I should have jumped at the chance to read this one. Fates and Furies was nominated for a National Book Award and can be found on Best of the Year Lists from NPR, Kirkus, Library Journal, and Amazon.


A Librarian’s Fiction MUST List: Darlene’s Top Pick for 2015
kitchens of the great midwest--compliments of Penguin Group

  • Kitchens of the Great Midwest” by J. Ryan Stradal

I cannot say enough about this book. I have recommended it to anyone who’s asked (and some who haven’t). Kitchens is about a group of people, connected in one way or another, to Eva Thorvald. It’s about food, family (related and the kind we make ourselves), and most importantly, food. Read it. You won’t regret it.


“@TheLibrary” is an ongoing series of recommendations from the Ferndale Area District Library, serving to answer the often vexing question: ‘What should I read/watch next?’ Visit ferndalepubliclibrary.org and click “search catalog”



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