#Jax Stacks – January 2023
Welcome to the 2023 Jax Stacks Reading Challenge! This year we are going to give you suggestions for each* category in the challenge every month so that you always have a great library book waiting for you when you need it. Check our blog every month for a new round of ideas, and feel free to share your progress and recommendations on social media using #jaxstacks.
#Jax Stacks Book Club
You can also share your reading in person with us at our monthly Jax Stacks Reading Challenge Book Club. Each month we will highlight one or two of our categories at the book club, and you are welcome to come share whatever books you’re reading as long as they count for the challenge. In January, we will meet at the Highlands Library to discuss “A book you’ve read and loved before” AND “A book written before 2000”.
#Click here to register!
#Monthly Book Recommendations
*Note: We can’t help you with “A book you’ve read and loved before”, but we’re happy to have you share them with us on social media!
*Second note: All of these recommendations can fit in the category “A book recommended by a library staff member”, and we encourage you to seek out your local branch staff or our personalized booklists for more recommendations!
#A book written before 2000:
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
An affluent Indian family is forever changed by one fateful day in 1969... Compared favorably to the works of Faulkner and Dickens, Arundhati Roy’s modern classic is equal parts powerful family saga, forbidden love story, and piercing political drama. The seven-year-old twins Estha and Rahel see their world shaken irrevocably by the arrival of their beautiful young cousin, Sophie.
#A historical book set in Africa:
The Vorrh by Brian Catling
Next to the colonial town of Essenwald sits the Vorrh, a vast—perhaps endless—forest. It is a place of demons and angels, of warriors and priests. Sentient and magical, the Vorrh bends time and wipes memory. Legend has it that the Garden of Eden still exists at its heart. Now, a renegade English soldier aims to be the first human to traverse its expanse.
#A book in translation:
The Twilight Zone by Nona Fernández and translated by Natasha Wimmer (originally published in Spanish).
It is 1984 in Chile, in the middle of the Pinochet dictatorship. A member of the secret police walks into the office of a dissident magazine and finds a reporter, who records his testimony. How do crimes vanish in plain sight? How does one resist a repressive regime? And who gets to shape the truths we live by and take for granted?
#A book written by an author when they were under 30:
The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi was published in 2006, when Oyeyemi was 22.
Jessamy “Jess” Harrison, age eight, is the child of an English father and a Nigerian mother. Possessed of an extraordinary imagination, she has a hard time fitting in at school. It is only when she visits Nigeria for the first time that she makes a friend who understands her: a ragged little girl named TillyTilly. But soon TillyTilly’s visits become more disturbing, until Jess realizes she doesn’t actually know who her friend is at all.
#A book read by a Library Book Club in 2023:
Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi
Selected for the Top Shelf Book Club at South Mandarin. Come talk about it on February 4 at 10:30 a.m. – register here!
#A self-improvement, how-to, or DIY book:
The Skeleton Crew by Deborah Halber
Currently, upwards of forty thousand people in America are dead and unaccounted for. These murder, suicide, and accident victims, separated from their names, are being adopted by the bizarre online world of amateur sleuths. It’s DIY CSI, solving cold cases from the comfort of your living room…
#A book banned in the last 10 years:
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
Reasons given (according to the American Library Association): “drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint”
#A book by a Nobel Prize-winning author:
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, winner of the 1938 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Travel to 1920s China, a time when the last emperor still ruled and the sweeping changes of the twentieth century were distant rumblings, with this timeless, evocative classic tale of the honest farmer Wang Lung and his family as they struggle to survive in the midst of vast political and social upheavals.
#A book with illustrations:
Barnaby Rudge with original illustrations by Charles Dickens
Written at a time of social unrest in Victorian Britain and set in London at the time of the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots, Dickens's brooding novel of mayhem and murder in the eighteenth century explores the relationship between repression and liberation in private and public life.