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What Books Did Sonoma Read in 2016?

Posted on January 3, 2017 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Word is people in the Sonoma Valley are still reading books, so the SUN set out to verify this, talking with Lisa Musgrove, manager of our local branch of the Sonoma County Library, and Jude Sales, manager of Sonoma’s only bookstore, Readers’ Books.

“The love of reading and reading good books is alive and well in Sonoma Valley,” affirmed Musgrove.  She went on to say that the branch serves a sophisticated and literate clientele. As to trends, she notes that many adults are including books for young adults in their reading; and many also avail themselves of both traditional hardback books as well as reading devices to pursue their interests.

Mike Dawe of the county library system’s information and technology department pulled for the SUN a list of the ten most-checked out titles here in Sonoma Valley this past year.

All fiction but one, they include three children’s books. Two take place in France during WWII; two are about sociopath killers; one is about race and one about the judicial system.

Here’s the countdown of books top titles checked out at our local library branch:

10. A Big Guy Took My Ball by Mo Willems
Piggie is upset because a whale took the ball she found, but Gerald finds a solution that pleases all of them.

9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
Middle-schooler Greg Heffley records his attempts to spend his summer vacation sensibly indoors despite his mother’s other ideas.

8. X by Sue Grafton
A dark and chilling novel that features a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes.

7. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
The stories of two sisters each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France.

6. The Girls by Emma Cline
This best-seller by a young Sonoma author details a young girl’s growing involvement with a cult, ending in unspeakable violence.

5. Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham
The protagonist would seem to exemplify the unrest at the heart of America. He hates injustice, doesn’t like insurance companies, banks, or big corporations; distrusts all levels of government and scoffs at the justice system’s notions of ethical behavior.

4. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it?  This nonfiction is an attempt to answer such questions in a letter to the author’s adolescent son.

 3. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
A novel of life in a small Illinois town.

2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The heroine becomes entwined in the lives of people she views daily from her commuter train window, after going to the police about what she sees.

1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

At Readers’ Books, Sales said the post-election season had brought in lots of people looking for answers to what is happening in the country. She said “explainer books” like J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy  and Berkeley author Arlie Russell Hochschild’s Strangers In Their Own Land have been “selling like crazy,” together with Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman, and not unexpectedly, John Stewart and Bruce Springsteen’s titles. The most popular book this season is the National Book Award winner, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

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