Alyssa’s Staff Picks from the Scranton Public Library

During the past year, I was fortunate enough to start chipping away at my to-be-read list on Goodreads. I tried to make a point of reading books that I had always meant to read, but just did not have the time.  My Top 5 Books Read in 2019 include titles that have stayed with me for one reason or another. In the case of Quackery, it is reflecting on medical practices of the past when I have a stuffy nose due to allergies. Other books, such as Pumpkinheads and Fallout, became my go to recommendations for friends and family. At the end, I have listed five more titles to round out my Top 10 Books Read in 2019 because there were just so many good titles this year. Hopefully, this list will help you find something new to read in 2020!

My Top 5 Books Read in 2019:

Fallout by Gwenda Bond

Fallout is the first book in a series featuring a teenaged Lois Lane, a character known from the Superman comics and movies. In this book, Lois discovers a group of students called the Warheads are making life miserable for another student at her new school, Metropolis High. As part of her first assignment for the student section of the Daily Planet, she tries to figure out the mystery behind the Warheads’ actions and navigate a new high school. The sequels (Double Down and Triple Threat) are also worth a read. I personally enjoyed the entire series and the development of Lois Lane as her own character instead of being defined by her relationship with Superman.

The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie

The Pale Horse is one of Christie’s novels featuring an appearance by the reoccurring character of Ariadne Oliver. A priest is found murdered with a list of names tucked into his shoe after visiting a dying woman. The names have no obvious connection to each other, except that they are either already dead or may have been marked for murder. The suspects range from a chemist to a group of women who may practice witchcraft. It is a fun read that is being turned into a mini-series staring Rufus Sewell set to come out next year.

Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia King and Nate Pederson

Quackery is one of the rare books that is actually humorous and informative at the same time. The topics are sorted into categories such as elements, plants, animals, tools, and mysterious powers. Each one is broken down into various methods used to cure certain ailments throughout history. Even weeks after finishing this book, I find myself thinking about the chapters on earth (literally eating clay or soil), leeches (bloodletting practices), and animal magnetism (essentially hypnosis). Quackery is rather gruesome due to the subject matter, but in the most fascinating way.

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

Set in 1821, The Witch of Willow Hall follows Lydia Montrose and her family after a scandal involving her sister Catherine forces them to move from Boston to New Oldbury. Lydia soon discovers that their new home is haunted by ghosts with potentially sinister motives. While trying to solve this mystery, she struggles to maintain a normal life among family secrets, a new love interest, and controlling powers she does not understand. In my opinion, this was a classic ghost story with the right amount of family drama to keep it feeling fresh and unique.

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks

Pumpkinheads is an adorable graphic novel that tells the story of Josiah and Deja’s final night working at a pumpkin patch in Nebraska. It is their last chance to experience everything they can about the pumpkin patch including convincing Josiah to finally ask out the girl he has had a crush on for the past few years. It is the perfect fall graphic novel and it just made me happy.

Titles that round out my Top 10 books of the year:

– Alyssa-

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