Whidbey librarians recommend best of 2021

Local librarians have compiled the most important end-of-the-year round-up for bibliophiles.

Local librarians have compiled the most important end-of-the-year round-up for bibliophiles.

Sno-Isle Library employees created 13 lists of books and other library media in various genres, all published in 2021.

Staff members of the Whidbey branches shared some of their favorites from the lists.

Vicky Welfare, manager of the Langley Library, recommended “In Search of a Kingdom: Francis Drake, Elizabeth I, and the Perilous Birth of the British Empire” by Laurence Bergreen and “Live Your Life: My Story of Loving and Losing Nick Cordero” by Amanda Kloots.

The former comes from the nonfiction list, the latter from the biographies and memoirs list.

“I love history and was immediately caught up in the story of ‘In Search of a Kingdom,’ which described the intense competition of the European countries of the 16th century to seize new lands and cement their power in empire,” Welfare said, adding that her first recommendation reads like an adventure story.

“‘Live Your Life’ had a more personal connection for me. It is the true story of Amanda Kloots and Nick Cordero, and how what seemed like a minor illness became a nightmare as Nick battled this strange new disease called COVID-19,” she went on.

Welfare said she knew Cordero briefly a few years ago and considered him a dear friend.

“It is a hard but hopeful read,” she said.

Brian Haight, the library circulation supervisor from the Coupeville Library, had a recommendation from the DVDs list: a new version of the first season of “All Creatures Great & Small” that came out in 2021.

“I watched the original series many years ago with my daughters and really enjoyed those actors. I thought there would be no way a newer version could top Christopher Timothy as James Herriot, Robert Hardy as Siegfried and Peter Davidson as Tristan,” Haight said. “But the new version is every bit as good. Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot, Samuel West as Siegfried and Callum Woodhouse as Tristan are spot on casting.”

He added that this new rendition also developed side characters’ storylines.

Katrina Morse, the adult services librarian for the Freeland and Langley libraries, had two special recommendations from the staff favorites.

Her first recommendation was “Red Island House” by Andrea Lee from the library system’s general fiction list.

“The writing is beautiful and the reader feels transported to the island of Madagascar — perfect during the dreary Northwest winter,” she said. “The book is structured as a series of linked vignettes which are easy to read either all at once or bit by bit, snuck in between other books.”

Her second recommendation was a short story collection on the audiobook list — “First Person Singular” by Haruki Murakami.

“The works of Murakami have a way of leaving the reader feeling simultaneously comforted and off-balance, as if they are visiting a familiar place where something is not quite as it should be,” she said. “This collection of short stories weaves together memoir, music, and magical realism for a thoroughly enjoyable read.”

The complete lists can be found at www.sno-isle.org/blogs/post/2021-staff-favorites.

Some staff members also shared their 2021 favorites from off the lists. For food-lovers, Siobhan Carter of the Coupeville library recommended “Baking for the Holidays” by Sarah Kieffer, which features more than 50 recipes for treats to enjoy during the winter.

Carter called the baking book “nostalgic and comforting after another tumultuous year.”

Coupeville Library staff member Kait Hopkins recommended what she called the “not-to-be-missed” new audiobook recordings of “The Lord of the Rings” triology, read by Andy Serkis and published in September 2021.

The Sno-Isle Library system will feature recommendations from different branches throughout the coming year. The Freeland Library was selected to be featured in January. The branch’s employees’ book recommendations will be found on the Sno-Isle library website.