LIBRARY LOOKOUT COLUMN: New year, new reads

If you’re like myself and the avid library users we adore, you’re always looking for your next great read. This month, I’d like to highlight a resource that is always available at your fingertips through your local public library, BookPage, and is always free.

Sara Hahn

Today’s column features a few excerpts of information about titles that were highlighted in the December 2021 BookPage magazine article “Best Books of 2021,” which presents the 100 most highly recommended books of the year.

“The Love Songs of W.E.B Du Bois” by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers, Adult Fiction

Celebrated poet Jeffers weaves an epic ancestral story that encompasses not only a young Black woman’s family heritage but also that of the American land where their history unfolded.

“Empire of Pain” by Patrick Radden Keefe, Adult Nonfiction

In jaw-dropping detail, Keefe recounts the greed and corruption at the heart of the Sackler family’s quest for wealth and social status.

“People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry, Romance

This inspired and achingly romantic reimagining of the beloved rom-com “When Harry Met Sally” firmly establishes Henry as the millennial heir to Nora Ephron.

“The Tangleroot Palace” by Marjorie Liu, Fantasy

This astonishing, haunting short story collection overflows with vivid characters and relatable themes as Liu puts her own spin on traditional archetypes.

“Mango, Mambo, and Murder” by Raquel V. Reyes, Mystery & Suspense

This title has everything readers look for in a cozy mystery but also feels like a breath of fresh air thanks to its funny, grounded characters and lovingly detailed setting.

“When We Were Infinite” by Kelly Loy Gilbert, Young Adult

Gilbert captures the intensity and electricity of the end of adolescence in this astonishing book that expands what the entire category of YA literature can be.

“Ahmed Aziz’s Epic Year” by Nina Hamza, Middle Grade

Hamza’s debut features a fresh and funny protagonist, a sensitive exploration of loss and grief and homages to some of the most classic titles in children’s literature.

“I Can Make a Train Noise” by Michael Emberley & Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, Picture Books

This immersive and fully choreographed journey creatively sweeps readers along on an adventure that bursts with rhythm and energy.

If one of these titles caught your eye, be sure to let a librarian know so that we can point you in the right direction in the stacks, or help you download the eBook or audio book to your device through the Libby app. If you’d like to read the full article with more reviews or browse the new BookPage January 2022 issue, it is available for free in all library locations, or digitally through our website. Cheers from us to you, the New Year, and your new reads.

Currently Reading: “The Guilt Trip” by Sandie Jones

Picture Book Highlight: “Be Brave, Little Penguin” by Giles Andreae

Sara Hahn is the Children and Youth Services Librarian at the Stanly County Public Library. Call 704-986-3758 or email