Olga Lijo works for the Juneau Public Libraries, where patrons and staff keep her “must-read” list growing.
“Wicked” by Gregory Maguire
Take the world that you saw as a child and look at it again through your adult eyes. You will start to see the hidden reasons behind a past that you had taken for granted. This is what “Wicked” is all about, giving the world of Oz a second life, and its characters unexpected depth.
“The Firecracker Boys” by Dan O’Neill
Put together a group of mad scientists, a remote area of the world like Point Hope, Alaska, and a plan to detonate several nuclear bombs with the excuse to build a harbor. Shake well. You’ve got a great start for a sci-fi novel. The thing is, it almost happened — and “The Firecracker Boys” tells you all about it.
“The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein
Although the story depicted by Stein is filtered through a dog’s eyes, it will appeal to all kinds of people, and not only pet lovers. The unconditional love and clear vision of this old soul of an animal will have you crying in no time.
“Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Armageddon is coming, but a not completely saintly angel and a quite not so bad devil decide that they are having too good a time on Earth. Add a slew of quite unconventional adaptations of age-old characters and a great use of language. There, you have one of the funniest books ever.
“Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” by Mary Roach:
Not dealing well with the thought of blood and related images, I started “Stiff” with profound hesitation. Mary Roach had foreseen this possible problem, and dealt with it for me. She mixes detailed descriptions of the possible fates of human cadavers with a deep sense of humor. Moreover, her jokes are respectful and self effacing, so one can approach this difficult subject with an untroubled lightness.
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