NOTE: While new carpeting is being installed at the Oshtemo Branch Library, access to some materials may be unavailable. Thank you for your patience.

What We Liked This Year

Staff Picks: Best of 2012


Sharing our favorites with you is one way we support KPL’s strategic plan priority of “reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure.” These are some of the titles that KPL staff thought were the best of 2012.

Best of: 2017201620152014 | 2013 | 2012 | 20112010

Library Director

Ann Rohrbaugh

The Best of 2012 | Ann’s Blog Posts


Lower River by Paul Theroux 

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 

Please Look After Mom by Kyŏng-suk Sin 

Round House  by Louise Erdrich 

When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man  by Nick Dybek 


Blue Nights by Joan Didion (2011)

Catherine the Great by Robert Massie (2011)

Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard (2011)

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen

President’s Club by Nancy Gibbs


Kalamazoo Public Library Board Secretary

Fenner Brown II

The Best of 2012 


Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Swan's Way by Marcel Proust

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy


Kalamazoo Public Library Board Trustee

Robert Paul Brown

The Best of 2012 


The Tainted Coin by Melvin Starr

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell

The Submission by Amy Waldman

Reamde by Neal Stephenson

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence

Fifty Shades of Grey by E. James


Lead Librarian, Children's Room

Bill Caskey

The Best of 2012 | Bill’s Blog Posts


More by Brian Lies

Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham; illustrated by Paul Zelinsky

Jazz Age Josephine by Jonah Winter; illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

Don’t Squish the Sasquatch! By Kent Redeker and Bob Staake

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan; illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini

Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Adam Rex

House Held Up by Trees by Ted Kooser; illustrated by Jon Klassen

Cold Cereal by Adam Rex

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce

The Peculiar by Stefan Bachman

Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus

Screen Time : how electronic media—from baby videos to educational software—affects your young child by Lisa Guernsey – new revised edition


Library Aide, Adult Services

Cheryl Cavalear 

The Best of 2012 | Cheryl’s Blog Posts


Dark Night Rises

Marvel’s The Avengers  

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows 

This Means War 

The Vow 

Hunger Games 

In Time  





Up All Night  by Kip Moore

Hard 2 Love  by Lee Brice

Love and Theft by Love and Theft  

Tornado  by Little Big Town

Free the Music by Jerrod Niemann

Home by Dierks Bentley

Jana Kramer by Jana Kramer

Blown Away by Carrie Underwood 

Back in the Saddle by Chris Cagle


Librarian, Children's Room

Amy Chase

The Best of 2012 | Amy’s Blog Posts 


Okay For Now by Gary Schmidt

Otter and Odder by James Howe

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos



The Muppets


Adult Services

Michael Cockrell

The Best of 2012 | Michael’s Blog Posts: BooksMoviesMusic  


Winter Journal by Paul Auster

Gods Without Men  by Hari Kunzru

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

The Submission  by Amy Waldman

Joseph Anton: A Memoir  by Salman Rushdie

When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man  by Nick Dybek

A Hologram for the King  by Dave Eggers

Trust me, I'm Lying: confessions of a media manipulator by Ryan Holiday

This Machine Kills Secrets: how WikiLeakers, cypherpunks and hacktivists aim to free the world's information  by Andy Greenberg

People Who Eat Darkness: the true story of a young woman who vanished from the streets of Tokyo, and the evil that swallowed her up by Richard Lloyd Parry


Moonrise Kingdom


Blunderbuss  by Jack White

Boys & Girls by Alabama Shakes

Nothing's gonna change the way you feel about me now by Justin Townes Earl

Dymaxion Mothership by Bill Caskey

The Carpenter by Avett Brothers

Researching the Blues by Redd Kross

Landing on a Hundred by Cody Chestnut


Adult Services, Circulation Supervisor

Jennifer Cornell

The Best of 2012 | Jennifer’s Blog Posts  


Social Animal: a story of love, character, and achievement by David Brooks

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

Frangoline and the Midnight Dream by Clemency Pearce

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg


Born to Die by Lana DelRay
MTV Unplugged by Florence + the Machine
Mission Bell by Amos Lee


Lead Librarian, Oshtemo Branch Library

Nancy Davis-Smith

The Best of 2012 | Nancy’s Blog Posts

Children’s Books

Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey by Mini Grey

The Quiet Place by Sarah Stewart

Teen Books

Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley

Adult Books

Quick and Easy Autumn Gooseberry Patch

Quick and Easy Christmas  Gooseberry Patch


Uncaged by Zac Brown Band

Red by Taylor Swift

Own the Night by Lady Antebellum (2011)

A Thousand Miles Left Behind by Glorianna  
Blown Away by Carrie Underwood


Ready to Read

Andrea Enyedi

The Best of 2012 | Andrea’s Blog Posts


Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


Horses and High Heels by Marianne Faithfull

Outside Society by Patti Smith

Mylo Xyloto by Coldplay


Farewell, My Queen   

The Dark Knight Rises



Librarian, Oshtemo Branch Library

Angela Fortin 

The Best of 2012 | Angela’s Blog Posts


The Round House by Louise Erdrich

NW by Zadie Smith

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro

I'm Your Man: the Life of Leonard Cohen  by Sylvie Simmons

Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo

What's the Matter With White People?: Why We Long For a Golden Age That Never Was by Joan Walsh

The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith by Joanna Brooks


Take This Waltz


Parks and Recreation (season 4)

Damsels in Distress

Downton Abbey (season 2)

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia


Safety Not Guaranteed

Moonrise Kingdom

A Separation


The Salesman and the Shark by Sean Rowe

Visions by Grimes

The Idler Wheel by Fionna Apple

Nocturne by Wild Nothing

Shields by Grizzly Bear

Bloom by Beach House

Port of Morrow by The Shins

Old Ideas by Leonard Cohen

Here by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

Tramp by Sharon Van Etten


Teen Librarian 

Stewart Fritz 

The Best of 2012 | Stewart’s Blog Posts


The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel

Every Day by David Levithan

Black Heart by Holly Black

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

One Soul by Ray Fawkes

Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever by Will Hermes


Take Shelter

Marvel's The Avengers


The Cabin in the Woods


The Muppets   

Being Elmo

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy 

Shut Up Little Man!   


Break It Yourself by Andrew Bird

Ghostory by School Of Seven Bells

Yellow & Green by Baroness

Skelethon by Aesop Rock

Synthetica by Metric

Bloom by Beach House

Blunderbuss by Jack White


Audiovisual & Law Librarian

Ryan Gage

The Best of 2012 | Ryan’s Blog Posts: BooksMovies, Music


Stay Awake by Dan Chaon

Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story by Jim Holt

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Zona by Geoff Dyer

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter 

You and Me by Padgett Powell

Winter Journal by Paul Auster

Farther Away by Jonathan Franzen

Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace by D.T. Max

A History of Booksby Gerald Murnane


The Master


The Turin Horse

Moonrise Kingdom

The Artist is Present

On the Bowery

Damsels in Distress  

The Deep Blue Sea

The Interrupters

Tiny Furniture

Beasts of the Southern Wild

The Invisible War

Chico & Rita

Kid with a Bike

Celeste and Jesse Forever

Gerhard Richter Painting

The Fab Five

Homeland: The Complete First Season   

Bones Brigade: An Autobiography


An American Trilogy (Reissued) by Mickey Newbury

Bloom by Beach House

Master of My Make Believe by Santigold

Oshin by Diiv

The Money Store by Death Grips

The Carpenter by The Avett Brothers

Delta Spirit by Delta Spirit

Confess by Twin Shadow

The Tarnished Gold by Beachwood Sparks

Sun by Cat Power

Fear Fun by Father John Misty

Strange Weekend by Porcelain Raft

Shields by Grizzly Bear

Life is People by Bill Fay

Maraqopa by Damien Jurado


Head, Technical Services / ILS

Gary Green

The Best of 2012 | Gary’s Blog Posts: BooksMovies


I, Michael Bennett - James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Wicked Business - Janet Evanovich

Stolen Prey - John Sandford

Break Down - Sara Paretsky

V is for Vengeance - Sue Grafton

Explosive Eighteen - Janet Evanovich

The Tombs – Clive Cussler


The Pirates: Band of Misfits

Marvel’s The Avengers

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen


The Fairy

Oranges and Sunshine

Albert Nobbs

The Adventures of Tintin

The Three Musketeers   

The Muppets  

Three and Out 

Cowboys & Aliens


A Beginners Guide to Endings


Made of Bricks by Kate Nash


Government Information Coordinator

Christine Hann

The Best of 2012 | Christine’s Blog Posts


Jersey Tomatoes are the Best by Maria Padian

Are You my Mother? by Alison Bechdel

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Fangbone, Third Grade Barbarian by Michael Rex

Love Anthony – Lisa Genova

Left Neglected – Lisa Genova

The Journal of Best Practices: a Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to be a better Husband – David Finch

The Yellow Birds: A novel – Kevin Powers


Raw Faith

Made in Dagenham

Nurse Jackie  

We Bought a Zoo

The Descendants

The Artist

The Women of SNL

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Albert Nobbs

Modern Family 


Beauty Queen Sister by Indigo Girls

Slipstream by Bonnie Raitt

The Descendants soundtrack


Electronic Resources Librarian

Caitlin Hoag 

The Best of 2012 | Caitlin’s Blog Posts


How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

NW by Zadie Smith

Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

Vegetarian Cooking by Kathy Polenz

How Music Works by David Byrne

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon

Dear Life by Alice Munro


Take Shelter 

Moonrise Kingdom

The Interrupters

Young Adult

Parks and Recreation season 4

30 Rock season 6

Walking Dead season 2

Beasts of the Southern Wild


Master of my Make-Believe by Santigold

Love This Giant by David Byrne & St. Vincent

Haunted Man by Bat for Lashes


Web Coordinator

Keith Howard 

The Best of 2012 | Keith’s Blog Posts: Books, Music  


Peter Buck by Peter Buck

Glad Rag Doll by Diana Krall

Sounds That Can't Be Made by Marillion

Old Ideas by Leonard Cohen

Banga by Patti Smith

Psychedelic Pill by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Tempest by Bob Dylan

Genesis Revisited II by Steve Hackett

Thick as a Brick 2 by Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull)

Born and Raised by John Mayer

Valtari by Sigur Rós

Privateering by Mark Knopfler

Dymaxion Mothership by Bill Caskey

Into the Wild - Live At EastWest Studios by LP

Follow by Travis & Fripp (Robert Fripp and Theo Travis)

Comfortable Void by Sync24

Octane Twisted by Porcupine Tree


Head, Patron Services

Kevin King 

The Best of 2012 | Kevin’s Blog Posts: MoviesMusic


 Creole Belle by James Lee Burke 

Summer of ’68: The Season That Changed Baseball and America Forever by Tim Wendel 

Every Day by David Levithan 

Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young 

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce


The Avengers

The Dark Knight Rises

Downton Abbey, Season 2

The League, The Complete Season Three

The Descendants


The Way We Move by Langhorne Slim 

Boys & Girls by Alabama Shakes 

The Carpenter by The Avett Brothers

The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomey by  Nada Surf

We All Raise Our Voices to the Air by The Decemberists

Blunderbuss  by Jack White

My Head is an Animal by Of Monsters and Men

The Lumineers by The Lumineers

Signs & Signifiers by JD McPherson

The Lion’s Roar by First Aid Kit

The Dreamer by Rhett Miller 

The Tempest by  Bob Dylan

What Kind of World by Brendan Benson

Transcendental Youth by The Mountain Goats

Gossamer by Passion Pit


Library Assistant, Audiovisual

Karl Knack

The Best of 2012 | Karl’s Blog Posts: Movies, Music


Mad Men Season 5


Breaking Bad Season 5


Moonrise Kingdom



Restless City

The Master



Soundproof Room EP by No Bails

The Verve/MGM Albums by The Velvet Underground

Break It Yourself by Andrew Bird

Antibalas by Antibalas

The Jet Set by Los Straitjackets

Psychedelic Pill by Neil Young and Crazy Horse

The Crossing by Menahan Street Band

Researching the Blues by Redd Kross

Temple Beautiful by Chuck Prophet

Betty Wright: the Movie by Betty Wright and the Roots


Library Associate, Teen Services

Jill Lansky 

The Best of 2012 | Jill’s Blog Posts


Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Witches! The Absolute Tru Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer

How Tia Lola Saved the Summer by Julia Alvarez

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

Tilt by Ellen Hopkins

The Impossible Rescue: the true Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure by Martin Sandler

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

The Secret of the Fortune Wookie by Tom Angleberger

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: the Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney


Facilities Management

Robyn Lilek

The Best of 2012 | Robyn’s Blog Posts


Running Around (and such) by Linda Byler

When Strawberries Bloom by Linda Byler

Big Decisions by Linda Byler

Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller

Wrecked by Carol Higgins Clark

Gypped by Carol Higgins Clark

Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly

We Shall Not Be Moved: the women's factory strike of 1909 by Joan Dash

Joseph: A Man of Integrity and Forgiveness by Charles Swindoll

Dear and Glorious Physician by Taylor Caldwell

I, Judas by Taylor Caldwell


Youth Services Library Assistant

Sarah Nyenhuis 

The Best of 2012 | Sarah’s Blog Posts

Children’s Books

Cecil the Pet Glacier by Matthea Harvey

Chop Chop (a children’s magazine)

The Odyssey by Homer

The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas by Tony Wilson

Unlikely Friendships: The Monkey & the Dove by Jennifer S. Holland

Adult Books

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

The Newlyweds : a novel by Nell Freudenberger

Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain 



The Artist

Damages, The Complete Fourth Season

Downton Abbey – Season 4

Mad Men, Season Five


Babel by Mumford & Sons
Born to Die by Lana Del Rey
Coexist by The XX
Halcyon by Ellie Goulding
Little Seed by Elizabeth Mitchell
Sun by Cat Power
What We Saw From the Cheap Seats by Regina Spektor


Lead Librarian, Powell Branch Library

Judi Rambow

The Best of 2012 | Judi’s Blog Posts

Adult Books

Low Pressure by Sandra Brown

The Last Victim by Karen Robards

No One left to tell by Karen Rose

Criminal: A Novel by Karin Slaughter

Close your eyes by Iris Johansen

Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick

All I did was shoot my man by Walter Mosley

The One by Cheryl Robinson

The gift of fire by Walter Mosley

The Nightmare by Lars Kepler

Children's Books

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis

I have a dream: Dr. Martin Luther King paintings by Kadir Nelson

The paradise trap by Catherine Jinks

The plant hunters: True stories of the daring adventures to the far corners of the earth by Anita Silvey

Hope and tears: Ellis Island voices by Gwenyth Swain

Two crafty criminals! by Philip Pullman

Wild about you! by Judy Sierra pictures by Marc Brown

Looking for me: in this great big family by Betsy Rosenthal

Chico the Brave by Dave Horowitz

Jack and the Beanstalk by Nina Crews


Snow White and the Huntsman


Hunger Games

The Good Wife

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Five Year Engagement


Endeavour: The Young Inspector Morse

Tyler Perry's Witness Protection

Think Like a Man


Materials Selection Librarian

Steve Siebers

The Best of 2012 | Steve’s Blog Posts


The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander

Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier

Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta

Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne

Apostles of Culture by Dee Garrison


Nostalgia for the Light

Last Train Home

The Interrupters

Hot Fuzz

The Tillman Story

Saint Misbehavin

The Three Stooges

Parks & Recreation Season 4


Neck of the Woods by Silversun Pickups

Bloom by Beach House

Port of Morrow by Shins

The Carpenter by Avett Brothers

Valtari by Sigur Ros

Americana by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Break It Yourself by Andrew Bird

What We Saw From the Cheap Seats by Regina Spektor


Lead Librarian, Washington Square Branch Library

Nancy Stern

The Best of 2012 | Nancy’s Blog Posts


Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd

The Expats by Chris Pavone

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante


Monsieur Lazhar


What We Saw from the Cheap Seats by Regina Spektor

Americana by Neil Young


Readers Services Librarian

Karen Santamaria

The Best of 2012 | Karen’s Blog Posts


The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Help. Thanks. Wow by Anne Lamott

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon

 Some Assembly Requiredby Anne Lamott

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

NW by Zadie Smith

Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon

Wild: From lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed


Kalamazoo Public Library Board Treasurer

James E. VanderRoest

The Best of 2012  


The Submission by Amy Waldman

Life and Leisure in Ancient Rome by J. P. V. D. Balsdon

Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor by Anthony Everitt

The Wolf : how one German raider terrorized the Allies in the most epic voyage of WWI by Richard Guilliatt

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin


Downton Abbey



Librarian, Children’s Room

Andrea Vernola

The Best of 2012 | Andrea’s Blog Posts

Children’s Books

Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Red Sled by Lita Judge

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett 

Do You Know Which Ones will Grow? by Susan Shea

The House Baba Built: An Artist's Childhood in China by Ed Young and Libby Koponen

And the Soldiers Sang by J. Patrick Lewis and Gary Kelley (beautiful book about WWI Christmas Truce in early 1914)

Moonlight by Helen Griffith

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Stars by Mary Lynn Ray and Marla Frazee

Teen/Tween Books

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Fault in Our Stars by John Gree

Divergent and Insurgent  by Veronica Roth

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Adult Books

Quiet: the power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes by Jamie Oliver

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Some Assembly Required: a journal of my son’s first son by Anne Lamott and Sam Lamott


Babel by Mumford and Sons

Bear Creek by Brandi Carlile


Youth Services

Sue Warner

The Best of 2012 | Sue’s Blog Posts

Children’s Books

A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead

Demolition by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock

My Teacher by James Ransome

Duck Sock Hop by Jane Kohuth, illustrated by Jane Porter

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Homer by Elisha Cooper

Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart selected by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Michael Emberley

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall

Caddy’s World by Hilary McKay

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin Stead

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

One Year in Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath

Beyond Courage: the Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust by Doreen Rappaport

Adult Books

Broken Harbor by Tana French

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz

The Bartender’s Tale by Ivan Doig

Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott

Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill

The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler

Elegy for Eddie: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

A Natural Woman: A Memoir by Carole King

Stolen Prey by John Sandford

Dinner: A Love Story: It All Begins at the Family Table by Jenny Rosenstrach

Visiting Tom: a Man, a Highway, and the Road to Roughneck Grace by Michael Perry

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Mad River by John Sandford

Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust by Ina Garten


Adult Services, Tech Center

Ruth Wilson

The Best of 2012 | Ruth's Blog Posts


The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith

The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds by Alexander McCall Smith

Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King