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KPL Staff Picks: Best of 2014

What We Liked This Year

Ever wonder what Kalamazoo Public Library staff members are reading, watching, or listening to? These are some of the books, music, and movies that we thought were the best in 2014. What were your favorites?

Best of: 2017201620152014 | 2013 | 2012 | 20112010









Bill Caskey

Children’s Room Lead Librarian


Telephone by Mac Barnett

Mysterious Patterns Finding Fractals in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell

Gravity by Jason Chin

Necessary Clearings by Jennifer Clark

Lord and Lady Bunny - Almost Royalty! by Polly Horvath

The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

Made by Raffi by Craig Pomranz

Inventing the American guitar : the pre-Civil War innovations of C.F. Martin and his contemporaries edited by Robert Shaw and Peter Szego


The Boxtrolls

The LEGO Movie


Breather by Jay Gavan




Amy Chase

Children’s Room Librarian


Snatchabook by Helen Docherty

Bluffton : My Summers with Buster by Matt Phelan

The Contract by Derek Jeter with Paul Mantell

He Said, She Said : a novel by Kwame Alexandder

Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill

The Joys of Love [sound recording] by Madeleine L'Engle


God's Not Dead









Nancy Davis Smith

Lead Librarian, Oshtemo Branch

Adult Books

Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich

The Good Son: JFK Jr. and the Mother He Loved by Christopher Anderson

Maeve’s Times:  in her own words by Maeve Binchy

Children’s Books

Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis

Hot dog!: Eleanor Roosevelt throws a picnic by Leslie Kimmelman

I Pledge Allegiance by Pat Mora

A Thirst for Home: a Story of Water Across the World by Christine Leronimo


Ride Out  by Bob Seger

Sundown Heaven Town by Tim McGraw








Angela Fortin

Librarian, Oshtemo Branch


Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay

The UnAmericans: Stories by Molly Antopol

Stokely: A Life by Peniel E. Joseph

Movies and Television

Obvious Child

We Are the Best!

Listen Up Philip

The One I Love

The Good Wife, season 5


LP1 by FKA twigs

The Voyager by Jenny Lewis

Are We There by Sharon Van Etten

Popular Problems by Leonard Cohen

Madman by Sean Rowe











Gary Green

Head, Technical Services / ILS


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Invisible by James Patterson

Top Secret Twenty One by Janet Evanovich

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

NYPD Red 2 by James Patterson and Marshall Karp

Mirage by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul

Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews

Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson

The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

W is Wasted by Sue Grafton


Captain Phillips


The Book Thief

Saving Mr. Banks



The Grand Budapest Hotel


Need for Speed

The Fault in our Stars











Dan Hoag

Cataloging Librarian


Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Will Not Attend by Adam Resnick

A Load of Hooey by Bob Odenkirk

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Saga, Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters


Blue Ruin

Calvary (available Dec. 9)

Coherence (release TBD)

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Human Capital (release TBD)

Obvious Child

The Rover

Short Term 12


Veronica Mars




Game of Thrones


Key & Peele

Mad Men

Orange Is the New Black

Parks and Recreation


True Detective


This Is All Yours by Alt-J

Unrepentant Geraldines by Tori Amos

Opposites by Biffy Clyro

Somewhere Under Wonderland by Counting Crows

Back to Oblivion by Finch

The Voyager  by Jenny Lewis

Once More ‘Round the Sun by Mastodon

In Rolling Waves by The Naked and Famous

They Want My Soul by Spoon

Hesitant Alien by Gerard Way





Keith Howard

Web Coordinator


David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcom Gladwell

A Phonograph in Every Home: The Evolution of the American Recording Industry, 1900–1919 by Allan Sutton

Recording the ‘Twenties : The Evolution of the American Recording Industry, 1920–1929 by Allan Sutton

Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story by Rick Bragg

Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars by Neil Young

The Brewer's Tale: A History of the World According to Beer by William Bostwick 


The Michigan Beer Film

Person of Interest. The complete second season

Parenthood Season Six

Genesis: Sum of the Parts (BBC documentary)

Foo Fighters Sonic Highways (HBO series)


Tarpaper Sky by Rodney Crowell

Man on the Rocks by Mike Oldfield

Pepper's Ghost & other banjo visitations by Joel Mabus

Eclectic by Eric Johnson & Mike Stern 

Croz by David Crosby

Bittersweet by Kasey Chambers

Different Shades of Blue by Joe Bonamassa

Rock Candy Funk Party Takes New York - Live At The Iridium  by Rock Candy Funk Party

CSNY 1974 by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

The Take Off and Landing of Everything by Elbow

Bluesamericana by Keb' Mo'

Live at Buses By the Beach 2014 by Red Sea Pedestrians (unofficial live recording)

Shine On by Sarah McLachlan

Natalie Merchant by Natalie Merchant

Lonely in a Crowded Room by Pegi Young & the Survivors

Avonmore by Bryan Ferry

A Letter Home by Neil Young

Standing in the Breach by Jackson Browne 

The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings by The Allman Brothers Band 

The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale by Eric Clapton & Friends

Lost on the River by the New Basement Tapes

The Endless River by Pink Floyd

Storytown by Neil Young

The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 11 by Bob Dylan

The Ghosts of Pripyat by Steve Rothery





Farrell Howe

Marketing and Communications Manager


Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


American Hustle

12 Years a Slave


Breaking Bad

Sons of Anarchy

The Walking Dead



10 by New Kids on the Block (2013)

















Jill Lansky

Library Associate, Teen Services


The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Skink…No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen

The Book with No Pictures by BJ Novak

Stories of My Life by Katherine Peterson

Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

It’s Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka & Mac Barnett

Lincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia





Kristen Larson

Cataloging Librarian


A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley

Separated @ Birth by Anaïs Bordier

Children’s Picture Books

Quest by Aarom Becker

The Bear’s Sea Escap e by Benjamin Chaud


Boyhood (by a landslide)

Blue Ruin

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Night Moves





Susan Lindemann

Head of Facilities Management


The Gambler by The Both

St. Vincent by St. Vincent

Brill Bruisers by The New Pornographers

Are We There Yet by Sharon Van Etten

Shriek by Wye Oak

Wine Dark Sea by Jolie Holland

Bluebird by Dawne Landes

The Voyager by Jenny Lewis

Unrepentant Geraldines by Tori Amos

Tales from the Queen of Pentacles by Suzanne Vega











Lolita Moss

ONEplace@kpl Associate


Untamed State by Roxane Gay

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock


LP1 by FKA Twigs

GIRL by Pharrell


Orphan Black, Season 2

Obvious Child








Judi Rambow

Lead Librarian: Alma Powell & Eastwood

Adult Books

Good Morning, Mr. Mandela by Zelda La Grange

Respect: The life of Aretha Franklin by David Ritz

Christian Urban Fiction

Back to Me by Wanda B. Campbell

Urban Fiction

Loyalty Among Friends : a novel by Pat Tucker & Earl Sewell

Citizens Creek by Lalita Tademy

Teen Book Nonfiction

Freedom Summer: the 1964 Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi by Susan Goldman Rubin

Children’s Books

Last-But-Not-Least Lola and the Wild Chicken by Christine Pakkala and Paul Hoppe

Pete the Cat and the New Guy by Kimberly and James Dean


Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh


Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Series 2






Tami Russell

Library Assistant, Youth Services


Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout

Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan

All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry

The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson





Diane Schiller

Assistant Director for Administrative Services


The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Alien (series) by Gini Koch

The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

Discovery of Witches of Deborah Harkness (2011)

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (2012)

The Martian by Andy Weir

Archangel’s Shadows by Nalini Singh

Labyrinth of Stars by Marjorie M. Liu

Prince Lestat by Anne Rice

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson by S. C. Gwynne

Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2001)


The Vikings (History Channel)

Hell on Wheels (AMC)

The Newsroom (HBO)

Game of Thrones (HBO)

Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

Life of Pi





Steve Siebers

Materials Selection Librarian


The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit

Triumphs of Experience by George Vaillant

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow

World’s Strongest Librariana by Joshua Hanagarne

Let Him Go by Larry Watson

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Living Great Lakes by Jerry Dennis


No by Pablo Larrain

The Vanishing











Nancy Stern

Lead Librarian, Washington Square


The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly

The Son by Jo Nesbo

Standing in Another Man’s Grave  by Ian Rankin

Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

In the Kingdom of Ice: The grand and terrible polar voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides


Frances Ha












Andrea Vernola

Librarian, Children’s Room 

Teen Books

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Adult Fiction

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

Kids Books

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

Picture Books

Some Bugs by Angela DiTerlizzi

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

May the Stars Drip Down by Jeremy Chatelain

Maple by Lori Nichols

My Teacher is a Monster (no , I am not) by Peter Brown

Once Upon a Memory by Nina Laden


Parenthood Season 6

The Mindy Project Season 3

Downton Abbey Season 5

The Fault in Our Stars





Sue Warner

Head of Youth Services

Children’s Picture Books

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

King for a Day by Rukhansa Khan, illustrations by Christiane Kromer

Leo Loves Baby Time by Anna McQuinn, illustrations by Ruth Hearson

My Bus by Byron Barton

The Way to the Zoo by John Burningham

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo

Firefly July edited by Paul Janeszko

I’m Brave! by Kate and Jim McMullan

The Farmer’s Away!  Baa!  Neigh! by Anne Vittur Kennedy

Children’s Books

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Courage Has No Color by Tanya Lee Stone

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Teen Books

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Winger by Andrew Smith

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Adult Books

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Frober

Bitter River by Julia Keller

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley

Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste by Luke Barr

Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee by Marja Mills

Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

Let Him Go by Larry Watson