Guntersville Public Library

Best and Worst of 2021


Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

A bank robbery-gone-wrong turns an apartment viewing into an accidental hostage situation and we meet a cast of characters that are all completely interesting, even in their mundaneness. Some of the individual storylines converge in ways you don’t see coming, the characters not realizing it themselves. (If you’ve seen the movie Crash, you know what I mean.) It’s funny and it’s poignant and it’s no surprise the book was recently adapted into a Swedish TV series (Backman is a Swede). And hold up, I just Googled it and I saw the series was released on Netflix TODAY (December 29) so excuse me, I have to get home. – Mandy


The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

This book was perfect in every way. It was beautiful. Empowering. Sad. And mostly, it was kind. The depth of emotion I felt for the characters–and their relationships with each other–was reminiscent of what I felt while reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I was gutted several times. For a story about words and their meanings, it is not surprising that this author is a master wordsmith. Her use of language was mesmerizing.

From the author’s note: “This book began as two simple questions: Do words mean different things to men and women? And if they do, is it possible that we have lost something in the process of defining them?”

The audiobook narration was outstanding. Highly recommend.  – Leigh Ann


Memory of Water by Emmi Itaranta

Memory of Water by Emmi Itaranta is my pick for best book because he described the land, the cave, yes and even the water so vividly. He took the book and tried to show us how important water is going to be in the future. We really need to teach all we can to our children so they can use the knowledge to benefit all. – Debbie


The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

This is a beautifully written piece of historical fiction about words and what they mean to different people. Absolutely evocative, I couldn’t put it down. – Joyce


Elsewhere by Dean Koontz

Somewhere in time and space is another Earth, and another, and another, and another…. That is the basic idea of this book. By accident a father daughter duo end up visiting parallel worlds like ours, but completely different. They desperately want to go home, but when they do, trouble follows. The once simple lives they lived have become complicated and it takes everything they have to make it to the next day. From beginning to end, this story takes you quickly from one scene to the next. The characters are brilliant, even the “bad guys” and what Koontz has created on the other Earths is simply mind boggling. – Randara


 The  House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

I loved this story because it was easy to read but still had the complexity of an advanced storyline. It is a comforting read that emphasizes the importance of family, no matter how it looks. The characters are well-developed and realistic. This book is one of my comfort reads.  – Savannah





Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena

Not a happy family for sure. Also not a well-developed or sympathetic character in the lot. Everyone is awful. This is a “whodunnit” thriller that is so lackluster, before long you couldn’t care less whodunnit. – Mandy


Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

Worst. Narrator. Ever. How she won an award for best female narrator is beyond me. Her southern accents made me gag. No. Just, no. The writing…OMG. Want a fun drinking game? Listen to this audiobook and drink every time one of these weird women say “okay” or “beautiful.” This is a prime example of how horribly male authors can write female characters. Gross. The only positive thing I can say about this book is that it is aptly named. – Leigh Ann


The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom

I really hated putting this one down because I really love Mitch Albom, I have read everything this library has.  I hated this book  because everyone was dying, every chapter another person was dead. Not the most uplifting book to read at Christmas.  I will tell you it gets better in the last few chapters so have faith and good luck. – Debbie


Luster by Raven Leilani

I was excited about this debut novel that was getting a lot of attention, but for me the writing seemed overly done and disjointed. The characters have no redeeming qualities and the story was… lackluster. – Joyce

Extras by Scott Westerfeld

I really wanted to like this book, but there is something about it that just annoys me. There are so many reasons to like this story. First, it’s my favorite genre, dystopian! Who doesn’t love a world that has or is recovering after a disaster of some kind. Second, I really enjoyed the Uglies series which proceeds this book. Also, there were some really funny moments, that made me laugh out loud while reading. Yet it just annoyed me to pieces! The constant whining for one. Every time I turned a page there was something else that the main character, Aya, was going on about. You would hope for some kind of character growth here, but I just did not see it. If you are read the Uglies series, I would still recommend this book, because you do see a new, a different version of the series heroine, Tally Youngblood. However, if you want to skip, you won’t miss a thing.- Randara


Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

This book was a disappointment due to the story being overused and tired. I couldn’t finish it because I already knew what happened. It was all just extra details I didn’t care about. If you can reread the same book every week, this one is for you but I’d rather read something new.  – Savannah




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    Saturday 9:00am - 2:00pm
    Sunday and Monday closed

  • Guntersville Public Library

    1240 O'Brig Avenue
    Guntersville, Al 35976
    (256) 571-7595