The Local White Birch Books Top Ten List – 2016
One thing that we can count on when we head into a new year is year-end best of lists. For books, there are always the best-selling lists, the critic’s lists and, of course, the White Birch Books Local Top Ten list. Let’s dig right in!
Holding the top spot this year is The Finest Hours by Michael Tougias and Casey Sherman. Although not a local book per se, it was our community read selection this year. White Birch Books partnered with local libraries across the Valley to promote and discuss this book, ending with a grand finale event with the author that was attended by more than 150 people. The story of a near impossible Coast Guard rescue resonated with readers as they compared it to the amazing work our local rescuers do time and again. A great read AND a great movie!
A perennial favorite and annual chart topper, Following Atticus by Tom Ryan, sits up high again this year. For a book that was originally published five years ago, this is a pretty amazing feat. For those who do not know the book, it is the story of Tom, an unlikely hiker, and Atticus, a miniature schnauzer, and their attempt to climb all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4000-foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity. We are very much looking forward to the continuing this story when Will’s Red Coat comes out in late April.
Our next author is always in the annual top ten, too. Lisa Gardner has the number three spot for 2016 with Find Her, a thriller where we enter the world of a young woman who was abducted and terrorized for 472 days. Gardner gives us an inside look at the FBI and the victim advocate’s role. This is a thriller in the truest sense. Gardner’s next book is Right Behind You. White Birch Books will once again collaborate with Horsefeathers for the debut book event. This year it is scheduled for Monday January 30, starting at 7 p.m. I suspect we will see Lisa Gardner on the list next year, too.
Desperate Steps: Life, Death, and Choices Made in the Mountains of the Northeast, written by Peter Kick, was also a late addition to last year’s list and kept the momentum to reach again this year. The book recounts 20 true tales of backcountry misadventure and misfortune, including incidents along the Appalachian Trail, and seeks the lessons to be learned. Weather is unpredictable and even the best laid plans go awry – sometimes, the best decision is to just read the book!
Other popular outdoor books, and basically staples of our local book section, are AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the White Mountains by Robert Buchsbaum and the White Mountain Guide by Steve Smith, also published by the Appalachian Mountain Club. Both books are must-haves for the region. Together they offer almost all of the hiking advice, trail descriptions and suggestions that any local or visitor might need to fully enjoy the area.
A newcomer to the list this year is Not Just A Recipe: Celebrating People, Places and Food by Pat Altomare. Pat was a guest of the Cold River Radio Show and made an appearance at the bookstore. Her cookbook is full of recipes from her family, as well as from her travels all over the world.
Another book on our list is Death at the Day Lily Cafe, set on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. We can’t even pretend that’s local, but it makes our list because the author, Wendy Sand Eckel, is related to one of our former employees. This is the second book in the series and features recipes as well as sleuthing and was given the thumbs up by our Mystery Book Club.
Two novels round out our local top ten list. The first is The Major’s Daughter by J.P. Francis (also known as N.H. author Joe Monninger). This novel is based on the true story of German prisoners of war held in Stark, N.H., during World War II. It’s a great bit of mostly unknown history and Joe has turned it into a wonderful little novel.
Breaking Wild by Diane LesBecquets takes the final spot. The book is set out west, but Diane is from New Hampshire. It tells the story of two women, one lost in the wilderness and the other working to find her. They are both complicated and strong – fantastic women characters who work and play in the great outdoors.
So that’s it!– the second annual White Birch Books Local Top Ten List for 2016. What will 2017 bring in the way of local favorites? Only time will tell!
Laura Cummings owns and operates White Birch Books, an independent full service bookstore serving the Mt. Washington Valley – and beyond – for 24 years and counting.