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Monthly Booklist

January 2017

The Greeks and the Romans are embedded in much our culture. In this month’s book display of Greek and Roman Mythology in Fiction, you will find mysteries, romances, adventures, and much more that herald to the gods, goddesses, heroes, and monsters of the past.


December 2016

For many a reader, authors are part of our world – maybe not exactly friends, but certainly good acquaintances. Just as with others people we “know,” we do not “know” everything about authors and their lives. This list: ‘Did You Know? Tidbits of Writerly Information‘ just might help further your acquaintance with several well-known authors.


November 2016

King Arthur is an icon. The stories of Camelot, the round table, and his knights are a part of our culture. This list of Arthurian Legends has fiction, non-fiction, and films with retellings ranging from fantasy, comedy, modern adaptations and more.


October 2016

There’s something about shared shock that helps make it more bearable. Please consider the October 2016 booklist as a litany of shared distress – the sinking feeling that a reader has when a vile, evil miasma takes over a favorite author’s mind with the end result being the untimely demise of a favorite or major character – often in a series! While this list probably contains some spoilers you might prefer to avoid, it’s a testament to reader loyalty and ability to forgive errant authors. We give you The Author Did What?! – The Killing Off of Major or Favorite Characters. Maybe Halloween ghosts are not the worst ways to disturb one’s sense of well being…

August 2016

You are invited to take a literary journey to days of yore in our country’s West. 100 Years of Western Fiction: the 20th Century is a list with a century’s worth of best reads, and some fine, fine films. Many are genre Westerns, but you will also find enjoyable titles simply about The West – with nary a cowboy in sight.


July 2016

People talk about and write songs about “the lazy days of summer” when, actually, quite a lot took place – or began – during the summer months that is of enduring interest and importance. So, take a look at the libraries’ ‘summertime’ display – Remembering Summers Past to refresh your memories about the intriguing past or to get to know about summer-related events that are new to you. You just might find that perfect summer read to engage your mind during those days when it’s too hot to do anything more energetic than read a good book –

June 2016

For those who regularly enjoy Crime Fiction and for those who enjoy reading the “Best” books, the June-July book display – Best Crime Novels 2005-2015 – could well include a few titles you just might have missed. Then, too, if Crime Fiction is a genre unfamiliar to you, this might well be a good starting point for your reading pleasure. It might be hard for newcomers to the genre to believe, but these novels of not-so-nice people doing not-so-nice things run from the expected ‘noir’ and creepy suspense to laugh-out-loud funny. Enjoy!

May 2016

little_red_riding_hood“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” ~C.S. Lewis

The theme for the May 2016 book display is “Traditional Fairy Tales Retold”. The books on these lists take the fairy tales we grew up with and make them new. If you enjoyed the dark forest, the evil queen’s plan, or the story of the little girl in a red hood then take a look at these.

Adult Fiction
Young Adult Fiction

April 2016

The April book list and display feature is titled US National Park Service – with emphasis on Alaska, of course! 2016 is the Centennial Year of the National Park Service – 100 years of caring for the nation’s special places and sharing their stories. National parks in Alaska preserve the stories of some of the most remote and pristine places in the country and the people who have lived there for thousands of years. The booklist includes a separate section for media – video is a wonderful way for the armchair traveler to enjoy the magnificence of our National Parks. Print or video – whatever you prefer, there’s a LOT the library has for you about a century of National Parks in the U.S.

January – February 2016

Welcome to February in Fairbanks – even if it doesn’t quite seem all that wintry thus far! With a nod to Fairbanksans’ unique perspective and savvy re WINTER and the overall popularity of the MYSTERY genre, we give you COLD CASES – Winter Mysteries for your reading pleasure. It’s time to curl up in a comfy chair with a blanket (or sleeping cat), a hot beverage, a warm wood stove or cheery fireplace, and a Cold Case in your warm hands.

November – December 2015

Has an author ever really thrown you a curve ball in the middle of a book – or (figuratively) dropped you off a cliff at the end – with a twist that absolutely fits the book, but that you did not see coming? Well, some authors seem to do that with great regularity and some just blindside readers every now and then. If this is a reading experience you enjoy – or one that might help warm you up on cold winter days – here’s a list of books to try…

October 2015

Did YOU Miss Any of These Best Sellers? There always seems to be a book or two that slips past even the most dedicated reader of new, popular books. So, we were delighted to receive really fine annotated lists from Stacy Alesi, an avid reader and librarian in Florida. With her permission, here are the combined lists for your catch-up reading pleasure. The annotated list will remain on the library’s web page; copies of a simple author-title list are available at the book display in Noel Wien Library. Grab some time between raking leaves and shoveling snow for some enjoyable reading

September 2015

In 2010, the “Taking a Year” display / booklist – about people who dedicated a year (more or less) to pursuing a dream or tackling a special task – was wildly popular. So, here’s a new “Special Year” list of similar titles about personal adventures or self-discovery. All titles have been published since 2010. May you enjoy reading about your contemporaries’ choices and adventures.

August 2015

Epistolary Fiction

The books on this month’s display are written in letter and diary form which allow the reader to gain a better insight into the lives of the characters. Many different genres are represented on this list including; western, romance, mystery, historical fiction, dystopia, and more. If you enjoy reading books with characters you can relate to and connect with then come see where these books will take you.

July 2015

The characters from the books on this month’s display travel in time to the past, future, and all over the universe. The books are from many different genres including; fantasy, romance, science fiction, mystery, and more. There are two different lists available with the display, “Time Travel Books Published Before 2000 (All are Adult Fiction unless indicated)”, and “Time Travel Books Published After 2000 (All are Adult Fiction unless indicated)”. If you like the idea of traveling back to the time of the dinosaurs or travelling to the last days of the Earth then come see what period of time these books will take you to.

June 2015

Family Listening

This month the FNSB Libraries offer a list of audiobooks that have been endorsed as enjoyable and appropriate for folks aged 8 to 80 as they travel together – whether on the road or snug in a cabin or tent far from the wired world. The books on the list come from the Berry Room, the YA section, Adult Fiction, and Non-Fiction. All have been recommended by library folk. Those listed with initials in parentheses at the end of the annotation were suggested by FNSB Library staff – so keep a special eye out for those! Happy Listening!

May 2015

People always seem to be interested in the “best” of anything. In the library world, we are often asked for lists of “great books” of one kind or another. When it comes to newer books, critics and literary folks often strive to determine which new title is the next classic – the next Shakespeare, Faulkner, or Steinbeck. Well, to help YOU decide what YOUR new classics might be, we’ve compiled FIVE “best lists” and titled it, The NEW Classics?: great reads from 1985 to 2010. The lists came from a variety of (reputable) sources: Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Entertainment Weekly,, and May you have a wonderful time reading – and finding your own ‘new classics’.

April 2015

William Shakespeare is the one poet / playwright whose works have been read (willingly or no) by just about everyone. His life and writing have inspired many an author in one way or another – some of which are featured in this month’s booklist and display, Shakespeare in Fiction – the man and his plays. While many of these titles are serious historical fiction, many others are serious and not-so-serious “investigations” and “what-ifs” featuring Will or his characters. However, ALL are invitations to enjoyable reading.

March 2015

The March display is “North American Road Trip Adventures” – Perhaps some of the titles could inspire you to actually plan that long-desired travel adventure or they might bring simply bring you some stress-free armchair enjoyment. The books and videos run the gamut from funny to wry, from passionate to straight-forward, from reminiscences to how-to – but all are, in their own way, factual and informative. Enjoy the trip(s)!

February 2015

Here’s a list of the 100 Top Romance Authors that came out of a survey by the All About Romance web page in 2013. Actually, the site was looking for a readers’ list of favorite Romance BOOKS and noticed that many authors received nominations for several of their books – but that no one book of these authors ended up being a clear top 100 TITLE. When the tally was by author, the result was quite different from the tally by title. So, here’s the author list. If you are interested in the results of All About Romance’s annual Best Books poll, go to You’ll find lots of other information, reviews, and several nifty lists for those who enjoy romantic reads, too.

January 2015

Recently there has been a surge of interest in “narrative non-fiction” – that is, non-fiction that reads as smoothly as a good novel. In line with long-term interest among FNSB library patrons, here’s a list of readable and informative SCIENCE books. The titles here were all suggested by members of Noel Wien Library’s long-running Science Book Discussion Group (SBDG) and by subscribers to the Fiction_L mailing list (Fic_L), a long-running library-oriented online listserv.

December 2014

This time of the year can be harried and stressed as we work very hard to create the best, most special, and most memorable celebratory season ever. Therefore, please consider December’s display and booklist as a “tonic” to help you relieve that stress. How? Well, with a nice long list of humorous books, both fiction and non-fiction, ranging from laugh-out-loud to dark satire to the gently and wryly humorous. You just might find newer authors here, too – all of these were first published after the current millennium began. So, go forth, read – and ENJOY!

November 2014

It’s getting colder out there, and we’re turning more frequently to our favorite hot beverages to help us warm up. Since coffee and tea are the two ‘biggies’ in the world of hot beverages, here are two book lists with how-tos, recipes, facts, and fiction for those who are particularly partial to one or the other.

October 2014

October is the month where dark arrives earlier each day, culminating in Halloween. In honor of darkness and Halloween, this month’s display is devoted to ‘Horror – Best of Kind’. There are two booklists. One has several short annotated lists in several subsets of the Horror genre: Classic Horror, Humorous Horror, Psychological Horror, Creature Features, and, of course, Ghosts & Haunted Houses. The second list is designed as a ‘countdown’ of the
25 best new Horror books published in the first decade of the 21st Century. May these lists lead you to some chillingly creepy and ghoulishly grim dark nights of reading. Enjoy!

September 2014

In honor of its Centennial in 2013, the U. S. Department of Labor, in partnership with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, developed a very diverse list of 100+ books that shaped our view of work in America. There are titles with reading appeal for just about every age group and every level of interest in the topic. The list is alphabetical by author. The dates in parentheses (–) following the author’s name indicate first date of publication / first edition; many have newer editions. Library locations/availability are at the end of each listing

August 2014

Crafty Fiction

The August display and booklist, Crafty Fiction, highlights novels in which handicrafts play a key role in the story. The handicrafts are included with the title listings, so you can pick and choose among your favorite crafts. However, this doesn’t mean that the entire story hinges on handicrafts but that the craft or crafter is important to the plot or helps develop the story’s background or theme. For instance, Dick Francis’ SHATTERED, one of his beloved horse racing mysteries, involves a glassblower who makes racing trophies. On the other hand, Jennifer Chiaverini’s Elm Creek Quilters series has lots of quilting talk, some history, and bits of romance. Do note that many crafts, other than the currently very popular quilting and knitting, are represented – including scrapbooking, auto restoration, and decorative blacksmithing!

July 2014


is the title of the July display and booklist(s). This is a topic of increasing interest among the residents of Alaska’s Interior – and it’s really a pretty broad topic. However, you’ll find that the library has quite a bit of useful information on its shelves. So whether you hunt, fish, garden, forage, or shop in quantity, you’ll find something here. Food preservation means canning, freezing, drying, fermenting, pickling, smoking, sugaring, brewing, cellaring, etc. So, see if you can find just what you need to help you stock your larder with some summertime bounty before winter’s cold returns. Putting Food By Listings

May 2014

Desert Island Book Display

This month’s display is devoted to good things to read if one happens to be stranded on a desert island for a year or so…

There is NO list of all the books on the display – it’s a conglomeration of several Desert Island lists gleaned from assorted library web pages and includes adult, YA, & juvvies titles………..

However, there is a SHORT booklist on the display listing titles that library staff would pack just in case they are stranded on a desert island.

Library users also have the opportunity to submit their three personal Desert Island lists between now and June 15. This is for a similar display next May – featuring Fairbanksans’ choices. Submission forms and brief how-to’s are HERE.

March 2014

100 MUST-READS for KIDS 9-14 is the Noel Wien Library book display for March. Last summer, more than 2,000 National Public Radio listeners sent in their nominations for the best books for young readers. NPR’s expert panel combined audience favorites with their own choices to come up with a list of 100 must-reads. No matter your age, there are ‘great reads’ on this list. It’s a nice mix of ‘old favorites’ and titles that will be new to almost every one of us. So grab a few to read for the first time or to enjoy revisiting once again. The books (or series) are listed alphabetically by author, so there is no hierarchy here – just an overall elite group of good things to read. All are shelved in the Berry Room unless it’s noted otherwise on the list. Enjoy – and just in time for Spring Break, too!

February 2014

This month the library is highlighting a loooong booklist of titles that are about ‘Special Interest Travel‘. Whether it’s adventure, wine, the arts, natural wonders, wildlife, gardens, unique hotels, historical significance, traveling alone or with children – the library has many titles to help you plan that special trip! If you save this list to use for planning at some undefined future date, please remember that the library’s system for shelving books is based on SUBJECT. So, if the items on the list are not on the shelf, the basic Call Number will get you to the right part of the collection. Happy planning – AND Bon Voyage, whenever or wherever it might be…

January 2014

This past autumn, Georgine Olson taught a five-part class on “Good Reads” in Alaskana Fiction for Fairbanks OLLI – with the hopes that the reading list for the class would also make a good display for Noel Wien Library. So it has! Here’s the combined list of the books presented during the OLLI class sessions.

Please note:

  • The list is separated – as were the classes – into standard popular adult fiction genres. The books are ‘good reads’, not classics or high literature.
  • The books present a reasonably accurate and recognizable picture of Alaska and Alaskan lifestyles as suited to its time, place, and genre.
  • The list leans heavily to newer (2000 and later) titles – with a few standard older titles included.
  • Some titles have been cataloged as ‘legends’ and ‘graphic literature’ – but everything on the list IS fiction.
  • A handful of books not housed in the Alaskana collection were selected because they have a strong and important Alaska component even though they do not meet the FNSB Libraries’ definition of Alaskana.
  • Alaskana series are represented by series name and/or the first title in the series. However, sometimes only a single title in a series takes place in Alaska; for these, only the Alaska-specific title appears on the list.
  • Not all titles are owned by the FNSB Public Libraries. However, all are available through Interlibrary Loan. Please ask.

November 2013

In 1998, towards the end of the 20th century, librarians across the country were asked to select the most influential fiction of the century. Here’s a list of the top 100 titles – with brief annotations to help you remember whether or not these are books you DID read or entice you to try some that slipped past you all those years ago! The full list of 150 titles was published in Library Journal magazine in November 1998.

October 2013

The list is drawn from more than 75,000 ballots cast in National Public Radio’s annual summer reader’s survey in 2012. The list is a mix of individual titles and series and is 100% fiction. It’s multigenerational, with top 100 “winners” harking back to the teen years of the parents and grandparents of today’s teens. It includes old favorites that are now assigned reading in schools – as well as newer titles and authors that are quite unfamiliar to many a 21st century grandparent. Oh, yes, stop on by and pick up something teen-ish to read the 13th to the 19th; it’s Teen Read Week.

Top 100 Best Ever Teen Books

September 2013

September is harvest time in Alaska, so it’s a good time to celebrate a harvest – and the use thereof – grapes and the resulting wine!

We have two lists for your pleasure:
Uncorking Facts about Wine – complex, with earthy overtones
Decanting (some) Wine Fiction – smooth, rich, and mysterious

July 2013

Selected fiction with a strong sense of place for all 50 states…

Can you remember reading a book – or a series of books – that made you feel like you were “there”? A book where the author made the time and location so real that you could almost smell the pizza, hear the screech of the sea gulls, feel the heat radiating off the sidewalk, or see the craggy mountains rising in front of you… Readers call that a ‘strong sense of place’ – and this list offers you three opportunities to experience some of the uniqueness of each of our fifty states. Happy reading!

Reading Across The United States

June 2013

Yep! Summer is really, truly here. Solstice is just a few weeks away, and we’re at just about full daylight. Here are three booklists to help you get the most out of this short, glorious season: Cooking & Entertaining; Yard & Garden; and, the most important – Enjoy It!

Summer in your Garden

Summer – Enjoy It

Summer Cooking and Entertainment

May 2013

Many a fine fiction author has taken a look at past historical events and reinterpreted them or even “solved” some long-time puzzles. This blending of historical fact and authorial fiction is sometimes called FACTION. May’s booklist offers up a broad sampling of Crime Faction – fiction based on well-known crimes. Read a few – and see if you can figure out where the facts end, and the writer’s imagination takes over!

April 2013

Someone suggested that the library had some really good books about wilderness survival and that it would be a good subject for a monthly display. She was right! So, with the help of a couple of library selectors, we have THREE new bibliographies highlighting Wilderness Survival. They are: Narratives and Memoirs (Mary Ellen Baker), How-To (Patty Kunz), and Fiction (Georgine Olson). Enjoy!

March 2013

Here’s a list of what’s available at FNSB libraries – from time-honored favorites to more recent titles. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in Biblical fiction. Authors have responded, and there’s now quite a bit of enjoyable fiction set in the land and times of the Old and New Testament.

February 2013

It’s Chocolate! Cooking, Facts, and Fiction. February is still cold – and nice, rich chocolate goodies will help warm us up. Also, February is the month of Valentine’s Day – and love and chocolate seem to go together (though there are a goodly number of many murder mysteries on the Chocolaty Fiction list!)

January 2013

“Series with Quirky Characters” Here’s some light reading for days that are still short and dark. Here you will find some evidence that we Alaskans cannot lay claim to ALL of the quirky, unusual, and intriguing personalities around. These authors MUST have based their characters on some sort of reality, right? Right….

December 2012

A Season of Giving & Sharing“Something Special” in memory of her dear friend Ann Bachner.

November 2012

100 Most Celebrated Travel Books of All Time – Compiled by World Hum in 2010, and edited for FNSB libraries in October 2012. Celebrated Travel Books

October 2012

Steampunk – Steampunk Best and Steampunk Series

September 2012

Fahrenheit 451 If authorities were burning all books, everywhere – here’s a list of books some Fairbanksans would want to memorize and save for future generations.


Library Contact: Georgine Olson – 459-1063 or

updated Sept 22, 2015