Lariat Reading List


2017-18 Lariat Committee

Gail Woodward, Chair
Jessica Jones, Chair Elect
Jennifer Brabston
Arletha Ford
Kelly Moore
Ann Rector
Megan Stanley
Eric Terry
Lisa Youngblood

2016 Reading List Tri-Fold Brochure

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Welcome to the Lariat Reading List! At last, the grown ups have their day! TLA has rightfully earned a stellar reputation for its many outstanding youth reading lists. The annual list of Lariat award winners calls attention to outstanding fiction published during the year that merit special attention from adult readers. The main criteria for selecting books for the Lariat List is that they are “a pleasure to read.”

The 2018 Lariat Reading List
The Best in Adult Fiction (2016-2017 publication dates)

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai (Penguin Random House)
A slacker in an alternate 2016 filled with great technological advances inadvertently travels back in time and erases existence as he knew it. He must adapt to the world we live in today and reconcile with the remnants of what could have been that have lingered.

The Atlas of Forgotten Places by Jenny D. Williams (Macmillan Publishers)
Set in the war-torn Uganda of 2008, two women's lives become deeply intertwined as they search for lost loved ones. This haunting tale of oppression and grief is also a story of redemption, compassion, and ultimately, love.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman (Simon & Schuster)
In Beartown, jobs have been disappearing and the town has been slowly dying for years. Now, one win from their junior hockey team can put them back on the map, but a scandal erupts that threatens to tear the remaining community apart. Can this town survive? This is a story of friendship, family, love, standing up, and learning what is really important.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (Penguin Random House)
Avery Stafford is home visiting her ill father, a U.S. Senator, when a chance encounter leads her to learn of her family's secret past. The Stafford family history is closely tied to the infamous Tennessee Children's Home, and if this shocking past becomes public, no one will ever be the same.

The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall (Penguin Random House)
Set in a small southern town, this heartwarming and humorous tale features young Willow, who was a very late arrival to her eccentric mother, Polly. Filled with fear that her secretive mother will die soon and abandon her, Willow becomes obsessed with uncovering the mystery of Polly's past.

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer (Macmillan Publishers)
Two scavengers, Rachel and Wick, live in a post-disaster city in which bio-tech has run amok. While out exploring one day, Rachel finds a sentient blob she names “Borne,” and her life changes as she watches it grow and learn. Exploring themes of love, forgiveness, and redemption, Borne is an examination of what it means to be human.

Celine by Peter Heller (Penguin Random House)
Celine, a 68 year old privileged blue-blood with emphysema and an impressive personal cache of firearms, is a semi-retired private investigator who only takes special cases to reunite families with missing loved ones. She embarks on a road trip with her husband Pete to search for a famous photographer who went missing in Yellowstone National Forest, and uses some unique skills to solve the mystery.

The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson (Penguin Random House)
Alternating in time between the present and past eras, The Clockwork Dynasty tells the tale of a race of almost immortal mechanical beings who have lived among humans and impacted history in surprising and profound ways.

The Dry by Jane Harper (Macmillan Publishers)
Set in a drought-ridden farming community in Australia, a federal agent returns to his hometown for the funeral of a childhood friend and ends up involved in a mystery stemming from the past he would rather forget.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Penguin Random House)
Eleanor Oliphant’s life is a closed cycle of mind-numbing work, lost vodka weekends, and chats with her sociopathic mother. Then a series of unexpected events changes everything, and Eleanor will have to confront the trauma of her past to overcome the difficulties of her present life.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Penguin Random House)
Civil war and political unrest are the backdrop for this meeting of Nadia and Saeed. As their passion for one another increases, so does the turmoil in the city. The two decide that they have no other choice than to leave their homeland and families behind. Part speculative fiction, part magical realism, Exit West is at its heart a love story.

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman (Penguin Random House)
Lilian Girvan is an illustrator and grieving widow raising two precocious girls on her own. When she is assigned a book on gardening and botany, she takes a Saturday morning gardening class full of quirky characters who open her eyes to the possibility of new beginnings.

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig (HarperCollins Publishers)
A teenage girl with autism named Ginny Moon has been passed from foster home to foster home until she ends up with a family that provides a stable and loving environment. But Ginny cannot convince her new family that she has unfinished business, so she hatches a plan to find on her own the thing that she feels is missing.

Gone to Dust by Matt Goldman (Macmillan Publishers)
Private investigator, Nils "Shap" Shapiro is known for his ability to solve difficult crimes. However, when he is called to the home of Maggie Somerville, he finds a crime scene like no other. Everything, including her dead body, is covered with the dirt from numerous vacuum cleaner bags. Solving this case will take keen observation skills and good old-fashioned detective work.

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong (Macmillan Publishers)
Tender, poignant, and filled with surprising humor, Goodbye, Vitamin chronicles in journal entries and vignettes the year that 30-year-old Ruth, recovering from a bad breakup, returns home to help care for her father who has early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Penguin Random House)
After President Lincoln's son Willie passes away, the young boy finds himself in the "bardo," or the space between life and a permanent resting place. The cast of characters in the bardo try to help Willie understand his new circumstances, but he may help them more than they expect.

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz (HarperCollins Publishers)
Magpie Murders is a clever mystery within a mystery in which a book editor, setting out to read the latest manuscript by a difficult but popular author, gets to the end of the story to find the last chapter inexplicably missing. Her attempts to find the missing pages plunge her into another mystery where she uncovers more about the author and his manuscript than she expected.

The Reminders by Val Emmich (Hachette Book Group)
After having a very public breakdown following the loss of his partner, Gavin Winter seeks solace with longtime friends, Paige, her musician husband Ollie, and daughter Joan. Ten year old Joan has the rare ability to recall every day of her life starting at age 5. She helps Gavin by recalling all her memories of his partner, Sydney, and he helps her to write a song for a songwriting contest and deal with her worries of not being remembered.

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty (Hachette Book Group)
Six clones wake up in a vessel traveling through outer space without any knowledge of what had happened to the previous clones. One thing is very clear – they were all murdered; but the question is….which one of them is the murderer?

Sourdough by Robin Sloan (Macmillan Publishers)
A software engineer moves to San Francisco to work for a robotics company. Spending most days without human interaction, she befriends two immigrant brothers who run a "hole-in-the-wall" take-out service. When they must return home, they give her an unusual sourdough starter which propels her into a strange world that combines food, mysticism, and technology.

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory (Penguin Random House)
This novel is filled with quirky characters about the unusual Telemachus family, including Buddy, who can see into the future, Irene, who is a “human lie detector,” and Frankie, a psychokinetic. However, it is the astral-projecting powers of Irene’s son Matty that become the catalyst for events that transpire.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora  Goss (Simon & Schuster)
After the mysterious deaths of her father and later, her mother, Mary Jekyll is thrust into the Victorian world of secret societies and horrific scientific experiments. With the help of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary sets out to uncover the truth and save the women who have been used and abused by such figures as Frankenstein, Hyde, and Moreau.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti (Penguin Random House)
Samuel Hawley is doing the best he can to raise his daughter Loo on his own after the death of his wife, Lily. After years on the road, Loo and Samuel move back to their hometown where they must navigate and repair old relationships while forming new ones against the backdrop of Samuel's violent past.

What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah (Penguin Random House)
What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky is a collection of short stories about complicated family relationships affected by Nigerian history and the modern day diaspora to America and Europe.

When the English Fall by David Williams (Workman Publishing Company)
An Amish man's journal chronicles the days surrounding a natural disaster that renders all modern technology useless. As the outside world falls apart, Jacob and his Amish community find themselves confronting unprecedented interactions between the two societies.

Created on Apr 12, 2010 | Last updated January 07, 2018