Top 5(ish) of 2009

Looking for something new to read, watch, or listen to? Owatonna Public Library staff have gathered their Top 5 (or more) picks of 2009 into handy browsing lists for you. These are books, movies, audiobooks, TV series, or music that staff especially enjoyed and/or found notable in the past year. Many, but not all, of these items were first published in 2009. Almost all of these items are available from OPL (gasp! -- one of our intrepid staff members read a book on her Kindle that is not available locally!).

OPL Staff Picks

Mary Kay Feltes, Director of Libraries/Technology

  • Stitches: A Memoir by David Small (graphic novel)
    Memoir in graphic novel form. Truth more horrific than fiction.
  • Murder on a Midsummer Night: A Phryne Fischer Mystery by Kerry Greenwood (mystery)
    The newest in the series about the Hon. Phryne Fisher, private investigator in late 1920s Australia. Sure, there’s a plot, but you also get details about beautiful clothes, great food, and modern attitudes.
  • Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation, or How Be Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid by J. Maarten Troost (nonfiction/audiobook)
    Just the thing for listening during a short car trip to LaX. FUNNY!
  • When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins (nonfiction)
    Yep, everything’s changed. 77 cents to the dollar.
  • The Food of a Younger Land: A Portrait of American Food: Before the National Highway System, Before Chain Restaurants, and Before Frozen Food, When the Nation's Food was Seasonal, Regional, and Traditional : from the lost WPA files edited and illustrated by Mark Kurlansky (nonfiction)
    I choose the South.
  • The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution by Alice Waters (nonfiction)
    Embrace the season’s bounty! (And eat the best chocolate.)

Renée Lowery, Assistant Director/Librarian

  • Columbine by David Cullen (nonfiction)
    The author is both a good reporter and an excellent storyteller. Difficult but compelling. As they say about airplane crashes, there isn't one thing that causes it but rather a series of events and failures.
  • What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell (nonfiction)
    I think Gladwell was a librarian in another life; he likes to learn a little bit about a wide variety of subjects.
  • Flight of the Conchords, the Complete First Season (fiction/DVD)
    Funniest thing I've seen in a long time, and great music.
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman (juvenile fiction)
    Better than the movie and nearly as good a heroine as Alice.
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (picture book)
    The movie brought us back to the book. My son got tired of it before I did.

Bonnie Krueger, Reference Librarian

  • Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich (mystery)
  • First Family by David Baldacci (fiction)
  • Protect and Defend by Vince Flynn (fiction)
  • Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terror and Build Nations - One School at A Time by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin (nonfiction)
  • Mounting Fears by Stuart Woods (fiction)

Mary Gontarek, Media Services Librarian

  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman (fiction/audiobook)
  • Happy-Go-Lucky (fiction/DVD)
  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, the Complete First Season (fiction/DVD)
  • Live in London by Leonard Cohen (music CD)
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (fiction)

Darla Lager, Children's Librarian

Books (juvenile fiction):

  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
  • Syren by Angie Sage (Book 5 of Septimus Heap series)
  • The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman


  • The Proposal
  • Bolt - Disney
  • Up - Disney/Pixar

Movies (seen at theater):

  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • The Blind Side

Picture Books:

  • The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! by Mo Willems
  • Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark by Ken Geist
  • The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort

Dave Lubahn, Circulation Assistant

  • All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House by David Giffels (nonfiction)
  • Duma Key by Stephen King (fiction)
  • The Shack by William P. Young (fiction)
  • The Private Patient by P.D. James (mystery)
  • Death of a Witch by M.C. Beaton (mystery)

Kay Schmidt, Circulation Assistant

  • Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (fiction)
    Different culture and a piece of history.
  • An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon (fiction)
    Latest in the "Outlander" series - a HUGE favorite with me.
  • Ladies of the Lake by Haywood Smith (fiction)
    I was in the mood for light, quick and - geriatric.
  • Pretty in Plaid: A Life, a Witch, and a Wardrobe, or The Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-centered Smart-ass Phase by Jen Lancaster (nonfiction)
    Satirical and funny.
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman (fiction)
    Harry Potter for "realists"?

Brandon Robinson, Desk Assistant & OPL Bookmobile driver

  • Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson (science fiction)
  • Fur and Gold by Bat for Lashes (music CD)
  • Spirit Gate: Book One of Crossroads by Kate Elliott (science fiction)
  • Gerald McBoing Boing by Dr. Seuss (picture book)
  • Save Your Scissors by City and Colour (music CD single)
  • The Walking Dead series by Robert Kirkman (graphic novel)
  • Fables series by Bill Willingham (graphic novel)

Lisa Boutelle, Desk Assistant

  • Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella (fiction)
  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (juvenile fiction)
  • So B. It by Sarah Weeks (juvenile fiction)
  • Clementine by Sara Pennypacker (juvenile fiction)
  • Up (fiction/DVD)

Joan Rasmussen, Desk Assistant

  • Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford (juvenile fiction)
  • The Sisters Grim series by Michael Buckley (juvenile audiobook)
  • A Million Dots by Andrew Clements (juvenile nonfiction)
  • My Daddy and Me by Tina Macnaughton (board book)
  • The Proposal (fiction/DVD)

Cathy Walerius, Desk Assistant

  • The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson (fiction)
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett (fiction)
  • Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen (nonfiction)
  • The Rise and Fall of the U.S. Mortgage and Credit Markets: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Market Meltdown by James R. Barth (nonfiction/Kindle edition)
  • And Then the Roof Caved In: How Wall Street's Greed and Stupidity Brought Capitalism to Its Knees by David Faber (nonfiction)

Return to main Staff Picks page