Winter of Reading—Explore Core Collections

Winter of Reading for adults is finally here! Sign up now, and then start planning your activities!

One of the suggested activities includes exploring DPL’s Core Collections and picking out a title to read or listen to. What makes Core Collections so unique? These specially curated lists are created by staff with YOU, our customers, in mind. Want to get a great sense of the range of a genre or topic? Try looking at a Core Collection list. Like to use your winter reading time to do a deep dive into a new subject or an area you love? You guessed it—a Core Collections list is a great place to start. Once you get hooked, you may want to continue exploring all year, or even challenge yourself to read all the titles on a given list!

There are lots of lists to choose from, something suited for every reader, from poetry buff to mystery aficionado. Here are a few of my personal favorites from select lists, but don’t let these choices limit you—there are literally hundreds of titles for you to explore! Many of the selections are also available as ebooks or eaudiobooks if you prefer those formats. 

Our newest Core Collection (staff are always working on new lists, and add several every year!) is Standalone Graphic Novels. Whether you love the graphic format and want to check out some foundational titles or you have never read a graphic format book before, you can’t go wrong with this list. Read about the life of one of the great civil rights heroes that we lost in 2020, John Lewis, in the first volume of his graphic memoir, March, Book One. This visceral, award-winning book places you into the moments that shaped Lewis’s life and activism and is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the foundations of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.

Our very first Core Collection, created in 2017, focused on a genre people generally love or hate: Horror. I happen to be a fan. The Stand by Stephen King is one of my all-time favorites. Leery of tackling a 1000+-page book about a plague in the middle of a plague? The hope the characters hold that they must try to help good triumph over evil might help you hold on to hope, too.

Out of all of our lists, if you want one that will challenge you, increase your perspective and make you feel deeply, your choice should be Alternate Classics. The titles on this list span years, continents, languages and the depths of humanity. The list is so extensive I may have to pick several—I remember listening to Luis Alberto Urrea’s Into the Beautiful North on a road trip. This story of a young woman hoping to lure men who have left her small Mexico town back to the village is perfect for traveling (or wishing you were!). Other favorites from the list include An Untamed State by Roxane Gay, Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy and Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde.

If mysteries are your thing, you know they can range in setting, tone and character, and that the most memorable ones are strong in all of those areas. Our Standalone Mystery Core Collection includes a work by one of my favorite authors, Nicola Griffith: The Blue Place. While a mystery is at the core of the book, the title works equally well as a character study of Aud Torvingen, the main character and someone who gets things done. If you want a tangled historical mystery with a strong sense of place and characters with senses of humor amidst tragedy, try The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich.

Nonfiction fans have plenty of choices in our Core Collections, too—check out Strange Piece of Paradise by Terri Jentz from True Crime or The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon from Pop Science.

Avenues to explore Core Collections abound. WesternsShort Stories and United States Poetry round out our current offerings.

Thanks for joining us for our 2021 Winter of Reading, and thanks for checking out our Core Collections!

Written by Becker on January 4, 2021