2022 Reading Challenge: Read a Book from OPL’s 2021 Top Shelf

In 2022, OPL invites patrons to take part in the Reading Challenge, opens a new window! For each challenge, OPL offers suggestions for titles to listen to or read. As you’re working through the challenge, feel free to tag @omahalibrary on Twitter, opens a new window, Instagram, opens a new window or Facebook, opens a new window to let us know which read you picked up this month!

For the past five years, Omaha Public Library has released a list of books OPL staff felt were the most outstanding in the past year. This reading challenge theme asks you to explore the Top Shelf, opens a new window and find something that sparks your interest. 

As in year’s past, the list contains a variety of genres and subjects across all ages. OPL’s Top Shelf, opens a new window includes descriptions from staff detailing why they loved the book. Along the left side of the page, patrons may filter by age and/or category to make it easier to select what kind of book they’d like to read to complete this challenge.

Books great for discussing among your friends or book club members include the “part-domestic drama, part-bourgeois comedy of errors,” "Detransition, Baby, opens a new window" by Torrey Peters; “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law, opens a new window” by Mary Roach, said to be “a thought-provoking look at the modern history of man versus nature conflicts;” and “Reprieve, opens a new window” by James Han Mattson, a “tense thriller” set in Lincoln, Nebraska, that builds “to a moment of inexplicable, high-drama tragedy.”

Food and drink lovers may want to check out "Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol, opens a new window" by Mallory O’Meara; “Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, From Sustainable to Suicidal, opens a new window” by Mark Bittman; or for fiction fans, “Arsenic and Adobo, opens a new window” by Mia P. Manansala, a whodunit that begins when a food critic is poisoned at a restaurant. 

Romance fans will find almost a dozen titles for adults including the “quirky and heartwarming” "One Last Stop, opens a new window" by Casey McQuiston; a “You’ve Got Mail” homage in “Hana Khan Carries On, opens a new window” by Uzma Jalaluddin; or the “delightfully bonkers” “The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels, opens a new window” by India Holton. 

Kids will also find plenty on the list, like the laugh-out-loud picture book "Carol and the Pickle-toad, opens a new window" by Esmé Shapiro; the entertaining early reader “Bat and Sloth Solve a Mystery, opens a new window” by Leslie Kimmelman; or the inspiring “The Lion of Mars, opens a new window” by Jennifer L. Holm. 

For teens, there’s the “sweet love story” graphic novel "The Girl From the Sea, opens a new window" by Molly Knox Ostertag; a mystery/thriller “Hold Back the Tide, opens a new window” by Melinda Salisbury; and a “moving, powerful novel in verse” “Me (Moth), opens a new window” by Amber McBride.

We hope you enjoy choosing from the more than 180 titles this year. When you’re done reading this year’s title, feel free to explore titles from the previous years and see if there’s anything you might have missed!

Starting April 1, 2022, you may submit your completed reading log online, opens a new window or return a completed tracking sheet to any OPL branch to receive a pin and to be entered into a drawing for a book store gift card! All completed tracking sheets or online challenge form entries must be received by December 31, 2022, to be entered into the prize drawing.