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The 100 best books of the decade (so far)

Yeah, this seems to be jumping the gun. But to be fair, there have been many, many great books to come out in the past five years.

The Oyster Review has named the 100 best books of the 2010s so far. What makes the list most interesting is its genre-agnostic mix of fiction and nonfiction, YA and Great American Angry White Man novels, journalism and fantasy.

The No. 1 best book of the decade so far, according to the site, is "Open City" by Teju Cole. Rounding out the top 10 are "Just Kids" by Patti Smith, "Life After Life" by Kate Atkinson, "The Tiger's Wife" by Tea Obreht, "The Emperor of All Maladies" bySiddhartha Mukherjee, "Skippy Dies" by Paul Murray, "A Visit From the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan, "The Empathy Exams" by Leslie Jamison, "The Unnamed" by Joshua Ferris and "People Who Eat Darkness" by Richard Lloyd Parry.

Obligatory mention: Coming in at No. 15 is "Eleanor & Park" by Rainbow Rowell.

See the full list of books at

8 Nebraska authors win Arts Council fellowships

Eight Nebraska writers have won the Nebraska Arts Council's 2015 Individual Artist Fellowship awards in literature.

The program recognizes exemplary work by Nebraska artists and divides $20,000 among the winners each year.

This year's winners: Lindsey Baker, Omaha; Erik Campbell, Lincoln; Paul Dickey, Omaha; Terry L. Schifferns, Gibbon; Lisa Knopp, Lincoln; Amy Knox Brown, Lincoln; Kelly Madigan, Lincoln; Kailee Marie Pedersen, Lincoln.

Omaha Public Library going green this month

Omaha Public Library branches are celebrating Earth Day all month long.

Events to take place this month are getting crafty with gardening; creating upcycled book planters; green cleaning; turning old T-shirts into no-sew totes, necklaces and scarves; and much more.

For more info on the programs, go to

Midlands native to start digital romance comics mag

Janelle Asselin is launching Fresh Romance, a digital comics romance magazine.

Asselin, who was raised in Waterloo, Nebraska, and Malvern, Iowa, said she wants to forge a new future for romance comics with diverse stories and characters everyone can relate to.

The new digital magazine, which is expected to debut in May, will be a monthly anthology of stories ranging from "a clandestine, queer high school love affair to an impeccably researched and illustrated Regency-era romance."

In addition to three romances, each issue will offer a relationship advice column, behind-the-scenes art coverage and a fashion report.

Asselin also is a senior editor of and a former DC Comics editor.

You can keep up on the latest with Fresh Romance at

Fourth-grade teacher publishes novel

Madonna Ball, a fourth-grade teacher at Saddlebrook Elementary School in Omaha Public Schools, has published the novel "Memories of a Mud Bee" with Humble Hound Publishing.

The book, set in an industrial suburb of Detroit during the 1970s, tells the story of a troubled family still in mourning from an accident that took place almost 10 years earlier.

Eight-year-old Suzanne feels the most safe while fantasizing about another life, away from alcoholic fathers, negligent mothers and dead brothers.

When she strikes up a friendship with the new hippie couple next door, she starts asking questions about her own family life.

Ball is a Michigan native who now lives in Omaha.

New books in stores Tuesday

"Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination" by J.K. Rowling:

The "Harry Potter" author's Harvard commencement speech in book form, with illustrations by Joel Holland. "KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps" by Nikolaus Wachsmann: A historian zooms in on the specifics of the Nazis' camp system, from the camps' origins to the ghastly conditions of its inhabitants. Not a beach read.

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