Archive of Staff Picks from 2015

Staff-recommended reading from the Alexandria Library Catalog.

January 2015 May 2015 September 2015
February 2015 June 2015 October 2015
March 2015 July 2015 November 2015
April 2015 August 2015 December 2015

 

January 2015

Unbroken : a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption

 

 

 

Unbroken : a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption

By Laura Hillenbrand

Still on the bestseller list three years after being published. The true story of Louis Zamperini, a self-described juvenile delinquent who ran in the 1936 Berlin Olympics when Jesse Owens was there. After WWII broke out he enlisted and in 1943 his B-24 plane crashed into the Pacific. He survived only to become a prisoner of war. Also in audiobook (CD) form narrated by Edward Herrmann. Unbroken has been adapted into a motion picture. It is truly an astounding story of resilence! Also available as an eBook and eAudiobook on OverDrive.

Recommended by A. Williams


The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry : a novel

 

 

 

The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry: a novel

By Rachel Joyce

Start off the new year with a novel about hope and transformation. Harold Fry is a recently retired man living with his wife in an English village who receives a letter one day from an old friend who is dying. In order to keep her alive, he does something extraordinary. Without a plan, he sets out on a 600 mile walking pilgrimage to reach her bedside - "I will keep walking," he declares, "and she must keep living." Also available as an eBook and eAudiobook on OverDrive.

Recommended by Carol P.


The ocean at the end of the lane

 

 

The ocean at the end of the lane

By Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has written many children's books. The ocean at the end of the lane is his new science fiction for adults. It's interesting how the protagonist goes down the memory lane of his childhood and makes the impossible look real. The book presents a mythical view of childhood fears. I loved it! Also available in audiobook (CD) format and as an eBook and eAudiobook on OverDrive.

Recommended by Anu S.

The weight of blood : a novel

 

 

The weight of blood : a novel

By Laura McHugh

Beautiful and haunting book steeped in atmosphere and mystery. Couldn't put it down. Also available as an eBook on OverDrive.

Recommended by Samantha P.

One plus one

 

 

 

One plus one

By Jojo Moyes

The delightful, heartwarming story of a down-on-their-luck family who find help and happiness in unexpected places. One Plus One is a road-trip novel starring a 10-year old math whiz, a bullied teen, an overworked single mom, a very large, very smelly dog, and Ed Nicholls, the self-absorbed tech millionaire who is driving them all to a Math Olympiad in Scotland. Humorous and engaging, this may be your first book by JoJo Moyes, but it won’t be your last. Also available in audiobook (CD) format and as an eBook on OverDrive.

Recommended by Jessica S.


Invasion

 

 

 

 

Invasion

By Mercedes Lackey

When in doubt I always go for a Mercedes Lackey book and have never been dissappointed. Invasion came about from an online role playing game called City of Heroes. In an alternate reality the major governments of the world have metahuman superheroes who have protected them over the years. When world governments are simultaneously attacked by soldiers in giant mecha robotic suits with the swastika symbol of the Third Reich on their metal arms, the metahuman superheroes that worked for so long to protect their governments suddenly seem helpless. If these were Nazis, where had they been hiding since the end of World War II? And where had they gotten armor and weapons far in advance of anything on the planet?

Recommended by Katie D.

Why we get fat and what to do about it

 

Why we get fat and what to do about it

By Gary Taubes

In a more accessible version of his earlier book Good Calories, Bad Calories, Taubes argues that specific kinds of carbohydrates, not fats or eating too many calories, is the reason we get fat. Diet and eating habits are always a contentious topic and this one definitely started a heated discussion around the dinner table. 

Recommended by April D.

Back to top

February 2015

Don't go where I can't follow

 

 

Don't go where I can't follow

By Anders Nilsen

Anders met Cheryl; they fell in love. She was going to marry him despite his housekeeping failures. They went camping, had a great trip to France. Then Cheryl was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma. This is the story of their happy times and the not so happy times, presented in postcards, facsimiles of letters and notes, photographs, and drawings.

Recommended by Julie D.


Floors

 

 

Floors 

By Patrick Carman

This charming children's book tells the story of a wacky hotel and the adventures that two children have in it. With mystery and a lot of whimsy, this book is one that both parents and children will love. Great as a read aloud or to listen to on audiobook on a trip.

Recommended by Samantha P.


The engagements : a novel

 

 

The engagements : a novel

By Courtney Sullivan

How did diamonds come to symbolize everlasting love? Follow four couples whose stories of seduction and passion are woven through nearly a century while also tracing the history of diamonds in America through Frances Gerety, an icon in advertising history who coined the term "A Diamond Is Forever." Also available as ebook and digital audiobook.

Recommended by Carol P.

In the kingdom of ice : the grand and terrible polar voyage of the U.S.S. Jeannette

 

 

 

In the kingdom of ice : the grand and terrible polar voyage of the U.S.S. Jeannette 

By Hampton Sides

This is the harrowing, dramatic tale of an “Arctic Fever” driven expedition to the North Pole, led by naval officer George Washington DeLong. Bankrolled by The New York Herald, and James Gordon Bennett, this much heralded attempt to reach one of the last unmapped areas of the world finds the crew of the USS Jeannette trapped in endless ice. Sides’ chilling tale brings to life one of the most unforgiving and fascinating areas of the globe. Also available as an audiobook (CD).

Recommended by Jessica S.


Born to run : a hidden tribe, superathletes, and the greatest race the world has never seen

 

 

Born to run : a hidden tribe, superathletes, and the greatest race the world has never seen

By Christopher McDougall

An engaging read that asks if we were born to run, why are runners so often injured. The book details the world of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, a tribe who runs long distances in thinly-soled sandals. Pick this book up and learn why humans are built to run (hint: we sweat) and get inspired to log some miles. 

Recommended by April D.


The doubt factory

 

 

The doubt factory

By Paolo Bacigalupi

After being kidnapped by a group of teen radicals, Alix must decide if the charges they make against her father are true. Is he defending corporations who knowingly produce products that are unsafe and have caused the deaths of numerous people? Alix can't forget the intriguing leader of the group or the allegations that her father's work hurts innocent people. Her determination to uncover the truth sends her on a dangerous and thrilling quest that will alter her life forever.

Recommended by Ginny R.

The mysterious howling

 

 

The mysterious howling 

By Maryrose Wood

This is a wickedly funny first book in a children's series called The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. Miss Penelope Lumley has just graduated from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females. She is hired as a governess to three eager young children, who she quickly discovers were initially raised by wolves. Fortunately, they are in Penelope's very capable hands. Also available as an audiobook (CD).

Recommended by Christian R.

Back to top

March 2015

Oh, the places you'll go!

 

 

Oh, the places you'll go!

By Dr. Seuss

It begins with these simple but iconic lines: "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose." Using nonsense rhymes that really aren’t nonsensical after all, Dr. Seuss encourages children of all ages to have the confidence to use their curiosity to explore and make the world their own. This is a fun and powerful read, bound to strike a spark in even the most indolent of humans, child and adult alike. Join Beatley Central and celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday and Read Across America with the Zeta Phi Beta sorority, Saturday, March 14 from 2-4 p.m.

Recommended by Gretchen C.


Strange fruit. Vol. 1, Uncelebrated narratives from Black history

 

 

Strange fruit. Vol. 1, Uncelebrated narratives from Black history

By Joel Christian Gill

Henry Brown escaped slavery in Richmond VA by being boxed and sent as freight to Philadelphia. Marshall "Major" Taylor, "The Black Cyclone," was a world champion bicyclist at the turn of the 20th century. These are two of the stories of African Americans who challenged the status quo in the nine short graphic format pieces in this volume.

Recommended by Julie D.

Hyperbole and a half : unfortunate situations, flawed coping mechanisms, mayhem, and other things that happened

 

 

Hyperbole and a half : unfortunate situations, flawed coping mechanisms, mayhem, and other things that happened

By Allie Brosch

It's not often that a book manages to be both hilarious and heartbreaking, but this is the kind of book that comes along once in a lifetime. A strange (yet delightful!) mix of crudely drawn cartoons and insightful text, this blog-turned-book chronicles Brosh’s life and misadventures. My particular favorites are the parts about her two possibly insane dogs – I was laughing so much during these sections that I actually had to stop reading in order to breathe!

Recommended by Maddie W.

Midnight in the garden of good and evil : a Savannah story

 

 

 

 

Midnight in the garden of good and evil : a Savannah story  

By John Berendt

A spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight. These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else.

Recommended by Allison C.

Rosie Dunne

 

 

Rosie Dunne

By Cecelia Ahern

Rosie Dunne (also known as Love, Rosie) follows the story of two childhood friends, Rosie and Alex, through letters, emails, and other correspondence. This charming tale of life, love, and missed opportunities is one of my favorites. Also available as an audiobook on CD.

Recommended by Rebecca L.

Red Rising

 

 

Red Rising

By Pierce Brown

Great first book in a planned trilogy from new author Pierce Brown. In Red Rising, you are introduced to Darrow, a Red, who is trying to make himself into a Gold to tear down societies caste system from within. Also available as an eBook on OverDrive. Also, check out book two, Golden Son.

Recommended by Samantha P.

The death of the heart

 

 

The death of the heart

By Elizabeth Bowen

Considered her masterpiece, the Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen mines her own painful childhood of loss in this novel about an orphaned girl who goes to live with her half-brother. She falls in love with a cad named Eddie which only leads her towards heartbreak and the loss of her innocence.

Recommended by Carol P.

The Paris winter : a novel

 

 

The Paris winter : a novel

By Imogen Robertson

All Maud Heighton wanted was to study art at Lafond's famous Academie. Paris is not easy on Maud's ever dwindling finances. As she slowly slips into poverty other students at the Academie enjoy the delights of Belle Epoque Paris. Just at the right moment Maud comes across the position of companion to beautiful Sylvie Morel. Though Maud begins to realize that Sylvie and her brother Christian are not what they seem. The dream plunges Maud into a nightmare. Imogen Robertson is a fantastic writer and she grips you with the suspense.

Recommended by Katie D.

Back to top

April 2015

A dangerous woman : the graphic biography of Emma Goldman

 

 

A dangerous woman : the graphic biography of Emma Goldman

By Sharon Rudahl

Emma Goldman took up the cause of anarchism and pursued it passionately. Having experienced firsthand inhumane working conditions and poverty, she fought for the oppressed and powerless only to find the Bolshevik Revolution resulted in more of the same. This graphic format biography tells her story in all its facets, from her unorthodox love life to her dedication to the cause.

Recommended by Julie D.


Born wicked

 

 

Born Wicked

By Jessica Spotswood

The women in the Cahill family are gifted with magic. But that gift seems more like a curse to 16-year-old Cate, when the fanatically religious Brotherhood burns witches, and her younger sisters are having trouble containing their magic. Set in an alternate 1890s New England, this first book of the Cahill Witch Chronicles will enchant history buffs and fantasy fans alike!

Recommended by Maddy W.

Half empty

 

 

Half Empty

By David Rakoff

In this deeply smart and sneakily poignant collection of essays, the bestselling author of Fraud and Don’t Get Too Comfortable makes an inspired case for always assuming the worst—because then you’ll never be disappointed. Whether he’s taking on pop culture phenomena with Oscar Wilde-worthy wit or dealing with personal tragedy, Rakoff’s sharp observations and humorist’s flair for the absurd will have you positively reveling in the untapped power of negativity.

Recommended by Allison C.

West with the night

 

 

West with the Night  

By Beryl Markham

Born in Britain and raised in Africa, Ms. Markham became the only professional pilot in Africa (1936) to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Her autobiography is most enjoyable for its vivid depiction of Africa and its people, and for the amazing adventures of a woman ahead of her time. I found it an empowering story about a woman who sat in a small plane and flew alone in the dark!

Recommended by Ruth H.

Bird Box

 

 

Bird Box

By John Malerman

Terrifying thriller about a dystopian world where the enemy is unknown and you can't look outside. The book follows the fall of society and one woman's journey to navigate the world without sight to get herself and two children to safety.

Recommended by Samantha P.

Graceling

 

 

Graceling

By Kristin Cashore

In this fantasy story, Katsa is one of the Graced - people born with a unique skill. Her uncle, the king, puts her inate fighting skills to use as his enforcer. As the story progresses, though, she develops friendships and romances that help her move beyond her savage reputation and understand her Grace more fully. A wonderful story with a strong heroine.

Recommended by Rebecca L.

The granny square book

 

 

 

 

The granny square book : timeless techniques & fresh ideas for crocheting square by square

By Margaret Hubert

The rift between knitters and crocheters can be… impassioned. After years of compulsively knitting I decided to try my hands at crochet, starting with the humble granny square. In addition to the different square patterns, each varying in difficulty, from beginner to advanced, I appreciate the layout of the book and the spiral binding that makes it easy to keep the book open on the arm of the couch.

Recommended by April D.

The thoughts and happenings of Wilfred Price, purveyor of superior funerals

 

 

The thoughts and happenings of Wilfred Price, purveyor of superior funerals

By Wendy Jones

It's springtime and under its spell, our book's eponymous hero blurts out a marriage proposal to a woman he barely knows, which leads him down a rabbit hole of disastrous consequences. You will root for this undertaker in his travails to right this wrong and finally make the proposal to the woman he truly loves. A delightful and charming read for spring!

Recommended by Carol P.

Back to top

May 2015

Big Stone Gap

 

 

Big Stone Gap -- 2015 All Alexandria Reads selection

By Adriana Trigiani

Ave Maria Mulligan is the self-described "spinster" pharmacist and "ferriner" of Big Stone Gap, VA, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia. She discovers a startling family secret that leads her on a journey to personal redemption and romance. You will enjoy the quirky characters of Big Stone Gap; including my favorite, Iva Lou, the bookmobile librarian. Big Stone Gap is the first of a trilogy and was recently made into a motion picture. Also available as eBook and audiobook (CD)

Learn more about All Alexandria Reads and check out our upcoming events and discussions that relate to the themes of Big Stone Gap.

Recommended by A. Williams

Louella Mae, she's run away!

 

 

 

Louella Mae, She's Run Away -- 2015 All Alexandria Reads Picture Book read-alike

By Karen Beaumont Alarcón

Louella Mae is missing and everyone on the farm is looking for her. With engaging rhyming text, the search moves from the cornfields to the woods and back again, with lots of opportunities for preschoolers to guess where the search will be next. And a special surprise at the end of the book when Louella Mae is finally found will delight all!

Recommended by Diana P.


Three Times Lucky

 

 

 

Three Times Lucky -- 2015 All Alexandria Reads Children's book read-alike

By Shelia Turnage

11 year old Mo LoBeau is sure she knows everything about Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, the small town that she's called home since a hurricane washed her ashore as a baby. So when a gruff lawman suddenly shows up in town and a Tupelo Landing resident is murdered, she enlists the help of her best friend Dale Earnhardt Johnson III to find the killer. But there are more secrets in her small town than she realizes, and soon Mo and Dale are in a heap more trouble than either of them could have imagined. Also available as eBook and audiobook (CD).

Recommended by Diana P.


The Secret Adversary

 

 

 

The Secret Adversary

By Agatha Christie

Everybody knows about Dame Agatha’s two most famous detective series, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, but what about her third series? Tommy and Tuppence find themselves at loose ends at the end of World War I, and the plucky young friends are soon mixed up in the search for a girl who went missing--along with some sensitive documents--during the war. One of Christie’s earliest works, this first installment in the Tommy & Tuppence series is delightfully pulpy, sure to please mystery fans and espionage connoisseurs. Also available as an eBook and eAudiobook.

Recommended by Maddy W.


Life after life

 

 

 

Life after life

By Kate Atkinson

Ursula Todd is born on a cold night in 1910 and dies without taking her first breath-- and so this unusual story begins as Ursula is born and dies, over and over again, with each successive life being shaped by the ones before it. Beautifully written and thought-provoking, Atkinson takes readers on a magnificent journey as she explores the different paths a life can take. Also available as an eAudiobook and audiobook (CD). Fans of this book might be eager to read Atkinson’s companion novel, about Ursula’s brother Teddy, A God in Ruins.

Recommended by Jessica S.


Good riddance : an illustrated memoir of divorce

 

 

Good riddance : an illustrated memoir of divorce

By Cynthia Copeland

What do you do when you discover your perfect marriage of 18 years has been slipping away and you didn't even notice? This graphic format memoir (with names changed to protect the innocent) explores the confusion and pain of divorce, the adventure that is dating, and making a plan for the future.

Recommended by Julie D.

 Horrorstör

 

 

Horrorstör

By Gracy Hendrix

A really fun new addition to the horror genre. This book is modeled after an IKEA catalog and takes place in a sinister store that may or may not let the night staff out alive.

Recommended by Samantha P.

Charming

 

 

 

Charming

By Elliott James

Ever wonder how one charming prince could appear in all those fairy tales to save the princess? Well that's because it is a whole family of Charmings. John Charming is one of an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch-finders and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chain mail and crossbows to Kevlar and shotguns, John Charming was one of the best--until a curse made him one of the abominations the Knights were sworn to hunt. For all you lovers of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresdan or Kevin Hearne's Atticus O'Sullivan, John Charming will fit right in.

Recommended by Katie D.

Back to top

June 2015

Back to top

Bone Gap

 

 

Bone Gap

By Laura Ruby

Beautiful and beloved Roza is kidnapped from the small town of Bone Gap and 18-year-old Finn O'Sullivan is the only witness. He can't remember any details about the man who abducted Roza and nobody believes his version of her disappearance. Multi-layered and complex, Bone Gap is an unusual tale that combines magical realism with mystery to portray the depths of human emotion, both sinister and loving.

Recommended by Ginny R.

The Candymakers

 

 

The Candymakers

By Wendy Mass

The story of four children who compete to make a candy that will win a national candy competition. A sweet story that is part mystery and part a lesson in friendship. Truly to be enjoyed by the whole family. Great for bedtime reading or as an audiobook on a car trip. Also available as eAudibook on OneClickdigital.

Recommended by Samantha P.


I know why the caged bird sings

 

 

 

I know why the caged bird sings

By Maya Angelou

In this first of five volumes of autobiography, poet Maya Angelou recounts a youth filled with disappointment, frustration, tragedy, and finally hard-won independence. Sent at a young age to live with her grandmother in Arkansas, Angelou learned a great deal from this exceptional woman and the tightly knit black community there. These very lessons carried her throughout the hardships she endured later in life, including a tragic occurrence while visiting her mother in St. Louis and her formative years spent in California--where an unwanted pregnancy changed her life forever. Also available as audiobook on CD.

Recommended by Allison C.


Station Eleven

 

 

 

Station Eleven

By Emily St. John Mandel

Starting with the onstage death of a famous Hollywood actor, Mantel’s third novel follows several characters as a deadly flu outbreak devastates the world. Moving effortlessly between the actor’s life, the last days of the world we know and fifteen years in the future, where a traveling theater group roams what is left of North America, Station Eleven is a book that will stay with you long after the final pages. Also available in large print and audiobook on CD.

Recommended by Jessica S.


Ethel & Ernest

 

 

Ethel & Ernest: a true story

By Raymond Briggs

In 1928 Ethel was a lady's maid and Ernest was a milkman. This is the story of their courtship, marriage, and life together against the background of World War II and all the changes that followed. Written and drawn by the son, Raymond Briggs, this is a celebration of Ethel and Ernest, and of the British working class.

Recommended by Julie D.


The student's pocket medical lexicon

 

 

The student's pocket medical lexicon

By Elias Longley

Ever wonder what those strange conditions were that crop up in family papers and stories? This reprint of an 1889 medical lexicon may provide you answers. Filled with inumerable definitions of medical conditions and remedies, this book gives the reader a new perspective on what their ancestors endured.

Recommended by George C.

July 2015

Garden spells

 

 

 

Garden Spells

By Sarah Addison Allen

The Waverleys have a reputation in their small North Carolina home town but is it for eccentricity or for magic? Of the most recent generation, Claire accepts her unusual gift and her place in the family while avoiding the outside world. Sydney rejected family and legend and fled from home at 18 only to return after an abusive relationship. With the help of a sentient apple tree, the sisters must overcome the hurts and abandonment of the past, and the fears and dangers of the present. Also available as eAudiobook on OverDrive.

Recommended by Julie D.


 Gutshot : stories

 

Gutshot: stories

By Amelia Gray

A disturbing study of people on the cusp of reality is presented in this collection of short stories by Amelia Gray. Gutshot will leave you confounded, but pondering.

Recommended by Megan Z.

The name of the star

 

 

 

The name of the star

By Maureen Johnson

Louisiana-bred 17-year-old Rory expects that it will take her some time to adjust to her new boarding school in London – she’ll have to get used to the gloomy weather, foods with weird names, sports that make no sense, and so on. What Rory isn’t expecting, however, is to get mixed up in the murder case of the century, a grisly recreation of the Victorian-era Ripper murders. Spooky and thrilling, this first book in the Shades of London series will have you clamoring to read the rest of the story! Also available as an audiobook (CD) or eBook on OverDrive.

Recommended by Maddy W.


Y : the last man. Book one

 

 

 

Y: The Last Man

By Brian K. Vaughan

Imagine a world where everyone with a Y chromosome dies, save one man and his pet male monkey. This novel uses the graphic format to drive home how the world, and the life of this one man, are impacted by this devastating change. Fans of "Lost" and "Under the Dome" will like this series, created by comic book and television writer, Brian K. Vaughan.

Recommended by Rebecca L.


Doctor Sleep : a novel

 

 

Doctor Sleep

By Stephen King

If you loved The Shining, this book is a must read. Doctor Sleep revisits Dan Torrance, who is now middle-aged. The book brilliantly continues the much loved The Shining and adds a new layer to the haunting thriller. Also available as audiobook (CD) and eBook on OverDrive.

Recommended by Samantha P.


Uprooted

 

 

Uprooted

By Naomi Novik

You have to be intrigued by a book with the opening line: "Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley." Naomi Novik is a really great world builder and this book is no exception. The amazing descriptions and the fantastic real characters combine to make a really great read. Also available as eBook on OverDrive.

Recommended by Katie D.

Pharsalia : an environmental biography of a southern plantation, 1780-1880

 

 

Pharsalia : An Environmental Biography of a Southern Plantation 1780-1880

By Lynn A. Nelson

A captivating story about a Virginia piedmont plantation and the struggles of the Massie family. The book is an excellent example of the "New Environmental History" genre. Well sourced and cleverly written, the author documents the changes that changing agricultural patterns (the switch from tobacco to grain production) and what that meant to Virginia and Virginians.

Recommended by George C.

 Back to top

August 2015

The woman rebel : the Margaret Sanger story  Format: Author: Bagge, Peter, ISBN: 9781770461260 Publication Information: Montreal : Drawn & Quarterly, 2013. Physical Description: 1 unpaged volume :  color illustrations ;  23 cm Summary: Portrays the life of Margaret Sanger, a birth control activist and advocate for female reproductive rights, in graphic novel format. Personal Subject: Sanger, Margaret, 1879-1966-Comic books, strips, etc. Subject: Women social reformers -- United States -- Biography -- Comic books, strips, etc. Birth control -- United States -- History -- 20th century -- Comic books, strips, etc. Women's rights -- United States -- History -- 20th century -- Comic books, strips, etc. Genre: Graphic novels. Holds: 0 Available:3

 

 

Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story

By Peter Bagge

Nurse, educator, founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger was all of these and more. Born to a mother who endured 18 pregnancies and a socialist father, she was a fierce advocate for a woman's right to control her own body. This graphic format illustrates the fight for birth control as it covers her life from girlhood to death.

Recommended by Julie D.

Brain on fire

 

 

Brain on fire : my month of madness

By Susannah Cahalan

Brain on Fire is the recounting of Susannah Cahalan's experience of being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder. This true story was gripping and suspenseful and sheds light on how difficult brain conditions can be to discern from mental health issues. Also great as an audiobook (CD) or online at OverDrive.

Recommended by Samantha P.



Station Eleven

 

 

Station Eleven

By Hilary St. John Mantel

Starting with the onstage death of a famous Hollywood actor, Mantel’s third novel follows several characters as a deadly flu outbreak devastates the world. Moving effortlessly between the actor’s life, the last days of the world we know and fifteen years in the future where a traveling theater group roams what is left of North America, Station Eleven is a book that will stay with you long after the final pages. Also available in large print and as an audiobook on OverDrive.

Recommended by Jessica S.


Prisoner of Night and Fog

 

 

 

Prisoner of Night and Fog

By Maureen Johnson

This is an amazing book. Told from the perspective a young girl whose family is in Hitler's inner circle before his rise to power. Gretchen Müller has always believed her father died a hero, until Daniel Cohen, a young Jewish reporter tells her that may not be the case. Was he actually murdered by someone in the National Socialist Party? A fascinating look at the beliefs of the people who helped Adolf Hitler rise to power. I just finished the sequel Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke and I liked it just as much.

Recommended by Katie D.


My age of anxiety : fear, hope, dread, and the search for peace of mind

 

 

My Age of Anxiety

By Scott Stossel

Feeling anxious? You're not alone. Scott Stossel, editor of the Atlantic, gives a frank account of his own lifelong struggle with anxiety which affects an estimated 40 million adults in the U.S. The book is darkly funny and may leave sufferers everywhere with enough hope to continue their quest for relief.

Recommended by Carol P.

American gods

 

 

 

 

American gods

By Neil Gaiman

America is known as a melting pot, a country where immigrants from many different places end up, bringing along various traditions and beliefs. And, as a newly-released prisoner named Shadow discovers, people have brought their gods with them from all over the world. But not all the gods are happy sharing the country with one another, so Shadow is unwillingly involved in a brewing war between old and new gods. Be sure to read the book and its companion novel Anansi Boys before the television adaptation comes out! Also available as an eBook or eAudiobook on Overdrive.

Recommended by Maddy W.


Modern one-block quilts : 22 fresh patchwork projects

 

 

Modern one-block quilts: 22 fresh patchwork projects

By Natalia Bonner and Kathleen Whiting

Great collection of quilt block patterns with easy to read instructions and gorgeous photographs. I made my first queen-size quilt using the churned dash quilt block and was very pleased with how it turned out. A nice recommended read for new to the game quilters; just remember to read all the instructions first!

Recommended by April D.

 Back to top

September 2015

The quick : a novel

 

 

The quick: a novel

By Lauren Owen

Ready for a Victorian thriller which combines magic, suspense and terror? Get ready to quickly lose yourself in this seductive book about vampires set in Victorian London of 1892. This dazzling novel includes a shy poet, vampire hunters, a vampire researcher, and ample amounts of action and romance. Also available as eBook on OverDrive and audiobook (CD).

Recommended by Carol P.

The bees

 

 

The bees

By Laline Paull

Told from the perspective of a worker bee, The Bees is the story of one colony where Flora 717 battles her desire to serve and sacrifice with a longing to be more than the station she was born into. A beautiful and moving book that will make you think of the differences in each one of us and look at the lives of bees very differently. Also available as an audiobook (CD).

Recommended by Samantha P.

The girl with all the gifts

 

 

The girl with all the gifts

By M.R. Carey

Melanie loves school. Locked in a cell, her only escape is when she is wheeled into the classroom. Melanie is a very special girl. This isn't your typical zombie story. Even if you are a zombie purist, give it a chance and it will surprise you. The characters are great and you will be sucked into their journey.

Recommended by Katie D.


Shenzhen : a travelogue from China

 

 

Shenzhen : a travelogue from China 

By Guy Delisle

Guy Delisle spent three months in Shenzhen managing production for a French animation company. This graphic format memoir follows his exploration of life in urban China, illustrating how to get along despite cultural, communication, and political barriers.

Recommended by Julie D.

The gift of fear : survival signals that protect us from violence

 

 

The gift of fear: survival signals that protect us from violence

By Gavin de Becker

A fascinating read on learning how to trust your intuitions and keep yourself safe in dangerous situations. With stories from his own career and life, de Becker illustrates how to determine if someone poses a danger to us. An important book about human behavior. 

Recommended by April D.

Save the date

 

 

 

 

Save the date : a novel

By Mary Kay Andrews

Cara Kryzik is a Savannah florist who has her hands full juggling demanding brides and their mothers, a father who is calling in his loan, and a competing floral designer who wants her out of business. Then her beloved Goldendoodle is ‘dog-napped’ by the handsome Jack Finnerty and life really starts to spiral out of control. Mary Kay Andrews’ latest is a delightful romp through the wedding planning business, punctuated by plenty of quirky Southern characters and tied up in a neat bow. A great choice if you are looking for a light, funny read as those beach days pass us by. Also available as an audiobook (CD).

Recommended by Jessica S.


The tale of the dueling neurosurgeons

 

 

The tale of the dueling neurosurgeons : the history of the human brain as revealed by true stories of trauma, madness, and recovery

By Sam Kean

I love Sam Kean's books because he is a very accessible and entertaining science writer, and this book is no exception. The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons describes the structure and functions of the brain through stories of the tragedies and accidents that helped pioneering doctors learn about this mysterious organ. Great for fans of Mary Roach and Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. Also available as an audiobook (CD).

Recommended by Rebecca L.

 Back to top

October 2015

All but my life

 

 

All but my life

By Gerda Weissmann Klein

Equally fascinating and horrifying: one woman's account of surviving the Holocaust.

Recommended by Rosie D.

The essential dykes to watch out for

 

 

 

The essential dykes to watch out for 

By Alison Bechdel

Before the success of Fun Home and Are You My Mother?, Alison Bechdel's career emerged with Dykes to Watch Out For, a comic strip which centered on lovably exasperating Mo and her multifarious lesbian community. In this compilation, readers can enjoy the DTWOF characters as they grow and change over the years, shining a humorous light on this often underrepresented segment in contemporary fiction.

Recommended by Megan Z.


The storyteller : a novel

 

 

 

 

The storyteller : a novel

By Jodi Picoult

Sage Singer is a baker, a loner, until she befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone's favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses—and then he confesses his darkest secrethe deserves to die because he had been a Nazi SS guard. And Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor. How do you react to evil living next door? Can someone who's committed truly heinous acts ever atone with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And, if Sage even considers the request, is it revenge…or justice?

Recommended by Shahana P.


Blackbird fly

 

 

Blackbird fly 

By Erin Entrada Kelly

Bullied at school in a small Texas town, eighth-grader Apple, a Filipino American who loves the music of the Beatles, decides to change her life by learning how to play the guitar. Along the way she makes some surprising discoveries about herself, her heritage, and what it means to be a true friend. Highly recommended for anyone who liked Wonder.

Recommended by Lisa S.

The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian

 

 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

By Alexie Sherman

Sherman Alexie combines humor with truth in this coming-of-age story with plenty of heart. Told with supplementary illustrations, this YA novel can be enjoyed by adolescents and adults alike. Alexie makes it easy to cheer for his title character while representing an underrepresented but important part of the modern American population. Also available as audiobook (CD) and eAudiobook on OneClickdigital.

Recommended by Abby H.

Wild about us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild about us!

By Karen Beaumont

Warty Warthog narrates this spirited and fun book about zoo pride. From Tortoise's amble and Crocodile’s big, toothy grin to Rhino’s wrinkly skin, each animal’s attributes are described and celebrated through clever text and beautiful illustrations. Beaumont encourages readers to love the skin they’re in. As Warty says, "Can’t be who I’m not, I am who I am and I’ve got what I’ve got…. Yesiree! We all are the way we are all meant to be!" Pair this plucky picture book with Lovell’s Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon to springboard a discussion on tolerance and self-acceptance. Perfect Diversity Month read aloud.

Recommended by Genelle S.


Each kindness

 

 

 

Each Kindness

By Jacqueline Woodson

This is a moving story about a young girl, Chloe, who shuns the new girl at her school. The new girl moves away, and her teacher talks about how each kindness makes a difference every day. Chloe becomes very regretful that she didn't reach out to the new girl. As someone who has moved every two years of my life (until recently), both as a child and as a mother with children, this book speaks to my experiences.

Recommended by Gretchen C.


Marked : race, crime, and finding work in an era of mass incarceration

 

 

Marked: race, crime, and finding work in an era of incarceration

By Jacqueline Woodson

Devah Pager uses a simple technique to show how mass incarceration has undone the small amount of racial progress achieved in 1960s and 1970s.

Recommended by R. Hailu

The ninth jewel of the Mughal crown : the Birbal tales from the oral traditions of India

 

 

The Ninth Jewel of the Mughal crown : the Birbal tales from the oral traditions of India

By James Moseley

It is a collection of 28 tales about Birbal, the wise minister to Akbar, emperor of Agra in India. These delightful fables sparkle like Kipling's Just so stories and The Arabian Nights. They are full of humor and surprise endings. Perfect bedtime stories-for the whole family!

Recommended by Anu S.

 Back to top

November 2015

How to raise an adult : break free of the overparenting trap and prepare your kid for success

 

 

How to raise an adult : break free of the overparenting trap and prepare your kid for success

By Julie Lythcott-Haims

As a mother and a student dean at Stanford University, Julie Lytchcott draws attention to the over parenting trend in our society and how this act depletes children and young adults from attaining a fulfilled independent and autonomous adult life. The book offers a well-researched approach on how to overcome this trend and leap into a new direction where children and young adults are trusted but guided to make meaningful choices.

Recommended by Confidence A.


The left hand of darkness

 

The left hand of darkness

By Ursula Le Guin

A fascinating view into a world where gender literally doesn't exist.

Recommended by Rosie D.

Heroes are my weakness

 

 

Heroes are my weakness

By Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Reminiscent of the classic book Jane Eyre, Heroes Are My Weakness was a highly enjoyable read that this reader couldn't put down. This book is romance/chick literature at it finest.

Recommended by Samantha P.

The storied life of A.J. Fikry : a novel

 

 

The storied life of A.J. Fikry : a novel 

By Gabrielle Zevin

A baby left on the doorstep of his island bookshop changes the life of cantankerous A.J. Fikry. Sweetly charming and humorous, Zevin’s novel will delight book lovers with its depiction of a small town bookstore and insightful critiques of classic titles. This one will appeal to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.

Recommended by Jessica S.

Leviathan wakes

 

 

 

Leviathan wakes

By James S. A. Corey

1st in a series of books soon to be a TV series starting in December on SyFy. Read the book before the show! Set in the future where humanity has found ways to live on the outer edges of our solar system, but not interstellar travel, tensions rise among Earth, Mars, and those living on the brink. A strange deadly threat emerges that threatens all of humanity. Will we come together to tackle the treat? James S. A. Corey is the pen name for two authors, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. Daniel Abrahm sometimes assists George RR Martin. So readers of the A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) saga, may also enjoy.

Recommended by Ross F.


Not my father's son : a memoir

 

 

Not my father's son : a memoir 

By Alan Cumming

If you enjoy a good mystery, wrapped up in another mystery, served up with some history and genealogy, Alan's memoir will keep you turning the pages.

Recommended by C. Funkhouser

Morris Micklewhite and the tangerine dress

 

 

 

Morris Micklewhite and the tangerine dress

By Christine Baldacchino

Morris Micklewhite has a favourite piece of clothing. It’s colour reminds him of his mother’s hair. He loves the way it crinkling sound it makes when his sits, the feel of the swishing when he walks, and the click of the shoes that go with it. Morris’ favourite piece of clothing is a dress. This book makes a point without making a big deal. A great conversation starter about individuality and embracing what’s on the inside.

Recommended by D. Henderson


 Back to top

December 2015

The Night Before the Night Before Christmas

 

 

 

The night before the night before Christmas!

By Richard Scarry

The ever-clumsy Mr. Frumble sets off to the North Pole to join Santa's helpers, but manages to confuse Santa, who starts his deliveries a night early! Can Mr. Frumble save the day? Richard Scarry is a family favorite in our house, maybe he will be one of yours, too.

Recommended by Jessica S.

The bells of Christmas

 

 

The Bells of Christmas

By Virginia Hamilton

Newberry and Caldecott winner Virginia Hamilton does it again. Twelve-year-old Jason Bell and his family who live along the National Road prepare for their relatives' arrival. Set in 1890 Ohio, this story of a middle-class black community offers a refreshing and underrepresented holiday experience. I read it every year.

Recommended by Leslie A.


The Polar Express

 

 

 

The Polar Express

By Chris Van Allsburg

A young boy journeys to the North Pole on a magical train called the Polar Express and discovers the meaning of truly believing in something and not losing your faith in that belief. Don't miss this classic Christmas story for children!

Recommended by Carol P.


A Christmas carol

 

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens

It may be cliche, but I adore this book and read it every Christmas.

Recommended by Allison C.

 The story of Holly & Ivy

 

 

 

The story of Holly & Ivy

By Rumer Godden

A children's book originally published in 1958 by Rumer Godden. "This is a story about wishing," the book begins. Ivy is an orphan girl who takes a train to find her grandmother because the orphanage has closed for Christmas and she has nowhere to go. When she gets to her destination she spies a beautiful doll in the window of a toy store named Holly who is wishing for a little girl to take her home. The story ends with Ivy's wish to find a family fulfilled.

Recommended by A. Williams


 Nutcracker

 

 

Nutcracker

By E.T.A. Hoffman

This book is a great classic filled with adventure and heart. It's perfect for holiday reading.

Recommended by Colleen H.


Tied Up in Tinsel

 

 

Tied up in tinsel

By Ngaio Marsh

Join Inspector Roderick Alleyn at a sumptuous English country house as he investigates a murder. His wife Agatha Troy is at the house to paint a portrait of the eccentric owner. Could any one of the ex-murderers who are also the hired servants of the household be responsible? Druidic Christmas celebration included.

Recommended by Carol P.


Dash & Lily's book of dares

 

 

 

Dash & Lily's book of dares

By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

From the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, this is another delightful teen romance! Bored over her winter vacation, 16-year-old Lily leaves a red notebook full of challenges on her favorite bookstore shelf. Intrigued by its cryptic clues, Dash follows the scavenger hunt all over New York City. But if the two teens want to take their relationship off the page and into real life, can their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Also available as an eBook on OverDrive.

Recommended by Maddy W.


Greenglass House

 

 

 

Greenglass House

By Kate Milford

12 year old Milo lives with his adopted parents in a strange old inn on the top of a mountain. Right before Christmas in the middle of a snowstorm, a collection of odd guests make their way to the inn, each with a strange story to tell and hiding more than one secret. Milo and the cook's daughter Meddy must unravel the many mysteries of the guests and of the Greenglass House itself. Perfect for snuggling up with on a snowy day, Greenglass House is a clever middle-grade mystery for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Westing Game. A recent local middle school book club choice, this title is perfect for kids who love twisting plots, red herrings, and surprise endings.

Recommended by Diana P.


Holidays on ice

 

 

 

Holidays on Ice

By David Sedaris

My favorite holiday tradition is rereading Sedaris' classic Holidays On Ice, in which he recounts his time spent as an elf at Macy's. Sedaris' sarcastic wit will bring holiday joy to even the most dedicated Scrooge.

Recommended by Hannah M.


 Back to top