Staff Picks

Recent Picks

Five days : the fiery reckoning of an American city book cover
Five days : the fiery reckoning of an American city book cover

Five days : the fiery reckoning of an American city

Wes Moore

305.896 /Moore
Nonfiction, Political

Baltimore When Freddie Gray was arrested for possessing an 'illegal knife' in April 2015, he was, by eyewitness accounts that video evidence later confirmed, treated 'roughly' as police loaded him into a vehicle. By the end of his trip in the police van, Gray was in a coma he would never recover from. This killing led to a week of protests and then five days described alternately as a riot or an uprising that set the entire city on edge, and caught the nation's attention. Moore attended Gray's funeral, and saw every strata of the city come together, all looking to comfort each other, but also looking for answers. Through shifting points of view, Moore and Green create an engrossing account of the deep causes of the violence-- and the small seeds of hope planted in its aftermath. -- adapted from jacket

Anne M's picture

Wes Moore and Erica Green take us through Baltimore's reckoning with systemic racism, crippling poverty, and police brutality after Freddie Gray's murder in police custody. Focusing on the five days after Gray's death, they show us Baltimore through the individuals that lived events of that week, from a protest organizer, a police officer, and an owner of the Baltimore Orioles. Moore and Green slow those days down and tell us what happened. It is a powerful book, gives interesting context on the city's history, and individualizes life in America. -Anne M

Mudlark : in search of London's past along the River Thames book cover
Mudlark : in search of London's past along the River Thames book cover

Mudlark : in search of London's past along the River Thames

Lara Maiklem

942.1 /Maiklem
History

Long heralded as a city treasure herself, expert “mudlarker” Lara Maiklem is uniquely trained in the art of seeking. Tirelessly trekking across miles of the Thames’ muddy shores, where others only see the detritus of city life, Maiklem unearths evidence of England’s captivating, if sometimes murky, history—with some objects dating back to 43 AD, when London was but an outpost of the Roman Empire. From medieval mail worn by warriors on English battlefields to nineteenth-century glass marbles mass-produced for the nation’s first soda bottles, Maiklem deduces the historical significance of these artifacts with the quirky enthusiasm and sharp-sightedness of a twenty-first century Sherlock Holmes.

Anne M's picture

Explore the history of England through its discarded objects, the ones reclaimed by Lara Maiklem from the river. Lara is a 'mudlark,' or someone who scavenges the Thames for lost objects dating from pre-Roman times to the Victorian era. It is a fascinating read. -Anne M

Joy at work : organizing your professional life book cover
Joy at work : organizing your professional life book cover

Joy at work : organizing your professional life

Marie Kondō

650.1 /Kondo
Nonfiction, Business, Self Help

"The workplace is a magnet for clutter and mess. Who hasn't felt drained by wasteful meetings, disorganized papers, endless emails, and unnecessary tasks? These are the modern-day hazards of working, and they can slowly drain the joy from work, limit our chances of career progress, and undermine our well-being. There is another way. In Joy at Work, bestselling author and Netflix star Marie Kondo and Rice University business professor Scott Sonenshein offer stories, studies, and strategies to help you eliminate clutter and make space for work that really matters. Using the world-renowned KonMari Method and cutting-edge research, Joy at Work will help you overcome the challenges of workplace mess and enjoy the productivity, success, and happiness that come with a tidy desk and mind."--Amazon.

Amanda's picture

I’m a big fan of the KonMari method, and this book broadened my understanding of how it can be applied to work life as well. This is a great follow-up to her Tidying Up title, and a worthy place to Spark Joy! -Amanda

The resisters : a novel book cover
The resisters : a novel book cover

The resisters : a novel

Gish Jen

FICTION Jen Gish
Dystopian

An audacious wonder of a novel about baseball and a future America, from the always inventive and exciting author of The Love Wife and Who's Irish. The time: Some thirty-five years hence. The place: AutoAmerica--governed by "Aunt Nettie," an iBurrito of AI algorithms and the internet, in a land half under water. The people: Divided into the angelfair "Netted," whose fate it is to have jobs and live on high ground, and the mostly coppertoned "Surplus," whose jobs have been stripped and whose sole duty now is to consume, living in plastic houses that talk and multi-colored houseboats at the water's edge. Neither group is happy. The story: A Surplus family--he was once a professor, she is still a lawyer--has a girl child, Gwen, who's born with a golden arm. By two she can throw her toy animals straight to the same spot every time. When AutoAmerica and ChinRussia decide to revive the Olympics, suddenly Gwen, who's been playing in the Resisters League her parents have organized, is in great demand. Soon she's at angelfair university, Net U, falling in love with her baseball coach and facing questions of "crossing over," while her mother and her "group" are bringing charges before the botjudge about Surplus rights. An amazing story of a world that looks only too possible, and a family struggling to maintain its humanity in circumstances that daily threaten their every value as well as their very existence.

Frannie's picture

A perfect book for the return to baseball! Gish Jen's new book tells of a Dystopian future where the Internet of things has taken over our lives and society is divided into producers and consumers and America is half under water because of rising sea levels. Wait, I thought this was about baseball? It is! The national past time is much different in the future and in this book a young girl gets her opportunity to move up in the class hierarchy due to her talent on the field. Come for the sports, stay for the nuanced description of a world that seems just around the corner... -Frannie

Clean getaway book cover
Clean getaway book cover

Clean getaway

Nic Stone

eBOOK
Black Lives Matter, Read Woke, Adventure, Black History, Travel

"For the life of him, William "Scoob" Lamar can't seem to stay out of trouble--and now the run-ins at school have led to lockdown at home. So when G'ma, Scoob's favorite person on Earth, asks him to go on an impromptu road trip, he's in the RV faster than he can say FREEDOM. With G'ma's old maps and a strange pamphlet called the 'Travelers' Green Book' at their side, the pair takes off on a journey down G'ma's memory lane. But adventure quickly turns to uncertainty: G'ma keeps changing the license plate, dodging Scoob's questions, and refusing to check Dad's voice mails. And the farther they go, the more Scoob realizes that the world hasn't always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren't always what they seem--G'ma included."--Jacket flap.

Casey's picture

A clandestine road trip, The Green Book, and a rad G'Ma--Nic Stone's first middle grade novel is perfection! -Casey

The nickel boys : a novel book cover
The nickel boys : a novel book cover

The nickel boys : a novel

Colson Whitehead

eAUDIO
Black Lives Matter

Becky's picture

This was my first read by Colson Whitehead, but will certainly not be my last. “The Nickel Boys” is a fictionalized account based on an actual reform school in Florida, set during the Jim Crow era. It follows Elwood Curtis, a hardworking teenage boy, inspired by the ideals upheld by Dr. Martin Luther King. Elwood was on track to attend a local black college, but one innocent misstep sends him to a segregated juvenile reform school, where violence, brutality and abuse alter his life forever. A poignant and important read that exposes unjust political and social structures. -Becky

The ballad of songbirds and snakes book cover
The ballad of songbirds and snakes book cover

The ballad of songbirds and snakes

Suzanne Collins

YOUNG ADULT FICTION Collins Suzanne
Young Adult

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute. The odds are against him. He's been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined, every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute, and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

Becky's picture

Fans of the Hunger Games will not be disappointed with this intimate account of a teenage Coriolanus Snow, future president of Panem. -Becky

Laura dean keeps breaking up with me book cover
Laura dean keeps breaking up with me book cover

Laura dean keeps breaking up with me

Mariko Tamaki

eBOOK
Read Woke, LGBTQ+, Young Adult, Graphic Novels, Diverse Characters

Casey's picture

Touching and beautifully rendered in grayscale with occasional splashes of pink, this is a love story for everyone. If you have yet to be kicked to the curb by Laura Dean, it might be time to get dumped. -Casey

Toil & trouble : 15 tales of women & witchcraft book cover
Toil & trouble : 15 tales of women & witchcraft book cover

Toil & trouble : 15 tales of women & witchcraft

YOUNG ADULT FICTION Toil
Young Adult, Read Woke, Short Story, LGBTQ+, Fantasy

"History is filled with stories of women accused of witchcraft, of fearsome girls with arcane knowledge. Toil & Trouble features fifteen stories of girls embracing their power, reclaiming their destinies and using their magic to create, to curse, to cure--and to kill...This collection reveals a universal truth: there's nothing more powerful than a teenage girl who believes in herself"--Publisher.

Casey's picture

This collection of short stories , some by YA superstars, casts a charm firm and good. Look for culturally, and LGBTQIA+ diverse characters, strong women, and some worlds you won't want to leave. -Casey

Flush book cover
Flush book cover

Flush

Carl Hiaasen

eBOOK
Kids

Noah’s dad is in jail for sinking a local gambling boat, which he believes has been emptying its onboard toilets straight into the waters around their Florida Keys home. The trouble is, so far there’s no proof. Noah needs to solve this environmental mystery so his dad can be released from jail. Also, this isn’t the first time his dad has taken the law into his own hands when it comes to stopping local polluters, and his mom is fed up and talking about divorce. Noah hatches a plan to expose the environmental crime with the help of some eccentric local characters.

Anne W's picture

Added by Anne W

Indian no more book cover
Indian no more book cover

Indian no more

Charlene Willing McManis

jFICTION McManis, Charlene
Kids

When Regina's Umpqua tribe is legally terminated and her family must relocate from Oregon to Los Angeles, she goes on a quest to understand her identity as an Indian despite being so far from home.

Angie's picture

In this moving middle-grade novel drawing upon Umpqua author Charlene Willing McManis's own tribal history, Regina must find out: Who is Regina Petit? Is she Indian, American, or both? And will she and her family ever be okay? -Angie

Rise of the rocket girls : the women who propelled us, from missiles to the moon to Mars book cover
Rise of the rocket girls : the women who propelled us, from missiles to the moon to Mars book cover

Rise of the rocket girls : the women who propelled us, from missiles to the moon to Mars

Nathalia Holt

629.4 /Holt
Nonfiction, History

During World War Il, when the brand-new minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate jet velocities and plot missile trajectories, they recruited an elite group of young women--known as "computers"--who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design and helped bring about America's first ballistic missiles. But they were never interested in developing weapons--their hearts lay in the dream of space exploration. So when JPL became part of a new agency called NASA, the computers worked on the first probes to the moon, Venus, Mars, and beyond. Later, as digital computers largely replaced human ones, JPL was unique in training and retaining its brilliant pool of women. They became the first computer programmers and engineers, and through their efforts, we launched the ships that showed us the contours of our solar system. For the first time, this book tells the stories of these women who charted a course not only for the future of space exploration but also for the prospects of female scientists. Based on extensive research and interviews with the living members of the team, Rise of the Rocket Girls offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science, illuminating both where we've been and the far reaches of where we're heading.--Adapted from dust jacket.

Amanda's picture

This was a delightful and fascinating read! We follow a few key women throughout the decades, following the progression of the space program and the role of women in the sciences. The author throws in some fun anecdotes, like when a couple of the women decided it was acceptable to finally wear pant suits, along with the struggles many of these women had in the early days of getting married, getting pregnant, and facing the choice of leaving a job you loved or attempt the fine balancing act of being a working mother. Just enough science is covered to give the reader an idea of what's going on in the profession without being overwhelming. Great companion read with Hidden Figures! -Amanda

Dear Committee Members book cover
Dear Committee Members book cover

Dear Committee Members

Julie Schumacher

FICTION Schumacher, Julie
Fiction, Literary Fiction

Finally, a novel that puts the "pissed" back into "epistolary." Jason Fitger is a beleaguered professor of creative writing and literature at Payne University, a small and not very distinguished liberal arts college in the midwest. His department is facing draconian cuts and squalid quarters, while one floor above them the Economics Department is getting lavishly remodeled offices. His once-promising writing career is in the doldrums, as is his romantic life, in part as the result of his unwise use of his private affairs for his novels. His star (he thinks) student can't catch a break with his brilliant (he thinks) work Accountant in a Bordello, based on Melville's Bartleby. In short, his life is a tale of woe, and the vehicle this droll and inventive novel uses to tell that tale is a series of hilarious letters of recommendation that Fitger is endlessly called upon by his students and colleagues to produce, each one of which is a small masterpiece of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies. We recommend Dear Committee Members to you in the strongest possible terms.

Amanda's picture

Having experienced grad school, I found so much humor in all of this. You follow a curmudgeonly English professor as he crafts numerous letters of recommendation (LORs) for his students - some he knows better than others - and frequently inserts his own opinions and politics in them because he's reached a point of tenure where he just doesn't care. Highly recommended if you are in academia (especially English!), or are at least acquainted with the trials and tribulations of being a middle-of-the-road college professor. -Amanda

Landline book cover
Landline book cover

Landline

Rainbow Rowell

FICTION Rowell Rainbow
Fiction, Humor

"In New York Times bestselling author Rainbow Rowell's Landline, Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it's been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply -- but that almost seems besides the point now. Maybe that was always besides the point.Two days before they're supposed to visit Neal's family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can't go. She's a TV writer, and something's come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her -- Neal is always a little upset with Georgie -- but she doesn't expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she's finally done it. If she's ruined everything. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It's not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she's been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts. Is that what she's supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?"--

Amanda's picture

I couldn't put this book down. It was like her YA novels in pace and spirit, but with older adults as the main characters. I fell in love with all of these characters for all their quirks. I rooted for Georgie, knowing she had to face a lot of "between a rock and a hard place" choices. Georgie's life is a fine balancing act, and you don't want her to drop anything. I loved the premise of the book, and how it reveals Georgie to herself. -Amanda

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street : a novel book cover
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street : a novel book cover

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street : a novel

Susan Jane Gilman

FICTION Gilman Susan
Fiction, Historical Fiction

In 1913, little Malka Treynovsky flees Russia with her family. Bedazzled by tales of gold and movie stardom, she tricks them into buying tickets for America. Yet no sooner do they land on the squalid Lower East Side of Manhattan, than Malka is crippled and abandoned in the street. Taken in by a tough-loving Italian ices peddler, she manages to survive through cunning and inventiveness. As she learns the secrets of his trade, she begins to shape her own destiny. She falls in love with a gorgeous, illiterate radical named Albert, and they set off across America in an ice cream truck. Slowly, she transforms herself into Lillian Dunkle, "The Ice Cream Queen" -- doyenne of an empire of ice cream franchises and a celebrated television personality. Lillian's rise to fame and fortune spans seventy years and is inextricably linked to the course of American history itself, from Prohibition to the disco days of Studio 54. Yet Lillian Dunkle is nothing like the whimsical motherly persona she crafts for herself in the media. Conniving, profane, and irreverent, she is a supremely complex woman who prefers a good stiff drink to an ice cream cone. And when her past begins to catch up with her, everything she has spent her life building is at stake.

Amanda's picture

Loved this book! Highly entertaining story surrounding a highly entertaining lady. She's like a more endearing Scarlett O'Hara of the 20th century. We follow her rags-to-riches story, learn of her scrapes and sorrows, her triumphs and bouts of luck. This woman has chutzpah and I love it. She's an antihero, but entirely loveable. Plus, it's shades of Forrest Gump, as this woman claims her touch on many small points of American history. Definitely give it a whirl! -Amanda

The animals at Lockwood Manor book cover
The animals at Lockwood Manor book cover

The animals at Lockwood Manor

Jane Healey

FICTION Healey Jane
Historical Fiction, Suspense

"A debut novel for fans of Sarah Perry and Kate Morton: when a young woman is tasked with safeguarding a natural history collection as it is spirited out of London during World War II, she discovers her new manor home is a place of secrets and terror instead of protection"--

Anne M's picture

Set during World War II, Hetty Cartwright works for a natural history museum in London and is tasked to oversee the move and storage of the mammal collection (and some birds) to a country manor house. The house is as those houses were during the middle of the 20th century. It is in disrepair and has a limited number of servants trying to keep up the property as best they can. There is the lord of the manor, Major Lockwood, who is a little mean and scary and used to getting his way. Although he signs up to house the collection, he isn't happy having his space invaded and overseen by a woman. There is also Major Lockwood's daughter, who is beautiful and kind. She captivates Hetty's imagination. The house has secrets. At least something isn't right. Hetty tries to ignore it until it starts affecting her work--and herself. If you liked "Jane Eyre" or "The Little Stranger" or "Rebecca," this would be a good summer read for you. -Anne M

Twilight hauntings : Enchanter's Child Series book cover
Twilight hauntings : Enchanter's Child Series book cover

Twilight hauntings : Enchanter's Child Series

Angie Sage

eBOOK
Kids

Alex has a set of Enchanted cards. When she flutters her fingers above them, something magical happens: the cards come alive and create moving pictures of what is now and what is yet to come. But Enchantment is illegal in the city of Luma, and those who practice it are imprisoned forever in the Vaults—dark dungeons deep below the city. When Alex is betrayed by her foster sister Zerra, she knows she is in great danger. With the help of her little foster brother, Louie, she makes a daring escape. But Alex discovers she is not safe outside Luma either. Here lurk deadly Hauntings that seek out those who practice magic: Enchanters and their children. The Hauntings take many forms and Alex is hunted by a giant bird of prey, the Hawke, a murderous Night Wraith called the Grey Walker, and the eerie Xin. But why do the Hauntings haunt Alex? Alex doesn’t believe she’s an Enchanter’s Child, but she has no idea who her parents are. Her precious Enchanted cards are her only clue to her true identity, and she becomes determined to find out who she is. And, while she is at it, to get rid of the deadly Twilight Hauntings forever.

Paul's picture

A richly developed world packed with engaging detail and a multitude of well developed characters I can hardly wait until the next volume is published to see where the often unpredictable action leads. -Paul

The Penderwicks : a summer tale of four sisters, two rabbits, and a very interesting boy book cover
The Penderwicks : a summer tale of four sisters, two rabbits, and a very interesting boy book cover

The Penderwicks : a summer tale of four sisters, two rabbits, and a very interesting boy

Jeanne Birdsall

eBOOK
Kids

While vacationing with their widowed father in the Berkshire Mountains, four lovable sisters, ages four through twelve, share adventures with a local boy, much to the dismay of his snobbish mother.

Anne W's picture

The perfect book for the whole family to enjoy together, either as a family read-aloud or audiobook. Everything turns out all right in the end, with good, wholesome messages about courage, loyalty, creativity, and girls unapologetically claiming their intelligence. This is also a National Book Award winner. -Anne W

Cog book cover
Cog book cover

Cog

Greg Van Eekhout

jFICTION Vaneekho Greg
Kids

"Cog looks like a normal twelve-year-old boy. But his name is short for 'cognitive development,' and he was built to learn. But after an accident leaves him damaged, Cog wakes up in an unknown lab--and Gina, the scientist who created and cared for him, is nowhere to be found. Surrounded by scientists who want to study him and remove his brain, Cog recruits four robot accomplices for a mission to find her. Cog, ADA, Proto, Trashbot, and Car's journey will likely involve much cognitive development in the form of mistakes, but Cog is willing to risk everything to find his way back to Gina."--Goodreads.

Angie's picture

This is a great, fast-paced, funny story about five robots trying to run from the sinister and evil uniMIND. Fans of the Wild Robot by Peter Brown will love this book! -Angie

To Night Owl from Dogfish book cover
To Night Owl from Dogfish book cover

To Night Owl from Dogfish

Holly Goldberg Sloan

eBOOK
Kids

Unhappy about being sent to the same summer camp after their fathers start dating, Bett and Avery, eleven, eventually begin scheming to get the couple back together after a break-up. Told entirely through emails.

Paul's picture

Rich with a wide cast of characters who populate the story as it progresses, with each getting enough individual development to spark even more interest, there are also plenty of ups and downs and twist and turns, some fairly predictable, some not at all, to engage the reader in following along with how these two grow as they share experiences while apart and together. -Paul

Al Capone does my shirts book cover
Al Capone does my shirts book cover

Al Capone does my shirts

Gennifer Choldenko

eBOOK
Kids

A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister.

Anne W's picture

Set in 1935, this book tells the story of Moose Flanagan and his family. His father gets a job as a prison guard on Alcatraz, so his family goes to live on the prison island alongside the other workers. Moose cares for his teenage sister Natalie, who nowadays would be diagnosed with autism, and deals with the warden’s shady daughter, who tries to involve Moose in her schemes. Notorious gangster Al Capone is imprisoned there, and is the target of much speculation and lore. -Anne W

A ceiling made of eggshells book cover
A ceiling made of eggshells book cover

A ceiling made of eggshells

Gail Carson Levine

eBOOK
Kids

From age seven, Loma relishes traveling with her beloved grandfather across fifteenth-century Spain, working to keep the Jews safe, but soon realizes she must also make sacrifices to help her people. Includes historical notes, recipe, glossary, and a link to a bibliography.

Paul's picture

Loaded with all kinds of historical details this story provides a window into the Jewish experience leading up to the expulsion from their homes after 1000 years of faithful service to their beloved country. -Paul

The prince and the dressmaker book cover
The prince and the dressmaker book cover

The prince and the dressmaker

Jen Wang

eBOOK
Graphic Novels

Prince Sebastian hides from his parents his secret life of dressing up as the the hottest fashion icon in Paris, the fabulous Lady Crystallia, while his friend Frances the dressmaker strives to keep her friend's secret.

Anne W's picture

This graphic novel is technically part of the adult collection, but my whole family, from my 10-year-old daughter to my teenage daughter to my husband to myself has read and loved it. The artwork is beautiful and the story is adorable. A prince hires a “lowly” dressmaker/designer to help him become who he really is inside, and after some ups and downs, this is a tale of acceptance, friendship, and love. It’s set in Paris at the dawn of the last century and characters ride around in carriages, but speak in modern language, using expressions like “this is crazy” and “cool,” a choice I found interesting. -Anne W

A long walk to water : based on a true story book cover
A long walk to water : based on a true story book cover

A long walk to water : based on a true story

Linda Sue Park

eAUDIO
Kids

When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan.

Becky's picture

Linda Sue Park was inspired by historical documents and an interview with Salva in the creation of this short novel. I highly recommend the audiobook for young, mature audiences. It’s only about 3 hours long, extremely powerful, and features the voices of the author and Salva at the conclusion. -Becky

The last book on the left : stories of murder and mayhem from history's most notorious serial killers book cover
The last book on the left : stories of murder and mayhem from history's most notorious serial killers book cover

The last book on the left : stories of murder and mayhem from history's most notorious serial killers

Ben Kissel

ON ORDER BOOK
True Crime, Humor

"An equal parts haunting and hilarious deep-dive review of history's most notorious and cold-blooded serial killers, from the creators of the award-winning Last Podcast on the Left"--

Shawna's picture

As a fan of Last Podcast on the Left, I knew I'd love this book. The information presented is interesting and terrifying, but broken up with dark comedy and unique illustrations. -Shawna

The long way to a small, angry planet book cover
The long way to a small, angry planet book cover

The long way to a small, angry planet

Becky Chambers

SCIENCE FICTION Chambers Becky
Science Fiction

Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space-and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe-in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star. Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain. Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

Brian's picture

This is some feel-good space opera. Seriously, it's filled with warm fuzzies, but in space. I kept thinking of it being a cross between Firefly and Star Trek. I dug it. I dug it a lot. -Brian

Upside-down magic book cover
Upside-down magic book cover

Upside-down magic

Sarah Mlynowski

eAUDIO
Kids, Fantasy

With their magic being unpredictable, Nory, Elliott, Andres, and Bax are sent to the upside-down magic room at Dunwiddle Magic School.

Anne W's picture

Fantasy isn’t usually my genre, but I listened to this with my kids as an audiobook in the car, and it was super cute and fun. This series is very popular with kids, and I can see why. Also I love the protagonist’s first name, Nory. So cute! Anyway, Nory can do magic, but it never goes how it’s supposed to and she ends up messing things up a lot. So she is sent by her high-achieving magic family to a special school for kids whose magic is “upside down.” There, she is finally accepted, makes loyal friends, and learns to accept herself and value her special talents. -Anne W

Jaws book cover
Jaws book cover

Jaws

DVD MOVIE SF/HORROR Jaws
Horror

The story of a killer shark that has taken over the waters near a seaside community, and the three men who set out to kill it.

Shawna's picture

One of my favorite movies to watch over and over. With so many memorable lines, an iconic soundtrack, and such great costuming and imagery, it never feels like Summer until I've watched Jaws. -Shawna

Stepping stones book cover
Stepping stones book cover

Stepping stones

Lucy Knisley

eBOOK
Kids

Jen did not want to leave the city. She did not want to move to a farm with her mom and her mom’s new boyfriend, Walter. She did not want to leave her friends and her dad. Most of all, Jen did not want to get new “sisters,” Andy and Reese. As if learning new chores on Peapod Farm wasn’t hard enough, having to deal with perfect-at-everything Andy might be the last straw for Jen. Besides cleaning the chicken coop, trying to keep up with the customers at the local farmers’ market, and missing her old life, Jen has to deal with her own insecurities about this new family . . . and where she fits in.

Paul's picture

This humorous and all too true graphic novel follows Jen (not Jennifer!) as she deals with her parents divorce and moving with her mom from the city to the country. To cope, Jen works on her cartoons, but eventually as all three get to know each other better and have a few adventures together, things mostly get better. -Paul

The remains of the day book cover
The remains of the day book cover

The remains of the day

Kazuo Ishiguro

FICTION Ishiguro, Kazuo
Fiction, Historical Fiction

The novel's narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career that spans the second World War, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him -- oblivious, for instance, of the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still, there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, pitch-perfect novel -- namely, Stevens' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love into his tightly repressed existence.

Amanda's picture

The writing is superb, and for those who enjoy Downton Abbey this book provides a comfortable amount of upstairs/downstairs intrigue. I did enjoy the main character's development over his car trip, reflecting on his life and coming to recognize the faults in choices he made. This is an excellent choice for those interested in midcentury Britain. -Amanda

Ghost book cover
Ghost book cover

Ghost

Jason Reynolds

eAUDIO
Kids

"Ghost, a naturally talented runner and troublemaker, is recruited for an elite middle school track team. He must stay on track, literally and figuratively, to reach his full potential"--

Becky's picture

This is a story that will have you thinking about circumstance, opportunity and the value of mentoring influences. -Becky

You never forget your first : a biography of George Washington book cover
You never forget your first : a biography of George Washington book cover

You never forget your first : a biography of George Washington

Alexis Coe

BIOGRAPHY Washington, George
Nonfiction, Biographies, History

"In a genre overdue for a shakeup, Alexis Coe takes a closer look at our first--and finds he's not quite the man we remember Young George Washington was raised by a struggling single mother, demanded military promotions, chased rich young women, caused an international incident, and never backed down--even when his dysentery got so bad he had to ride with a cushion on his saddle. But after he married Martha, everything changed. Washington became the kind of man who named his dog Sweetlips and hated to leave home. He took up arms against the British only when there was no other way, though he lost more battles than he won. Coe focuses on his activities off the battlefield--like espionage and propaganda. After an unlikely victory in the Revolutionary War, Washington once again shocked the world by giving up power, only to learn his compatriots wouldn't allow it. The founders pressured him into the presidency--twice. He established enduring norms but left office heartbroken over the partisan nightmare his backstabbing cabinet had created. Back on his plantation, the man who fought for liberty finally confronted his greatest hypocrisy--what to do with the hundreds of men, women, and children he owned--before succumbing to a brutal death. Alexis Coe combines rigorous research and unsentimental storytelling, finally separating the man from the legend."--

Amanda's picture

This is the first biography of Washington I’ve read since grade school, and was refreshing in its stories of Washington’s relationship to the women in his life and other human foibles that frequently get brushed over. Of course, everything involving the Founders these days gets colored through the lens of Hamilton the Musical, so being able to make those connections was also enjoyable. If you’re looking for a solid biography of Washington that doesn't intimidate, this is a great pick. -Amanda

Beverly, right here book cover
Beverly, right here book cover

Beverly, right here

Kate DiCamillo

eBOOK
Kids

Resolved to leave her home for good, young runaway Beverly is determined not to depend on anyone else, but as she settles in her new home and job, she forms connections with the people around her that alter her perspectives about life and herself.

Karen's picture

This is a beautifully touching and funny book to add to your reading list, and since it’s part of a trilogy, you can look forward to triple the reading enjoyment. -Karen

Daisy Jones & the Six : a novel book cover
Daisy Jones & the Six : a novel book cover

Daisy Jones & the Six : a novel

Taylor Jenkins Reid

FICTION Reid Taylor
Fiction, Historical Fiction

"Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it's the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she's twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she's pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend. The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice"--

Amanda's picture

This, to me, was a pretty great portrayal of a band and its musicians during the classic rock period. What really got me into the book was the oral history aspect of it - that it’s the band and those around them reminiscing years later. Their memories differ. They’ve had a couple of decades change their perspective. I enjoyed these characters and their personalities. I could almost hear their music as I read the story and see them interact on stage. If you are a fan of Behind the Music, this is a book you have to try! -Amanda

An American marriage book cover
An American marriage book cover

An American marriage

Tayari Jones

eAUDIO
Fiction

"Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the living embodiment of the New South, are settling into the routine of their life together when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. An insightful look into the lives of people who are bound and separated by forces beyond their control"--

Becky's picture

“An American Marriage” will have you thinking about the effects of incarceration and the messiness of human relationships. -Becky

Tight book cover
Tight book cover

Tight

Torrey Maldonado

eBOOK
Kids

After his quick-tempered father gets in a fight and is sent back to jail, sixth-grader Bryan, known for being quiet and thoughtful, snaps and follows new friend Mike into trouble.

Paul's picture

Written in a voice true to the story’s setting and local culture, this engaging and multi-leveled tale captures quite well how difficult it can be to survive and more or less successfully navigate through life and stay true to yourself and those you respect most. I often found myself reflecting on my own not so dissimilar experiences as a sixth grader as I followed Bryan through his triumphs and travails. A very highly recommended read. -Paul

Staff Profiles

Amanda's picture

Amanda

Interests: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance, Biographies, History, Memoir, Music, Religion, Self Help
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Angie

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Anne M

Interests: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Classics, Mystery, Nonfiction, History, Cookbooks, Crafts, Biographies, Gardening
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Anne W

Interests: Fiction, Kids, Adventure, Dystopian, Historical Fiction, Early Chapter Books, Picture Books, Memoir, Self Help
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Becky

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Beth

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Bond

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Brent

Interests: Humor, Mystery, Science, Nature, Science Fiction
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Brian

Interests: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mystery, LGBTQ+, Graphic Novels, Religion, Humor, Young Adult, Science, Short Story
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Callie

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Candice

Interests: History, Travel, Science, Nature, Cookbooks, Thriller, Suspense
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Casey

Interests: Read Woke, Picture Books, Board Books, Early Readers, Graphic Novels, Young Adult, Classics, Fantasy, Nature, LGBTQ+, Music, Gardening, Memoir, Humor, Horror, Crafts, Cookbooks
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Doug

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Frannie

Interests: Graphic Novels, Memoir, Classics, Literary Fiction, Humor
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Hanna

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Heidi K

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Jacy

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Jason

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Karen

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Lauren

Interests: Kids, Fiction, Young Adult, Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Romance
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Mari

Interests: Graphic Novels, Picture Books, Crafts, Early Chapter Books, True Crime, Dystopian, Memoir, Historical Fiction, Suspense
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Melody

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Paul

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Shawna

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Stacey

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Tom

Interests: Humor, Health, History, Philosophy, Science, Sports