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Uncanny valley : a memoir book cover
Uncanny valley : a memoir book cover

Uncanny valley : a memoir

Anna Wiener

eAUDIO

"The story of Anna Wiener's time spent working in Silicon Valley as the tech industry went through monumental changes"--

Frannie's picture

The author and myself are about the same age so there was more than a few similarities in our path. However, her rundown of life in the San Francisco Bay area made me glad to not have gone that direction with my life. What interested me was the rise of the role of technology in culture which we all seemed to cosign long ago, but then turned away from. Come for the memoir, stay to figure out what all of the code words for different companies actually mean! -Frannie

Monsieur Hulot's Holiday.

STREAMING VIDEO KANOPY

Monsieur Hulot, Jacques Tati’s endearing clown, takes a holiday at a seaside resort, where his presence provokes one catastrophe after another. Tati’s masterpiece of gentle slapstick is a series of effortlessly well-choreographed sight gags involving dogs, boats, and firecrackers; it was the first entry in the Hulot series and the film that launched its maker to international stardom. Nominated for Best Writing - Story and Screenplay at the 1956 **Academy Awards**.

Frannie's picture

A great work of physical comedy, Monsieur Hulot's Holiday, is the movie that introduced Jacque Tati's titular character to audiences. In the tradition of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, the movie's criticism of post World War II France has a light touch and a squeaky door repeating gag that will remind you of the door in Quentin Tarantino's Hateful Eight -Frannie

The seventh seal book cover
The seventh seal book cover

The seventh seal

DVD MOVIE FOREIGN SWEDISH Seventh

A knight returning home from the Crusades encounters Death, who agrees to a chess game. In the balance hang the lives of the knight and a group of traveling players.

Frannie's picture

A game of chess with death! This Scandinavian drama is perfect for when you've been running on the existential treadmill trying to make sense of it all. Expert director Ingmar Bergman shoots the blackest blacks in this cinema classic that went on to inspire one of my favorite Scott Walker songs of the same name. -Frannie

The Squid and the Whale.

STREAMING VIDEO KANOPY

In his third feature, director Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) scores a triumph with an autobiographical coming-of-age story about a teenager (Jesse Eisenberg) whose parents are divorcing. The father (Jeff Daniels) and mother (Laura Linney) duke it out in half-civilized, half-savage fashion, while their two sons adapt in different ways, shifting allegiances between parents. Nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the **Academy Awards.** Nominated for three awards including Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical at the **Golden Globes**. Nominated for six awards including Best Feature at the **Film Independent Spirit Awards.** Winner of a Directing Award at the **Sundance Film Festival**. "*Acutely observed, faultlessly acted, graced with piercing emotion and unsparing honesty, it will make you laugh because you can't bear to cry.*" - Kenneth Turan, ***The Los Angeles Times***

Frannie's picture

Noah Baumbach's coming of age/divorce movie the Squid and the Whale I would consider a prequel to 2019's Marriage Story. Jeff Daniels gives an incredibly difficult to watch performance that can have you cringing every time he enters the frame. The core of the movie is the parent child relationship and how it evolves as we age and perceive each other. -Frannie

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg book cover
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg book cover

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

DVD MOVIE FOREIGN FRENCH Umbrellas

A tender, bittersweet love story, sung throughout in French.

Frannie's picture

With a name like the Umbrellas of Cherbourg and knowing it is a musical you can't help but expect some sort of Disney-esque farce, but that would be a mistake. The only thing this movie might have in common with those musical comedies is Jacques Demy's keen eye and ability to draw out color. A heart wrenching plot and depictions of classism are what sets this apart from its American cousins like Funny Face too. -Frannie

Breathless = À bout de souffle book cover
Breathless = À bout de souffle book cover

Breathless = À bout de souffle

DVD MOVIE FOREIGN FRENCH Breathless

Jean-Luc Godard's 1960 anything-goes crime narrative about a young thief on the run and his American girlfriend.

Frannie's picture

Starring Iowa's own Jean Seberg this crime drama set the style for French New Wave. Cinematically gorgeous with great contemporary costuming this fast paced film is a great entry point for anyone hesitant of watching a subtitled movie. -Frannie

World War Z : an oral history of the zombie war book cover
World War Z : an oral history of the zombie war book cover

World War Z : an oral history of the zombie war

Max Brooks

eAUDIO

This is the fictional, searing, gruesome account of the decade-long period when civilization stood on the brink of extinction due to a viral plague that transformed anyone it infected into a ghoulish creature with an appetite for living flesh, as told by the civilians, soldiers, and politicians who survived it.

Frannie's picture

A Sci-Fi book for our moment! I was reminded of this gem of an audiobook after listening to an interview with the author Max Brooks on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Brooks knows what he writes about, this book is well researched, and it shows. Personally, I got a bit burned out on zombies in pop culture, but this one is a standout. The real draw is the all-star vocal talent. I think my favorite was trying to figure out what voice Star Wars' Mark Hamill, finally figuring it out, and being just blown away by his performance. -Frannie

Midnight riot book cover
Midnight riot book cover

Midnight riot

Ben Aaronovitch

eAUDIO
Fiction, Fantasy

Probationary constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he'll face is a paper cut. But Peter's prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter's ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

Melody's picture

The first time I heard about Ben Aaronovitch was from seeing his name on what we call our "high holds" list. That's the list librarians use to buy extra copies of our most popular books. I would never have picked this book based on its cover. It's a solid detective series with an urban fantasy backdrop. And we have the audiobook! Good strong narration that keeps your attention. -Melody

City of thieves book cover
City of thieves book cover

City of thieves

David Benioff

eAUDIO

Frannie's picture

This book written by David Benioff, one of the creators of HBO's "Game of Thrones", is a historical fiction delight, and when narrated by Ron Perlman it is beyond good. Winning the Alex Award (adult fiction with appeal to young adult readers) in 2009, this quickly paced buddy comedy set during the siege of Leningrad is unforgettable in Perlman's voice. There's a reason why this character actor featured on Sons of Anarchy, Beauty and the Beast, and Hellboy seamlessly transitions into voice work. You would never think a fraught quest for a dozen eggs would have so many twists and turns! -Frannie

Midsommar book cover
Midsommar book cover

Midsommar

COMPACT DISC MU Midsommar M89

Doug's picture

Midsommar: Quite possibly the most disturbing film of 2019, Midsommar was full of surprising twists. Without revealing too much, I would like to say that this film is original, unflinching, and beautiful to look at. It builds on old stories and folklore in exciting ways while simultaneously delivering multiple gut punches throughout. -Doug

Room to dream book cover
Room to dream book cover

Room to dream

David Lynch

eAUDIO

"The extraordinary, highly anticipated memoir from visionary filmmaker David Lynch In this memoir, David Lynch, co-creator of Twin Peaks and writer and director of groundbreaking films like Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, opens up about a lifetime of extraordinary creativity, the friendships he has made along the way and the struggles he has faced--sometimes successful, sometimes not--to bring his projects to fruition. Part-memoir, part-biography, Room to Dream interweaves Lynch's own reflections on his life with the story of those times, as told by Kristine McKenna, drawing from extensive and explosive interviews with ninety of Lynch's friends, family members, actors, agents, musicians, and collaborators. Lynch responds to each recollection and reveals the inner story of the life behind the art"--

Doug's picture

David Lynch – Room to Dream: It’s almost always best for the author to read their own books for recordings. It could not be truer in this case. Lynch reads from his memoir and also meanders through his memories and adlibs as he goes. This is an extra special glimpse of one of the best artists alive today in their own words. Treat yourself and bask in the often-quirky stories from one of our living legends. -Doug

Some of us are very hungry now book cover
Some of us are very hungry now book cover

Some of us are very hungry now

Andre Perry

eBOOK

Doug's picture

Andre Perry – Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now: Iowa City idea man, leader, artist, and kind soul. Andre Perry blew everyone away with his short stories, many of which revolve around Iowa City and the art scene here. These stories dive deep into issues related to race, sex, drugs, and bad decisions. It is poetic, honest, and serves as a guide to one man’s growth toward becoming a better human. -Doug

A rage in Harlem book cover
A rage in Harlem book cover

A rage in Harlem

Chester B. Himes

eBOOK

Doug's picture

Chester Himes – A Rage in Harlem: A gritty look at the underbelly of NYC in the 1950s. Full of grifters, pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, and crooked cops, this story introduces reoccurring characters in subsequent novels, Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones. If those names aren’t enough to spur your interest, I don’t know what will! -Doug

Neverwhere book cover
Neverwhere book cover

Neverwhere

Neil Gaiman

eAUDIO
Fantasy

"Under the streets of London there's a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks. Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere."

Becky's picture

Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors of ALL time. He is descriptive and funny, and has a talent to cleverly weave fantastical elements into a realistic setting. Neverwhere was the first book of his that I listened to in audio form. The added bonus of the audio book is that it is read by Neil Gaiman! His voice and pacing make this great book even better. Neverwhere is a tale that follows Richard Mayhew, an ordinary man who once helped a girl he had found bleeding on the sidewalk. That one kind act lands him in Neverwhere, a place that exists in the cracks and shadows of London. -Becky

Acid Casual

Brooks Strause

LOCAL MUSIC PROJECT

Doug's picture

Brooks Strause has released buckets of songs since the late 90’s, ranging from rock 'n' roll, dark folk, jazz, psychedelic, and country. A troubadour by trade, Brooks assembles an all-star Iowa City backing band to help weave together his masterful storytelling. Favorite track: Go Ahead If You Can -Doug

Ablesigh

Haunter

LOCAL MUSIC PROJECT

Doug's picture

Haunter is Kyle Arthur Miller. Iowa native and Iowa City legend. His steady output over the past decade has cemented his place in the local noise scene and I have heard from multiple people that listening to Haunter’s instrumental music can lead to a rare experience called synesthesia. Favorite track: I Built My House Where Others Dwell -Doug

Out Utero

Lipstick Homicide (Musical group)

LOCAL MUSIC PROJECT

Doug's picture

Lipstick Homicide is still the reigning Pop-punk group from Iowa City. This band grew out of the UAY and had great success touring nationally and internationally alike. They headlined hundreds of shows and even opened for Green Day. Their music is full of catchy riffs, emotion, and inside jokes. Favorite track: Like This Forever -Doug

Wendy and Lucy. book cover
Wendy and Lucy. book cover

Wendy and Lucy.

STREAMING VIDEO KANOPY

Wendy Carroll (Michelle Williams) is driving to Alaska in hopes of a summer of lucrative work at the Northwestern Fish cannery, and the start of a new life with her dog, Lucy. When her car breaks down in Oregon, however, the thin fabric of her financial situation comes apart, and she confronts a series of increasingly dire economic decisions, with far-ranging repercussions for herself and Lucy. Winner of the Palm Dog and nominated for the Un Certain Regard Award at the **Cannes Film Festival**. Nominated for Best Feature and Best Female Lead (Michelle Williams) at the **Film Independent Spirit Awards**. Voted among the Top Independent Films of 2008 by the **National Board of Review** (USA). *"In happy sum, Reichardt is one more of the current American directors, most of them still young, who are endowing our film world with pleasure and hope." - Stanley Kauffmann, **The New Republic*** *"Evanescent and intangible, it dissolves into the air, leaving something tragic and mysterious behind." - Sam Adams, **The Los Angeles Times***

Doug's picture

Wendy And Lucy: A masterpiece in independent cinema by extraordinary filmmaker, Kelly Reichardt. Wendy and Lucy follows a down on her luck traveler and her beloved companion. When they become stranded in Oregon, Wendy must make some difficult decisions in order to go on. Heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. Do you need a good cry? If so, this is the one for you. -Doug

The Zero Theorem

STREAMING VIDEO KANOPY

This fantastical sci-fi epic features an all-star cast including Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton and Matt Damon and is directed by the visionary Terry Gilliam (12 Monkeys, Brazil). In a fractured vision of our not so distant future, a computer hacker is given a seemingly impossible mission by his employer, a shadowy, all-powerful corporation. As he obsessively pursues his task, distracted and slowed down at every turn, he may unlock the very secret of human existence.

Doug's picture

The Zero Theorem: Colorful dystopia brought to you by the modern surrealist, Terry Gilliam. This film is a bit of a spiritual continuation of such films as Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Gilliam creates his world within reality and then turns it all on its ear. Suspend disbelief for a few hours and fall into the dreamscape that is The Zero Theorem. -Doug

Dead Man Walking. book cover
Dead Man Walking. book cover

Dead Man Walking.

STREAMING VIDEO KANOPY

Susan Sarandon portrays Sister Helen Prejean, a spiritual woman who embarks on a dangerous quest with a convicted killer (Sean Penn) and the profound changes it makes in her life. Confronted with the anger of the community and the private pain of his victims' parents, Sister Helen overcomes her own fears to fight for the life and soul of a death row inmate. Winner of Best Actress (Susan Sarandon) at the **Academy Awards.** Nominated for Best Actress, Best Actor and Best Screenplay at the **Golden Globes.** Winner of four prizes at the **Berlin International Film Festival**. "*Absorbing, surprising, technically superb and worth talking about for a long time afterward.*" - Roger Ebert, ***The Chicago Sun-Times***

Doug's picture

Dead Man Walking: Classic prison drama. Did he do it? Does it matter? This mystery unfolds in excruciating ways as you see a longtime prisoner advocate grapple with the realization that the person she is trying to help may have indeed committed a horrendous crime. Susan Sarandon shines in one of her most powerful performances. -Doug

Zodiac. book cover
Zodiac. book cover

Zodiac.

STREAMING VIDEO KANOPY

A chilling crime thriller based on the Robert Graysmith books about the real life notorious Zodiac, a serial killer who terrorized San Francisco with a string of seemingly random murders during the 1960's and 1970's. Featuring an all-star cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. Nominated for a Palme d'Or at the **Cannes Film Festival.** "*David Fincher's magnificently obsessive new film Zodiac is part police procedural, part monster movie, a funereal entertainment that is a testament to this cinematic savant's gifts.*" - Manohla Dargis, ***The New York Times***

Doug's picture

Zodiac: All-star cast led by the inimitable David Fincher weaves a spooky narrative revolving around one of America’s yet to be caught serial killers. Robert Downey Jr. shines in his portrayal of a burnt-out newspaper journalist hot on the trails of a killer. Fincher captures the essence of the 1970s without making it a caricature of itself. -Doug

The Squid and the Whale. book cover
The Squid and the Whale. book cover

The Squid and the Whale.

STREAMING VIDEO KANOPY

In his third feature, director Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) scores a triumph with an autobiographical coming-of-age story about a teenager (Jesse Eisenberg) whose parents are divorcing. The father (Jeff Daniels) and mother (Laura Linney) duke it out in half-civilized, half-savage fashion, while their two sons adapt in different ways, shifting allegiances between parents. Nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the **Academy Awards.** Nominated for three awards including Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical at the **Golden Globes**. Nominated for six awards including Best Feature at the **Film Independent Spirit Awards.** Winner of a Directing Award at the **Sundance Film Festival**. "*Acutely observed, faultlessly acted, graced with piercing emotion and unsparing honesty, it will make you laugh because you can't bear to cry.*" - Kenneth Turan, ***The Los Angeles Times***

Doug's picture

The Squid and The Whale: Noah Baumbach’s first movie about divorce shines a light on the children affected by these separations. Sometimes humorous and sometimes tragic, this story reveals in honest ways, what happens when families are taken apart at the seams. -Doug

Boombox by Bedside

Samuel Locke Ward

LOCAL MUSIC PROJECT

Doug's picture

Samuel Locke Ward is the most prolific recording artist in Iowa with more than 50 albums. This one was recorded on the heels of a near fatal car accident. Sam wrote and recorded these songs in his hospital bed with minimal equipment and they are some of his best. Favorite track: Under the Lord. -Doug

The Count of Monte Cristo book cover
The Count of Monte Cristo book cover

The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

eAUDIO

For Edmond Dantes, life couldn't be better. At 19, he is soon to be captain of his own ship and about to be married to his true love, Mercedes. But his life is suddenly turned upside down when on his wedding day he is arrested. Without a fair trial, he is condemned to solitary confinement in the miserable Chateau d'If. Soon, it is clear that Edmond has been framed by a handful of powerful enemies, jealous of his success.

Frannie's picture

This page turning classic gives people a point of entry when they say something is too long to read. One of my favorite books of all time, many people scoff when they see the doorstop size. However, as an audiobook, it can be far more palatable to read with your ears any classic work of literature. -Frannie

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

The nickel boys : a novel

Colson Whitehead

eAUDIO

Frannie's picture

Colson Whitehead is probably my favorite contemporary author, and the Nickel Boys is another entry in a stellar oeuvre. At times this book can become difficult to read, whether it is depictions of violence and detailing real examples of racism, sometimes I had to put the book down because it was a little too real. Narrator JD Jackson softens the difficult content and forces listeners/readers to confront the issues raised in the book. -Frannie

The testaments : a novel book cover
The testaments : a novel book cover

The testaments : a novel

Margaret Atwood

eAUDIO

Set fifteen years after Offred stepped into an unknown fate, this sequel to "The Handmaid's Tale" relates the experiences of three female narrators from Gilead.

Frannie's picture

Did you love reading "the Handmaid's Tale" and then watching the show? This book is a great followup, but my favorite part of the audio is that a good amount is read by Ann Dowd who plays Aunt Lydia on the Hulu show. Having her reading the back story of "Aunt Lydia" is really fantastic on so many levels -Frannie

All the light we cannot see : a novel book cover
All the light we cannot see : a novel book cover

All the light we cannot see : a novel

Anthony Doerr

eAUDIO

"From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure's agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall. In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure. Doerr's gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work"--

Frannie's picture

I can not sing the praises of this book enough. The plot moves quick, the characters are fully realized, and the prose is beautifully written. The audiobook narrated expertly by Zach Appelman imbues every sentence with emotional gravitas. I was left searching for ways to continue to listen to this making it the audio equivalent of reading with a flashlight under the covers. -Frannie

Bossypants book cover
Bossypants book cover

Bossypants

Tina Fey

eAUDIO

From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon, comedian Tina Fey reveals all, and proves that you're no one until someone calls you bossy.

Frannie's picture

I am a sucker for a funny lady memoir, and have yet to meet one that I didn't like. Tina Fey's "Bossypants" kicked off the publishing of some of this sub-genres greats by carving a niche in the market. What's even better? Listening to Tina Fey read "Bossypants", it is her story and she knows how to read it. Always hilarious and often inspiring, I can't recommend enough. -Frannie

A pilgrimage to eternity : from Canterbury to Rome in search of a faith book cover
A pilgrimage to eternity : from Canterbury to Rome in search of a faith book cover

A pilgrimage to eternity : from Canterbury to Rome in search of a faith

Timothy Egan

263.042 /Egan
Literary Nonfiction, Travel, Religion

At a time when Britain, America, and much of Europe have never been so secular--and when his mother's death and his Irish Catholic family's complicated history with the church prompted a reckoning with his own beliefs -- Timothy Egan decided to follow in the footsteps of centuries of seekers. He embarked on a thousand-mile pilgrimage through the theological cradle of Christianity, to explore one of the biggest stories of our time: the collapse of religion in the world that it created. Egan sets out along the Via Francigena, once the major medieval trail leading the devout to Rome, and makes his way overland via the alpine peaks and small mountain towns of France, Switzerland and Italy. The goal: walking to St. Peter's Square, in hopes of meeting the galvanizing pope who is struggling to hold together the church through the worst crisis in half a millennium. Making his way through a landscape laced with some of the most important shrines to the faith, Egan finds a modern Canterbury Tale in the chapel where Queen Bertha introduced Christianity to pagan Britain; parses the supernatural in a French town built on miracles; and journeys to the oldest abbey in the Western world, founded in 515 and home to continuous prayer over the 1,500 years that have followed. He is accompanied by a quirky cast of fellow pilgrims and by some of the towering figures of the faith--Joan of Arc, Henry VIII, Martin Luther.

Heidi L's picture

Highly readable and relatable account of the author's walking journey to Rome and reconciliation with his church. The arguments he has with himself about his faith, and the descriptions of the French and Italian countryside are equally compelling. A wonderful story. -Heidi L

The splendid and the vile : a saga of Churchill, family, and defiance during the blitz book cover
The splendid and the vile : a saga of Churchill, family, and defiance during the blitz book cover

The splendid and the vile : a saga of Churchill, family, and defiance during the blitz

Erik Larson

940.5421 /Larson
Nonfiction, History, Biographies

"The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers a fresh and compelling portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz On Winston Churchill's first day as prime minister, Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold the country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally-and willing to fight to the end. In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people "the art of being fearless." It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it's also an intimate domestic drama set against the backdrop of Churchill's prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports-some released only recently-Larson provides a new lens on London's darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents' wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela's illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the cadre of close advisers who comprised Churchill's "Secret Circle," including his lovestruck private secretary, John Colville; newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook; and the Rasputin-like Frederick Lindemann. The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today's political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when-in the face of unrelenting horror-Churchill's eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together."--

Candice's picture

I never thought I would laugh out loud reading a Churchill biography, but leave it to Erik Larson to make that happen. A consummate researcher, he has the inscrutable knack for bringing people and past events to life, and with Churchill being, in some ways, a very unique and peculiar person, laugh I did. Not to make light of the topic of interest, which is the very specific time during World War II where Churchill has just been elected PM, France is just getting ready to capitulate to the Germans, and Germany is just about to bomb England. It's intense and overwhelming and imminent. Larson's book is the Churchill/WWII book for those who might have said they'd never read such a book, who might think it's not interesting or too remote. -Candice

Her body and other parties : stories book cover
Her body and other parties : stories book cover

Her body and other parties : stories

Carmen Maria Machado

FICTION Machado Carmen
LGBTQ+, Short Story

Contains short stories about the realities of women's lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

Frannie's picture

Machado has a unique ability to get inside your head with her writing and just creep you out. Genre blend of body horror and LGBTQIA+ literary fiction with lasting results -Frannie

The yellow wallpaper and other writings book cover
The yellow wallpaper and other writings book cover

The yellow wallpaper and other writings

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

FICTION Gilman, Charlotte Perkins
Short Story, Literary Fiction

Frannie's picture

The classic story "the Yellow Wallpaper" will not only affect your home decorating decisions but provide unique insight into mental illness that can feel a bit too real. -Frannie

A manual for cleaning women : selected stories book cover
A manual for cleaning women : selected stories book cover

A manual for cleaning women : selected stories

Lucia Berlin

FICTION Berlin Lucia
Literary Fiction, Short Story

"Stories from a lost American classic "in the same arena as Alice Munro" (Lydia Davis) "In the field of short fiction, Lucia Berlin is one of America's best kept secrets. That's it. Flat out. No mitigating conditions." --Paul Metcalf A Manual for Cleaning Women compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With her trademark blend of humor and melancholy, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday--uncovering moments of grace in the cafeterias and Laundromats of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Northern California upper classes, and from the perspective of a cleaning woman alone in a hotel dining room in Mexico City. The women of Berlin's stories are lost, but they are also strong, clever, and extraordinarily real. They are hitchhikers, hard workers, bad Christians. With the wit of Lorrie Moore and the grit of Raymond Carver, they navigate a world of jockeys, doctors, and switchboard operators. They laugh, they mourn, they drink. Berlin, a highly influential writer despite having published little in her lifetime, conjures these women from California, Mexico, and beyond. Lovers of the short story will not want to miss this remarkable collection from a master of the form"--

Frannie's picture

Taking you all over, Berlin's stories give reader's the perspective of characters often unseen on the page. -Frannie

Dear life : stories book cover
Dear life : stories book cover

Dear life : stories

Alice Munro

FICTION Munro Alice
Literary Fiction, Short Story

Frannie's picture

Varied and beautiful, a collection of Alice Munro's stories is an essential to every bookshelf, but this entry in particular is from an artist at her peak. -Frannie

Difficult women book cover
Difficult women book cover

Difficult women

Roxane Gay

FICTION Gay Roxane
Short Story, Literary Fiction

"Award-winning author and powerhouse talent Roxane Gay burst onto the scene with An Untamed State and the New York Times bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial). Gay returns with Difficult Women, a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection. The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister's marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls' fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July"--

Frannie's picture

Far from "Chick Lit" (no shade!), this short story collection of various female characters captures the spirit and struggle of every woman. -Frannie

Jojo Rabbit book cover
Jojo Rabbit book cover

Jojo Rabbit

DVD MOVIE COMEDY Jojo
Comedy, Drama

A World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy named Jojo whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler, Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.

Brian's picture

I've been working my way through the Best Picture Nominees. So far I've watched: Parasite, Ford v. Ferrari, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. They have all been great, but I think I like Jojo Rabbit the best so far. There's so much humor and heart and oh-my-god did it make me cry! It felt like Taika Waititi was channeling Wes Anderson a bit too (in a good way). -Brian

Leadership strategy and tactics : field manual book cover
Leadership strategy and tactics : field manual book cover

Leadership strategy and tactics : field manual

Jocko Willink

658.4092 /Willink
Nonfiction, Business

"In the military, a field manual provides instructions in simple, clear, step-by-step language to help soldiers complete their mission. In the civilian sector, books offer information on everything from fixing a leaky faucet to developing an effective workout program to cooking a good steak. But what if you are promoted into a new position leading your former peers? What if you don't get selected for the leadership position you wanted? How do you overcome imposter syndrome, when you aren't sure you should be leading? As a leader, how do you judiciously dole out punishment? What about reward? How do you build trust with your both your superiors and your subordinates? How do you deliver truthful criticism up and down the chain of command in a tactful and positive way? These are all questions about leadership-the most complex of all human endeavors. And while there are books out there that provide solid leadership principles, books like Extreme Ownership and The Dichotomy of Leadership, there is no leadership field manual that provides a direct, situational, pragmatic how-to guide that anyone can instantly put to use. Until now. Leadership Strategy and Tactics explains how to take leadership theory, quickly translate that theory into applicable strategy, and then put leadership into action at a tactical level. This book is the solution that leaders at every level need-not just to understand the leadership game, but also how to play the leadership game, and win it"--

Melody's picture

I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked up this book. I just thought, "I like leadership. I like strategies and tactics. This book is for me!" Jocko Willink is a former Navy Seal and allllll the metaphors he waxes are military ones. And you know what? It works. It is surprisingly applicable to most organizational scenarios I've been in. If offers practical advice (the tactics) and helps you think about looking up and out at bigger strategic possibilities. You might read the phrase "up and down the chain of command" a lot, but you don't have to be in the military to get something out of this book. You just have to be a member of a team and want to do great things. -Melody

Why we can't sleep : women's new midlife crisis book cover
Why we can't sleep : women's new midlife crisis book cover

Why we can't sleep : women's new midlife crisis

Ada Calhoun

305.42 /Calhoun
Nonfiction

"When Ada Calhoun found herself in the throes of a midlife crisis, she thought that she had no right to complain. She was married with children and a good career. So why did she feel miserable? And why did it seem that other Generation X women were miserable, too? Calhoun decided to find some answers. She looked into housing costs, HR trends, credit card debt averages, and divorce data. At every turn, she saw a pattern: sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millennials, Gen X women were facing new problems as they entered middle age, problems that were being largely overlooked. Speaking with women across America about their experiences as the generation raised to "have it all," Calhoun found that most were exhausted, terrified about money, underemployed, and overwhelmed. Instead of their issues being heard, they were told instead to lean in, take "me-time," or make a chore chart to get their lives and homes in order. In Why We Can't Sleep, Calhoun opens up the cultural and political contexts of Gen X's predicament and offers solutions for how to pull oneself out of the abyss-and keep the next generation of women from falling in. The result is reassuring, empowering, and essential reading for all middle-aged women, and anyone who hopes to understand them"--

Melody's picture

I can't wait to read this book. It's not just about incessant worry that creeps up on women during the middle of the night. It explores all of the pressures that weigh on our consciousnesses as women who are solidly in adulthood and juggling all the demands that places on us. -Melody

The cabin at the end of the world : a novel book cover
The cabin at the end of the world : a novel book cover

The cabin at the end of the world : a novel

Paul Tremblay

FICTION Tremblay Paul
Suspense, Thriller

Eric and Andrew, with seven-year-old Wen, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. When Leonard appears in the driveway, he is the largest man Wen has ever seen, but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over. Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, "None of what’s going to happen is your fault". Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: "We need your help to save the world." Now the fate of a loving family-- and quite possibly all of humanity-- are entwined.--

Callie's picture

This book had me thinking about it for weeks after I finished it. It also has one of the best first chapters ever! -Callie

Henry VIII and the men who made him book cover
Henry VIII and the men who made him book cover

Henry VIII and the men who made him

Tracy Borman

BIOGRAPHY Henry VIII
History

Anne M's picture

Most of the books we have on Henry VIII are about his wives. There is something to that. His relationships with those "ever-changing" queens are fascinating. They involved death, romance, and political power resulting in the simple adage: divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Henry VIII's favor shifted just as quickly with his courtiers, advisers, and minions, a word borrowed from the French court that started appearing in the English language around his reign. Tracy Borman explores the lives of these individuals in this book. From Cardinal Wolsey, his Lord Chancellor, to Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk, Henry's court was full of intrigue and power struggles impacting England's religion, politics, and foreign relations. It is an interesting read and Borman is a gifted storyteller. If you liked "Wolf Hall," you'll love this biography. -Anne M

Dune book cover
Dune book cover

Dune

Frank Herbert

SCIENCE FICTION Herbert, Frank
Science Fiction

Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad'Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family-and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream. A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what it undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.

Brian's picture

I decided to re-read my favorite book after 10 years to see if it was as good as I remembered. Thankfully, it definitely is! Dune is considered a Sci-Fi classic for a reason. -Brian

House of salt and sorrows book cover
House of salt and sorrows book cover

House of salt and sorrows

Erin A. Craig

YOUNG ADULT FICTION Craig Erin
Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Suspense

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed. Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor with her sisters and their father and stepmother. Once there were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last -- the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge -- and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods. Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that her sisters' deaths were no accidents. The girls have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who -- or what -- are they really dancing with? When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family -- before it claims her next.

Callie's picture

This retelling of the 12 dancing princesses was an intense read from start to finish. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I read this twisted, lovely book! -Callie

Stardust book cover
Stardust book cover

Stardust

Neil Gaiman

SCIENCE FICTION Gaiman, Neil
Fiction, Classics, Fantasy, Romance

Casey's picture

Hard to believe that Stardust has been around for just over 20 years! One of, if not the, first book by modern magician, Neil Gaiman, that I read many years ago. Although written with simplistic prose reminiscent of Grimm, and Andersen fairytales, this is a work that is definitely NOT for children. I can hardly wait to cross the wall and seek a fallen star in Faerie again. -Casey

The Dutch house : a novel book cover
The Dutch house : a novel book cover

The Dutch house : a novel

Ann Patchett

FICTION Patchett Ann
Historical Fiction

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves. Cyril's son Danny and his older sister Maeve are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another.

Becky's picture

"The Dutch House" compiles a set of memories and stories that span the course of five decades. Ann Patchett skillfully moves us back and forth in time, with the house serving as an integral piece to our understanding of the characters and changing family dynamics. I love the moments and conversations between Danny and his sister Maeve. One particular conversation that stuck with me throughout my reading was when Danny and Maeve were discussing whether or not the past could be viewed as it actually was or whether the past is altered by the lens we use at present. I really enjoyed reading Patchett's, "The Dutch House! It’s a great read for those who enjoy well developed characters, interesting family relationships, fairy tale undercurrents and a historical setting. -Becky

American royals book cover
American royals book cover

American royals

Katharine McGee

YOUNG ADULT FICTION McGee, Katharine
Fiction, Young Adult

In an alternate America, princesses Beatrice and Samantha Washington and the two girls wooing their brother, Prince Jeffrey, become embroiled in high drama in the most glorious court in the world.

Angie's picture

What if George Washington had accepted a crown instead of the Presidency? And then, what would that monarchy look like in the modern day? The book covers the adventures of four women: Beatrice, the first to-be-queen to reign America on her own; Samantha, her spunky younger sister; Nina, Sam’s loyal best friend; and Daphne, ambitious ex-girlfriend of Sam’s twin brother, Jeff. It does bop between their differing POVs, but it isn’t confusing or jarring. This was a fun YA read with many things that I love - royalty, romance, really well-written female characters. My expectations were high, and they were definitely met! -Angie

The tea girl of Hummingbird Lane book cover
The tea girl of Hummingbird Lane book cover

The tea girl of Hummingbird Lane

Lisa See

FICTION See Lisa
Historical Fiction

Callie's picture

If you love tea, Chinese culture, or a story of utter resilience...this is the book for you. This book gives such a in-depth window into the Akha people of Southeast Asia. -Callie

Star Wars. Jedi: fallen order. book cover
Star Wars. Jedi: fallen order. book cover

Star Wars. Jedi: fallen order.

VIDEO GAME PlayStation 4 Star Wars

A galaxy-spanning adventure awaits in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, a new 3rd person action-adventure title from Respawn Entertainment. This narratively-driven single player game puts you in the role of a Jedi Padawan who narrowly escaped the purge of Order 66 following the events of Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith. On a quest to rebuild the Jedi Order, you must pick up the pieces of your shattered past to complete your training, develop new powerful Force abilities, and master the art of the iconic lightsaber - all while staying one step ahead of the Empire and its deadly Inquisitors. While mastering your abilities, players will engage in cinematically-charged lightsaber and Force combat designed to deliver the kind of intense Star Wars lightsaber battles as seen in the films. Players will need to approach enemies strategically, sizing up strengths and weaknesses while cleverly utilizing your Jedi training to overcome your opponents and solve the mysteries that lay in your path. Star Wars fans will recognize iconic locations, weapons, gear, and enemies while also meeting a roster of fresh characters, locations, creatures, droids and adversaries new to Star Wars. As part of this authentic Star Wars story, fans will delve into a galaxy recently seized by the Empire. As a Jedi hero-turned-fugitive, players will need to fight for survival while exploring the mysteries of a long-extinct civilization all in an effort to rebuild the remnants of the Jedi Order as the Empire seeks to erase the Jedi completely.

Brian's picture

Jedi: Fallen Order was an addictive blend of Metroid and Dark Souls with a fun cast of new Star Wars characters. -Brian

What's your pronoun? : beyond he & she book cover
What's your pronoun? : beyond he & she book cover

What's your pronoun? : beyond he & she

Dennis E. Baron

425.55 /Baron
Nonfiction

"The story of how we got from he and she to zie and hir and singular they. Like trigger warnings and gender-neutral bathrooms, pronouns are suddenly sparking debate, prompting new policies in schools, workplaces, even prisons, about what pronouns to use. Colleges ask students to declare their pronouns; corporate conferences print nametags with space for people to add their pronouns; email signatures sport pronouns along with names and titles. Far more than a byproduct of campus politics or culture wars, gender-neutral pronouns are in fact nothing new. Renowned linguist Dennis Baron puts them in historical context, demonstrating that Shakespeare used singular they; that women evoked the generic use of he to assert the right to vote (while those opposed to women's rights invoked the same word to assert that he did not include she), and that self-appointed language experts have been coining new gender pronouns, not just hir and zie but hundreds more, like thon, ip, and em, for centuries. Based on Baron's own empirical research, What's Your Pronoun? tells the untold story of gender-neutral and nonbinary pronouns"--

Melody's picture

I have an editing background and I may or may not have once a subscription to a publication solely about copyediting. Sentence structure matters! Words matter! But you know what? Social customs change, and rules are there so we can break them--or, rather, *evolve* into our better, more complete selves. This book is an excellent guide for anyone curious about how the English language is evolving to be more inclusive. -Melody

In the dream house : a memoir book cover
In the dream house : a memoir book cover

In the dream house : a memoir

Carmen Maria Machado

BIOGRAPHY Machado, Carmen Maria
Memoir

The author's engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming.

Frannie's picture

A uniquely written account of the often uncovered topic of domestic abuse in the queer community. Bonus: set at times in Iowa City, you will find yourself asking, "Where did this take place?" -Frannie

Full of Beans book cover
Full of Beans book cover

Full of Beans

Jennifer L. Holm

jBOOKS ON DISC Holm, Jennifer L.

Ten-year-old Beans Curry, a member of the Keepsies, the best marble playing gang in Depression-era Key West, Florida, engages in various schemes to earn money while "New Dealers" from Washington, D.C., arrive to turn run down Key West into a tourist resort.

Karen's picture

Added by Karen

Betty Before X book cover
Betty Before X book cover

Betty Before X

Ilyasah Shabazz

jFICTION/Shabazz Ilyasah
Kids

Raised by her aunt until she is six, Betty, who will later marry Malcolm X, joins her mother and stepfamily in 1940s Detroit, where she learns about the civil rights movement.

Karen's picture

Added by Karen

The Chain book cover
The Chain book cover

The Chain

Adrian McKinty

FICTION McKinty, Adrian
Suspense

Your phone rings. You child has been kidnapped. And to free her, you must abduct someone else's child. Your child will be released when your victim's parents kidnap another child. Rachel will be part of the chain... or her daughter Kylie will be killed. But the masterminds may have made a mistake this time. Rachel may be the one to finally break the chain.

Frannie's picture

A fast paced, crime thriller that all parents should read if they want to be terrified. -Frannie

Arcadia book cover
Arcadia book cover

Arcadia

Lauren Groff

FICTION Groff Lauren
Fiction

Callie's picture

If you're interested in reading a book about growing up a hippie commune from the 1960's, this is the book for you! Filled with familial struggles, utopian dreams, and feel-good vibes, this book is an absolute delight. -Callie

Lalani of the distant sea book cover
Lalani of the distant sea book cover

Lalani of the distant sea

Erin Entrada Kelly

jFICTION Kelly Erin
Kids, Fantasy

"Twelve-year-old Lalani Sarita takes on the impossible task of traveling to the legendary Mount Isa, towering on an island to the north. Generations of men and boys have died on the same quest--how can a timid young girl in a tiny boat survive the epic tests of the archipelago?"--

Becky's picture

What an amazing story inspired by Filipino folklore! “Lalani of the Distant Sea” is an engrossing story that weaves in superstition, gender roles, friendship and choice in a way that is thought-provoking and inspiring. I loved this story and would highly recommend it! -Becky

The Nickel boys : a novel book cover
The Nickel boys : a novel book cover

The Nickel boys : a novel

Colson Whitehead

FICTION Whitehead, Colson
Fiction

In this bravura follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize, and National Book Award-winning The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.00As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides "physical, intellectual and moral training" so the delinquent boys in their charge can become "honorable and honest men."00In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear "out back." Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King's ringing assertion "Throw us in jail and we will still love you." His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble.00The tension between Elwood's ideals and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys' fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy.

Callie's picture

This book tore me apart. It was absolutely heart-wrenching, and the fact that it's based on a true story makes it even more devastating. -Callie

The downstairs girl book cover
The downstairs girl book cover

The downstairs girl

Stacey (Stacey Heather) Lee

YOUNG ADULT FICTION Lee Stacey
Historical Fiction, Young Adult

"1890, Atlanta. By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady's maid for the cruel Caroline Payne, the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for 'the genteel Southern lady'"--

Callie's picture

This is such a wonderful historical fiction story! I loved learning about the different social classes of 1980's Atlanta! Also, the main character is SO great! -Callie

Star wars : Doctor Aphra book cover
Star wars : Doctor Aphra book cover

Star wars : Doctor Aphra

Kieron Gillen

COMIC Star Wars Doctor
Graphic Novels

"Following her time in the clutches of Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra has barely escaped with her life. If the Dark Lord of the Sith ever learns of her survival, he'll hunt her to the ends of the galaxy. But for now, it's time for a return to what she does best. With droids Triple-Zero and BeeTee-One in tow, as well as Wookiee Black Krrsantan, she's off in search of rare artifacts from the galactic center to the Outer Rim -- and everywhere in between. Aphra's got debts to pay, after all. Just as long as she can stay one step ahead of the Empire, some bounty hunters...and just about everyone else in the galaxy!"--Back cover of Volume 1.

Brian's picture

Doctor Aphra was my favorite part of Gillen's Darth Vader comic. I had high-hopes for her solo series, and I haven't been disappointed in the least! Aphra has set out on her own after faking her death to get a certain Sith Lord off her back. The rogue archaeologist, along with BT, Trip and Black Krrsantan, is up to no good and trying to make a buck in the galaxy. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra is non-stop fun. I highly recommend it to any Star Wars fan. -Brian

Where the mountain meets the moon book cover
Where the mountain meets the moon book cover

Where the mountain meets the moon

Grace Lin

jFICTION Lin, Grace
Kids, Fantasy

Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish, and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River.

Becky's picture

This is a beautiful fantasy adventure novel rooted in Chinese folklore. It follows Minli, a strong and lovable heroine, on her quest to seek answers from the Old Man of the Moon. While traveling, Minli meets several interesting characters and is told memorable folklore tales. This is a book for all ages! Grace Lin is an excellent storyteller and her artwork throughout the story is stunning! -Becky

How we fight for our lives : a memoir book cover
How we fight for our lives : a memoir book cover

How we fight for our lives : a memoir

Saeed Jones

BIOGRAPHY Jones, Saeed
Biographies

Haunted and haunting, Jones's memoir tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence--into tumultuous relationships with his mother and grandmother, into passing flings with lovers, friends and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another--and to one another--as we fight to become ourselves.

Frannie's picture

A beautifully written memoir of a black gay man coming of age in America. For such a short work it is astounding the number of exquisitely crafted sentences. An essential work of contemporary nonfiction. -Frannie

Gideon the ninth book cover
Gideon the ninth book cover

Gideon the ninth

Tamsyn Muir

SCIENCE FICTION Muir Tamsyn
Fantasy, Fiction

Muir's Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cutthroat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as arcane revenants. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Melody's picture

I first read about this book on a list promoting titles that break down the heteronormative barrier of fantasy fiction. We love diverse books here at ICPL, and it's taken far too long for LGBTQIA+ fantasy to become mainstream. But that time has arrived! I'm not finished with this book yet, but it has the right amount of swordplay (and wordplay!), and the queer-romance angle is a slow burn. Necromancers dueling in space through their sidekicks takes everything to the next level. And what's on the line? Gideon's freedom. Definitely a book for fantasy lovers to put on their to-read list! -Melody

The Seine : the river that made Paris book cover
The Seine : the river that made Paris book cover

The Seine : the river that made Paris

Elaine Sciolino

944.36 /Sciolino
Nonfiction, Travel, History

"In the spring of 1978, as a young journalist in Paris, Elaine Sciolino was seduced by a river. In The Seine, she tells the story of that river through its rich history and lively characters-a bargewoman, a riverbank bookseller, a houseboat- dweller, a famous cinematographer known for capturing the river's light. She patrols with river police, rows with a restorer of antique boats, discovers a champagne vineyard, and even dares to swim in the Seine. Sciolino's keen eye and vivid prose bring the river to life as she discovers its origins on a remote plateau in Burgundy, where a pagan goddess healed pilgrims at an ancient temple. She follows the Seine to Le Havre, where it meets the sea. Braiding memoir, travelogue, and history through the Seine's winding route, Sciolino offers a love letter to Paris and the river at its heart and invites readers to explore its magic."--

Candice's picture

Elaine Sciolino also wrote the wonderful book "The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs" and I feel like she has perfected the blend of awe and love for place, history, anecdote, and commentary. She brings the Seine to life here, it is a character in the past, present, and future of Paris. Full of interesting tales about, and lovely descriptions of, everything and anything related to the great river--architecture, city-scapes, food, people, art, history...it's all here. -Candice

The Sixth Man : a memoir book cover
The Sixth Man : a memoir book cover

The Sixth Man : a memoir

Andre Iguodala

796.323092 /Iguodala
Nonfiction, Sports, Memoir

"A standout sports memoir from NBA powerhouse, a swingman and NBA All-Star of the Golden State Warriors"--

Melody's picture

Librarians love it when prominent people publicize their "best of" book lists. Former President Barack Obama is an avid sports fan, and the basketball biography from Andre Igoudala made the President's Best of 2019 list. Igoudala's life story is thoughtful and inspiring. The whole list is impressive, too. Find it on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B6oYKxAgCn7/ -Melody

Getting to yes : negotiating agreement without giving in book cover
Getting to yes : negotiating agreement without giving in book cover

Getting to yes : negotiating agreement without giving in

Roger Fisher

158.5 /Fisher
Nonfiction, Business

"Since it was first published in 1981, Getting to Yes has become a central book in the Business Canon: the key text on the psychology of negotiation. Its message of "principled negotiations"--finding acceptable compromise by determining which needs are fixed and which are flexible for negotiating parties--has influenced generations of businesspeople, lawyers, educators and anyone who has sought to achieve a win-win situation in arriving at an agreement. It has sold over 8 million copies worldwide in 30 languages, and since it was first published by Penguin in 1991 (a reissue of the original addition with Bruce Patton as additional coauthor) has sold over 2.5 million copies--which places it as the #10 bestselling title overall in Penguin Books, and #3 bestselling nonfiction title overall. We have recently relicensed the rights to Getting to Yes, and will be doing a new revised edition--a 30th anniversary of the original publication and 20th of the Penguin edition. The authors will be bringing the book up to date with new material and a assessment of the legacy and achievement of Getting to Yes after three decades"--

Melody's picture

This book is a contemporary classic! Written by members of the Harvard Negotiation Project, you will find this book in political science classrooms around the U.S. Or at least, that was my exposure to it--in a class on international politics and peacekeeping. It's great to re-read any time you need to negotiate an agreement with someone. Buying a car? Taking the iPad away from your child? This book contains secrets to let both sides save face and find the next best option. -Melody

The tiger's wife book cover
The tiger's wife book cover

The tiger's wife

Téa Obreht

FICTION Obreht, Tea
Fiction

Remembering childhood stories her grandfather once told her, young physician Natalia becomes convinced that he spent his last days searching for "the deathless man," a vagabond who claimed to be immortal. As Natalia struggles to understand why her grandfather, a deeply rational man would go on such a farfetched journey, she stumbles across a clue that leads her to the extraordinary story of the tiger's wife.

Becky's picture

“The Tiger’s Wife” is a tale where the real and the fantastical are intertwined, a great example of magical realism. While the story follows Natalia, the main storyline builds upon the death of her grandfather. Natalia reexamines memories and stories shared by her grandfather to come to a better understanding surrounding the mysteriousness of his disappearance and death. Through those memories, we are introduced to the Deathless Man and the Tiger’s Wife, both are characters rooted in fantasy and superstition. It is through the Deathless Man and the Tiger’s Wife that Natalia deals with her grief and learns more about her grandfather. -Becky

The emerald horizon : the history of nature in Iowa book cover
The emerald horizon : the history of nature in Iowa book cover

The emerald horizon : the history of nature in Iowa

Cornelia Fleischer Mutel

508.777 /Mutel
Nonfiction, Nature, Science

Jason's picture

A terrific overview of the natural history of Iowa. Any state would be lucky to have such a primer for residents to better understand the world outside their doors. -Jason

Akin : a novel book cover
Akin : a novel book cover

Akin : a novel

Emma Donoghue

FICTION Donoghue Emma
Fiction

"Noah Selvaggio is a retired chemistry professor and widower living on the Upper West Side, but born in the South of France. He is days away from his first visit back to Nice since he was a child, bringing with him a handful of puzzling photos he's discovered from his mother's wartime years. But he receives a call from social services: Noah is the closest available relative of an eleven-year-old great-nephew he's never met, who urgently needs someone to look after him. Out of a feeling of obligation, Noah agrees to take Michael along on his trip. Much has changed in this famously charming seaside mecca, still haunted by memories of the Nazi occupation. The unlikely duo, suffering from jet lag and culture shock, bicker about everything from steak fries to screen time. But Noah gradually comes to appreciate the boy's truculent wit, and Michael's ease with tech and sharp eye help Noah unearth troubling details about their family's past. Both come to grasp the risks people in all eras have run for their loved ones, and find they are more akin than they knew. Written with all the tenderness and psychological intensity that made Room an international bestseller, Akin is a funny, heart-wrenching tale of an old man and a boy, born two generations apart, who unpick their painful story and start to write a new one together."--Provided by publisher.

Mari's picture

I love how Emma Donoghue's books are all so different! This one takes you on a journey to Nice, France when a retired chemistry professor from New York decides to revisit his childhood home after a series of photographs he discovers upon his sister's death presents a mystery about his mother's involvement in World War II. The trip is suddenly much different than his expectations when he is given responsibility for the care of his eleven-year old great nephew while his mother is incarcerated. This story has elements of travel, historical fiction, child welfare,and the bridging of two very different generations. -Mari

This is how you lose the time war book cover
This is how you lose the time war book cover

This is how you lose the time war

Amal El-Mohtar

SCIENCE FICTION El-Mohtar Amal
Science Fiction

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future. Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them.

Brian's picture

Any description of this book will sell it short, but I will say this--don't let the Sci-Fi aspect scare you off if it's not your thing. This is a beautifully written romance wearing Sci-Fi clothing. -Brian

The shortest day book cover
The shortest day book cover

The shortest day

Susan Cooper

jE Cooper
Picture Books, Nature, Literary Fiction

A celebration of the winter solstice and the Yuletide season. As the sun set on the shortest day of the year, early people would gather to prepare for the long night ahead. They built fires and lit candles. They played music, bringing their own light to the darkness, while wondering if the sun would ever rise again. Written for a theatrical production that has become a ritual in itself, Susan Cooper's poem "The Shortest Day" captures the magic behind the returning of the light, the yearning for traditions that connect us with generations that have gone before-- and the hope for peace that we carry into the future. Richly illustrated by Carson Ellis with a universality that spans the centuries, this beautiful book evokes the joy and community found in the ongoing mystery of life when we celebrate light, thankfulness, and festivity at a time of rebirth. Welcome Yule!

Casey's picture

Lofty, elegant, and achingly beautiful, Carson Ellis's illustrations are the perfect pairing for Susan Cooper's poem. Don't miss this true winter solstice celebration from and for the ages! -Casey

She said : breaking the sexual harassment story that helped ignite a movement book cover
She said : breaking the sexual harassment story that helped ignite a movement book cover

She said : breaking the sexual harassment story that helped ignite a movement

Jodi Kantor

364.153 /Kantor
History

From the Pulitzer-prize winning reporters who broke the news of Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment and abuse comes the thrilling untold story of their investigation and its consequences for the #MeToo movement.

Heidi L's picture

Once started, this book is hard to put down. The journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey are smart, dogged, and compassionate, AND know how to tell a story that keeps you riveted. The primary story is about their research that exposed Harvey Weinstein and the many years he harassed women; the secondary story is an accounting of the "Me Too" movement and of Christine Blasey Ford's input to the hearings on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The New York Times won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for Kantor and Twohey's reporting on the Weinstein case (prize was shared with The New Yorker reporter Ronan Farrow). -Heidi L

Iowa Confederates in the Civil War book cover
Iowa Confederates in the Civil War book cover

Iowa Confederates in the Civil War

David Connon

977.702 /Connon
Nonfiction, History

Melody's picture

Once in a while, we get an Iowa history book that disrupts what we always believed was true. Iowa Confederates in the Civil War does exactly this. Author David Connon chronicles 76 Iowans who headed south and signed up to fight against the Union. Listen to the River to River interview with the author here: https://www.iowapublicradio.org/post/new-research-shows-least-76-iowans-joined-confederacy-during-civil-war#stream/0 -Melody

Sulwe book cover
Sulwe book cover

Sulwe

Lupita Nyong'o

jE Nyongo
Picture Books

When five-year-old Sulwe's classmates make fun of her dark skin, she tries lightening herself to no avail, but her encounter with a shooting star helps her understand there is beauty in every shade.

Mari's picture

Lupita's story of her own struggle with being unique is portrayed beautifully through Sulwe's desire to just fit in. A great story about loving yourself. -Mari

The song of Achilles book cover
The song of Achilles book cover

The song of Achilles

Madeline Miller

FICTION Miller Madeline
Fiction

"Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. "The best of all the Greeks"-strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess-Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine-much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles' mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals. When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice. Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller's page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career." (Summary from Amazon)

Becky's picture

"The Song of Achilles" is such an interesting rendition of the tale of the Trojan War. It is told by the perspective of Patroclus, beginning with him as a young child being exiled to the court of King Peleus. There, he and Achilles develop a deep bond which carries them through Chiron's training and into the battlefield. Beautifully written! -Becky