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Recent Picks

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

The secrets we kept book cover
The secrets we kept book cover

The secrets we kept

Lara Prescott

FICTION Prescott Lara
Historical Fiction

At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. Their mission: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, where no one dare publish it, and help Pasternak's magnum opus make its way into print around the world. Glamorous and sophisticated Sally Forrester is a seasoned spy who has honed her gift for deceit all over the world--using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. Irina is a complete novice, and under Sally's tutelage quickly learns how to blend in, make drops, and invisibly ferry classified documents.

Becky's picture

While "The Secrets We Kept" is set around the creation and publication of Pasternak's "Doctor Zhivago," it is not necessary to have read "Doctor Zhivago" to appreciate Prescott's work (though I now have added it to my list of books to read in the future!). Your attention shifts between two U.S. undercover typists working to distribute Pasternak's novel, to Olga (Pasternak's mistress), who's own livelihood and well being is very closely linked to the novel's publication. I really enjoy historical fiction and loved how this account examines the consequences and impact of creative, intellectual works during the time of the Cold War. -Becky

Three mages and a margarita : The Guild Codex: Spellbound Series, Book 1 book cover
Three mages and a margarita : The Guild Codex: Spellbound Series, Book 1 book cover

Three mages and a margarita : The Guild Codex: Spellbound Series, Book 1

Annette Marie

eAUDIO
Fiction, Fantasy

Broke, almost homeless, and recently fired. Those are my official reasons for answering a wanted ad for a skeevy-looking bartender gig. It went downhill the moment they asked me to do a trial shift instead of an interview—to see if I'd mesh with their "special" clientele. I think that part went great. Their customers were complete dickheads, and I was an asshole right back. That's the definition of fitting in, right? I expected to get thrown out on my ass. Instead, they… offered me the job? It turns out this place isn't a bar. It's a guild. And the three cocky guys I drenched with a margarita during my trial? Yeah, they were mages. Either I'm exactly the kind of takes-no-shit bartender this guild needs, or there's a good reason no one else wants to work here. So what's a broke girl to do? Take the job, of course—with a pay raise. --Amazon.com

Melody's picture

I discovered the Guild Codex: Spellbound Series only about two weeks ago, and since them I'm already on the third audiobook. This series has so much action! I imagine it'd be like a Harry Potter but for adults. Mages who can control different elemental magic, mythical creatures, and epic battles. The heroine is a human who is trying to scrape by in fit in. Expect a side of romance with this book, too. -Melody

The things we keep book cover
The things we keep book cover

The things we keep

Sally Hepworth

FICTION Hepworth Sally
Fiction

"Anna Forster, in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease at only thirty-eight years old, knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. She also knows there's just one another resident her age, Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke even as she resists her new life at Rosalind House. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke. When Eve Bennett is suddenly thrust into the role of single mother she finds herself putting her culinary training to use at Rosalind house. When she meets Anna and Luke she is moved by the bond the pair has forged. But when a tragic incident leads Anna's and Luke's families to separate them, Eve finds herself questioning what she is willing to risk to help them"--

Meredith's picture

Sally Hepworth does it again! She crafts a story that intertwines several characters and makes you care about each one. My new favorite author!!! -Meredith

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