Staff Picks

Recent Picks

Lift book cover
Lift book cover

Lift

Minh Lê

jE Le
Read Woke, Diverse Characters, Picture Books, Graphic Novels

From the award-winning and bestselling creators of Drawn Together comes the fantastic tale of a magical elevator that will lift your spirits--and press all the right buttons! Iris loves to push the elevator buttons in her apartment building, but when it's time to share the fun with a new member of the family, she's pretty put out. That is, until the sudden appearance of a mysterious new button opens up entire realms of possibility, places where she can escape and explore on her own. But when she's forced to choose between going at it alone or letting her little brother tag along, Iris finds that sharing a discovery with the people you love can be the most wonderful experience of all. Using their dynamic comics-inspired storytelling, acclaimed author Minh Lê and Caldecott Medal-winning artist Dan Santat carry readers on a journey of ups, downs, and twists and turns that will send hearts--and imaginations--soaring.

Casey's picture

DING! ---Looking for a lift?--- -Casey

Drawing the vote : an illustrated guide to voting in America book cover
Drawing the vote : an illustrated guide to voting in America book cover

Drawing the vote : an illustrated guide to voting in America

Tommy Jenkins

324.62 /Jenkins
Graphic Novels, Political, History

"Coinciding with the 2020 US presidential election, Drawing the Vote, an original graphic novel, looks at the history of voting rights in the United States, and how it has affected the way we vote today. Author Tommy Jenkins traces this history from the earliest steps toward democracy during the American Revolution, to the upheaval caused by the Civil War, the fight for women's suffrage, the Civil Rights movement, the election of an African American president, and the control by a Republican majority. Along the way, Jenkins identifies events and trends that led to the unprecedented results of the 2016 presidential election that left Americans wondering, "how did this happen?" To balance these complex ideas and statistics, Kati Lacker's clean artistic style makes the book both beautiful and accessible. At a time when many citizens are experiencing apathy about voting and skepticism concerning our bitterly divided political parties, Drawing the Vote seeks to offer some explanation for how we got here and how every American can take action to make their vote count"--

Anne M's picture

After seeing the students in his college classes become cynical about voting, Tommy Jenkins wanted to show the hard fight in expanding voting rights in our country. This fun, accessible history comic is the result. But the fight isn't over. Jenkins explains new methods, as well as the tried-and-true restrictions, cropping up to limit who can vote and when. -Anne M

A burning book cover
A burning book cover

A burning

Megha Majumdar

FICTION Majumdar Megha
Literary Fiction, Fiction, Suspense

"After a fiery attack on a train leaves 104 people dead, the fates of three people become inextricably entangled. Jivan, a bright, striving woman from the slums looking for a way out of poverty, is wrongly accused of planning the attack because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir, a slippery gym teacher from Jivan's former high school, has hitched his aspirations to a rising right wing party, and his own ascent becomes increasingly linked to Jivan's fall. Lovely, a spirited, impoverished, relentlessly optimistic hjira, who harbors dreams of becoming a Bollywood star, can provide the alibi that would set Jivan free--but her appearance in court will have unexpected consequences that will change the course of all of their lives. A novel about fate, power, opportunity, and class; about innocence and guilt, betrayal and love, and the corrosive media cycle that manufactures falsehoods masquerading as truths--A Burning is a debut novel of exceptional power and urgency, haunting and beautiful, brutal, vibrant, impossible to forget"--

Anne M's picture

Megha Majumdar's terrifying novel shows us that those we know don't always come through when we need them, especially if there is something to gain if they throw us over. This book serves as an allegory about society without sacrificing well-developed, carefully crafted, individual characters. -Anne M

Exit strategy book cover
Exit strategy book cover

Exit strategy

Martha Wells

SCIENCE FICTION Wells Martha
Science Fiction

"Martha Wells's Hugo, Nebula, Alex, and Locus Award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling series, The Murderbot Diaries, comes to a thrilling conclusion in Exit Strategy. Murderbot wasn't programmed to care. So, its decision to help the only human who ever showed it respect must be a system glitch, right? Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah--its former owner (protector? friend?)--submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit. But who's going to believe a SecUnit gone rogue? And what will become of it when it's caught?"--Provided by publisher.

Brian's picture

Sometimes when I'm reading a series, I wonder if I need to share the later titles. There are series that drop off in quality or that you lose interest in. That is not the case with Martha Well's Murderbot Diaries. If anything, these books are getting better. So, if you haven't started "All Systems Red," I highly encourage you to give it a try. This is fun, Sci-Fi adventure with a cranky, but loveable, cyborg that I can't recommend enough. -Brian

Mexican Gothic book cover
Mexican Gothic book cover

Mexican Gothic

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

eAUDIO
Read Woke, Historical Fiction, Horror, Suspense

"The acclaimed author of Gods of Jade and Shadow returns with a darkly enchanting reimagining of Gothic fantasy, in which a spirited young woman discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico"--

Casey's picture

Lovecraft, Machado, Hitchcock, Burroughs, Shelley, and Poe fans will delight in this slow-burn horror. Leave the lights on afterward, they may help with the lingering ghosts. -Casey

Boy, snow, bird book cover
Boy, snow, bird book cover

Boy, snow, bird

Helen Oyeyemi

FICTION Oyeyemi Helen
Fiction, Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction

"A reimagining of the Snow White story set in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s"--

Anne M's picture

Set in the 1950's, Boy flees her abusive home in New York City to a bucolic town in Massachusetts, settles in, and eventually marries into a well-established, respected family. The birth of Boy's daughter threatens this stability. Her husband's family was "passing" as white since they moved to the town from the South. Oyeyemi skillfully shows the surrealism of a society that determines who you are by what you look like. -Anne M

The mercies : a novel book cover
The mercies : a novel book cover

The mercies : a novel

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

FICTION Hargrave Kiran
Historical Fiction, LGBTQ+

Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Forty fishermen, including Maren Magnusdatter's brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. The women of the tiny Arctic town of Vardø must fend for themselves. Three years later Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. His young Norwegian wife, Ursa, sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God, and flooded with a mighty evil. Maren and Ursa are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, but Absalom's iron rule threatening Vardø's very existence. -- adapted from jacket

Becky's picture

“The Mercies” is a stimulating account of life in a small Norwegian fishing village in the early 1600's. Kiran Hargrave cleverly weaves together historical elements of gender roles, religion, and witchcraft with a narrative strongly rooted in its setting and characters. -Becky

Recipe for persuasion : A Novel book cover
Recipe for persuasion : A Novel book cover

Recipe for persuasion : A Novel

Sonali Dev

eBOOK
Fiction, Romance

Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen? Rico Silva, that’s what. Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster.

Melody's picture

Sonali Dev is one of my new favorite authors! Loving both this book and her previous book in this series, Pride, Prejudice, and other flavors. Will definitely be looking for her other books soon. -Melody

Dirt : adventures in Lyon as a chef in training, father, and sleuth looking for the secret of French cooking book cover
Dirt : adventures in Lyon as a chef in training, father, and sleuth looking for the secret of French cooking book cover

Dirt : adventures in Lyon as a chef in training, father, and sleuth looking for the secret of French cooking

Bill Buford

641.5092 /Buford
Nonfiction, Memoir

"Bill Buford turns his inimitable attention from Italian cuisine to the food of France. Baffled by the language, but convinced that he can master the art of French cooking - or at least get to the bottom of why it is so revered - he begins what becomes a five-year odyssey by shadowing the esteemed French chef, Michel Richard, in Washington, D.C. But when Buford (quickly) realizes that a stage in France is necessary, he goes--this time with his wife and three-year-old twin sons in tow--to Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France. Studying at Institut Bocuse, cooking at the storied, Michelin-starred Mère Brazier, enduring the endless hours and exacting "rigeur" of the kitchen, Buford becomes a man obsessed with proving himself on the line, proving that he is worthy of the gastronomic secrets he's learning, proving that French cooking actually derives from (mon dieu!) the Italian. With his signature humor, sense of adventure, and masterful ability to immerse himself, and us, in his surroundings, Bill Buford has written what is sure to be the food-lover's book of the year"--

Anne M's picture

Buford takes on French cooking in this follow up to Heat. It is funny and a celebration of cooking. A small way to travel to the restaurants of Lyon and the villages in the Alps just by turning the pages. -Anne M

Fry bread : A Native American Family Story book cover
Fry bread : A Native American Family Story book cover

Fry bread : A Native American Family Story

Kevin Noble Maillard

eBOOK
Read Woke, Picture Books

Casey's picture

This one has it all! Fabulous rhyming text, wonderful illustrations, and a wealth of backmatter make this a perfect book for sharing in groups or one on one. -Casey

The book of eels : our enduring fascination with the most mysterious creature in the natural world book cover
The book of eels : our enduring fascination with the most mysterious creature in the natural world book cover

The book of eels : our enduring fascination with the most mysterious creature in the natural world

Patrik Svensson

597.43 /Svensson
Nature, Nonfiction

"Part H Is for Hawk, part The Soul of an Octopus, The Book of Eels is both a meditation on the world's most elusive fish-the eel-and a reflection on the human condition. Remarkably little is known about the European eel, Anguilla anguilla. So little, in fact, that scientists and philosophers have, for centuries, been obsessed with what has become known as the "eel question": Where do eels come from? What are they? Are they fish or some other kind of creature altogether? Even today, in an age of advanced science, no one has ever seen eels mating or giving birth, and we still don't understand what drives them, after living for decades in freshwater, to swim great distances back to the ocean at the end of their lives. They remain a mystery. Drawing on a breadth of research about eels in literature, history, and modern marine biology, as well as his own experience fishing for eels with his father, Patrik Svensson crafts a mesmerizing portrait of an unusual, utterly misunderstood, and completely captivating animal. In The Book of Eels, we meet renowned historical thinkers, from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud to Rachel Carson, for whom the eel was a singular obsession. And we meet the scientists who spearheaded the search for the eel's point of origin, including Danish marine biologist Johannes Schmidt, who led research efforts in the early twentieth century, catching thousands upon thousands of eels, in the hopes of proving their birthing grounds in the Sargasso Sea. Blending memoir and nature writing at its best, Svensson's journey to understand the eel becomes an exploration of the human condition that delves into overarching issues about our roots and destiny, both as humans and as animals, and, ultimately, how to handle the biggest question of all: death. The result is a gripping and slippery narrative that will surprise and enchant."--

Anne M's picture

Part natural history, part philosophy, and part eulogy for his father, Svensson writes beautifully about the mysteries of the eel, an animal that has beguiled scientists from ancient times to the present. -Anne M

Three hours in Paris book cover
Three hours in Paris book cover

Three hours in Paris

Cara Black

FICTION Black, Cara
Fiction, Adventure, Historical Fiction

"Three Hours in Paris is the story of Kate Rees, the young American markswoman who has been recruited by British intelligence to drop into Paris on the dangerous business of trying to assassinate the Fuhrer. A country girl from rural Oregon - a grieving widow with no spy training but a vendetta and a lot of gumption - now has the state of the entire war in her hands. When the hit goes badly wrong, Kate is on the run for her life - all the time wrestling with the suspicion that the whole operation was a set-up."--Provided by publisher.

Anne M's picture

If you are looking for that fast-paced, keeps-your-attention, end-of-summer read, consider "Three Hours in Paris." Cara Black, stepping away from her usual mystery genre, takes on the World War II spy thriller. -Anne M

Preaching to the chickens : the story of young John Lewis book cover
Preaching to the chickens : the story of young John Lewis book cover

Preaching to the chickens : the story of young John Lewis

Jabari Asim

jE Asim
Black Lives Matter, Black History, Read Woke, Picture Books, Biographies

Casey's picture

John Lewis's early life is chronicled here and it is beautifully done. If you haven't read about how he used to preach to his flock, I can't imagine a more poignant time. -Casey

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

Five days : the fiery reckoning of an American city

Wes Moore

305.896 /Moore
Nonfiction, Political

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

Anne M's picture

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

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

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

Lara Maiklem

942.1 /Maiklem
History

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

Anne M's picture

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

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

Joy at work : organizing your professional life

Marie Kondō

650.1 /Kondo
Nonfiction, Business, Self Help

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

Amanda's picture

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

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

The resisters : a novel

Gish Jen

FICTION Jen Gish
Dystopian

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

Frannie's picture

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

Clean getaway book cover
Clean getaway book cover

Clean getaway

Nic Stone

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

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

Casey's picture

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

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

The nickel boys : a novel

Colson Whitehead

eAUDIO
Black Lives Matter

Becky's picture

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

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

The ballad of songbirds and snakes

Suzanne Collins

YOUNG ADULT FICTION Collins Suzanne
Young Adult

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

Becky's picture

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

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

Laura dean keeps breaking up with me

Mariko Tamaki

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

Casey's picture

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

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

Toil & trouble : 15 tales of women & witchcraft

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

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

Casey's picture

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

Flush book cover
Flush book cover

Flush

Carl Hiaasen

eBOOK
Kids

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

Anne W's picture

Added by Anne W

Indian no more book cover
Indian no more book cover

Indian no more

Charlene Willing McManis

jFICTION McManis, Charlene
Kids

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

Angie's picture

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

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

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

Nathalia Holt

629.4 /Holt
Nonfiction, History

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

Amanda's picture

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

Dear Committee Members book cover
Dear Committee Members book cover

Dear Committee Members

Julie Schumacher

FICTION Schumacher, Julie
Fiction, Literary Fiction

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

Amanda's picture

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

Landline book cover
Landline book cover

Landline

Rainbow Rowell

FICTION Rowell Rainbow
Fiction, Humor

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

Amanda's picture

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

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

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street : a novel

Susan Jane Gilman

FICTION Gilman Susan
Fiction, Historical Fiction

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

Amanda's picture

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

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

The animals at Lockwood Manor

Jane Healey

FICTION Healey Jane
Historical Fiction, Suspense

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

Anne M's picture

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

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

Twilight hauntings : Enchanter's Child Series

Angie Sage

eBOOK
Kids

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

Paul's picture

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

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

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

Jeanne Birdsall

eBOOK
Kids

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

Anne W's picture

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

Cog book cover
Cog book cover

Cog

Greg Van Eekhout

jFICTION Vaneekho Greg
Kids

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

Angie's picture

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

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

To Night Owl from Dogfish

Holly Goldberg Sloan

eBOOK
Kids

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

Paul's picture

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

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

Al Capone does my shirts

Gennifer Choldenko

eBOOK
Kids

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

Anne W's picture

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

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

A ceiling made of eggshells

Gail Carson Levine

eBOOK
Kids

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

Paul's picture

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

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

The prince and the dressmaker

Jen Wang

eBOOK
Graphic Novels

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

Anne W's picture

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

Staff Profiles

Amanda's picture

Amanda

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

Angie

Interests: Kids, Fiction, Early Readers, Picture Books, Board Books, Early Chapter Books, Graphic Novels, Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Chick Lit, True Crime, Cookbooks
Anne M's picture

Anne M

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

Anne W

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

Becky

Interests: Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Classics, Nature, Kids
Beth's picture

Beth

Interests: Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Suspense, Crafts, Gardening, Young Adult
Bond's picture

Bond

Interests: Suspense, Thriller, Humor, True Crime, Picture Books
Brent's picture

Brent

Interests: Humor, Mystery, Science, Nature, Science Fiction
Brian's picture

Brian

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

Callie

Interests: Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thriller, Graphic Novels, True Crime, Literary Fiction
Candice's picture

Candice

Interests: History, Travel, Science, Nature, Cookbooks, Thriller, Suspense
Casey's picture

Casey

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

Doug

Interests: Memoir, Music, Cookbooks, Dystopian, Horror, Science Fiction, Short Story
Frannie's picture

Frannie

Interests: Graphic Novels, Memoir, Classics, Literary Fiction, Humor
Hanna's picture

Hanna

Interests: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Dystopian, Classics, Self Help, LGBTQ+, Literary Fiction, Crafts, Music, Memoir, Poetry, Short Story
Heidi K's picture

Heidi K

Interests: Fiction, Memoir, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Classics, Fantasy, Short Story, History, Biographies, Philosophy, Poetry, Gardening, Graphic Novels
Jacy's picture

Jacy

Interests: Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, Cookbooks, Crafts, Young Adult, Short Story
Jason's picture

Jason

Interests: Fiction, Classics, Fantasy, Humor, Mystery, Nonfiction, Science, Short Story
Karen's picture

Karen

Interests: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Memoir, Health, Nature, Gardening, Cookbooks, Crafts, Picture Books, Short Story, Graphic Novels
Lauren's picture

Lauren

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

Mari

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

Melody

Interests: Fiction, Fantasy, Nonfiction, Cookbooks, Health, Poetry
Paul's picture

Paul

Interests: Science Fiction, Classics, Picture Books, History, Technology, Gardening, Graphic Novels, Short Story
Shawna's picture

Shawna

Interests: Horror, Suspense, Thriller, True Crime, Crafts, Cookbooks, Gardening, History, Biographies
Stacey's picture

Stacey

Interests: Humor, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Crafts, Philosophy, Self Help, Nonfiction
Tom's picture

Tom

Interests: Humor, Health, History, Philosophy, Science, Sports
Trent's picture

Trent

Interests: Humor, Music, Dystopian, Historical Fiction, Memoir, Science Fiction, Classics