September 2021

It’s September! Get ready for Fall with one of our Staff Picks!

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Paula – Circulation

Ready Player Two, by Ernest Cline, Young Adult Fiction YA Cline

Ernest Cline once again takes us through a wild ride of 80’s nostalgia with his sequel to the well-loved Ready Player One. In Ready Player Two, Wade Watts is back at it with a new virtual quest, this time to save all of humanity. After winning the contest from Oasis creator James Halliday, Wade comes across new AI technology that completely immerses you into the virtual world of the Oasis by plugging directly into your brain. Completely harmless, right? Wrong! As with any new AI, it turns out to be evil and has its own plan to take over the world by keeping everyone plugged into the Oasis and essentially turning them into vegetables. Wade rounds up his old team from the first novel and plays his way through every challenge to save the world before it’s too late. As a lover of everything 80’s related, I really enjoyed this book. Every movie, tv show, video game, and music reference was like music to my ears. From the adventure through the John Hughes dedicated planet called Planet Shermer, to the boss battle against multiple versions of Prince, Ready Player Two has everything an 80’s fan could ever want.

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Laura – Circulation

The Lions of Fifth Avenue, by Fiona Davis, New Fiction Davis

I love historical fiction, and books about books and libraries, so this one checked a few of my boxes! Intriguing from the beginning as we learn about both Laura and Sadie, and suspenseful throughout as we are left wondering who is committing the thefts (both in present day and back in the early 1900s).

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Cilka’s Journey, by Heather Morris, Fiction Morris

If you read The Tattooist of Auschwitz, then this sequel is a must read. While this book is based on actual events, it is a work of fiction. However, it still serves as a reminder for us to never forget the things that happened during the Holocaust. In this book we follow Cilka in her journey from Auschwitz-Birkenau to Vorkuta Serbia, where she is serving a 15 year sentence to hard labor for being considered a collaborator. Cilka overcomes impossibly hard situations again and again, and her resilience is what I loved most about this book.

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Mary – Circulation

Dry, by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman, Lincoln Award Winner YA Shusterman

The average human being can live for up to three weeks without food, but only three days without water. Alyssa and her family know that there is a drought all throughout the Western United States, but it’s not until the taps run dry that she and her family begin to realize the severity of the situation. Alyssa’s doomsday-prep-neighbors, Kelton McCracken and his parents, however, are more than prepared for a crisis such as this. When Alyssa’s parents disappear while looking for water, she and her brother turn to Kelton for help. But all three teens soon realize that regardless of how prepared one might be for a crisis, people will do whatever it takes to survive. Neal and Jarrod Shusterman’s novel reveals to us the terrifying probability of what life in Western America might become if climate change continues to persist without any effort to resist it by average citizens.

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Andrea – Technical Services

The Paper Palace, by Miranda Cowley Heller, New Fiction Cowley Heller

One morning, Elle, a fifty-year-old happily married mother of three, wakes up at her family’s summer place called “The Paper Palace,” a place she would visit every summer. This time things are different though. Last night, Elle and her oldest friend Jonas snuck away from their families to spend the night together for the first time. Now, over the next twenty-four hours, Elle has decide between her life with her genuinely beloved husband, Peter, and the life she always imagined she would have had with her childhood love, Jonas, if a tragic event hadn’t forever changed the course of their lives.

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Margaux – Youth Services

Good Girl, Bad Blood, by Holly Jackson, New Young Adult Fiction YA Jackson

Am I the only one who hadn’t read A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder yet? Yes? The third and final installment of Holly Jackson’s series came out last month, and to honor that I wanted to bring your attention to book two. We find ourselves thrown in right where AGGGTM left off, with Pippa Fitz-Amobi having turned her crime-solving escapades into a smash hit podcast. But when the brother of a good friend goes missing, she might just get sucked back into the world she swore to leave behind. Can’t a girl just go to class and be done with it?

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Arsenic and Adobo, by Mia P. Manansala, New Fiction Manansala

I haven’t read a good “whodunit” mystery in a while, and this one really hit the spot. Main character Lila Macapagal has just moved back home after a failed stint in the city of Chicago. She now works at her Tita Rosie’s kitchen (again) and wouldn’t you know it, her past comes back to haunt her. When her high school boyfriend dies under mysterious circumstances at her family restaurant, everybody is a suspect, and family favors must be called in. You know me, I used the Libby app to download the audio version of this foodie mystery. I loved hearing the accent of the narrator and I do think it helped to get the correct pronunciations and the descriptions of chef Lila’s cooking.  

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Melissa – Technical Services

The Secret History, by Donna Tartt, Fiction Tartt

Richard Papen, a disgruntled California teenager, makes his way to an East Coast college hoping for a change from his dull surroundings. While on campus, he encounters an elite group of five students who study exclusively under very private and famous tutelage. As he grows closer to the group, he learns of ancient Greek rituals and secrets that bind them together. The seven main characters are each fascinating and well drawn out. Though it’s a long book, it never drags, and in fact I wished there was more.

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Michelle – Administration

Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner, Wes Bentley, Luke Grimes, and Kelly Reilly, TV Series Yellowstone

Since its debut, friends and family have been encouraging me to watch Yellowstone knowing that I would enjoy it. Somehow, it has taken me 3 years to get started, but they were right. This show is highly addictive viewing and a great show to binge watch. It stars Kevin Costner as John Dutton, owner of the fictional Yellowstone Ranch and the patriarch of the Dutton family. The problem with owning the largest ranch in the US is that everyone wants a piece. John Dutton and his family fight to hold on to their ranch in the face of developers, politicians and more who attempt to take what they see as theirs. Even more dangerous is the drama from within the Dutton family. The show also stars Wes Bentley, Cole Hauser, Kelly Reilly, Gil Birmingham and Danny Huston. There are currently 3 seasons out and the fourth is set to premiere this November.

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Hubbell – Circulation

Rome, starring Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, and Polly Walker, TV Series Rome

Before there were dragons, dwarves, and princely incest, there was HBO’s Rome, its first true attempt at high-budget period drama. The story begins in the run-up to the Roman Civil War when Julius Caesar declares himself dictator and marches on Rome. We’re graced by portrayals of famous Romans like Mark Anthony, Pompey, Cato, Cicero, Augustus, and, of course, the foreigner Cleopatra. The sets and costumes are extravagant and historically on point, though at times the plot meanders away from the history books. The two main characters are members of Caesar’s legions and find themselves inexplicably tied to the unfolding of the series’ events and even Caesar’s death. HBO chose not to renew the series after two seasons because of its outsized budget but the creators nevertheless manage to tie up the story nicely.      

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Jean – Reference 

Preventable: The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics, and Selfishness Doomed the U.S. Coronavirus Response, by Andy Slavitt, New Nonfiction 362.1962 SLA

Andy Slavitt has been a leader in American health care crises and always looks for solutions to the problems, whether it’s new and unwieldy ACA enrollment website, or getting frontline doctors and nurses PPE at the start of a pandemic.  Here, he looks at the myriad failures at the beginning of the pandemic by multiple government agencies that are having a marked and prolonged effect on the country to this day.



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August 2021

It’s August! Enjoy the rest of the summer with one of our Staff Picks!

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Chris – Technical Services

The Answer Is….Reflections on My Life, by Alex Trebek, Biography 921 Trebek, A.

Alex felt compelled to share his life story after his 2019 announcement of his cancer diagnosis. The support and goodwill he received from all of his fans the world over astonished and humbled him. He never thought of himself as a star, he was only the host on a show. I learned besides being a great entertainer, he was a caring and loving father, a humanitarian involved in many organizations and a truly humble human being.

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Hour of the Witch, by Chris Bohjalian, New Fiction Bohjalian

This NY Times best-selling author has come up with another great read; a historical thriller set in a Puritan colony in Boston, MA in 1662. The plot twists and turns like a witch hanging from a noose at the gallows. Is Mary Deerfield a witch or a young woman caught up in the suspicious, evil-seeking and hypocritical righteous culture of the time? Now the hour of the witch is upon us, shall she hang or find redemption?

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Journeys: An American Story, compiled by Andrew Tisch and Mary Skafidas, Nonfiction 304.873 JOU

This work will remind people why emigration is good for America. America is greater than the sum of its parts, and aside from the indigenous people of North America, we are all immigrants. “We should embrace what it means to be the Other, the immigrant, the outsider. Because if we personally know the soul of this stranger, then the force of that memory is an ever-present bulwark against bigotry, superiority, and apathy.” -Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl.

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Jean – Reference

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, by Patrick Radden Keefe, New Nonfiction 929.2 KEE

A well-researched history of the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma and how they (personally) led us into the current opioid crisis, while making billions and evading accountability for their deceptive marketing practices.

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Laura – Circulation

The Henna Artist, by Alka Joshi, Fiction Joshi

This was one of my book club’s picks last year. The story is captivating. Lakshmi runs away from her abusive husband at the age of 17, and builds a successful and independent life in Jaipur, far from home. When the sister she never knew she had suddenly shows up with Lakshmi’s husband, it sometimes seems as though her independence means more to her than the people around her. In the end, she is provided with a chance to re-evaluate her choices and plan a future that is more than just being independent.

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The Mountain Between Us, by Charles Martin, Fiction Martin

If you saw the movie, please don’t let it stop you from reading the book! The book is way better than the movie (…as they usually are!). I was enthralled in this survival story from the very beginning. Ashley Know and Ben Payne are both trying to outrun a storm and get back to their hometowns. Instead, they find themselves stranded in the Utah wilderness in the dead of winter, with no one to rely on but each other. I loved the connection that they formed, and their persistent attitude of survival.

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Cathy – Circulation

Invisible Differences: A Story of Asperger’s, Adulting, and Living a Life in Full Color, by Julie Dachez, Adult Graphic Novel Dachez (Graphic)

A graphic novel about the subtle differences that folks on the Asperger’s spectrum experience.  For example, noise: if one is not on the spectrum, noises tend not to bother us. But if you might be on the spectrum, background noise really bothers and confuses the thinking processes. The author explains in drawings and words what it feels like to be slightly out of the expected norm. It certainly made me think and become more aware of the “Invisible Differences!” Enjoy!

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Narcos, starring Pedro Pascal, Wagner Moura, and Boyd Holbrook, TV Series DVD Narcos

This a historical fiction series that is nearly a documentary about the drug wars of Columbia in the 80’s. I remembered the names and the things that happened but this series really educated me on what was really going on in those days. If you would like to see Pablo Escobar in action this is a great series. One needs to use subtitles unless one understands Spanish. It was a gripping series and the spin off is Narcos: Mexico– this is great too!

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Michelle – Administration

Day Zero, by Robert C. Cargill, available as an ebook on Overdrive

This story takes place in the not-too-distant future and people have created robots with the AI capabilities to handle a number of jobs. The title refers to the day that the robots start a violent revolution to overthrow the human race. The twist is that the story is told from the point of view of Pounce, a nanny robot whose sole programming is to care for his human ward above all else. Pounce has to decide which side of the revolution he is on and what he is willing to do for his chosen side. The story has both exciting action sequences and thoughtful storytelling. Like most science fiction novels, it reflects things that are happening in our current society including wealth disparity, the subjection of a people, the dangers of technology and more. I didn’t want to put this book down! It kept me on the edge of my seat and also made me think long after the story was finished.

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Paula – Circulation

Mortal Kombat, starring Lewis Tan, Tadanobu Asano, and Hiroyuki Sanada, New DVD Mortal Kombat

MORTAL KOMBAT!!! (Insert Mortal Kombat videogame music.) Get ready for the new reboot of everyone’s favorite awful movie adaptation of the classic videogame, Mortal Kombat. Is it better than the 90’s version? Uh….slightly. The action and special effects have definitely improved. Everything else? Not so much. But you can still count on the campy dialogue and cheesy one-liners to entertain you throughout the film! Watch as all of your favorite videogame characters come to life and battle each other to the death for reasons we’re still not quite too sure of. And don’t worry, all of the famous taglines are shouted with pride by their respective characters. There is nothing so satisfying as hearing Shang Tsung say “Your soul is mine,” and Scorpion yelling “GET OVER HERE!” Mortal Kombat may not be the best film, but it serves as a flawless victory for some great nostalgia.

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Theresa – Youth Services

The Phantom Twin, by Lisa Brown, New Young Adult Graphic Novel YA Brown (Graphic)

Isabel and Jane are the Extraordinary Peabody Sisters, conjoined twins in a traveling carnival freak show—until an ambitious surgeon tries to separate them and fails, causing Jane’s death. Isabel has lost an arm and a leg but gained a ghostly companion: Her dead twin is now her phantom limb. Haunted, altered, and alone for the first time, can Isabel build a new life that’s truly her own? I enjoyed this, not only for its macabre subject matter, but for the fact that it’s historical. Not only did the author/ illustrator, Lisa Brown, do an amazing job of telling the story, but she extensively researched the real lives of circus freaks in history. Can you imagine being born with a disability and being rejected by society with nowhere to turn for a livelihood but the circus freak show? That was pretty much the only choice these people had!

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July 2021

It’s July! Celebrate summer and the 4th of July with some of our Staff Picks!

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Paula – Circulation

Snowpiercer, starring Daveed Diggs, Jennifer Connelly, and Mickey Sumner, New TV Series DVD Snowpiercer Season 1

Class warfare! Social injustice! Survival! Snowpiercer has got it all. It’s all out chaos on the 1,000-car-long train that circles the globe with the last survivors of humanity. It’s been seven years since the world was covered in ice, and Snowpiercer is the only thing that is keeping these people alive. For the majority of the seven years, order has been kept on the train by the hospitality department and the infamous Mr. Wilford, who no one on the train has actually seen. But tensions start to rise as the “tailies,” the lowest class who are forced to reside in the tail of the train, plan a rebellion against the upper classes. Tired of living in poor conditions and being treated like trash, the tailies, led by Daveed Diggs’s Andre Layton, create a network of spies throughout the train in order to gather intel on the best way to stage an uprising. But nothing gets past Melanie Cavill, the vicious Head of Hospitality played by Jennifer Connelly. It’s a battle to the death as the tailies fight for their right to survive in this frozen wasteland. I couldn’t get enough of this show when it aired during quarantine last year. It really keeps you on the edge of your seat. The character development is phenomenal. One minute you’ll absolutely hate a character, and the next you’ll love them. Take a ride and join the exciting journey on Snowpiercer, 1,000 cars long.

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Chris – Technical Services

The Paris Library, by Janet Skeslien Charles, Fiction Skeslien Charles

Fictional story of a Parisian girl who studies English and gets a job as a librarian at the American Library in Paris in 1939.  They resisted the Germans by secretly delivering books to Jewish readers and keeping the library open and accessible as best they could throughout the war. The book explores the consequences of our choices and the relationships that make us who we are. I enjoy reading about ordinary people in extraordinary times. The author poses the question “What can we do now to ensure that libraries and learning are accessible to all, and that we treat people with dignity and compassion?”

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Kinky Boots, starring Killian Donnelly, Matt Henry, and Natalie McQueen, New DVD Kinky Boots

Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical, this is an onstage production filmed at the Adelphi Theatre, London in 2018. Inspired by a true story of two people with nothing in common who learn to embrace their differences and create something beautiful: sturdy stilettos! Outstanding choreography and music with lyrics that will bring you to tears by my favorite singer, actress, and activist, Cyndi Lauper.

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Laura – Circulation

My Brilliant Friend, starring Alba Rohrwacher, Margherita Mazzucco, and Gaia Girace, Foreign DVD My Brilliant Friend Season 1

Based on the books by Elena Ferrante, this is a coming of age TV drama series which airs on HBO. Spoken in Italian, this is the first foreign TV series that I have watched, and I am now hooked and waiting for the 3rd season to come out.  Lila and Greco meet as young girls in Naples, Italy. They become fast friends and often enemies, and the series follows their lives from childhood through adulthood.  The story is told by an elderly Greco, who is recounting their relationship over the years.  Full of ups and downs, I found this series heartwarming as these two very different girls seem to have an intense friendship full of love, yet are so very different that it is often full of tension and anger.

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The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, Fiction Stein

This has become one of my favorite books to read and re-read, and the audiobook version is even better!  Narrated by the family dog Enzo, this story is full of love, laughs, heartbreak, and tears.  As Enzo recounts his years of being with his family, you can’t help but fall in love with him.  He’s smart, funny, and well educated after watching lots and lots of television! His owner Denny is an up and coming racecar driver, and Enzo’s biggest dream is to get on the track.  Denny’s wife Eve is supportive of his career, but her parents are not – especially after the birth of their daughter Zoe. This heartfelt book will make you both laugh and cry.  After you read it, watch the movie adaption, starting Kevin Costner as Enzo, Milo Ventimiglia as Denny, and Amanda Seyfried as Eve.

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What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty, Fiction Moriarty

This is the first book I read by Liane Moriarty, and I loved it! Alice Love is a 39 year old woman with three kids in the middle of a messy divorce.  But when she wakes up from an accident at the gym, she’s got amnesia – she thinks she’s 29, full of dreams, and madly in love with her husband. As she comes to terms with the person she was at 29, and the person she is at 39, she learns how to balance the life she wanted with the life she now has. Given this once in a life time do over, she tries to embrace her second chance. 

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Margaux – Youth Services

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears, by Tehlor Kay Mejia, Juvenile Fiction J Mejia

Paola has two best friends: one who lives in the same rundown apartment complex as her and her mom, and one that lives on the nicer side of town. So when wealthy friend Emma goes missing, it’s up to her and her longtime friend Dante to track her down. A winding path filled with mythological creatures (including La Llorona) and missing children will hopefully end in Emma’s safe return.

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Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians but Were Afraid to Ask: Young Readers Edition, by Anton Treuer, New Young Adult Nonfiction YA 970.004 TRE

I usually don’t go for nonfiction books in this blog, but this time I could not resist. Read this book all the way through like I did, or take it in bits and pieces, it’s up to you. I learned so much from Anton Treuer, himself an Indian/Native/Native American/Indigenous man. The book is broken up into sections like, “Terminology,” “History,” “Tribal Languages,” and then broken up again into sections denoted by a key question like “What were Native residential boarding schools,” and “What is the real story of Columbus?” These are questions I’m sure many of us—children, teens, and adults alike—have had and indeed, been too afraid to ask.

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Michelle – Administration

The Current War, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, and Nicholas Hoult, DVD Current War

This film tells the story of the battle for the future of electricity between Thomas Edison with his DC technology and George Westinghouse with his AC technology. What sounds like a dry, historical drama is actually an interesting, fast-paced story of the modernization of America. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Edison, Michael Shannon as Westinghouse, Nicholas Hoult as Nikola Tesla and also features Katherine Waterston and Tom Holland.

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Every Day is a Gift, by Tammy Duckworth, New Biography 921 Duckworth

Senator Duckworth shares her inspiring story with humor and candor. She has lived a life full of life-changing events from her nomadic childhood in Asia, becoming an army Blackhawk pilot and losing her legs when her helicopter was shot down, joining the political arena and being the first senator to give birth while in office. She shows how these events and more shaped her life and led her to a life of public service and advocacy for wounded soldiers, women, and Asian Americans. No matter your political beliefs, you’d be hard-pressed to not be moved by Tammy Duckworth’s memoir.

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Mary – Circulation

Raymie Nightingale, by Kate DiCamillo, Juvenile Fiction J DiCamillo

Raymie has a plan. The plan is to win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire Competition in baton twirling to win back her father. Her father has left Raymie and her mother and run off with a dental hygienist. If Raymie wins this competition, she not only gets her picture in the paper, but maybe, just maybe, her father back. To win this contest, Raymie must compete against Louisiana Elefante, a dramatic girl with more hair clips than teeth, and Beverly Tapinski, who is as talented at baton twirling as she is harsh and angry. As the story continues, lives become intertwined, stakes heighten, and Raymie begins to wonder if she wants to win this competition after all. In my opinion, everything Kate DiCamillo writes is gold, and Raymie Nightingale is no exception. Her subtle characterization, simple revelations, and beautiful storytelling weave together to create the glorious tapestry that is this book.

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Kristyn – Youth Services

Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir, by Tyler Feder, Young Adult Graphic Novel YA 362.175 FED (Graphic)

Author and illustrator Tyler Feder lost her mom to cancer in 2009, when Tyler was a sophomore in college. Tyler’s family, including her father and two younger sisters, are sent reeling by the loss of the woman who held them all together. Tyler’s loving, heartfelt, and funny tribute to her mom will have you laughing and crying, often at the same time. The colorful, clean illustrations are soothing, as is Tyler’s relatable narrative voice. Despite her heartache, Tyler’s hope and joy shine through on every page. If you have been wanting to get into graphic novels, but haven’t been sure where to start, look no further!

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June 2021

It’s June! Summer is just around the corner! Grab a good read and enjoy the warm weather.

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Paula – Circulation

Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo, Fiction Bardugo

Ah yes, yet another book by the goddess of fantasy, Leigh Bardugo. In this novel, we step away from the Grishaverse and enter into the world of Yale University. Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the only survivor of an unsolved homicide. At the age of 20, she is a high school dropout mixed up with violent drug-dealers and abusive friends. It seems like she has nothing left to live for, but after waking up in the hospital, she is offered a second chance. Alex accepts a full-ride to Yale on one condition: she must keep an eye on the activities of the university’s secret societies. Alex is then thrown into the dark world of the eight secret houses that practice magic and deal in the occult. As a member of Lethe House, the ninth house, Alex, along with her dashing gentlemanly mentor Darlington, must monitor the eight houses and keep them in line. Things seem to be going well, but when Darlington mysteriously disappears and a girl ends up dead on the university lawn, Alex begins to unravel the sinister forces at play among the eight societies. Yet again, Leigh Bardugo has delivered a fantasy masterpiece. The combination of magic with a mystery thriller really sets this book apart from others. As soon as I finished it, I craved more. Here’s to hoping the second book comes out soon!

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Jean – Reference

The Other Americans, by Laila Lalami, Fiction Lalami

Nora Guerraoui returns to her hometown after her father is killed in a fatal hit-and-run. Nora and her sister were raised in a remote California desert town after their parents fled violence in their native Morocco. Each of the sisters are grieving in their own way as they each struggle with the demands of their immigrant parents’ expectations of them, while their mother continues to grieve the loss of her native country. All the while, long-hidden family secrets rise to the surface as the investigation into their father’s death progresses. 

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Laura – Circulation

The Broken Road, by Richard Paul Evans, Fiction Evans

This is the first book in a trilogy, about a celebrity from Chicago who finds himself with the unique opportunity to start his life over.  He feels compelled to take a journey across the US on foot, and as he travels he grapples with his past, present, and future. Through his journey, he discovers that perhaps the life he has lead up to this point isn’t really the great life he thought he wanted.  I enjoyed this book, with a theme that it is never too late to learn or start over.  It was a quick read, and I dove right in to all three books.

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Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult, Fiction Picoult

I was captivated by this book from the very beginning.  Ruth is an African American nurse who was removed from caring for the infant whose parents are white supremacists.  When Ruth makes a decision when she is left alone with the infant, the aftermath spirals into legal case that is almost unbearable for her.  I thought Picoult did an excellent job of really digging into the characters of this novel, and I felt like I was experiencing the pain and trauma that they endured. 

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Margaux – Youth Services

Heartstopper Volume 1, by Alice Oseman, YA Oseman (Graphic)

This book has an interesting story: it started out as a web comic, and soon gained enough momentum to become a printed YA graphic novel. The fourth installment was just published, and I will warn you: once you start this series, it’s un-put-downable. Brits Charlie and Nick start out as friends. Charlie is bullied after he is outed against his will last year, but now he has a solid group of friends that back him up. Nick is one year older and has heard of Charlie but never hung out with him until recently. When they start meeting up outside of school, Charlie starts falling hard, and…. I’ll let you read this book for yourself to see what happens with these two teens.

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Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow, by Rainbow Rowell, Fiction YA Rowell

If you’ve read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, you’ll know that Carry On is the best-selling (fictional) novel that Fangirl revolves around. When Fangirl became a huge success, Rowell decided to actually write the Simon Snow book, and here we have the real life Carry On book. Complicated enough for you? Have no fear. This is a stand-alone book; it’s the story of “chosen one” Simon Snow and his time at a wizarding boarding school. Simon navigates his moody roommate Baz, his best friend Penelope, and a breakup with his girlfriend all while trying to stop being the worst “chosen one” ever. This book has everything: a love story, a love triangle, magicks, mystery, and death-defying adventure.

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Hubbell – Circulation

Dead to Me, starring Christina Applegate, Linda Cardellini, and James Marsden, TV Series DVD Dead to Me Season 1

Two women meeting in a group therapy session for recent widows. As they become fast friends, they realize their paths have crossed while each remained unaware. And when Jen finds out that, maybe, just maybe, Judy knows more about Jen’s husband’s death than she could ever imagine, Jen acts to exact revenge.

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Katie – Circulation

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, Fiction YA Gaiman

Nobody Owens lives in a graveyard, but he is not dead. His parents were murdered when he was little more than a baby, and was meant to be murdered himself. As fate or luck would have it, he finds his way into a nearby graveyard and is protected by its supernatural inhabitants. Adopted by a ghostly couple, Mr. and Mrs. Owens, he is given the name of Nobody- Bod for short. Mentored and protected by Cyrus, a vampire who is the guardian of the graveyard, and taught and tutored in many subjects by other graveyard inhabitants, Bod grows up fairly happy, but longing for life outside among the living. Over time the mystery of his life catches up with him, and the many and varied lessons he has learned from his ghostly neighbors and foster parents help him in ways he never imagined. Full of whimsy, humor, excitement and danger, The Graveyard book has something for everyone! I re-read it at least once a year!

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Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened, by Allie Brosh, Brosh (Graphic)

A collection of comics and essays that will leave you laughing out loud and chuckling long after. Allie talks about life, depression, childhood faux pas and misadventures in a refreshingly irreverent and humor filled way. Some of the comics are just too funny for words. If you like this book, she has a second out now: Solutions and Other Problems.

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And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson, Juvenile Fiction JE Richardson

This books is a favorite with my kids, and we always try to get it to read during Pride Month. This beautifully illustrated children’s picture book tells the true story of a same sex penguin couple named Roy and Silo in New York’s Central Park Zoo. Year after year they build a nest together and sit on egg sized rocks since they can’t produce eggs. One year the Zoo keeper sees that a penguin mother has laid two eggs and since she has a history of only being able to handle one, he decides to give the egg to Roy and Silo, and they successfully hatch and raise their new chick, Tango!

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May 2021

It’s May! Enjoy the warm weather with one of our Staff Picks!

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Paula – Circulation

King of Scars, by Leigh Bardugo, New Young Adult Fiction YA Bardugo

What’s that? Another Grishaverse series? You didn’t think I was done, did you? King of Scars is the first book in the third series of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse, and let me tell you, it’s just as good as the first two series. King of Scars bring us back to Ravka with many familiar characters from the Shadow and Bone series. Nikolai Lanstov rules as the king of Ravka, with the fearless Grisha Zoya Nazyalenski as his right hand. It’s been three years since the Ravkan civil war, but there is anything but peace in the realm. Ravka is surrounded by enemies on all sides, and Nikolai struggles to forge alliances with other nations while rebuilding his army and finances. Things start to get even worse for the young king when a new cult worshipping the Darkling forms and the sleeping demon inside Nikolai is awakened. Meanwhile, Nina Zenik, one of the thieves from Six of Crows, treks across the icy nation of Fjerda, trying to rescue any Grisha she can find from persecution. As Nina battles her own demons, Nikolai and Zoya journey across Ravka to try and extinguish the evil residing in him. Just like all of the other Grishaverse books, King of Scars was impossible to put down. Every page brings another layer to our favorite characters, making us love them even more. Leigh Bardugo has worked her magic and created another masterpiece.

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Jean – Reference

The Well of Being: a Children’s Book for Adults, by Jean-Pierre Weill, Adult Graphic Novel 204 WEI (Graphic)

A beautifully rendered, captivating, and moving story about what it means to be alive. Simple prose and simple illustrations underscore a profound meditation on happiness and life.

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Andrea – Tech Services

Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stuart, Adult Fiction Stuart

Shuggie Bain is the debut novel by Scottish-American writer Douglas Stuart, published in 2020. It tells the story of the youngest of the three children, Shuggie, growing up with his alcoholic mother, Agnes. It takes place in the 1980s, in Thatcher-era post-industrial working-class Glasgow, Scotland.

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Laura – Circulation

Code Name Helene, by Ariel Lawhon, Available as an audiobook on Overdrive/Libby

If you are a fan of historical fiction, this one is for you! Wonderfully narrated by Barrie Kreinik and Peter Ganim, once I started listening I was captivated!  Based on the true story of Nancy Wake, you are taken on her harrowing journey as she works her way up to become one of the most powerful leaders in the French Resistance. Her charisma and ability to command is elegantly portrayed in this book, as is her powerful love for her husband, Henri Fiocca.

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Confessions on the 7:45, by Lisa Unger, Adult Fiction Unger

This suspense book had me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it. On her commute home from work, Selena tells the stranger next to her on the train that she thinks her husband is having an affair with the nanny. Then, days later the nanny disappears. Is this a coincidence? Is the woman on the train really a stranger? Unger keeps you guessing right up until the end.

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Jackie and Maria: A Novel of Jackie Kennedy and Maria Callas, by Gill Paul, New Adult Fiction Paul

This story is told from the alternating perspectives of Jackie Kennedy and Maria Callas.  While loosely based on facts, the author has used her imaginative liberty to bring us a sweeping story full of love and loss. Spanning several decades, we are drawn into the personal lives of both Jackie and Maria.  I found myself pulled into their lives, their heartache, and their desire to be loved.

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Duck! Rabbit!, by Amy Krause Rosenthal, Picture book JE Rosenthal

Is it a duck or is it a rabbit? Depending on how you look at it, it could be either. My sons loved this book when they were little, and we would read it over and over.  When they could choose what book to have me read to their class, this book was top choice for both kids. I hope you enjoy reading this book to your kids as much I enjoyed reading it to mine.

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Margaux – Youth Services

Avocado Asks, by Momoko Abe, Juvenile Fiction JE Abe

In a humble grocery store, Avocado asks the big question: “What am I?” He cannot tell if he is a fruit or a vegetable. Thus starts a journey through the aisles, where he asks various foods if he is one of them. Find out how this existential dilemma ends in this delightful picture book, recommended for ages 0-7, or anyone who wants to take a bite out of this sweet story.

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Beetle and the Hollowbones, by Aliza Layne, Juvenile Graphic Novel J Layne (Graphic)

This middle grade graphic novel really spoke to my ‘90’s child heart. There are a few nods to “mall culture” that I appreciated quite a bit. At its heart this story is one about friendship, coming of age, and acceptance, with a dash of magic. A great “own voices” LGBTQ read.

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Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre, by Carole Boston Weatherford, New Juvenile Nonfiction J 976.686 WEA

What a heavy and important read. The primary narrative almost sets this horrific occurrence as a fiction, with the refrain “once upon a time” repeated throughout. But as we all know, the Tulsa Race Massacre really did happen in 1921. I really got a lot out of the author/illustrator notes at the end of the book, which did include both personal reflections and narratives as well as images of Greenwood as people fled, burned, and the memorials placed there more recently. I’m glad that it’s been investigated, but nothing can right the wrongs that were done at that time, and I’m glad that authors, illustrators, and publishers are bringing black history to light in this dark time.  

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Michelle – Administration

Later, by Stephen King, New Adult Fiction King

King’s newest novel is short by his usual standards and tells the story of a young boy who can see dead people. Don’t worry, it isn’t a remake of The Sixth Sense! This story is not for the squeamish, but it is very engaging. Somehow, King still successfully writes from the perspective of a child/young man in an authentic voice. As is the case in a number of his stories, his young protagonist is let down by many of the adults in his world and has to deal with his secrets on his own. I would recommend this book to any King fan or anyone who enjoys a little supernatural with their story.

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Katie – Circulation

Schitt$ Creek, starring Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy, and Catherine O’Hara, TV Series DVD Schitts Creek Seasons 1-3

Make sure you check out all three seasons, because once you start, it will be hard to stop! This show has a depth I was not expecting. It follows the Rose family; Johnny is a Video Empire mogul, his wife Moira is a fading Soap Opera star, David and Alexis are their adult, but very much still dependent children. The Roses lose their home and their fortune following a crooked accountant’s embezzling and failing to pay taxes for a long time. The only possession they have that the government does not want is a small hick town in the middle of nowhere Johnny bought for his son as a joke present, and the only place they can find to live is a run-down motel. Initially horrified by their reduced and often ridiculous new “home”, throughout the show they learn lessons about themselves and life, all with heartwarming hilarity throughout. I was so sad when it was over, because I could easily have watched three more seasons at least.

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The Good Place, starring Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, and Ted Danson, TV Series DVD Good Place Seasons 1-4

Eleanor Shellstrop is dead. That’s how it all starts. She is told she is in “The Good Place,” but when Michael, the architect of her new afterlife, begins congratulating her on all her selfless, generous, and altruistic deeds from her life, she quickly realizes she isn’t the Elenor Shellstrop they think she is and she is definitely not supposed to be there. She enlists the help of Chidi, a deceased Ethical Philosophy professor to help her learn to “be good” so she can earn her spot in “The Good Place.” She meets other “souls” along the way, as well as some demons, all with hilarious effect. If you liked Parks and Rec, you’ll love this show, and possibly learn some cool philosophy facts while you’re at it.

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Artemis, by Andy Weir, Adult Fiction Weir

Artemis is a city on the moon, and like any city it has its high flyers, the wealthy elite, and it has its poor working class, only you can’t just pick up and move to another city. Jazz Bashara has lived in Artemis since she was a little girl, long enough that going back to Earth would be painful and risky from a medical standpoint. But that is exactly what she faces if her covert smuggling operations are discovered. But how else can she pay for the equipment she needs to get certified as an EVA license so she can become a moon surface tour guide and make the big bucks? So when she is offered a smuggling job that pays big, she goes for it. But things start to unravel and she has to think fast to save not only her own skin, but the entire city. Fast paced, with a witty sarcastic heroine that leaves you wanting more! And if you want an extra treat, listen to the audiobook version narrated by Rosario Dawson, who does a fantastic job!

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A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, by Bill Bryson, Adult Nonfiction 917.4 BRY

You really can’t go wrong with Bill Bryson! Every single book is a entertaining and informative, but this one is my all-time favorite. Bill Bryson has just moved his family back to the States after living in England for 20 years. They moved into a small New England town, and on one of his rambles he stumbles upon a portion of the Appalachian Trail. Intrigued, he looks into it and decides to hike it and write a book on the experience. Having done many a “Walking Tour” while living in England, how hard can it be? Turns out very! Bryson’s self-deprecating humor coupled with his outstanding descriptive writing are superb, and it’s packed with fun facts! This book will make you want to grab your pack and hit the trail!

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Chris – Technical Services

News of the World, starring Tom Hanks, Helena Zengle, and Mare Winningham, New DVD News of the World

Five years after the Civil War, Captain Kidd moves from town to town as a storyteller. In Texas, he crosses paths with Johanna, a ten-year-old taken in by the Kiowa people six years earlier. She is being returned to her biological aunt and uncle against her will. Kidd agrees to deliver the child where the law says she belongs. As they travel hundreds of miles, the two will face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces as they search for a place that either can call home.

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Billie, New Nonfiction DVD 921 Holiday, B.

Billie Holiday had one of the greatest voices of all time. She was a woman of breathtaking talent and global popularity who was unafraid of stirring controversy. She started a notable rebellion singing “Strange Fruit,” which exposed the realities of Black life in America and earned her powerful enemies. Raw, emotional and brutally honest, Billie is filled with incredible unheard testimonies from musical greats and showcases an American legend, capturing her depth and complexity through the voices of those who knew her best. It is an arresting and powerful tale of one of the greatest singers who ever lived.

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April 2021

It’s April! Spring into the new season with one of our Staff Picks!

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Hubbell – Circulation

Fleabag Seasons 1 and 2, starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Olivia Coleman, and Andrew Scott, DVD Fleabag Season 1 and Season 2

This is the best show you’ve never heard of. It won a Globe for its first season and its star, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She plays the titular Fleabag whose name is covertly never revealed in the show. It is technically a TV adaptation of Waller-Bridge’s 2013 stage production of the same name. It is ruthlessly funny and unpredictable, following Fleabag’s love and family life which include affairs with priests, stolen family sculptures, and a best friend who may, in fact, be dead and/or imaginary.

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Michelle – Administration

Medicine at Midnight, by The Foo Fighters, New CD 781.66 Foo Fighters

The Foo Fighters have released their long-awaited 10th studio album and it was worth the wait. The new songs are a bit lighter than you are used to hearing from the Foo, but still have their trademark sound. It is the uplifting rock album that fans need right now. After a 25-year career, it is impressive that the band continues to release music that sounds fresh.

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Chris – Technical Services

Vera Season 10, starring Brenda Blethyn, Jon Morrison, and Kenny Doughty, New DVD Vera Set 10

The indomitable Vera and her trusted team unravel more complex cases, exploring stories of corporate corruption, organized crime and deeply buried personal guilt.

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Ammonite, starring Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, and Fiona Shaw, New DVD Ammonite

In the 1840s, acclaimed self-taught paleontologist Mary Anning works alone on the wild English coastline. She hunts for common fossils to sell to rich tourists to support herself. When one such tourist arrives in Lyme, he entrusts Mary with the care of his young wife Charlotte, who is recuperating from a personal tragedy. Despite their differences, it is the beginning of a passionate and all-consuming love affair that will defy all social bounds and alter the course of both lives irrevocably.

The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song, by Henry Louis Gates Jr., New Nonfiction 277.3 GAT

From the man that brought us “Finding Your Roots,” Gates takes us on another well researched journey to the roots of Black religion. It’s an intensely researched history of the Black Christian church and its role as the foundation of Black religious, political, economic and social life, and as a driving force in the largest freedom struggle in America. A must read, especially in our turbulent times.

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Paula – Circulation

Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo, Young Adult Fiction YA Bardugo

Enter the Grishaverse with Leigh Bardugo’s first trilogy Shadow and Bone. In the nation of Ravka, the land is torn in two, separated by the Shadow Fold, a place of darkness where monsters called the volcra lie in wait to feed on anyone who dares to pass through. Not even the Grisha, the nation’s people with magical powers, have the power to cross unharmed. On a mission through the Fold, Alina Starkov and her crew are attacked by the volcra. In an attempt to save her best friend’s life, Alina displays an immense amount of power that only a Grisha can hold. The Grisha army takes notice, and Alina is whisked away to the royal court to train as a Grisha under the command of the mysterious Darkling. The Darkling believes Alina has the power to destroy the Fold and bring peace back to Ravka. But not everything in the glittering court of the Grisha is as it seems. A darkness lingers just below the surface, and Alina uncovers many secrets the Grisha mean to keep hidden. Armed with the knowledge of the Darkling’s true nature, Alina must fight to save Ravka and the lives of the people she loves. This trilogy is a true fantasy adventure. It has every aspect of a fantasy novel you could want. Every fantasy fan must read this series. It truly is a work of art. It is also being adapted into a TV series on Netflix. Read the books before the series drops on April 23rd.

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Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo, Young Adult Fiction YA Bardugo

If you thought the Shadow and Bone trilogy was good, just wait until you read Six of Crows. My life has forever changed after reading this series. The Six of Crows duology is the second series in Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse, and it is definitely one of the best YA series I have ever read in my entire life. Taking place a few years after the events of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, Six of Crows is set on the island of Kerch, a place where trade merchants rule and thieves scheme to undermine them. A new drug called jurda parem has emerged that can be used to heighten and control the power of the Grisha. For now it is being kept a secret, but once exposed to the world, merchants everywhere will scramble to control it. The creator of the drug is locked away in the icy prison fortress in Fjerda, and six of the deadliest thieves are hired to break him out. These six thieves are some of the best characters ever created in fictional history. They’re cunning, witty, dashing, and everything else you could want in a fantasy hero. I can easily say I would give my life for Kaz Brekker. The heart-pounding race to stop jurda parem from falling into the wrong hands will leave you on the edge of your seat. Six of Crows is also being adapted into the Shadow and Bone series for Netflix. YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK.

Jean – Reference

Invisible Girl, by Lisa Jewel, Fiction Jewell

A stay-up-late to finish kind of book! While their house is being remodeled, the Fours family – mom Cate, dad Roan, and their two teenagers – move to an upscale suburb of London. Their single neighbor, Owen Pick, gives them the creeps, and when women begin disappearing and their daughter’s friend is accosted late one evening, it becomes apparent that something sinister is going on in the neighborhood.  But who, exactly, is to be feared when not is all as it seems?

Laura – Circulation

An (Almost) Zero-Waste Life: Learning How to Embrace Less to Live More, by Megean Weldon, New Nonfiction 640.286 WEL

It seems like everyone today is jumping on the idea of reducing waste in some way, myself included.  This little book is full of great ideas that can easily be implemented.  It covers everything from the kitchen to the bathroom to your pets. It has 30 challenges in the back of the book…give one of these challenges a try today. As a pet owner of two amazing mini Goldendoodles, I especially loved the recipe for homemade dog treats!

Surprise Me, by Sophie Kinsella, Fiction Kinsella

I loved this cute book with many laugh out loud moments.  Dan and Sylvie are a happily married couple.  Upon going to the doctor for physicals and learning that they are both healthy and should plan on leading long lives, they wonder: how are they going to keep their marriage fresh and exciting for 68+ years.  Their decision to surprise each other often leads to lots of mishaps and secrets they never saw coming. 

Theresa – Youth Services

Chance: Escape from the Holocaust, by Uri Shulevitz, New Juvenile Nonfiction J 940.5318 SHU

I was immediately drawn to this book as it is written and illustrated by Caldecott Award winning children’s book illustrator, Uri Shulevitz. The book details the eight-year journey he and his Jewish family took to escape the terrors of the Nazis by fleeing Warsaw and heading to the Soviet Union. It was during those years, with threats at every turn, that the young Uri experienced his awakening as an artist, an experience that played a key role during this difficult time. By turns dreamlike and nightmarish, this heavily illustrated account of determination, courage, family loyalty, and the luck of coincidence is well worth reading. Although this book looks intimidating, it has large print text and Shulevitz’s phenomenal illustrations and photos throughout. Shulevitz’s account is told in a simple manner; from his point of view as a young child. Throughout his account, he notes that many of the things they did or places they ended up, were purely by chance. At one point he states, “Had Father not been stopped from returning to Nazi-occupied Poland and joining the rest of our family, our fate would have been the same as theirs: death.” This is truly an amazing story.

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March 2021

It’s March, and you’re in luck! We have more picks for you at the library!

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Theresa – Youth Services

They Threw Us Away, by Daniel Krause, New Juvenile Fiction J Kraus

The cover definitely grabbed my attention, and Daniel Kraus, the author has written other gruesome stories like Rotters. This is book one of The Teddies Saga. Geared for children grades 4-6, this is the tale of the “Furrington Teddies,” who for some reason find themselves in a garbage dump. Buddy wakes up in the middle of a garbage dump, filled with a certain awareness: he’s a teddy bear; he spent time at a store waiting for his future to begin; and he is meant for the loving arms of a child. Now he knows one more thing: Something has gone terribly wrong. Soon he finds other discarded teddies―Horace, Sugar, Sunny, and Reginald. Though they aren’t sure how their luck soured, they all agree that they need to get back to the Store if they’re ever to fulfill their destinies. So, they embark on a perilous trek across the dump and into the outer world. With ravenous rats, screeching gulls, and a menacing world in front of them, the teddies will need to overcome insurmountable challenges to find their way home. The phenomenal illustrations by Rovina Cai add to the eeriness of the story. Kraus ends book one leaving us anxious for the next. Do not let the idea that a story about teddy bears will be cute… this is not.

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All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team, by Christina Soontornvat, New Juvenile Nonfiction J 796.525 SOO

The book begins on June 23, 2018- a hot, cloudy day in northern Thailand. Twelve young players of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach head into a local cave to explore. But when they turn to leave, rising floodwaters block their path. The boys are trapped. Before long, news of the missing team spreads, launching the seventeen-day rescue operation involving thousands of rescuers from around the globe. According to author, Christina Soontornvat, “It is the heroism of the regular people that made this rescue possible.” She wanted to tell the reader about more than the brave divers, but the Thai people who were pivotal to saving the boys’ lives. This Newbery Honor Book taught me many things about Thailand; the people, the land, the Buddhist religion, and more. The author has done a beautiful job of making this nonfiction title very accessible to any reader, giving us details about the boys themselves, as well as the technical difficulties of the rescue. With photos and illustrations throughout, the reader is able to easily understand why this rescue was such a miracle!

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Jean – Reference

The Push, by Ashley Audrain, New Fiction Audrain

For fans of Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage, another psychological drama about a mother who is convinced her daughter is a sociopath, but no one else sees it but her. Her husband is convinced she just has postpartum depression and is having trouble bonding with her daughter because of her own troubled upbringing.  Blythe knows something is not right, yet begins to question her sanity.  Then her son is born, and she experiences the joy of motherhood that has escaped her with her daughter. Yet now she fears for his safety and her husband still doesn’t understand the danger.  Tragedy strikes, but will she be able to convince anyone that her young child is the evil perpetrator?

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Cathy – Circulation

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, by Deborah Feldman, New Nonfiction 296.092 FEL

Fantastic look into Hasidic norms and traditions. Most of us are familiar with the outward look of the culture, i.e. the dress code, but the traditions behind and the ability to depart from that strict upbringing is more unknown. A bonus is that it is a mini-series on Netflix and hopefully when the show is released to DVD we will get it!

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Chris – Technical Services

A Call to Spy, starring Stana Katic, Sarah Megan Thomas, and Radhika Apte, New DVD Call to Spy

Based on true stories, this WWII drama is about how Britain’s spy agency, called the Special Operations Executive, started recruiting women to operate as spies. Vera Atkins (Stana Katic) is in charge of training women from various walks of life for the job. Recruits include Noor Inayat Khan (Radhika Apte), a Muslim of Indian descent and a pacifist, and ambitious American Virginia Hall (Sarah Megan Thomas) who walks with a wooden leg. Regardless of their personal positions, the women are put to the test when they are assigned to France and encounter the Nazis.

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Wild Mountain Thyme, starring Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, and Jon Hamm, New DVD Wild Mountain Thyme

Headstrong farmer Rosemary Muldoon has her heart set on winning her neighbor Anthony Reilly’s love. The problem is, Anthony seems to have inherited a family curse, and remains oblivious to his beautiful admirer. Stung by his father’s plans to sell the family farm to his American nephew, Anthony is jolted into pursuing his dreams.

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Melissa – Technical Services

The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett, New Audiobook CD Patchett

Tom Hanks narrates the audiobook edition of Ann Patchett’s novel, and he is perfectly cast for the role. The narrator, Danny, and his sister grow up in an elaborate, old-money home and return there frequently in their adult lives to recount their childhood pain and loss. Each character is well-developed, as well as their individual viewpoints and motivations. The Dutch House is simultaneously a place where everyone and no one wants to be. I enjoyed this enough that I will look into Patchett’s other works, this being the first I’ve read.

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Margaux – Youth Services

Girl, Serpent, Thorn, by Melissa Bashardoust, YA Fiction Bashardoust

Soraya is a princess, hidden by her own family because she is cursed. She is poisonous to the touch, and has been since she was three days old. So when her own twin brother’s wedding approaches and the full court is in residence, she is shocked when confronted with a soldier who is not afraid of her. At the same time, a demon is imprisoned in the castle dungeon, one who wants to bargain knowledge of Soraya’s curse for her own release. Soraya is forced to confront her own dual nature in order to save her family and herself in this YA fantasy thriller.

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Serpent & Dove, by Shelby Mahurin, New YA Fiction Mahurin

First, let me say that I was not anticipating reading two books with the word “Serpent” in the title in one month, let alone the same week. But here we are. Serpent & Dove is classic YA high fantasy, and it knows it. The setting is Cesarine, a city filled with witches and witch hunters, magical objects and secrets. Louise is a witch, and so is her roommate and outlaw best friend Coco. When they are nearly caught by the witch hunting Chasseur, Reid, Coco is forced to flee Cesarine. That same night, Louise is cornered by Reid and forced to leave her freedom behind and choose either life with Reid or being burned at the stake by the witch hunting church. Believe it or not, things escalate from there. What a wild ride. I’m truly glad I read these two books because while their covers (and their titles) may be similar, the plots could not be more different.

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Paula – Circulation

Tenet, starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, and Kenneth Branagh, New DVD Tenet

Do you like being confused? Do you enjoy wondering what the heck is going on during a movie? Then Tenet is the film for you! From the brilliant mind of Christopher Nolan comes the sci-fi thriller that makes you think throughout the whole two and a half hour movie. To be honest, the simplest way of putting it is this: the main character, who we only know as The Protagonist, is a secret agent who is tasked with a mission to save the world using time-travel. As technology industries fight for global supremacy, The Protagonist must prevent time-travel from further being weaponized. Tenet is comparable to some of Nolan’s past works, such as Inception and Memento, in that it is like a puzzle for your mind. It’s extremely confusing at first, but is gradually explained throughout the film. Once you start to understand it, the non-stop action will keep you on the edge of your seat. It truly is a thrill watching the set of secret agent partners, played by the suave John David Washington and dashing Robert Pattinson, try to jump through time and save the world.

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Laura – Circulation

The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, Fiction Sweeney

Every family has its problems, and this family is no exception!   Melody, Beatrice, Jack, and Leo are four adult siblings who have big plans for their trust fund, which they call “The Nest”.  As we all know, things don’t always go according to plan.  This book does an excellent job at illustrating the different ways that the promise of money can affect your relationships and your choices.

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The Oysterville Sewing Circle, by Susan Wiggs, Fiction Wiggs

When unexpected circumstances bring Caroline back home to the sleepy town she grew up in, she has a chance to re-evaluate who she has become, and who she wants to be.  Reconnecting with her old friends helps her realize that your path can always change, sometimes it leads you in directions you never planned. 

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Hubbell – Circulation 

Cobra Kai, starring Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, and Xolo Mariduena, New TV Series DVD Cobra Kai Seasons 1 & 2

Cobra Kai knows what it’s about and isn’t afraid to be the ridiculous reincarnation of the original Karate Kid series. The rivals LaRusso and Lawrence reignite their feud when they both begin new competing karate dojos. The competition spills over into their private lives and the teenage lives of the senseis’ mentees. LaRusso struggles to find the time for this because he, of course, owns the biggest car dealership in Encino. A true Foley artist field day.



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February 2021

It’s February! Fall in love with one of our Staff Picks!

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Paula – Circulation

Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi, YA Fiction Adeyemi

In the land of Orisha, magic has been completely outlawed. The king rules with an iron fist, and anyone caught with magical powers is sentenced to death. The race of the maji has been all but extinguished, but hope soon begins to arise. Seventeen-year-old Zelie is a maji, a strong one that has the power to change the course of history. With the help of her brother and a rogue princess, Zelie sets out to overthrow the monarchy and bring magic back to Orisha. Children of Blood and Bone is a powerful novel that speaks volumes to many different issues. It resonates with the fight against the social injustices that are occurring in our society today, such as the Black Lives Matter movement. It was also rightfully selected as a Lincoln Award winner in 2020.

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Jean – Reference

The Darkest Evening, by Ann Cleeves, New Fiction Cleeves

The latest in the Vera Stanhope series, this book is a wonderful escape to a mystery in the English countryside. Navigating a snow-storm in her trusty old Land Rover one evening, Vera comes across a car with its door wide open, and finds a baby still strapped in its carseat, with no mother in sight.  She brings the baby to the nearest house, which turns out to be a large, grand house called Brockburn, where a glamorous winter party is underway.  Unbeknownst to everyone, there are hidden relationships between the owners of the house, the guests, and the nearby neighbors about to be revealed.

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Theresa – Youth Services

Dry, by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman, Fiction YA Shusterman

I chose to read this, as it is one of the Abraham Lincoln Award Nominees for 2021. Many would consider this novel to fall under the genre of science fiction or dystopian. Others lean more towards realistic fiction.  With all the droughts, forest fires, as well as instances where angry mobs have become violent in the news recently, the latter certainly rings true for me. When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this story of survival. The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of dont’s: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, and don’t take long showers. Until the taps run dry. Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—are threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

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Fighting Words, by Kimberley Burbaker Bradley, Juvenile Fiction J Bradley

A victim herself, the author managed to successfully craft a novel for ten-year-olds featuring sexual assault, a suicide attempt, foster care, homelessness, and meth addiction. The story follows Della and her sister, Suki, who are wards of the state. For the first time in their lives they are finally safe living with their foster mother, Francine. As a court date approaches we learn what brought them to this point. A running theme in the story is we all have our own story that nobody else can tell. Another important theme is consent; nobody can do things to your body without your permission. Della, whose story is often filled with bad language, or “snow,” must find the courage to tell her story in order to let justice prevail. Although heavy topics are covered, this book, like the author’s previous titles (The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won), is sure to be noted as one of this year’s best. It is a 2021 Newbery Award contender, and deserves to be so.

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Margaux – Youth Services

What Color is Night?, by Grant Snider, Juvenile Fiction JE Snider

It’s hard to come up with a new take on the classic “colors” picture book, but this fits that bill. The titular question starts us off on a quest to see all the shades of “dark” that we see at night. Vignettes of night life and night animals feature throughout, finishing off with a dreamy warm sequence. I read this with my infant and she was able to stick with it, so I’d recommend this picture book for anyone who has young children.

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The Wanderer, by Robyn Carr, Fiction Carr

If you loved Netflix’s series Virgin River based on Robyn Carr’s bestseller, you’ll love this spinoff series. Cooper was just supposed to make a quick stop in Thunder Point to see to his late friend’s affairs, but when he realizes there is something suspicious about his death, Cooper decides to stay longer. Romance ensues, along with side stories that only a small town can offer.

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Andrea – Technical Services

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, Fiction Shaffer

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb. Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

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Michelle – Administration

Doctor Who Season 1, starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, DVD Dr. Who 2005 Season 1

This show has been on my watch list for years, and I finally started watching it. For anyone not familiar, Doctor Who is a long-running television staple in the UK. It was rebooted in 2005 (which is the season I’m referring to here) starring Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor. This sci-fi show is great for the whole family and follows the adventures of The Doctor and his companion as they battle aliens and other creatures through space and time. The show is smartly written and can be quite funny at times. A word of caution, the special effects most definitely show their age, though that only seems to add to the humor and the charm of the show.

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Cathy – Circulation

The Sandhamn Murders, starring Alexandra Rapaport, Jakob Cedergren, and Sandra Andreis, DVD Sandhamn Murders Season 1

I recommend The Sandhamn Murders series. Swedish subtitles but easy to follow.  Great scenery and likable characters.

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Joe Pickett Series by C. J. Box, Fiction Box

Nice western-set mystery series. Helps to read in order but not necessary. My husband loves them and the writing really helps the reader visualize being out west.

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Chris – Technical Services

You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, by Tom Gauld, Graphic Novel Gauld (GRAPHIC)

You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack distills perfectly Gauld’s dark humor, impeccable timing, and distinctive style. Arrests by the fiction police and imaginary towns designed by Tom Waits intermingle hilariously with piercing observations about human behavior and whimsical imaginings of the future. Again and again, Gauld reaffirms his position as a first-rank cartoonist, creating work infused with a deep understanding of both literary and cartoon history.

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January 2021

It’s January! Spend the new year with one of our Staff Picks!

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Jean – Reference

Last Night at the Lobster, by Stuart O’Nan, available as an ebook on Overdrive/Libby

One of my all-time favorite books. A slim, yet evocative novel set in New England at Christmas time, as a nor’easter approaches. The staff at this Red Lobster prepare for their last shift at this location as it has been decreed to close due to declining numbers. We get to know the regulars, like the retired gentleman who comes in and sits at the same booth and reads the newspaper, as well as the remaining skeleton staff and their intertwined relationships, and who struggle with their day-to-day existences on the fringes of the working-class. The author evokes the coldness of the winter season, and the desolation of a restaurant adjacent to a declining mall.

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Margaux – Youth Services

The Wizards of Once, by Cressida Cowell, available as an ebook and audiobook on Overdrive/Libby

I love a good audiobook. I adore a great one. This audio packs a one-two punch with authors Cressida Cowell (How to Train Your Dragon) and narrator David Tennant (of Doctor Who and Marvel’s Jessica Jones fame). Follow the story of a Wizard boy named Xar and a warrior princess named Wish as they attempt to solve the mystery of why evil Witches have come back to their world after being extinct. Every fairytale creature you can imagine is involved in this story. If you’re a fantasy fan, or just love either of these two amazing literary forces, this (audio)book is for you.

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Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, by Jessica Townsend, Juvenile Fiction J Townsend

I come back to this book again and again. Morrigan Crow is the cause of all the world’s problems…at least according to everyone in boring, dreary Jackelfax. It isn’t until she’s taken to a new world under the wing of the Free State’s most sought-after citizen, Jupiter North, that she learns she may be more than just a walking disaster. This high fantasy novel takes place in a world where magic exists, and people with extraordinary talents are taught at the Wunderous Society- the society Morrigan is competing to get into. This book follows Morrigan as she goes through four trials throughout the course of one calendar year. In her fantastical stay with her over-the-top guardian, Morrigan makes friends with a giant cat, a boy with an affinity for dragon riding, and experiences more magic than I can begin to impress upon you here. A worthwhile read for any adult who likes fantasy, and for any child who doesn’t know what to read next after Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Of course, I did love the audiobook too.

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Andrea – Technical Services  

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, by Robert Kolker, Nonfiction 161.898 KOL

The heartrending story of the Galvins, a midcentury American family with twelve children (six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia) that became science’s great hope in the quest to understand the disease. Their story offers a shadow history of the science of schizophrenia, from the era of institutionalization, lobotomy, and the schizophrenogenic mother, to the search for genetic markers for the disease, always amid profound disagreements about the nature of the illness itself. And unbeknownst to the Galvins, samples of their DNA informed decades of genetic research that continues today, offering paths to treatment, prediction, and even eradication of the disease for future generations.

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Michelle – Administration

Twice in a Blue Moon, by Christina Lauren, Fiction Lauren

I stumbled across this author duo when I was looking for some good holiday books. After reading and enjoying their new Christmas book, I went back to see what else they had written and chose this sweet romance. The story follows Sam and Tate, two young Americans who meet while on holiday in London. After a bad end to their whirlwind romance, they meet again 14 years later and have to decide if a “once in a blue moon” romance can happen twice. If you are looking for a well-written light read, this may be the book for you!

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Hubbell – Circulation

Jurassic Park, starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum, DVD Jurassic…

DINO DNA! Jurassic Park is 28 years old. And it is better than 90% of the popcorn blockbusters Hollywood conceives every summer. It is the source of the beloved Jeff Goldblum meme. That guy who played Newman gets inked in the eye. It has literally everything. Watch it again.

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Paula – Circulation

Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, and Donald Sutherland, DVD Pride…

The most iconic love story of all time, the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is absolutely flawless. Everyone knows the story. Headstrong Elizabeth Bennett immediately clashes with the proud Mr. Darcy, only to learn that she misjudged him, and falls deeply in love with him. Keira Knightley is the perfect Lizzy, capturing all of the wit and sass that Jane Austen wrote her as. Matthew Macfadyen is by far the best version of Mr. Darcy (sorry Colin Firth). Though completely socially awkward, he sure does have a way with words. After watching this, the only kind of man you will accept will be one coming towards you in a giant field through the fog in his pajamas to tell you he loves you.


 

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December 2020

It’s December! Enjoy the holidays with one of our Staff Picks!

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Paula – Circulation

One of Us is Lying, by Karen M. McManus, Young Adult Fiction YA McManus

Five high school students enter detention together. Only four make it out alive. One of Us is Lying is a classic “who dunnit?” mystery with a modern spin to it. After Simon Kelleher dies during detention, the other four students, Bronwyn, Nate, Cooper, and Addy, become suspects in a murder case that turns into the talk of the town. Each student swears they had nothing to do with it, but they all have secrets to hide. Secrets that are threatened to be exposed through the gossip app that Simon created for the school. Each chapter alternates between the four students’ perspectives, slowly revealing more evidence that leads to Simon’s death. It was definitely one of the most thrilling YA novels I’ve ever read. It’s fast-paced and constantly keeps you guessing. Each new chapter causes you to question each of the students up until the very end.

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Nancy – Reference

Wrinkles, by Paco Roca, Graphic Novel Roca (GRAPHIC)

This award winning graphic novel is a story of friendship and compassion set in an assisted living facility.  It is wonderfully illustrated and has also been adapted into an award-winning international animated film featuring the voices of Martin Sheen, Matthew Modine, and George Coe.  The film is available on Kanopy, the library’s on-demand video streaming service.

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Jean – Reference

The Erratics, by Vicki Laveau-Harvie, New Nonfiction 306.87 LAV

Two sisters are called home to their remote childhood house in Alberta, Canada after their mother falls and breaks her hip.  Neither sister has been in touch with their parents after being disowned and estranged from them for decades.  Each of them is confronted anew with their mother’s lifetime of mental illness, and the frail father who has enabled her.  This slim memoir is beautifully written and easily readable.

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Three Little Truths, by Eithne Shortall, New Fiction Shortall

For fans of Sophie Hannah and Nicci French, this contemporary drama is set in Dublin, Ireland. Martha, Robin, and Edie all are all doing their best to keep up appearances with the neighbors. Neighborhood gossip abounds via WhatsApp and old-fashioned whispering over the fence.  As each of them harbors their own secrets, they will soon find how inextricable each of their lives are bound. 

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Chris – Technical Services

The Rise of The G.I. Army 1940 – 1941: The Forgotten Story of How America Forged a Powerful Army before Pearl Harbor, by Paul Dickson, New Nonfiction 940.5412 DIC

A wealth of information that has not been addressed in many of the works on WWII.  The reader comes to know the importance of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and the Pre-Pearl Harbor draft in winning the second World War.

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Margaux – Youth Services

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, by Garth Nix, New YA Fiction YA Nix

Susan Arkshaw has just witnessed something shocking. The man she knows as “Uncle Frank” has just been turned to dust in front of her very eyes by an attractive man named Merlin. Thus begins her adventure: a quest to learn who her father really is, which subsequently leads her to realize who she really is. Merlin is a Left-Handed Bookseller, one who fights and incidentally is very well-read (and who doesn’t love a well-read protagonist). He and his sister are charged with helping Susan find her father and protecting her. First off, what a romp. This book takes place in the 80’s, so it’s technically “historical fiction” ((cringe)). I loved the fast pace, and the well-drawn characters. Garth Nix is really good at quick world-building. He’s not going to take 200 pages to flesh out the lore and backstory of the book. Right away, the reader finds herself in the middle of a thrilling adventure, where Susan is trying to navigate her coming of age with her mother’s dementia, and her new friend’s madcap ideas. Read this if you love London, fantasy, or just want to read a YA novel that doesn’t have any hot and heavy love stuff.

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Time for Bed’s Story, by Monica Arnaldo, New Juvenile Fiction JE Arnaldo

A good picture book for bedtime. Honestly, what kid hasn’t complained about going to bed at one point? Well this story is told from “the bed’s” perspective, and the bed has a lot to say about their child’s sleeping habits. The child has smelly feet, tosses and turns all night, and frankly, the child complains. A fresh new take on the classic bedtime story.

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Andrea – Technical Services

Mother for Dinner, by Shalom Auslander, New Fiction Auslander

Seventh Seltzer has done everything he can to break from the past, but in his overbearing, narcissistic mother’s last moments he is drawn back into the life he left behind. At her deathbed, she whispers in his ear the two words he always knew she would: “Eat me.” Deliciously and irreverently funny!

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Cathy – Circulation

Midsomer Murders, starring John Nettles, Jane Wymark, and Barry Jackson, DVD Midsomer Murders Series 1

A veteran Detective Chief Inspector and his young Sergeant investigate murders around the regional community of Midsomer County. All great and beautiful scenery. Not necessary to watch in order but it helps.

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Michelle – Administration

A Timeless Christmas, by Alexis Stanton, available as an Ebook on Overdrive/Libby

This is a cute Christmas story about Charles Whitley, an inventor from 1902 that travels to the future and meets Megan Turner, a historian who works at the Whitley Mansion, the home that Charles left behind and is now a museum. The book is full of fun man-out-of-time antics that blossom into a sweet love story surrounded by the joys of Christmas. The story was turned into one of Hallmark’s famed Christmas movies this year, but the book is better!

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