Books: Staff Picks

A variety of books sure to capture your interest and imagination, hand-picked by Library Staff.


  • All of the books on this list are currently scheduled to be released as movies in 2017.
    Some of the movie release dates (
    in parentheses) may change or may not make it to theaters around here. Click on the title for more information about the book; Click on the date (or "TBA") for more information about the film!

  • Each February the United States celebrates African American History Month, which traces its origins to 1926 when historian Carter G. Woodson designated the second week of February to be "Negro History Week." This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. With the rise of the civil rights movement by the late 1960s, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses. In 1976 President Gerald R.

  • Enjoy these biographies of well-known and not so well known people from the founding of our country.

  • 2016 marks the centennial celebration of America’s National Parks.  Don’t wait another 100 years. Read about and visit your National Parks this year.

  • Celebrate the culture and contributions of black Americans of African, Latin, and Middle Eastern heritage with these recently published books.

  • Sundays at 2 p.m. in Program Room 2B

  • This list includes titles we've featured in past Books Plus group discussions. 

  • College towns are known for a smart, engaged populace, a fondness for team sports, and often, lots of music and bars. But what do books set in university towns tell us about the culture? Here is a sampling of books set in towns like our own.

  • Can you tell a book by its title? Here's a list of zaney, off beat, eclectic, quirky books you may enjoy.

  • June is Adopt a Cat month! Check out one of these non-fiction books about how cats can make a difference in our lives and how we can make a difference in theirs.

  • Celebrate Black History Month by checking out one of these recently published books about African Americans.

  • Celebrate Indiana’s bicentennial year by reading and rereading some outstanding Hoosier author’s works. Between 1900 – 1941, Indiana authors were second only to New York for being on the New York Times Best Seller List. The following list will take you from the early 20th century to our current year, 2016.

  • "Civic engagement means working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.

  • May is Older Americans Month and the time when here locally our community holds the Creative Aging Festival to identify and promote best practices to create opportunities for older people to understand their full potential, get involved with creative and civic activities, and find fresh ways to enhance their quality of life.

  • Ever dream of writing a story, graphic novel, biography or memoir? As literary prize-winner E.L. Doctorow said, "Writing is an exploraton. You start from nothing and learn as you go." It's time to begin exploring those inner and outer worlds that only you can describe. Writing, as many authors agree, is like living twice. Start your second life now.

  • If you're tired of whipping up the same old dishes in the kitchen try one of these unique cookbooks for inspiration. From Thug Kitchen to Dr. Who to literary cuisine there's something to motivate everyone to start a new culinary adventure.

  • We all have them. Sometimes we praise them, sometimes we rail against a relative or two, but families have made us what we are, who we've become. These novels and nonfiction books explore domestic life in all its joys, sorrows, perplexities, and anger. For what would our lives be like without this network of people so like and unlike us, who share our memories?

    “In every conceivable manner, the family is a link to our past, a bridge to our future.”  --Alex Haley

  • The following titles are sure to culitivate lively book group discussions. They have been recommended for book clubs by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Novelist and the librarians at the Monroe County Public Library. All titles are available at MCPL and some are available as "It’s In the Bag" book club kits.

  • Sometimes listening to a book read by the author is even better than reading the book yourself. So choose one of these audiobooks,  sit back and let the authors read to you.

  • Try these novels when you need some inspiration to get yourself outside to the beach, the desert, the woods or a park.  All are suspenseful and have a strong sense of place -- the outdoors and the natural world.  These choices are all the first of a series, so if you like the first one you will have many more to choose from.

  • Science tells us that when it comes to food, if it looks good, it'll taste even better. Our brains, in fact, use all of our senses to decide what's appealing to eat—by the way it looks, feels, smells, and, of course, tastes.

    But our love of good things to eat extends beyond our physiological needs. Artists paint, sculpt and photograph beautiful displays of food for our enjoyment—and many chefs create dishes that are truly works of art. 

  • Want to start a book club? Looking for new titles for your existing club? The Monroe County Public Library has a unique collection to support local book clubs. "It's in the Bag" allows a patron with a library card in good standing to borrow one bag for a 6-week period.

  • Maker culture is all about taking the do-it-yourself attitude and adding technology. Check out these titles at the Library for maker projects from wearable fashion to robotics; Arduino ideas to salvaging parts from junk electronics; and even Twitter-monitoring Christmas trees!

  • Aside from what we were taught in elementary school, how many of us have a really in depth understanding of Native American history? This list of carefully chosen titles offers well documented, fascinating accounts of America’s indigenous peoples, going as far back as before Columbus.

  • These books aren't just for people who have a disability, they are for their friends and relatives, as well as anyone interested in learning about the experience of living with a disability. This list includes titles dealing with a number of different types of disabilities and range from memiors and poems written by people with disabilies to practical guides about living with a disability.

  • When the air gets chilly and leaves fall from the trees it’s the perfect time to pick up a scary book. If you’re in the mood for a fright, try one of these recently published horror novels. Choose from tales of the paranormal, a new twist on vampires, exorcism combined with reality television and a variety of other horrors to enthrall you and keep you up at night.

  • Through science we discover how the world ticks, not just the world but the universe. Scientists systematically study nature and the physical and material world. They explore unusual animals (Komodo dragons and gyrfalcons) and everyday ones (dogs and cats) as well as dramatic astronomical and geological events. This year saw three major volcanoes erupt: in Hawaii, Iceland, and Japan. These books will perk your interest in an amazing field.

  • War has always been a popular topic for books, both fiction and nonfiction. While some of these books focus on war, all of them present the experiences of those who serve in the United States military, as well as the impact of their service on their families and communities. One of the nonfiction titles, Soldier Girls, focuses specifically on the lives of three women who served in the Indiana National Guard, including a Bloomington resident. All of these titles provide a look into the world of those who choose to serve our country in the armed forces.

  • Looking for a scary story? Try the short version. Less words; more potential scares per sentence.
    Those of us drawn to Horror as a genre tend to revel in its usually dark atmospheric setting, visceral tone, otherwordly characters, and its prevailing thrill of the Unknown.
    Some would say that our culture's increasing predilection for fantasy, and specifically its craving for Horror, is a way to sublimate our ever-present real world anxiety. In other words, fearing the Unknown in stories is safer than truly admitting our perpetual fear of the actual unknown all around us.

  • For some of us the best part of Thanksgiving and the holidays is not the food or visiting with the old man but a chance for merrymaking with brothers and sisters. This list might remind you of why you miss your siblings and the way they annoy you, defend you, knock you down a peg or two (right when you need it), hold your secrets, lend you money - and how they are the only ones who speak your language.

  • It seems to be human nature to just be focused on events that take place during your lifetime.  So it can come as a shock to find out your family had lives, secrets and happenings from the time before you were born.  The following titles illustrate how these secrets can cause heartbreak or give closure to those who discover them.  For more books check the MCPL online catalog using the search terms: Subject - Family secrets-Fiction.

  • We admit it—being around so many great books at work each day is a dream made real. Enjoy this year’s list of our most recent favorites.

  • Learn more about creating an environmentally friendly household with these items in the Library's collection.

  • This list includes titles that received rave reviews from participants in our adult summer reading program. Our readers found all kinds of treasures to enjoy this summer from thrillers to manga to westerns to non-fiction.

  • Do you need some new ideas for summertime chow? Is it too hot to cook but you still want to eat? Check out these books on home-made ice cream, picnicking, grilling and lighter fare for the hot hot Indiana weather.

  • Whether you're looking to simplify your life by living with less stuff, build a sustainable home, eat a sustainable diet or create with sustainable materials there's something for everyone on this list. Sustainability- the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance- can improve your life, while improving the lives of everyone by responsibly using the resources needed to live our lives. Pick an area of your life and get your green on!

  • Spice up your Thanksgiving with one of these intriguing thrillers or mysteries set on or near Thanksgiving. Whether you like a cozy mystery or prefer an edge of your seat thriller there's something for everyone to enjoy during the Thanksgiving holiday. 

  • In the mood for a fast paced book that pulls you in and won’t let you go? Thrillers are action driven stories told at breakneck speed, with sympathetic heroes and deadly villains. If you enjoy authors like Lee Child, David Baldacci or Robert Ludlum then try one of these thrillers.

  • The will to survive can push humans beyond the limits of what seems possible. All of these books tell the true stories of people in seemingly insurmountable circumstances, and yet they survived. From Antarctica to the Amazon, from the ocean to unimaginably deep caves enjoy these thrilling stories of those who survived against all odds.

  • Why not experiment with a different kind of garden this year? How about planting a tea garden? Why not attract bugs? They can be beneficial. Try planting a hellstrip garden. Don't know what that is? Check out the book on this list. Or after spending the afternoon in your garden settle down with one of the gardening memoirs listed here.

  • For my part, writes Robert Louis Stevenson in Travels with a Donkey, "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."  Sounds like wanderlust to me  and these books will put an itch in your feet and make you want to pack up and board a

  • Here's a selection of Wild Things by and about Maurice Sendak available through the Library. For a more complete list, please see the Sendak-related items in the Library catalog.