Bicentennial Staff Picks

In celebration of the Monroe County Public Library's 2020 bicentennial, the staff has put together a list of their favorite books in their own words.

Compiled by:
Bill W.
 Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World

Pénélope Bagieu
GN 920 Bag

Through characteristic wit and dazzling drawings, a celebrated graphic novelist profiles the lives of formidable female role models—some world famous, some little known—including Nellie Bly, Mae Jemison, Josephine Baker, Naziq al-Abid and many others, in an entertaining, comic-style biography that is sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies.—Baker & Taylor

"All of these different stories about amazing women from around the world are so inspiring and empowering. I also loved the format of this book: the story of their lives told through a short graphic novel format, followed by a full spread illustration. I would recommend it to everyone!"—Lizzy S., Senior Information Assistant

Anne of Green Gables

L.M. Montgomery
J Montgom
Series: Anne of Green Gables

The series chronicles the adventures of Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan girl, who is sent to two middle-aged siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, by mistake in Prince Edward Island. Anne of Green Gables is a coming-of-age series during the late 19th and early 20th century.

"Anne of Green Gables was the first chapter book I read between the ages 8-10 years-old. It was also the first book I had read where I could see myself in a character. Anne was an orphan who was very imaginative and a free-spirit. I was adopted, and an imaginative girl myself. Anne became my kindred spirit, and she taught me that being different, thinking abstractly, being creative and imaginative, and being adopted were not bad things, but marvelous things."—Meg A., ACS

Autobiography of an Execution

David Dow
345.764 Dow

A riveting, artfully written memoir of a lawyer's life as he races to prevent death row inmates from being executed.—Provided by the publisher

"David Dow provides a compelling first hand account of what is means to be a death penalty lawyer and our criminal justice system. This is a book that will stay with you."—Bobby O., Nonprofit Central Specialist/Community Engagement Librarian

The blue sword

Robin McKinley
J Mckinle

Harry, bored with her sheltered life in the remote orange-growing colony of Daria, discovers magic in herself when she is kidnaped by a native king with mysterious powers.

"I first read this as a young teen, and it started my love of fantasy books with strong female characters. I re-read it almost once a year."—Bara S., Staff Development Strategist

The Brothers Karamazov

Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky's crowning achievement, is a tale of patricide & family rivalry that embodies the moral & spiritual dissolution of an entire society (Russia in the 1870s). It created a national furor comparable only to the excitement stirred by the publication, in 1866, of Crime & Punishment. To Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov captured the quintessence of Russian character in all its exaltation, compassion, & profligacy. Significantly, the book was on Tolstoy's bedside table when he died. Readers in every language have since accepted Dostoevsky's own evaluation of this work & have gone further by proclaiming it one of the few great novels of all ages & countries.

—Karen S., Materials Handler

Carry on : the rise and fall of Simon Snow

Rainbow Rowell
Y Rowell

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen. That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right. Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here. It's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.

"An amazing fantasy story with a wonderful and diverse cast, a gripping romance, and a really cool system of magic. If you miss the world of Harry Potter, this fills that hole and so much more!"—Em B., Materials Handler


Marissa Meyer
Y Meyer
Series: Lunar chronicles

As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

"The whole series has amazing world building, 3-dimensional characters, and amazing character development."—Natasha S., Materials Handler

Clan of the Cave Bear

Jean Auel
electronic bk.
Series: The Earth's Children Series

A natural disaster leaves a young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly—she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza’s way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become the Clan’s next leader sees Ayla’s differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge.

"This is an epic series taking place in the Ice Age and addresses the first interactions of the Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens. It is full of rich, detailed descriptions of the historical landscape and cultures. The main character Ayla is a strong, adventurous heroine who I find extremely likable and inspirational. Every time I read this series I want to be transported back in time to experience the story in person!"—Maggie H., Information Assistant

The Color Monster

Anna Llenas
Ej Lle

One day, Color Monster wakes up feeling very confused. His emotions are all over the place; he feels angry, happy, calm, sad and scared all at once! To help him, a little girl shows him what each feeling means through color. As this adorable monster learns to sort and define his mixed up emotions, he gains self-awareness and peace as a result. Caregivers will enjoy sharing this concept book that taps into both socio-emotional growth and color concepts in a simple, friendly way.

"This book associates monsters' colors with emotions. It is a fantastic way for preschoolers (and adults) to explore their feelings in a fun, easily understood way. Black: 'This is fear. It hides and runs away like a mouse in the night. When you're afraid, you feel tiny. You think you don't have the courage to face the shadows. But I can help you find your way.'"—Mandy H., Communications & Marketing Manager

Communing With The Divine: A Clairvoyant's Guide To Angels, Archangels and the Spiritual Hierarchy

Barbara Y. Martin and Dimitri Moraitis
202.15 Mar

In their newest book, the authors explore the sacred art of communing with celestial beings. Reading of Martin's extensive direct clairvoyant experiences, this book will teach you to work closely with angels, archangels, and other divine beings who guide you in day-to-day living and help you achieve your destiny. You will learn how to strengthen your intuitive powers and hear what the divine is telling you, and thrill to accounts of Martin's compelling personal encounters with celestial beings and her eye-opening encounters with dark spirits. Communing with the Divine is a practical training manual and an inspirational guide, with full-color illustrations of celestial beings and their auric composition. In it, you will discover: various types of angels, including joy guides, teaching angels, and guardian angels ; techniques to call on Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael, and other archangels ; ways in which leaders of the spiritual hierarchy influence your life ; the nature of evil and the importance of spiritual protection ; keys to psychic and spiritual visions and clairvoyance ; meditation tools to access celestial realms with more than fifty meditative prayers that call on Divine Light and celestial beings for wisdom, love, prosperity, healing, peace, guidance, inspiration, and much more.

"This nonfiction book has expanded my consciousness and improved my life. I have been attending classes with these authors for since 2012 and their credibility is impeccable and their knowledge is true and deep."—Ruth G., Cataloger

The Complete Short Stories of James Purdy

James Purdy

The publication of The Complete Short Stories of James Purdy is a literary event that marks the first time all of James Purdy's short stories—fifty-six in number, including seven drawn from his unpublished archives—have been collected in a single volume. As prolific as he was unclassifiable, James Purdy was considered one of the greatest--and most underappreciated--writers in America in the latter half of the twentieth century. Championed by writers as diverse as Dame Edith Sitwell, Gore Vidal, Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams, Carl Van Vechten, John Cowper Powys, and Dorothy Parker, Purdy's vast body of work has heretofore been relegated to the avant-garde fringes of the American literary mainstream.

"A collection of sparse, gritty stories that celebrate the outsider in mid-century America, by an overlooked and underrated author whose admirers run from Edward Albee to Gore Vidal to Susan Sontag."—Ryan S., Selector

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Mark Haddon

Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic, fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.

"I read this book for the first time during the summer right before high school started. It was required reading for an English class and I've read the book 5 more times since then. Haddon's descriptive sentences and the perspective he writes in makes this a binge-worthy book. It's a mystery and suitable for a wide variety of ages. I don't want to spoil any of it. You need to read it!"—Elias M-S., Materials Handler

Daisy Jones & The Six

Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it's the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she's twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she's pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend. The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.—Provided by publisher.

"This book was a very fast and fun read. It is about a fictional rock band in the 1970’s—their rise through the ranks of the LA music scene—eventually becoming one of the most legendary bands in the world."—Leanne Z., Administrative Coordinator

Dark of the Moon

John Sanford
Series: Virgil Flowers, Lucas Davenport

Virgil Flowers, a protege of Lucas Davenport, is sent to Bluestem, a small town where everyone knows everyone else, to investigate the murders of a man burned to death in his home and a doctor and his wife—with the doctor found with both eyes shot out--unaware that he is tracking a murderer who may be targeting Virgil as his next victim.—Baker & Taylor

"The Virgil Flowers, Lucas Davenport series of detective stories is set in Minnesota and I enjoy reading novels that have settings I have visited and know the landscape and recognize location references."—Susan F., Acquisitions Technician

Dealing with Dragons

Patricia C. Wrede
J Wr
Series: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles

"When princess Cimorene learns that her parents intend to marry her off, she takes her fate into her own hands by running away and offering to work as a 'captive' princess for a dragon, and many adventures ensue.

"This is the book that made me fall in love with dragons and fantasy. Its great characters and witty charm delight me every time, no matter how many times I've read the series (3 times so far)."—Lily J., Information Assistant

Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

Dr. Seuss
Ej Se

A little boy who feels sad and blue learns that he is lucky after listening to an old man talk of other people's misfortunes—Baker & Taylor

"I received this book for Christmas when I was about 5 and the message is simple—be thankful for your life as there are always others that are less fortunate. It was an important message throughout my life and seems especially relevant today."—Paula GO., Web Administrator

e:	 Where the sidewalk ends : the poems & drawings of Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein
J 811.54 Sil

A boy who turns into a TV set and a girl who eats a whale are only two of the characters in a collection of humorous poetry illustrated with the author's own drawings.

"His unique poetry is loved by children and grown ups alike. I loved his books when my kids were little and I still enjoy them today."—Susan F., Acquisitions Technician

Feeling Sorry for Celia

Jaclyn Moriarty
Y Moriart

A bitter-sweet novel of love, letters, and lemon souffle. Life is pretty complicated for Elizabeth. Her best friend, Celia has disappeared, her absent father has reappeared, and her communication with her mother depends entirely on fridge notes. A funny, poignant novel for young adult readers from a major new Australian writer.

"This book has everything I want out of a YA title. A relatable protagonist, rocky friendships, and a secret admirer, all written in epistolary format!"—Aubrey D., Visual Marketing Specialist

Flow my tears, the policeman said

Philip K. Dick

Grappling with many of the themes Philip K. Dick is best known for—identity, altered reality, drug use, and dystopias—Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said is both a rollicking chase story and a meditation on reality. Jason Taverner—talk show host and man-about-town—wakes one day to find that no one knows who he is. In a society where lack of identification is a crime, Taverner must evade the secret police while trying to unravel the mystery of why no one remembers him.—Provided by publisher.

"It's impossible to choose any one Philip K. Dick book, rather. it would be easier to pick 20 of his books for this list. If you want a true flight of imagination, this is the best guy to start with."—Bill W., Communications & Marketing

Fog Island

Tomi Ungerer
Ej Ung

No one has ever returned from the mysterious Fog Island, but when Finn and Cara get castaway on its murky shores, they discover things are not quite as they expect. Will anyone ever believe them?

"The story of Fog Island is so rich and mysterious. While it offers a complete story, it leaves a lot to the imagination which makes it fun to talk about with others. The illustrations are also very interesting.—Kim B. Children and Teen Librarian (Community Engagement Librarian)

The Friend

Sigrid Nunez

A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog. When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane traumatized by the inexplicable disappearance of its master, and by the threat of eviction: dogs are prohibited in her apartment building. While others worry that grief has made her a victim of magical thinking, the woman refuses to be separated from the dog except for brief periods of time. Isolated from the rest of the world, increasingly obsessed with the dog's care, determined to read its mind and fathom its heart, she comes dangerously close to unraveling. But while troubles abound, rich and surprising rewards lie in store for both of them. Elegiac and searching, The Friend is both a meditation on loss and a celebration of human-canine devotion.

"A poignant novel about a woman who adopts her longtime friend's Great Dane following his sudden death. Nunez deftly explores friendship, love, and loss in this National Book Award winning book."—Jen H., Community Engagement Librarian

The Ghost Clause

Howard Norman

It's been several months since Simon Inescort had a heart attack and keeled over the rail of a Nova Scotia-bound ferry. His widow, Lorca Pell, sold their farmhouse to newlyweds Zachary and Muriel after revealing that the deed contains a 'ghost clause,' an actual legal clause, not unheard of in Vermont, allowing for reimbursement if a recently purchased home turns out to be haunted. In fact, Simon finds himself still at home, replaying his marriage in his own mind, while also engaging in occasionally intimate observation of the new homeowners. When a child goes missing the Green Mountain Agency assigns Zachary, their rookie detective, but the case threatens the couple's domestic equilibrium.—adapted from jacket.

"This is a well written, thought provoking and a little bit sad, novel. I found it moving."—Chantal C., Information Assistant

The Girl From Rawblood

Catriona Ward

At the turn of England's century, as the wind whistles in the lonely halls of Rawblood, young Iris Villarca is the last of her family's line. They are haunted, through the generations, by "her," a curse passed down through ancient blood that marks each Villarca for certain heartbreak. Iris forsakes her promise to her father, to remain alone, safe from the world. She dares to fall in love, and the consequences of her choice are immediate and terrifying. As the world falls apart around her, she must take a final journey back to Rawblood where it all began and where it must all end.

"This is a good spooky read for people who like gothic fiction and ghosts. Several plot lines are intertwined to tell a tale of a family curse and their haunted home."—Katelynn D., Senior Information Assistant

The Go-Between

L.P. Hartley

Summering with a fellow schoolboy on a great English estate, Leo, the hero of L. P. Hartley's finest novel, encounters a world of unimagined luxury. But when his friend's beautiful older sister enlists him as the unwitting messenger in her illicit love affair, the aftershocks will be felt for years. The inspiration for the brilliant Joseph Losey/Harold Pinter film starring Julie Christie and Alan Bates, The Go-Between is a masterpiece—a richly layered, spellbinding story about past and present, naivete; and knowledge, and the mysteries of the human heart. This volume includes, for the first time ever in North America, Hartley's own introduction to the novel.—Book cover.

"Exceptionally well-written coming-of-age story woven with moving ruminations on time, fate, and how  we remember our pasts."—Paul D., SIA

The Goldfinch

Donna Tartt

The author of the classic bestsellers The Secret History and The Little Friend returns with a brilliant, highly anticipated new novel. A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend's family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld. Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America, and a drama of almost unbearable acuity and power. It is a story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the enormous power of art—Provided by publisher.

"The Goldfinch is a modern-day Dickensian epic tale. Donna Tartt's novels are richly woven stories that span years, landscapes, and follow fully developed characters you will fall in love with. I recommend all of her novels, and The Goldfinch is a world you won't want to leave."—Jane C., Associate Director

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Douglas R. Hofstadter
510.1 Hof

Explores the mystery and complexity of human thought processes from an interdisciplinary point of view.—Baker & Taylor

"This is a book that I read for the first time when I was in college and it is one that continues to shape the way I think about a variety of subjects, from art to artificial intelligence, music to philosophy, and most of all humor."—Craig C., Senior Materials Handler

Handmade: Creative Focus in the Age of Distraction

Gary Rogowski
921 Rogowski Rog

In an era when there are countless competing claims on one's attention, how does one find the internal focus to be creative? For master furniture craftsman Gary Rogowski, the answer is in the act of creative work itself. The discipline of working with one's hands to create unnecessarily beautiful things shapes the builder into a more complete human being. In the tradition of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Shop Class as Soulcraft, Rogowski's Handmade is a profound meditation on the eternal value of manual work, creativity, human fallibility, and the stubborn pursuit of quality work. Rogowski tells his life story of how he became a craftsman and how years of persistent work have taught him patience, resilience, tolerance for failure, and a love of pursuing beauty and mastery for its own sake. Part autobiography, part guide to creativity, and part guide to living, Handmade is a book for craftspeople, artists, and anyone who seeks clarity, purpose, and creativity in their work—and it's the perfect antidote to a modern world that thinks human labor is obsolete.

"I'm not a woodworker or a rock climber, and don't plan to become either. But this slim memoir about Rogowski's passions for wood and climbing is so powerful in its quiet sincerity and subtle humor, it made me momentarily love them too."—Ryan S., Selector

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

J. K. Rowling
J Rowling
Series: Harry Potter

Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility.

All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley—a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry's room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry—and anyone who reads about him—will find unforgettable.

For it's there that he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic in everything from classes to meals, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him... if Harry can survive the encounter.—Scholastic

"J. K. Rowling does a fabulous job creating such an engaging and fun world. I grew up with Harry, so they are still among my favorite books today. I have read the series countless times!"—Maggie H., Information Assistant

Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks

Mick Foley

Have a Nice Day!: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks is an autobiography of former wrestler Mick Foley. It details his life all the way from his upbringing in New York to winning the WWF Championship from The Rock in December 1998. Foley had originally wanted the book to be called simply Blood and Sweatsocks, but this was eschewed in favor of his long-time catchphrase Have a Nice Day!, with the former being worked into the sub-title. The book debuted at #3 on the New York Times Best Seller List on November 7, 1999 and reached #1 on December 5.—Wikipedia

"Foley is good. Bang Bang!"—Bill K., Materials Handler

Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years

Sarah Louise Delany
920 De

Warm, feisty, and intelligent, the Delany sisters speak their mind in a book that is at once a vital historical record and a moving portrait of two remarkable women who continued to love, laugh and embrace life after over 100 years of living side by side. Their sharp memories show readers the post-reconstruction south and Booker T. Washington; Harlem's Golden age and Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Dubois and Paul Robeson. Bessie breaks barriers to become a dentist; Sadie quietly integrates the New York City system as a schoolteacher.

"A marvelous journey with two individuals embracing life and letting nothing stand in their way."—Kyle W-H., Human Resources Manager

His Majesty's Dragon

Naomi Novik
SF Novik

When the HMS Reliant captures a French ship and its priceless cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, Captain Will Laurence is swept into an unexpected kinship with an extraordinary creature and joins the elite Aerial Corps as a master of the dragon Temaraire, in which role he must match wits with the powerful dragon-borne forces of Napoleon Bonaparte.

"Ever since I've been a kid, I've loved dragons. I will read any book with a dragon in it, which is why I originally picked this series up. The book is a retelling of the Napoleonic wars, but in a world where countries use dragons as an Air Force. This series has everything that makes great historical fantasy, from fast-paced action to fully fleshed out characters and well plotted storylines. This book, and the rest of the series are just a delight to read, and you can't help but fall in love with the characters. I also recommend Naomi Novik's fairy tale retelling, as an author she never disappoints."—Erica B. Community Engagement Librarian

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams
SF Adams

Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor. Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox—the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years. Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? Why do we spend so much time between wearing digital watches? For all the answers stick your thumb to the stars. And don't forget to bring a towel!—Provided by

"It's the reason why whenever I'm traveling, I always make sure I know where my towel is."—Craig C., Senior Materials Handler

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

N.K. Jemisin
SF Jemisin

After Yeine Darr is summoned to the majestic city of Sky and named an heiress to the king of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, she is thrust into a vicious power struggle with cousins she never knew she had, drawing ever closer to the secrets of her mother's death and her family's bloody history. Original.—Baker & Taylor

"All of Jemisin's novels read like poetry. This one is my favorite because the mythology and magic is wonderfully unique, I've found myself growing to love the characters, and the world-building is awe-inspiring. Jemisin has a gift for exploring difficult cultural issues through the lens of fantasy in a way that doesn't feel heavy-handed, but still manages to challenge me as a reader."—Shannon B., Senior Information Assistant

I Know this much is true

Wally Lamb

Dominick Birdsey's entire life has been compromised and constricted by anger and fear, by the paranoid schizophrenic twin brother he both deeply loves and resents, and by the past they shared with their adoptive father, Ray, a spit-and-polish ex-Navy man (the five-foot-six-inch sleeping giant who snoozed upstairs weekdays in the spare room and built submarines at night), and their long-suffering mother, Concettina, a timid woman with a harelip that made her shy and self-conscious. Born in the waning moments of 1949 and the opening minutes of 1950, the twins are physical mirror images who grow into separate yet connected entities: the seemingly strong and protective yet fearful Dominick, his mother's watchful "monkey"; and the seemingly weak and sweet yet noble Thomas, his mother's gentle "bunny". From childhood, Dominick fights for both separation and wholeness - and ultimately self-protection - in a house of fear dominated by Ray, a bully who abuses his power over these stepsons whose biological father is a mystery. But Dominick's talent for survival comes at an enormous cost, including the breakup of his marriage to the warm, beautiful Dessa, whom he still loves. And it will be put to the ultimate test when Thomas, a Bible-spouting zealot, commits an unthinkable act that threatens the tenuous balance of both his and Dominick's lives. Through his grandfather's life, Dominick learns that power, wrongly used, defeats the oppressor as well as the oppressed, and now, picking through the humble shards of his deconstructed life, he will search for the courage and love to forgive, to expiate his and his ancestors' transgressions, and finally to rebuild himself beyond the haunted shadow of his twin.

"A very complex, engaging book that you might struggle to get through but it is well worth the effort."—Bobby O., Nonprofit Central Specialist/Community Engagement Librarian

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale

Mo Willems
Ej Wil
Series: Knuffle Bunny

A trip to the laundromat leads to a momentous occasion when Trixie, too young to speak words, realizes that something important is missing and struggles to explain the problem to her father.

"This book is a favorite for the way it integrates photographs and illustrations to so wonderfully portray the everyday life of a family with a young child. It also realistically and humorously depicts the panic a parent also experiences when a beloved stuffed animal friend goes missing!"—Lisa C., Strategist


Keith Richards
780.92 Richards Ric

Autobiography of the guitarist, songwriter, singer, and founding member of the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards. With the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards lived the original rock and roll life. He tells his story of life in the crossfire hurricane; his listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records, learning guitar and forming a band with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones, the Rolling Stones' first fame and the notorious drug busts that led to his enduring image as outlaw folk hero, creating immortal riffs like the ones in "Jumping Jack Flash" and "Honky Tonk Women." He discusses falling in love with Anita Pallenberg and the death of Brian Jones, his tax exile in France, wildfire tours of the U.S., isolation and addiction, as well as falling in love with Patti Hansen, and his bitter estrangement from Jagger and subsequent reconciliation. He talks about his marriage, family, solo albums and Xpensive Winos; the road that goes on forever.

"The Rolling Stones are one of my favorite bands, and Keith Richards is my favorite rock star ever! He and the band have captured the imagination of the world for decades. 'Keef's' behind the scenes stories of the band's career are delicious!"—Kevin M., Teen and Digital Creativity Strategist

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

JRR Tolkein
J Tolkien
Series: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien's three-volume epic, is set in the imaginary world of Middle-earth - home to many strange beings, and most notably hobbits, a peace-loving "little people," cheerful and shy. Since its original British publication in 1954-55, the saga has entranced readers of all ages. It is at once a classic myth and a modern fairy tale. Critic Michael Straight has hailed it as one of the "very few works of genius in recent literature." Middle-earth is a world receptive to poets, scholars, children, and all other people of good will. Donald Barr has described it as "a scrubbed morning world, and a ringing nightmare world...especially sunlit, and shadowed by perils very fundamental, of a peculiarly uncompounded darkness." The story of ths world is one of high and heroic adventure. Barr compared it to Beowulf, C.S. Lewis to Orlando Furioso, W.H. Auden to The Thirty-nine Steps. In fact the saga is sui generis—a triumph of imagination which springs to life within its own framework and on its own terms.—(Houghton)

"This book creates a diversity of its own. It celebrates life and the 'human' spirit to do good and push oneself to achieve what seems insurmountable, not for fame or personal gain, but in quiet ways for the good of all."—Kari E., Board Member

Lost Horizon

James Hilton

Following a plane crash in the Himalayan mountains, a lost group of Englishmen and Americans stumble upon the dream-like, utopian world of Shangri-La, where life is eternal and civilization refined.

"It is the first book to mention Shangri-la."—Annise B., Librarian

The Luster of Lost Things

Sophie Chen Keller
LP Keller

Walter Lavender Jr. is a master of finding. A wearer of high-tops. A maker of croissants. A son keeping vigil, twelve years counting. But he wouldn’t be able to tell you. Silenced by his motor speech disorder, Walter’s life gets lonely. Fortunately, he has The Lavenders—his mother’s enchanted dessert shop, where marzipan dragons breathe actual fire. He also has a knack for tracking down any missing thing--except for his lost father. So when the Book at the root of the bakery’s magic vanishes, Walter, accompanied by his overweight golden retriever, journeys through New York City to find it—along the way encountering an unforgettable cast of lost souls. Steeped in nostalgic wonder, The Luster of Lost Things explores the depths of our capacity for kindness and our ability to heal. A lyrical meditation on why we become lost and how we are found, from the bright, broken heart of a boy who knows where to look for everyone but himself.—

—Jackie L., Senior Information Assistant, VITAL

Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Modern Spirituality

Gary Lachman
921 Blavatsky Lac

Chronicles the life of the cofounder of the Theosophical Society, examining her legacy and the controversy surrounding her.

"Madame Blavatsky (1831-1891) was a Russian occultist, philosopher, author, feminist, and gifted psychic. She was fluent in several languages, traveled worldwide, including Tibet and was/is extremely controversial. The author, Gary Lachman was a bassist for the band Blondie and has authored many metaphysical books. Blavatsky is one of the most fascinating persons I've ever read about. She was very brave and outspoken and I find her life journey very inspiring."—Ruth G., Cataloger

Matter : a Culture novel

Iain Banks
Series: The Culture Series

In a distant-future, highly advanced society of seemingly unlimited technological capability, a crime is committed within a war. For one brother it means a desperate flight, and a search for the one--maybe two--people who could clear his name. For his brother it means a life lived under constant threat of treachery and murder. And for their sister, it means returning to a place she'd thought abandoned forever. Only the sister is not what she once was; Djan Seriy Anaplian has become an agent of the Culture's Special Circumstances section, charged with high-level interference in civilizations throughout the greater galaxy. Concealing her new identity--and her particular set of abilities--might be a dangerous strategy. In the world to which Anaplian returns, nothing is quite as it seems; and determining the appropriate level of interference in someone else's war is never a simple matter.

"This is one of the later books in the Culture Series but a perfect example of good science fiction."—Bill W., C&M

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Tilo, an Indian clairvoyant, becomes queen of the pirates who kidnaped her for her powers, and she gains immortality and the skills of a mistress of spices, which she uses to help mortals before falling in love with Raven—Baker & Taylor

—Jackie L., Senior Information Assistant, VITAL

The Monkey's Raincoat

Robert Crais
Series: Joe Pike

Ellen Lang's husband has disappeared and has taken with him something invaluable: their son. Ellen hires a detective to track them down, but instead of finding the pair, he stumbles upon Ellen's husband's bullet-ridden body. The child is nowhere in sight and the search for answers brings these characters through the manicured lawns of Hollywood and into the territory of the violent drug trade.

"I have read all of his Joe Pike crime and suspense novels."—Susan F., Acquisitions Technician

The Murderer's Ape

Jakob Wegelius
Y Wegeliu

When her best friend, the sailor Henry Koskela, is falsely accused of murder, a gorilla named Sally Jones visits the run-down docks of Lisbon, embarks on a dizzying journey across the seven seas, and calls on the Maharaja of Bhapur's magnificent court—all in an attempt to clear Henry's name.

"I've read this book three times in a row! It is so much fun—like an Indiana Jones sweeping adventure, with a Gorilla as lead character! Main setting is Portugal, not quite 100 years ago—listen to traditional Fado music while reading!"

The Music Lesson

Victor Wooten
781.1 Woo

From Grammy-winning musical icon and legendary bassist Victor L. Wooten comes The Music Lesson, the story of a struggling young musician who wanted music to be his life, and who wanted his life to be great. Then, from nowhere it seemed, a teacher arrived. Part musical genius, part philosopher, part eccentric wise man, the teacher would guide the young musician on a spiritual journey, and teach him that the gifts we get from music mirror those from life, and every movement, phrase, and chord has its own meaning...All you have to do is find the song inside.—Hal Leonard

"Yes, this book inspired me to learn bass. I've been playing piano and guitar for years and now bass plays a significant role in my life. I was able to meet Victor Wooten at a jazz event in Louisville, KY, as well as see him perform at the Buskirk-Chumley. This book is about a character, Michael, who changes Wooten's life through questions, practicing, and important lessons. It can be read in a day and you will not be able to put it down once you start reading it. 10/10—would read again."—Elias M-S., Materials Handler

My Brother's Husband, Vol. 1

Gengoroh Tagame
MANGA Mybroth v. 1 Tagame
Series: My brother's husband

Yaichi is a work-at-home suburban dad in contemporary Tokyo; formerly married to Natsuki, father to their young daughter, Kana. Their lives suddenly change with the arrival at their doorstep of a hulking, affable Canadian named Mike Flanagan, who declares himself the widower of Yaichi's estranged gay twin, Ryoji. Mike is on a quest to explore Ryoji's past, and the family reluctantly but dutifully takes him in. What follows is an unprecedented and heartbreaking look at the state of a largely still-closeted Japanese gay culture: how it's been affected by the West, and how the next generation can change the preconceptions about it and prejudices against it.

"A heartwarming story about love, acceptance, and family."–Lizzy S., Senior Information Assistant

My Favorite Thing is Monsters, Book One

Emil Ferris
Series: My favorite thing is monsters

Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late 1960s Chicago, and narrated by 10-year-old Karen Reyes, Monsters is told through a fictional graphic diary employing the iconography of B-movie horror imagery and pulp monster magazines. As the precocious Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her beautiful and enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, we watch the interconnected and fascinating stories of those around her unfold.

"So many authentic characters and stories intertwine from past and present. The artwork varies from simpler comic to intricate recreations of masterpieces and hits on multiple topics dealing with prejudice."—Laura W., Senior Information Assistant

My Name is Asher Lev

Chaim Potok

Asher Lev is a Ladover Hasid who keeps kosher, prays three times a day and believes in the Ribbono Shel Olom, the Master of the Universe. Asher Lev is an artist who is compulsively driven to render the world he sees and feels, even when it leads him to blasphemy. In this stirring and often visionary novel, Chaim Potok traces Asher’s passage between these two identities, the one consecrated to God, the other subject only to the imagination.

"As a young man, I was particularly excited to read this book about a daring young artist breaking from tradition."—Kevin M., TDC Strategist

Naked Lunch

William S. Burroughs

Bill Lee, an addict and hustler, travels to Mexico and then Tangier in order to find easy access to drugs, and ends up in the Interzone, a bizarre fantasy world, in a commemorative edition that features restored text, archival material, Burroughs's own later introduction to the book, and his essay on psychoactive drugs.—Baker & Taylor\

"Burroughs uses heroin addiction as a metaphor for the way government and corporation control individuals in modern society." Bill W., C&M

Near to the Wild Heart

Clarice Lispector

Near to the Wild Heart, published in Rio de Janeiro in 1943, introduced Brazil to what one writer called “Hurricane Clarice”: a twenty-three-year-old girl who wrote her first book in a tiny rented room and then baptized it with a title taken from Joyce: “He was alone, unheeded, near to the wild heart of life.”The book was an unprecedented sensation — the discovery of a genius. Narrative epiphanies and interior monologue frame the life of Joana, from her middle-class childhood through her unhappy marriage and its dissolution to transcendence, when she proclaims: “I shall arise as strong and comely as a young colt.”—Norton Pub.

"The first of this Brazilian author's novels, it introduces her highly introspective—and sometimes confounding—style to the world. Truly one of a kind."—Ryan S., Selector

The Never Game

Jeffery Deaver

From the bestselling and award-winning master of suspense, the first novel in a thrilling new series, introducing Colter Shaw. A young woman has gone missing in Silicon Valley and her father has hired Colter Shaw to find her. The son of a survivalist family, Shaw is an expert tracker. Now he makes a living as a "reward seeker," traveling the country to help police solve crimes and private citizens locate missing persons. But what seems a simple investigation quickly thrusts him into the dark heart of America's tech hub and the cutthroat billion-dollar video-gaming industry. When another victim is kidnapped, the clues point to one video game with a troubled past—The Whispering Man. In that game, the player has to survive after being abandoned in an inhospitable setting with five random objects. Is a madman bringing the game to life? Shaw finds himself caught in a cat-and-mouse game, risking his own life to save the victims even as he pursues the kidnapper across both Silicon Valley and the dark 'net. Encountering eccentric game designers, trigger-happy gamers and ruthless tech titans, he soon learns that he isn't the only one on the hunt: someone is on his trail and closing fast. The Never Game proves once more why Deaver is a genius when it comes to manipulation and deception.—Associated Press

"The plot involves a devious way to influence voters who like video games and a killer who is obsessed with video games. Takes place in Silicon Valley."—Gary L., Finance

The New Moosewood Cookbook

Mollie Katzen.
641.5636 Kat

Since the original publication of the MOOSEWOOD COOKBOOK in 1977, author Mollie Katzen has been leading the revolution in American eating habits. MOOSEWOOD was listed by the New York Times as one of the top ten best-selling cookbooks of all time, and no wonder. With her sophisticated, easy-to-prepare vegetarian recipes, charming drawings, and hand lettering, Mollie introduced millions to a more healthful, natural way of cooking. This new edition--a companion volume to her latest TV series--preserves the major revisions and additions that Mollie made in 1992, accented with new recipes from Mollie’s current repertoire and 16 pages of beautiful full-color food photography. You’ve seen MOOSEWOOD before, but you’ve never seen it quite like this!

"I found this book when learning to cook. Katzen's down to earth and whimsical approach taught me to treat recipes as flexible guideline instead of rigid requirements."—Bara S., Staff Development Strategist

On A Sunbeam

Tillie Walden
GN Walden On A Sunbeam

In two interwoven timelines, a ragtag crew travels to the deepest reaches of space, rebuilding beautiful, broken structures to piece the past together; and two girls meet in boarding school and fall deeply in love, only to learn the pain of loss.

"Beautiful art and colors portray a 'space story' of navigating love, loss, and identity."—Laura W., Senior Information Assistant


Fran Ross

Oreo, a biracial black girl from Philadelphia, searches for her Jewish father in New York City, navigating the labyrinth of sound studios, brothels, and subway tunnels of Manhattan in a journey of self-discovery."—NoveList

"A daring, bawdy, witty, irreverent, and hilarious treatment of race and sexuality in the 1970s. This novel exudes a lust for life through its author's unique voice and mastery of language."—Ryan S., Selector

Pantheologies: Gods, Worlds, Monsters

Mary-Jane Rubenstein
211.2 Rub

Pantheism is the idea that God and the world are identical―that the creator, sustainer, destroyer, and transformer of all things is the universe itself. From a monotheistic perspective, this notion is irremediably heretical since it suggests divinity might be material, mutable, and multiple. Since the excommunication of Baruch Spinoza, Western thought has therefore demonized what it calls pantheism, accusing it of incoherence, absurdity, and―with striking regularity―monstrosity. In this book, Mary-Jane Rubenstein investigates this perennial repugnance through a conceptual genealogy of pantheisms. What makes pantheism “monstrous”―at once repellent and seductive―is that it scrambles the raced and gendered distinctions that Western philosophy and theology insist on drawing between activity and passivity, spirit and matter, animacy and inanimacy, and creator and created. By rejecting the fundamental difference between God and world, pantheism threatens all the other oppositions that stem from it: light versus darkness, male versus female, and humans versus every other organism. If the panic over pantheism has to do with a fear of crossed boundaries and demolished hierarchies, then the question becomes what a present-day pantheism might disrupt and what it might reconfigure. Cobbling together heterogeneous sources―medieval heresies, their pre- and anti-Socratic forebears, general relativity, quantum mechanics, nonlinear biologies, multiverse and indigenous cosmologies, ecofeminism, animal and vegetal studies, and new and old materialisms―Rubenstein assembles possible pluralist pantheisms. By mobilizing this monstrous mixture of unintentional God-worlds, Pantheologies gives an old heresy the chance to renew our thinking.—

"Astoundingly well-researched and thought-provoking look at off-beat religious philosophy."—Paul D., SIA

Parable of the Sower

Octavia Butler
SF Butler

Set thirty years in the future, a young woman suffering from hyperempathy, to feel others' pain as well as her own, makes a dangerous journey north from Southern California.

"The Earthseed verses are inspiring and different!"—Thax T., Materials Handler

The Pirate Coast

Richard Zacks
973.47 Za

Describes the 1805 secret mission, reluctantly sanctioned by Thomas Jefferson and led by William Eaton, to stop the Barbary pirates of North Africa from hijacking American ships, revealing how a ragtag group of men, aided by a band of European mercenaries, Arab cavalry, and Bedouin warriors, brought down the government of Tripoli.—Baker & Taylor

"Zachs plays out Thomas Jefferson's administration through failed diplomat William Eaton as he navigates the seas to rescue sailors and Marines in 1803. Eaton has to resolve the hostage crisis, he has to manage supplies, communication in a covert operation, sickness, and betrayal. This historical thriller puts you right there. The rabbit holes Zachs takes you down and back with his detailed research is thrilling to lovers of oddball history."—Christine F. Community Librarian

The Raven Boys

Maggie Stiefvater
Y Stiefva
Series: Raven cycle

Though she is from a family of clairvoyants, Blue Sargent's only gift seems to be that she makes other people's talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the expensive Aglionby Academy, she discovers that he has talents of his own—and that together their talents are a dangerous mix.

"This book (as well as the rest of the Raven Cycle) has an incredible, unique tone that perfectly marries poetic prose and silly teen dialogue. This book is a great example of how YA can be really high quality literature!"—Sara, B., Materials Handler

Red Fish, Blue Fish

Dr. Seuss
J-ER Seu

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere" . . . So begins this classic Beginner Book by Dr. Seuss. Beginning with just five fish and continuing into flights of fancy, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish celebrates how much fun imagination can be. From the can-opening Zans to the boxing Gox to the winking Yink who drinks pink ink, the silly rhymes and colorful cast of characters create an entertaining approach to reading that will have every child giggling from morning to night: "Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one."

"It was the first book I read, all by myself."—Jacqueline L., COCU Senior Information Assistant (VITAL)


Dave Itzkoff
791.4392 Williams Itz

From New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff, the definitive biography of Robin Williams - a compelling portrait of one of America's most beloved and misunderstood entertainers. From his rapidfire stand up comedy riffs to his breakout role in Mork & Mindy and his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. He often came across as a man possessed, holding forth on culture and politics while mixing in personal revelations—all with mercurial, tongue-twisting intensity as he inhabited and shed one character after another with lightning speed. But as Dave Itzkoff shows in this revelatory biography, Williams's comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt, which he drew upon in his comedy and in celebrated films like Dead Poets Society; Good Morning, Vietnam; The Fisher King; Aladdin; and Mrs. Doubtfire, where he showcased his limitless gift for improvisation to bring to life a wide range of characters. And in Good Will Hunting he gave an intense and controlled performance that revealed the true range of his talent. Itzkoff also shows how Williams struggled mightily with addiction and depression—topics he discussed openly while performing and during interviews—and with a debilitating condition at the end of his life that affected him in ways his fans never knew. Drawing on more than a hundred original interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as extensive archival research, Robin is a fresh and original look at a man whose work touched so many lives.—Provided by publisher

"This was an entertaining biography of an incredible and unforgettable performer. I grew up watching Robin Williams' movies and TV
antics and found him endearing.

"Recently I watched the documentary “Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind,” which was a nice complement to this book because it showed footage of numerous scenes discussed in the text."—Leanne Z., Administrative Coordinator

Shock Value: A Tasteful Book About Bad Taste

John Waters
791.4392 Waters Wat

John Waters, perhaps America's most successful trash filmmaker, achieved a new ironic sense of public acceptance in 2003 with the runaway success of the Broadway musical Hairspray. He first achieved notoriety with his films, and he's written and directed fifteen, including Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Cry-Baby, and A Dirty Shame. Readers familiar only with Waters's movies may be surprised at just how extraordinary a prose writer he is; he's as gifted a memoirist as he is a filmmaker. Here is a true love letter from a legendary director to his friends, family, and fans.—Jacket

"All of John Waters's book are hilarious and well-written, and they're all worth a look if you wish to cultivate a taste for the outre, but this is the place to start. Besides, how could you not love a book with a chapter titled 'Baltimore, Maryland — Hairdo Capital of the World'?"—Craig C., Senior Materials Handler

The Silmarillion

J.R.R. Tolkien
SF Tolkien
Series: The Lord of the Rings

The tales of The Silmarillion were the underlying inspiration and source of J.R.R. Tolkien's imaginative writing; he worked on the book throughout his life but never brought it to a final form. Long preceding in its origins The Lord of the Rings, it is the story of the First Age of Tolkien's world, the ancient drama to which characters in The Lord of the RIngs look back and in which some of them, such as Elrond and Galadriel, took part.

"This book is the history of Middle-Earth and details the battles, quests, victories, and defeats that shaped this epic world. I love this book because it answered all the questions I had about Middle-Earth and dove deeply into the epic events that shaped this world, when the elves, dwarves, and other peoples of Middle-Earth were at the height of their power, fighting the forces of darkness."—Sam O., Teen Librarian

Simulacra and Simulation

Jean Baudrillard
194 Bau

Simulacra and Simulation is a 1981 philosophical treatise by Jean Baudrillard, in which the author seeks to examine the relationships between reality, symbols, and society, in particular the significations and symbolism of culture and media involved in constructing an understanding of shared existence.Wikipedia

"... it's a useful tool for 21st century life."—Grier C., Access & Content Services Manager

Six Seasons

Joshua McFadden, Martha Holmberg
641.564 Mcf

Joshua McFadden, chef and owner of renowned trattoria Ava Gene’s in Portland, Oregon, is a vegetable whisperer. After years racking up culinary cred at New York City restaurants like Lupa, Momofuku, and Blue Hill, he managed the trailblazing Four Season Farm in coastal Maine, where he developed an appreciation for every part of the plant and learned to coax the best from vegetables at each stage of their lives. In Six Seasons, McFadden channels both farmer and chef, highlighting the evolving attributes of vegetables throughout their growing seasons—an arc from spring to early summer to midsummer to the bursting harvest of late summer, then ebbing into autumn and, finally, the earthy, mellow sweetness of winter. Each chapter begins with recipes featuring raw vegetables at the start of their season. As weeks progress, McFadden turns up the heat—grilling and steaming, then moving on to sautés, pan roasts, braises, and stews. His ingenuity is on display in 225 revelatory recipes that celebrate flavor at its peak.—

"I love to cook! The recipes in this book taught me a new way of thinking about ingredients and how to use those ingredients at their best. Its also taught me a lot about seasoning food. Every dish is simple but has really good flavor!"—Sarah S., Graphic Designer

Slaughterhouse Five

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes 'unstuck in time' after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden. Slaughterhouse-Five is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch-22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it unique poignancy-and humor.

"Billy Pilgrim!"—Steph N., Assistant Manager ACS

The Snow Child

Eowyn Ivey

Alaska, 1920 is a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. They are childless and are drifting apart. He is breaking under the weight of the work of the farm and she is crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone—but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

"I loved the fantasy and magical aspect of this story which made it a thoroughly pleasurable reading experience!"—Leanne Z., Administrative Coordinator

The Snowy Day

Ezra Jack Keats
741.642 Nah

In 1962, Ezra Jack Keats's picture book The Snowy Day introduced readers to young Peter, the first African American protagonist in a full-color children's book, who traipsed alone through the snowy, wondrous sidewalks of New York City. The book was a runaway success, capturing the Caldecott Medal and selling more than two million copies. In The Snowy Day and subsequent books, Keats's awareness of the city, its daily hum, and the role of its children are deeply felt and delicately rendered in words and bright collages and paintings. He made a prominent place for characters and places that had not been represented in children's books, saying about Peter, "My book would have him there simply because he should have been there all along."

"Perfectly paced masterpiece about the universal childhood love and awe for a snowy day. It's over 50 years old but the illustrations and story are as fresh as a newly rolled snowball."—Dana D., Librarian

Spoon River Anthology

Edgar Lee Masters
811.52 Mas

The dead arise from their sleep in the cemetery of a small Midwestern town to tell their individual stories about an entire community caught in a web of scandal, sin, and vice in the early twentieth century.

"Every time I read Spoon River it gives me goosebumps. The poems weave together to paint a picture of the town, cross-referencing each other and contradicting each other and providing different perspectives on the same events. Masters does a fantastic job of creating distinct characters in just a few lines."—Lily J., Information Assistant

The Stardust Road

Hoagy Carmicheal
780.92 Carmichael Car

Composer, singer, lyricist, and actor Hoagy Carmichael (1899–1981) was one of America's most versatile songwriters, crossing the boundaries of jazz, Tin Pan Alley, blues, and film.—Perseus Publishing

"Anyone who loves Bloomington will delight in Hoagy's description of life here in the 1920s."—Bill W., Web Support

Station Eleven

Emily St. John Manvel
SF Mandel

An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame, and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, from the author of three highly acclaimed previous novels. One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor's early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.—Provided by publisher.

"Extremely well-written book about early post-apocalyptic period that is easy to read and understandable to all ages from teenagers on up. There is a key quote from Star Trek: Voyager series, along the lines of, 'Survival is not enough.' This is the book I sent my kids off to college with."—Jane W., El Centro Comunal Latino

The Story of Ferdinand

Munro Leaf
Ej Ung

Ferdinand likes to sit quietly and smell the flowers, but one day he gets stung by a bee and his snorting and stomping convince everyone that he is the fiercest of bulls.

"Ferdinand was my first book love. I read and reread it countless times. The illustrations are perfect and Ferdinand is wonderfully relatable."—Kim B., Children and Teen Librarian


Cormac McCarthy

Suttree is the story of Cornelius Suttree, who has forsaken a life of privilege with his prominent family to live in a dilapidated houseboat on the Tennessee River near Knoxville. Remaining on the margins of the outcast community there—a brilliantly imagined collection of eccentrics, criminals, and squatters—he rises above the physical and human squalor with detachment, humor, and dignity.—Blackwell North Amer.

"It masterfully blends the picaresque works of Nelson Algren and the modernist, almost experimental interiority of William Faulkner into one extraordinary, harrowing character study. In spite of its grotesqueries, gallows humor, and often-tragic episodes, I find it the most life-affirming work of fiction I have ever read!"—Nile A., Master Control Operator

Taproot : a story about a gardener and a ghost

Keezy Young

Blue is having a hard time moving on. He's in love with his best friend. He's also dead. Luckily, Hamal can see ghosts, leaving Blue free to haunt him to his heart's content. But something eerie is happening in town, leaving the local afterlife unsettled, and when Blue realizes Hamal's strange ability may be putting him in danger, Blue has to find a way to protect him, even if it means...leaving him.

"This graphic novel is beautifully illustrated and tells the sweet tale of friendship and love between a ghost and a gardener."—Lizzy S., Senior Information Assistant

Three Things About Elsie

Joanna Cannon

A novel set in England about eighty-four-year-old Florence, a resident in a nursing home, who has fallen in her apartment, leading her to think about her childhood friend and the secrets of their past that are about to come to light.—Provided by publisher

"This novel is endearing, darkly humorous, and suspenseful. I really enjoyed getting to know the main character while following her journey as an amateur detective and best friend."—Katelynn D., Senior Information Assistant

Through a Life

Tom Haugomat
GN Haugoma Through A Life

This powerfully silent graphic novel follows the saga of a boy who grows up to be an astronaut, just like he always wanted, until a fatal space shuttle crash upends his life, and he begins to find solace in beauty here on earth. Told through a series of poignant vignettes, Through A Life is a sweeping story of dreams, expectations, nature, and loss. Rodney spends his life looking through.—

"A lovely graphic novel that conveys its story and emotion without dialogue. It follows one person's lifelong aspirations to reach far beyond their immediate surroundings. Dreamers and curious minds will find a little bit of themselves in this book's protagonist. A quick read to be filed under 'mono no aware.'"—Foster G., Senior Information Assistant

The Time Traveler's Wife

Audrey Niffenegger

A most untraditional love story, this is the celebrated tale of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who inadvertently travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare's passionate affair endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap that tests the strength of fate and basks in the bonds of love"—Provided by publisher.

"The story of a librarian as he explores love, loss, and relationships while time traveling through his own life. It is simultaneously funny, original, unpredictable, and devastating."—Mandy H., Communications & Marketing Manager

Understanding Comics: the Invisible Art

Scott McCloud
GN 741.51 Mcc

Praised throughout the cartoon industry by such luminaries as Art Spiegelman, Matt Groening, and Will Eisner, Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics is a seminal examination of comics art: its rich history, surprising technical components, and major cultural significance. Explore the secret world between the panels, through the lines, and within the hidden symbols of a powerful but misunderstood art form.—HARPERCOLL

"I've been reading, studying, and making comics since I was a child and every time I return to this work I learn something new or discover a new way to think about something I thought already knew. This book is a must for anyone interested in understanding more about comics and how they work."—Kim B., Community Engagement Librarian

Vanity fair : a novel without a hero

William Makepeace Thackeray

Chronicles the exploits of Becky Sharp, an unscrupulous young woman who is determined to achieve wealth and social success, and her sentimental companion, Amelia, who has fallen for a caddish soldier, in the classic novel set against the backdrop of English society in the early 1800s.—Baker & Taylor

"It is, as they say, a book without a hero. Set in England in the run-up to the Battle of Waterloo, it is the story of 2 girls, one who seems to have everything handed to her, and her best frenemy, who wants what her friend has and doesn't care how she gets it. I particularly love that one chapter is entitled: 'How to Live Well on Nothing a Year.' The book has all of life in it."—Mike B.

Warrior of the Wild

Tricia Levenseller
Y Levense

How do you kill a god? As her father's chosen heir, Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness. To win back her honor, Rasmira must fulfill an impossible quest: kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year... or die trying.—adapted from jacket

"Well done standalone fantasy novels are what I live for and Levenseller did such an amazing job with the world building. She was able to take something familiar (Vikings) and use that basis of knowledge to build off of to craft a semi-frightening fantasy world. The monsters our main cast of characters faced were so scary and mythical, I would not want to be in their shoes for a moment!"—Lizzy S., Senior Information Assistant


Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

This stunning graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of superheroes plagued by all too human failings. The concept of the super hero is dissected and inverted as strangely realistic characters are stalked by an unknown assassin. Originally published as a 12 issue series in 1986 and 1987, WATCHMEN remains one of DC Comics' most popular graphic novels.

"As basic as it may seem to describe Watchmen as the book that opened my eyes to the possibilities of the comic form, it is definitely that. With its intertwined narratives, colorful characters, and hard-edged story, it's a work that rewards multiple, close readings."—Craig C., Senior Materials Handler

Wild Beauty

Anna-Marie McLemore
Y Mclemor

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, hiding a terrible legacy, until mysterious Fel arrives and Estrella helps him explore his dangerous past.

—Jackie L., Senior Information Assistant, VITAL


Julie Garwood

A beautiful computer hacker and a bad-boy FBI agent must collaborate—in more ways than one—in the sizzling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood. Allison Trent doesn't look like a hacker. In fact, when she's not in college working on her degree, she models on the side. But behind her gorgeous face is a brilliant mind for computers and her real love is writing—and hacking—code. Her dream is to write a new security program that could revolutionize the tech industry. Hotshot FBI agent Liam Scott has a problem: a leak deep within his own department. He needs the skills of a top-notch hacker to work on a highly sensitive project: to secretly break into the FBI servers and find out who the traitor is. But he can't use one of his own. He finds the perfect candidate in Allison. Only, there's one problem—she wants nothing to do with his job and turns him down flat. What Liam doesn't know is that Allison is hiding secrets that she doesn't want the FBI to uncover. But Liam will do nearly anything to persuade her to join his team, even break a few rules if that's what it takes. A temptation that could put his job—and both of their futures—on the line.—Provided by publisher.

"Actually I love all of her books. She once said that she wanted her readers to laugh and cry and to fall in love. Her books are full of family, loyalty, honor. Throw in humor and suspense and some historical or modern times...and you have an adventure. Wired is a good read if you enjoy all above mentioned."—Brenda S., Admin. Office Assist.

Wolf Hall

Hilary Mantel

"This title is a new take on the story of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Told from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, the king's chief minister, who rose through his intelligence and grit from a common birth to become one of the most powerful men of his time. Cromwell's humor and outsider's status provides a fascinating look at court life, the people who surround the king, and the king and his mistress. Mantel's depiction of Cromwell's wit and insight creates a new spin to an old story."—Elizabeth G., Adult Audience Strategist

The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins

Still unsurpassed as a masterpiece of narrative drive and excruciating suspense, The Woman in White is also famous for introducing, in the figure of Count Fosco, the prototype of the suave, sophisticated evil genius. The first detective novel ever written, it has remained, since its publication in 1860, the most admired example of the genre.

"An absolute classic, featuring among its characters the only heroine in all of literature to have a mustache. A chance encounter with the titular woman leads 3 friends into a dangerous plot to defraud one of them of her inheritance. So good. A forerunner of the whole 'thriller' genre."—Mike B.

The Word Is Murder

Anthony Horowitz
MYS Horowit

"One bright day a woman walks into the local funeral parlor and plans her own funeral. She has a list of requirements and pays with her credit card. Six hours later she is dead, someone strangled the life out of her. This was such a highly original and clever read, I honestly can’t recall a book that I’ve read that even comes close to it, it blurs the lines between fact and fiction in the coolest way. Horowitz is actually a character himself in the story and solely narrates things, it was a straightforward, good old fashioned murder mystery while also implementing a fresh, unusual tactic that I enjoyed immensely."—Leanne Z., Administrative Coordinator