Staff Picks
Stay in touch with the personal favorites of the KDL Staff. Each title is handpicked.

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Life After Life: A Novel
Kate Atkinson

“The new Kate Atkinson is bewildering, beguiling, and heartbreaking—over and over again. Loved it.”
—Melissa at KDL’s Service Center


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The White Bicycle
Beverley Brenna

TEEN BRENNA

“This last book in a trilogy for teens can stand on its own as an excellent story of the struggle for independence by a 19 year old girl with Asperger’s Syndrome. Taylor realizes that her literal thinking and her need for conscious mechanisms to prevent emotions from overwhelming her set her apart from many people, but her study of existentialism and her memories of how she has grown over the years give her the necessary strength to step into responsible adulthood in this insightful story.”
—Helen Kay at KDL’s Spencer Township branch


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Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
Susannah Cahalan

BIOGRAPHY CAHALAN

An account of the author’s struggle with a rare brain-attacking autoimmune disease traces how she woke up in a hospital room with no memory of baffling psychotic symptoms, describing the last-minute intervention by a doctor who identified the source of her illness.

Recommended by Yuko at KDL’s Service Center


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The Bartender's Tale
Ivan Doig

Running a venerable bar in 1960 Montana while raising his twelve-year-old son, single father Tom Harry finds his world upended by the arrival of a woman from his past and her beatnik daughter, who claims Tom as her father.

Recommended by Cathy at KDL’s Gaines Township branch


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Bebe Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting
Pamela Druckerman

PARENT DRU

“Condensed version of her book on same topic called Bringing Up BeBe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.”
—Karen at KDL’s Plainfield Township branch


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Arcadia
Lauren Groff

Arcadia by Lauren Groff. “This was one of those “rabbit hole” novels for me, where I felt as though I was so fully engrossed the entire way through I had to force myself to read only a limited number of pages at each sitting. It’s a novel about a group of people trying to build a utopian community in New York state in the 1970s (and stretches to the present-day future!). Evocative of T.C. Boyle’s Drop City (another literary rabbit hole for me), I loved that the protagonist in Groff’s novel is a child.”
—Morgan at KDL’s Service Center


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Deckhand: Life on Freighters of the Great Lakes
Nelson Haydamacker,Alan D. Millar

TRANSPOR BOATS HAY

“A personal account of a man in the early 1960’s who signed on as a deckhand with the great lakes freighters. His narration of the day-to-day work provides a glimpse into the life of a great lakes sailor. If you’ve ever watched a ship go by and wondered what the crew is up to, this book is for you.”
—Brian at KDL’s Service Center


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The Walking Dead: Compendium One
Robert Kirkman

GRAPHIC WALKING

“This is a must read for anyone who loves the TV show or zombies. This is the story of a small group of survivors after the zombie apocalypse.
The book is different enough from the TV show that it still has some good twists and turns for those who have only seen the show.”
—Jim at KDL’s Kentwood branch


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Open This Little Book
Jesse Klausmeier

E KLAUSMEIER

“There is a great new children’s book illustrated by the wonderful Suzy Lee. It’s called Open This Little Book and involves each character opening a book to read about another character-the wonderful part about it is its form. The pages reflect the opening of each of the “books” with the pages getting smaller at first as the reader opens each book and then larger as the reader shuts each book. It’s a great example of book art and metafiction that is also really fun to see a child experience! I’m not describing it very well, but it is quite fun.”
—Dawn at KDL’s Gaines Township branch


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Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses
Bess Lovejoy

SOCSCI DEATH LOV

“Try not to let the title creep you out, this book offers a very intriguing and fascinating look at what happened to some of the most famous men and women in history after they passed on. Lord Byron, Grigori Rasputin, and Elvis Presley are just a few of the big names who have their afterlife explored. Some of the descriptions are a little stomach turning but the stories reflect cultural attitudes on death and how we treat our dead. I definitely recommend this unusual book.”
—Emmy at KDL’s Tyrone Township branch


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Our Occulted History: Do the Global Elite Conceal Ancient Aliens?
Jim Marrs

SPIRIT PARA MAR

“Do you in enjoy the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens show? Like listening to Alex Jones infoWars? Then you will love Our occulted history : do the global elite conceal ancient aliens? By Jim Marrs. Which combines both of these ideas.”
—Craig at KDL’s Cascade Township branch


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Jack 1939
Francine Mathews

“I have really enjoyed reading fiction based on real people lately because I learn new things about them (that hopefully are true). This one features Jack Kennedy (yes, John F Kennedy) and his family along with FDR.”
—Michelle at KDL’s Service Center


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Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend
Susan Orlean

PETS DOGS 636.737 ORL

“Orlean details Rin Tin Tin’s journey from the humblest of beginnings as an orphaned puppy rescued from a World War I battlefield through to his life of international stardom. I can’t imagine anyone not liking this. It’s lovely.”
—Mark at KDL’s Krause Memorial branch


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Dogs on Duty: Soldiers' Best Friends on the Battlefield and Beyond
Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

PETS DOGS JNF PAT

“Wow! I was amazed by the canine stars of this book! Patent discusses the many jobs dogs have had in the military, from years past and in present day. Colorful photographs follow puppies just beginning their training, dogs on the battlefield, and the life of doggy retirement. I highly recommend this to dog-lovers, history buffs, or those interested in the military.”
—Liz at KDL’s Plainfield Township branch


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Cinders & Sapphires (At Somerton)
Leila Rasheed

HIST TEEN RASHEED

“Great pick for “Downton Abbey” fans, complete with family secrets, scheming servants, and an upper-class daughter who shocks her family by wanting to go to Oxford rather than accept an advantageous marriage.”
—Sheri at KDL’s Service Center


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In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel
Vaddey Ratner

”...Wonderful …historical fiction….It’s about Cambodia…and… the time in history when the Khmer Rouge…ruled most of Laos and Cambodia…a wealthy family has to endure the pain of leaving all that they know… and live in squalor…very heartfelt… they are separated from one another..and have to survive unspeakable conditions…and… how they rise above evil…its narrated from a girls point of view…what us humans perpetrate on each other..is way beyond my limited intelligence.”
—Tami at KDL’s Sand Lake branch


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The Emperor's Soul
Brandon Sanderson

SF SANDERSON

“A master of magical Forgery faces her greatest challenge, and if she isn’t killed for failure, she might be for success. I’d recommend this novella to anybody who (a) likes character-driven fantasy, and/or (b) is interested in Brandon Sanderson’s other adult works, but doesn’t have the time, or inclination (and/or wrist strength) to attempt reading a book big enough to press flowers in. It’s set in the same world as Sanderson’s earlier novel Elantris, but shares no common characters and no knowledge of the prior work is needed. Addendum: The emperor’s soul has been nominated for the “best novella” Hugo Award.”
—Rachel at KDL’s Service Center


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Cleopatra: A Life
Stacy Schiff

BIOGRAPHY CLEOPATRA

“Last Queen of ancient Egypt, to this day, Cleopatra proves to be one of the most important and controversial figures in ancient history. Married to both of her brothers, the first of which she defeated in a civil war before ordering the second’s murder, Cleopatra would also have affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony and nearly tear the Roman Empire in two. However, author Stacy Schiff believes history has given Cleopatra a bad rap and sets out to tell Egyptian queen’s true story in exquisite detail—(did you know that in the list of all-time wealthiest people, Cleopatra would place 6th!) I thoroughly enjoyed this book—I read the CD audio version, which also has a bonus disc with a pdf of historical documents.”
—Laura at KDL’s Plainfield Township branch


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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Marvel Classics)
Eric Shanower,L. Frank Baum

GRAPHIC J OZ

“I love this graphic novelization of the Oz series. Start with The wonderful Wizard of Oz and fall in love with the story all over again. Writer Eric Shanower stays true to the original language while punching up the action. Artist Skottie Young’s Oz is both kinetic and quirky. So much fun.”
—Trevor at KDL’s Kentwood branch


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Restless in the Grave (Kate Shugak Mysteries)
Dana Stabenow

MYS STABENOW

“Dana Stabenow has blended her Kate Shugak and Liam Campbell series together in Restless in The Grave.
Murder, money and Mutt x 2. That’s DOUBLE the fun folks!”
—Betsy at KDL’s Caledonia Township branch


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The Beginner's Goodbye
Anne Tyler

“It is a bittersweet, lighthearted take on love, marriage, siblings, relationships, grief. Aaron, the main character loses his wife Dorothy and moves in with his sister. He conjures up Dorothy’s ghostly visits to understand and deal with his life.”
—Seema at KDL’s Kentwood branch


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Code Name Verity (Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards))
Elizabeth Wein

HIST TEEN WEIN

CODE NAME VERITY!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really cannot make that capitalized enough to stress how amazing it was. It’s hands-down the best book I’ve read this year, even though it made me cry like a big angry baby. It’s unfortunate that I am completely unable to explain the plot without giving away super important details that must remain a secret until you actually read the book yourself. Um. So… yes. Read Code Name Verity. That is all.”
—Monica at KDL’s Wyoming branch


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Wash
Margaret Wrinkle

Wash by Margaret Wrinkle is a powerful novel unlike any I’ve ever read.”
—Shaunna at KDL’s Grandville branch


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El Topo
FOR DVD T / NR

“My choice for the April Staff Picks is the movie, Alexandro Jodorowsky’s “El Topo”. Never did I think KDL would gain access to this midnight movie staple, but sure enough we received circulation copies, and I finally buckled in to watch. I can’t call this a simple Western film, since it contains a lot of religious allegory, and other subversive themes, but it is genuinely a work of art. Not for the fair of heart, but rewarding to those that like their cinema challenging.”
—Michael at KDL’s Service Center


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