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

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Cinnamon and Gunpowder: A Novel
Eli Brown

“In 1819, kidnapped chef Owen Wedgwood transforms meager shipboard supplies into sumptuous meals at the behest of his kidnapper, pirate queen Mad Hannah Mabbot, while she pushes her exhausted crew to track down a deadly privateer.  Perfect summer book!  So funny!”—Shaunna at KDL’s Grandville branch


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The Day the Crayons Quit
Drew Daywalt

E DAYWALT

“Have you ever wondered what the crayons in your crayon box might be thinking? Well, now you can find out. I’ll give you a hint—red crayon is EXHAUSTED!”—Katy at KDL’s Richard L. Root Kentwood branch


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The Language of Flowers: A Novel
Vanessa Diffenbaugh

“I just read The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  It was wonderful!  It is the story of a “Victoria, an eighteen year old just leaving the foster care system. The only way she knows how to express her feelings is through the different meanings of flowers.  The story  flashes from her current life to her life as a young girl in foster care.  It is a very compelling read.  I couldn’t put it down.”—Michelle at KDL’s Walker branch


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We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Karen Joy Fowler

“This story of a family’s adjustment to life without the chimpanzee who was raised as a family member for many years will linger with the reader for a long time. Recent headlines such as the notice that the National Institute of Health is planning to stop using chimps for medical research take on new significance after reading this novel.”—Helen Kay at KDL’s Spencer Township branch


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Queen of the Air: A True Story of Love and Tragedy at the Circus
Dean N. Jensen

BIOGRAPHY LEITZEL

“A biography about the most famous person you’ve never heard of: Lillian Leitzel. She was seen by more people than the president and was the highest paid circus performer of all time. A good look into the ‘behind the scenes’ of the circus.”—Barb at KDL’s Richard L. Root Kentwood branch


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American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms
Chris Kyle,William Doyle

HISTORY MILITARY WEAPONS KYL

“Really interesting facts about history I did not know Lincoln target practicing with the troops. An attempt on the life of Truman. Great stuff!”—Mary at KDL’s Englehardt branch
 


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God's Other Children: Personal Encounters with Faith, Love, and Holiness in Sacred India
Bradley Malkovsky

RELIGION MAL

“A Catholic theologian travels to India to study Hinduism, falls in love with a muslim woman and marries her. Highly recommend this well written, non-preachy book because Malkovsky’s spiritual journey allows him to see, experience and understand how people of all faiths experience God. Broadening our horizons and being able to imbibe valuable information to help us see the good in all religions is the take away message.”—Seema at KDL’s Richard L. Root Kentwood branch


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The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, A Novel
David Mitchell

“It takes place in the 1700’s when free access of Westerners  to Japan is forbidden.  The main character is a Dutchman working for a trading company located on an artificial island in Nagasaki harbor.  This story is mainly about the difference in culture between the Europeans and Japanese; what is allowed, what isn’t and how to live several years on a small island under these constraints.  That may not be a thrilling description, but it was a book that pulled you in to Jacob’s life.  I listened to this one and the good part about listening was hearing the correct pronunciation of not just the Japanese words, but also the Dutch ones.”—Sandy at KDL’s Alto branch


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Stealing Mona Lisa: A Mystery
Carson Morton

MYS MORTON

“It’s great fun to read about history and places you love (or travel to).  This is an easy-reading mystery with a detailed plot, dependent on strong characters.  Oh, yes and the artist Picasso makes an appearance.”—Michelle at KDL’s Service Center


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The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
Susin Nielsen

TEEN NIELSEN-FERNLUND

“This was a fast paced book that really ranged between making you laugh and then cry.  It is also one of the top ten books from MI thumbs up!”—Beth at KDL’s Gaines Township branch


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After Eli
Rebecca Rupp

TEEN RUPP

“Though the narrator is a younger teen, the journey he takes resonated with me as an adult.  Danny’s older brother has died overseas while serving in the military, and now he and his parents are each coping in their own ways, for better or worse.  Funny and touching, this book explores Danny’s process of getting back into the present, and finding what it means to truly live again.”—Liz at KDL’s Plainfield Township branch


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Tenth of December: Stories
George Saunders

“I recently read satirist/humorist George Saunders’ Tenth of December, a stellar collection of short stories, and was so blown away I made my husband read the first one while I looked over his shoulder and did a literary happy dance in the kitchen. This weekend I finished Saunders’ The Braindead Megaphone, a collection of essays, and the happy dance commenced once again. I know he has been around a while, but I feel as though I have discovered a new writer. Truly an original.”—Morgan at KDL’s Service Center


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Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: The Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter
Lisa Scottoline,Francesca Serritella

RELATION FAMILY 818.5402 SCO

“Bestselling author and daughter tell short stories about their relationship.  Read by the authors and includes a bonus interview.  Laugh out loud funny!”—Mary at KDL’s Grandville branch


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Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History
Art Spiegelman

GRAPHIC TEEN MAUS

“This is a unique book in so many ways. Although it is written as a comic book, it transcends that genre. Art Spiegelman’s use of this art form is very effective. He brings out the fear and horror of the holocaust as he portrays his main characters – the Jews in Poland – as mice (the Nazis are cats, the gentile Poles are Pigs, and Americans are dogs). Art’s parents, Vladek and Anja, spend most of their time running and hiding, only to be finally caught and sent to Auschwitz. If any book could make me cry, it was this one. Art also explores his relationship with his father, as an adult living in New York. This, too, is full of sorrow. Here is one book that will stay with you long after you’ve read it.”—Cathy at KDL’s Richard L. Root Kentwood branch


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The Doll: A Novel (Vanessa Michael Munroe)
Taylor Stevens

“Kidnapped by a human trafficking ring that demands that she help transport a high-profile starlet or risk the murder of her best friend, maverick information specialist Vanessa Michael Munroe is plunged into a harrowing underground world under the brutal control of a shadowy overlord.  This is my new favorite series.”—Shaunna at KDL’s Grandville branch


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The House I Live In
SOCSCI DVD HOU

“I highly recommend this fascinating documentary about the failed War on Drugs. Director Eugene Jarecki explores the personal effects and the larger social costs of this important subject.”—Trevor at KDL’s Richard L. Root Kentwood branch


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Lark Rise to Candleford: The Complete Season One
TV DVD L / NR

“My recommendation is the dvd British series Lark Rise To Candleford, set in the 1890’s.  It follows the residents of rural Lark Rise (which includes Brendan Coyle—“Mr. Bates” of Downton Abbey) and the small town of Candleford (including Julia Sawalha—“Saffy” in Absolutely Fabulous) and others that work in the post office.  It is a charming series—a great fix for those who can’t wait for the next season of Downton.”—Barb at KDL’s East Grand Rapids branch


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