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

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Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid
Jessica Alexander

BIOGRAPHY ALEXANDER

Alexander writes a frank memoir about the past decade she’s spent working in humanitarian aid from refugee camps in Rwanda, Darfur, and Sierra Leone to disaster relief in Haiti and Indonesia. This is an enlightening account of what life is really like in the trenches of aid work and a glimpse into the tragedies and resiliency of displaced people across the globe.
—Melissa at KDL’s Service Center


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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Holly Black

HORROR TEEN BLACK

Here we all thought the teen vampire book craze was over. Not according to author Holly Black! I recently read her latest, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I loved how thoroughly she created the “world” of this book. I could totally picture it in my mind. Tana, the main character, is brave and strong, and the vampires are (except for one) so not boyfriend material. Scary!
—Kris at KDL’s Comstock Park branch


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VIII
H. M. Castor

HIST TEEN CASTOR

This gives an interesting twist on the life of Henry the 8th, it focuses on his younger life and the environment he was brought up it, to help explain his personality. At a young age he over hears a prophecy that he believes is about him, it states that he will be a golden king whose name will live on down the ages, that he is chosen by god. He truly believes that he is chosen by god when his older brother dies making him heir to the throne. He then lives his life as he sees fit and as thought every action is either a test from god or a temptation from the devil. Well worth a read and it will help you understand the lineage of the Tudors and the War of the Roses.
—Craig at KDL’s Cascade Township branch


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All Fudged Up (Candy-Coated Mysteries)
Nancy Coco

MYS PB COCO

I am reading All Fudged Up by Nancy Coco; aka mystery and romance author, Nancy Parra. It takes place on Mackinac Island and is an interesting cozy mystery for us Michigan readers. Lovers of Mackinac Island or fudge will enjoy the setting and fudge recipes!
—Barb at KDL’s Byron Township branch


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Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?
Billy Crystal

BIOGRAPHY CRYSTAL

I Listened to Billy Crystal read his own memoir – Still Foolin’ ‘Em, and laughed out loud several times. He is exactly as he appears: a nice, funny man. I am not usually a reader of Hollywood biographies, and liked that he didn’t trash anyone, nor did he kiss and tell. Major points for saying nothing but nice things about his one and only wife that he met and married before he got famous. Not a deep read. I recommend a listen.
—Penni at KDL’s Service Center


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Tea Party Rules
Ame Dyckman

E DYCKMAN

Fun to read aloud with fabulous illustrations, this book shows just how many rules one little bear will follow for a plate of cookies. If you have ever dressed up a pet (or younger sibling) in dolly clothes, this book is for you.
—Liz at KDL’s Plainfield Township branch


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The Gods of Gotham
Lyndsay Faye

MYS FAYE

Introducing the engaging young hero of a new mystery series: Timothy Wilde is a newly minted Copper Star – a member of the first police department in New York City. The year is 1945, when the influx of Irish immigrants fleeing the potato famine sets the city on “boil.” Timothy’s beat includes the infamous Manhattan slum known as the Five Points.

Recommended by Maggie at KDL’s Plainfield Township branch


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The Last Dragonslayer: The Chronicles of Kazam, Book 1
Jasper Fforde

SF TEEN FFORD

Jennifer Strange, almost 16 years old, runs an employment agency for wizards during a rather hard time in the Ununited Kingdoms when she finds herself thrust into the role of the slayer of the last dragon in the Dragonlands. If you enjoyed the whimsical magic found in Harry Potter, combined with a winsome and wholesome female heroine, you will love Fforde’s tale (and if you listen on CD as I did, you will be doubly delighted by the reader’s interpretation of the many characters). This is the first of a series.
—Helen Kay at KDL’s Spencer Township branch


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Sycamore Row
John Grisham

Set in rural Mississippi, an old, rich man named Seth Hubbard dies, leaving most of his estate to his maid, Lettie Lang. Hubbard’s family disputes the will and the drama and lawsuits that follow are captured really well in Grisham’s storytelling. Difficult to put the book down once you start reading.
—Seema at KDL’s Kentwood (Richard L. Root) branch


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The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family
Josh Hanagarne

BIOGRAPHY HANAGARNE

I “read” the audiobook, with the author’s own narration explaining what it’s like to live with Tourette’s syndrome. After his condition was identified in high school, he attempted different treatments and found outlets in basketball and the guitar, even weight lifting—using this physical activity as a way to control his condition. Josh went on to finish college, earn a degree in library science, and work in a public library. He married and became a father….and is seeing his greatest fear—his son is showing signs of Tourette’s too.
—Laura at KDL’s Plainfield Township branch


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Watchmen
Alan Moore

GRAPHIC WATCHMEN

I highly recommend this graphic novel to anyone who has any interest in superheroes! It is gritty and realistic (as realistic as a superhero comic book can get) and is full of twists and turns that I never saw coming. And the literature pieces between each comic book chapter bring new life and insight to the comic parts of the book, making it more of a real world. This does have very mature themes, so if you can’t handle that I wouldn’t say that this is for you. However, if you can handle that, read this. It will blow your mind.
—Sarah at KDL’s Wyoming branch


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A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France
Caroline Moorehead

HISTORY MILITARY WW2 940.5308 MOO

Definitely not a book that will brighten up your day, this true story of the women who fought injustice and fascism and who were arrested by the Nazis and sent to concentration camps in eastern Europe needed to be told. Many of those who survived the war returned to lives irreparably broken. Moorehead does not spare the reader any of the awful details of the experience, but she does convey an understanding of what can happen when people are caught up in history.
—Mark at KDL’s Krause Memorial branch


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The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
Susin Nielsen

TEEN NIELSEN-FERNLUND

My pick is a Teen Read: it actually won a Thumbs Up! Award – The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen, written by Susin Nielsen-Fernlund. The story of Henry, whose brother, who had been bullied in school, comes to school one day with a gun and shoots his aggravator, then turns the gun on himself. Henry and his father move away from the town where the incident happened, while his mother tries to recuperate in a mental institution. This is one incredible story that you won’t forget.
—Robin at KDL’s Spencer Township branch


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The Potty Mouth at the Table
Laurie Notaro

HUMOR NOT

A wonderfully funny read, this compilation of the author’s life stories are an absolute riot! She has such an amazing sense of humor and I couldn’t get enough of her hilarious views on things like Pinterest or people who use the word “mouth-feel” to describe food. She really gives David Sedaris a run for his money!
—Emmy at KDL’s Cascade Township branch


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Between Friends
Amos Oz

A collection of short stories that explore the uncertain relationship between men and women, parents and kids, friends and enemies
—Rubén at KDL’s East Grand Rapids branch


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Cat Girl's Day Off
Kimberly Pauley

TEEN PAULEY

This was a fun read about a girl whose talent is being able to understand cats. She hears a cat on a video claim that her famous “owner” is an imposter. So Natalie is drawn into helping the cat by her friends and helps uncover the truth.
—Beth at KDL’s Gaines Township branch


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Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space
Philip Reeve

SF J REEVE

This story follows siblings Arthur and Myrtle as they flee their spaceship home after it’s attacked by giant white spiders. In this version of Victorian England, 1850, space travel is common, and the solar system is full of interesting life forms. Art and Myrtle team up with the space pirate Jack Havock to defeat the spiders and their plot to dominate the galaxy. Full of brilliant imagery and British dry humor, this is a fantastic read for all ages.

Recommended by Kelly at KDL’s Cascade Township branch


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Eleanor & Park
Rainbow Rowell

TEEN ROWELL

This is a heartfelt, coming-of-age story set in the 1980’s about two social misfits who find love in each other, but realize that first loves rarely last. While this seems like a run-of-the-mill teen love story, Eleanor deals with bullying and a bad home life, while Park tries to be of support, though he has to come to terms with the idea that sometimes you can only be the shoulder to cry on rather than the knight. Rainbow Rowell recently released Fangirl and is quickly becoming popular amongst Sarah Dessen and Stephanie Perkins fans.

Recommended by Emily at KDL’s Cascade Township branch


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The Promise of Stardust
Priscille Sibley

A stunning debut from Sibley introduces us to Matt and Elle, childhood friends, and long time married couple who have faced almost everything in life together, good or bad, they have always had love and friendship. Lately multiple miscarriages have devastated them and Elle being at a point in her life of wanting a family, can only think about having a baby no matter the risk. Matt on the other hand wants kids but does not want Elle to put her life in danger, so trying again for the 5th time is out of the question. Before the two can even disagree about it, Elle has a tragic freak accident and sustains massive head trauma putting her in a vegetative state hooked up to life support. Matt has no intention of keeping Elle alive and knows it’s time to say goodbye to his wife, but when he receives the news that Elle is eight weeks pregnant everything changes in an instant.

Heartbreaking and grueling issues face Matt’s journey and the time spent going through Elle’s journals rekindle the beginnings of their relationship and takes the reader on an amazing love story.

Recommended by Tina at KDL’s Grandville branch


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The Abominable
Dan Simmons

HORROR SIMMONS

It’s 1924 and the race to summit the world’s highest mountain has been brought to a terrified pause by the shocking disappearance of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine high on the shoulder of Mt. Everest. By the following year, three climbers find a way to take their shot at the top. Deep in Tibet and high on Everest, the climbers find themselves being pursued through the night by someone or something. As they fight their way to the top of the world, the friends uncover a secret far more abominable than any mythical creature could ever be.

Recommended byShaunna at KDL’s Grandville branch


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The Perfume Collector: A Novel
Kathleen Tessaro

Read what happens when Grace discovered she has inherited a fortune from an unknown woman. This post-WWII novel is set in Paris and England. The intriguing story has so many implications from who the wealthy benefactress is and why Grace inherits the fortune continuing on to questions of what Grace will do and how her life will change now that she is independently wealthy.
—Michelle at KDL’s Service Center


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Yukon Ho!
Bill Watterson

COMICS TEEN WAT

It’s become a tradition at my house to read some Calvin and Hobbes when flu season comes around. Coughing weezing laughter from a bedroom is a sign of someone recovering properly.
—Ken at KDL’s Service Center


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Longmire: The Complete First Season
TV DVD LON / NR

Based on the Longmire mystery novels by Craig Johnson, this A&E television show offers a contemporary twist on the strong, solitary and troubled western sheriff story. Great cast, enjoyable storylines, and amazing scenery make this a winner.
—Vanessa at KDL’s East Grand Rapids branch


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Stories We Tell
SOCSCI DVD STO / PG-13

This moving documentary is as much a film about uncovering this family’s secrets as an exploration of what family, truth and storytelling all really mean.
—Meridith at KDL’s Byron Township branch


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