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Staff Picks

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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming
“I’ve been on a David Tennant as narrator kick recently, including the entire “How to Train Your Dragon” series. Searching by his name, “Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang” came up in cloudLibrary. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read the book. I downloaded it to listen to and loved it. Very different from the movie-surprise, surprise!, but a great kids adventure book. Unlike the movie, in the book you definitely see the mind of the James Bond creator.” - Sandy at Alto
Kingdomtide by Rye Curtis
“I just finished a book that I found myself loving and hating at the same time: Kingdomtide by Rye Curtis. This novel follows the paths of two women drawn together by a small plane crash in the mountains of Montana. One of the women, Cloris, is a 72 year old who survived the crash. The other, Debra, is the park ranger looking for the wreckage and any survivors. There is a very interesting cast of supporting characters with their own unique storylines. This book is written without quotation marks but each character is easy to follow because of their individual attributes. Fast-paced and suspenseful this was definitely worth reading.” - Laura at Plainfield
The Life She was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman
“This is a historical fiction set during the Depression about the life of a young girl who becomes a circus performer. There isn’t much else I can say without ruining the plot in all of its twists and turns. I felt like it was almost a cross between Carrie by Stephen King and something by Kristin Hannah.” - Laura at Plainfield
The Moth Presents: Occasional Magic
“I liked reading each true story, told by a different person, as though we are sitting around a campfire.” - Sue at Walker
A Bookshop in Berlin by Françoise Frenkel
“This story tells the heroic life of Francoise Frenkel, a Jewish woman from Poland who opened the first French Bookshop in Berlin Germany. She survives the Kirstallnacht in November 1938 as hundreds of Jewish shops are destroyed. The persecution continues and forces Francoise to flee to Paris and on to other safe houses. Her diary of survival was discovered 60 years later in an attic and was published to reveal her remarkable story of survival and ability to go on even during the most darkest time of human suffering and intolerance.” - Jules at Wyoming
The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
“The author set out to write a short essay every day for a year, about something that delighted him. They are thought-provoking, often humorous, and VERY short (1-2 pp each. Excellent bedtime reading!” - Maryls, Information Substitute
The Great Blue Hills of God by Kreis Beall
“This is a memoir by the co-founder of Blackberry Farm – a luxury hotel & resort in Tennessee – who is also a home designer & survivor of a traumatic brain injury. The story of her life, career, and faith journey is sometimes heartbreaking but fascinating.” - Marlys Information Substitute
Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side by Julia Shaw
“What is considered to be evil, and how do we determine if someone is evil or not? In this piece of nonfiction, the author examines the many definitions of what people consider to be Evil, and how our definitions are based on our presumptions. “ - Hollie at Wyoming
Driving Miss Norma by Tim Bauerschmidt
" I recommend "Driving Miss Norma, one family's journey saying 'yes'" by Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle. At age 90, recently widowed and diagnosed with cancer, Miss Norma, instead of chemo and radiation treatments, opted to "hit the road" with her son and daughter-in-law in their 36-foot motor home. This wonderful biography is a story of adventure and proof that it's never too late. Norma is from Presque Isle Michigan, so this story also has a local angle.” - Gene, Information Substitute
No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg
"Greta is a 16-year old who published her speeches before the UN council and Parliaments about global warming. She warns that we have to wake up to the danger that mankind may go extinct by the year 2030 if CO2 emissions are not cut in half. An eye-opening read!” - Anne at Krause Memorial
Jay-Z : made in America by Michael Eric Dyson
“Key points: planning out his wealth, never writes down his lyrics, quite a classic artist in terms of his poetry, references great artists of the Harlem Renaissance, etc. Dyson reading allows the listener to know the meaning of the worlds more succinctly.” - Rebecca at Wyoming
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
“I reread Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. I simply adore this book. It is a realistic story of a girl, her divorced parents, and her need for friendship but with a charming magical element. The book opens with Flora watching out the window as a squirrel gets into some trouble which leaves him with superhero-like powers. Flora and her new squirrel friend, Ulysses, must defeat the villain and discover love and friendship. This book also has fun comics mingled between chapters. It would be a great read aloud with your family.” - Jill at Wyoming
Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia
“Segovia Simonopio is a foundling discovered under a blanket of bees. The Morales family adopts him and the family saga begins. Weddings, births, struggles and successes, every event kissed by the magic of Simonopio. Set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution and the Spanish Flu, it is a gentle story of good versus evil, beautifully told. “ - Nanette at Cascade
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
“I just finished The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. A found family story of the crew of the Wayfinder and the woman who joins their crew: this read like my favorite episodes of Star Trek, with strange aliens, excitement, and a lot of heart!” - Mara at Gaines Township Library
“You will never see the twists and turns in this movie coming. It is cunning, creative and downright thrilling. Set in South Korea, the main plot is centralized around two families (the Kim family and the Park family) and money. The Kim family is struggling to make ends meet until they are introduced to the Park family who are extravagantly wealthy. I will not explain anything beyond that to avoid spoiling the cunning behind the manipulation that is to come. The movie is subtitled, but is easy to follow for those who are not used to watching foreign films. I would highly recommend watching this one.” - Brittany at Cascade
The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead
“The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead is a lovely story about a tween girl named Bea whose dad is marrying his boyfriend Jesse. Though she's happy about the changes to come, there are also worries. Luckily, she has a supportive therapist, good friends, and loving adults in her life to help her work through her anxieties.” - Susan at Plainfield
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
“I read A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, which is a Beauty & the Beast retelling. It has parallel time travel, like Outlander, and some magic and power plays, like Game of Thrones. Thoroughly enjoyable and great escapism!” Elizabeth at Plainfield
How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones
“It's a masterfully written coming-of-age memoir of a gay, black man growing up in the south. The author has won numerous literary awards and I thoroughly enjoyed the story and his poetic prose. Highly recommended for adults and older teens.” - Stacy at the KDL Service Center
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan
“I just finished “Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore” by Matthew J. Sullivan and thoroughly enjoyed it. It has a great storyline with suspenseful buildup, plot twists, and amazing character development.” - Heather at Grandville
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
“I am currently finishing up The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, and I absolutely adore it! It is like Harry Potter, if Harry Potter lived in modern-day Vermont/Manhattan and Hogwarts was a massive underground library labyrinth. It is chocked-full of literary references, book stores, libraries, tea and cupcakes and the complicated secrets of writing and enjoying stories: truly for the reading/writing geek in the best way imaginable.” - Abby, Circulation Assistant
City Spies by James Ponti
“An interesting group of young misfits, each with a specific set of skills are put together to solve international mysteries. When they are first put together they are just coworker spies but become friends. Their characters are well developed and very interesting. I hope he writes more adventures about the City Spies group.” - Christina at Englehardt
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
“I just finished The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel. She also wrote Station Eleven, one of my favorites, but it's about a pandemic that kills like 80% of the population so it's maybe not the best choice right now! But this one was an absorbing escape. The plot moves back and forth through time, following several connected characters as a Ponzi scheme unfolds. Not necessarily a light or fun one, but so intriguing. The plot twists and reveals unfold so smoothly and satisfyingly.” - Anna at East Grand Rapids
What Happens When Women say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst
“This book invites readers to ask the question "What is God's plan for my life?" and it inspires the reader to explore finding God in mundane activities, to listen to His voice, and to say yes to a more obedient and abundant life.” - Kathy at the KDL Service Center
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
“I am currently rereading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, my all-time favorite of the books within the series. It is so nice to be back in the magical world of Hogwarts with Harry, Ron and Hermione and the rest of the wonderful characters enjoying their adventures and challenges!” - Amy at Englehardt
Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
“I’ve really enjoyed reading Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen. If you like Crazy, Rich, Asians it has a similar feel. It’s about feeling free, falling in love, and living your truth. <3 Overall a feel-good kind of book!” - Ashten at Wyoming
A Confident Heart by Renee Swope
“Great truths and reminders to hold on to when you find yourself in a place of doubt and insecurity. You will walk away with truths to sustain you heart and mind in place of lies and discouragement.” - Kathy at the KDL Service Center
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
“If you have never read the original Winnie-the-Pooh, you are in for an absolute delight! Take a stroll through the roots of the Hundred-Acre Wood, and you are sure to find yourself enamored with the whimsical, simple, sweet bear who has inspired children and the grownups who love them for nearly a century.” - Melissa at Krause Memorial
“The House on Tradd Street by Karen White was my Let it Snow fantasy choice. This is the first of six in the Tradd Street series set in Charleston South Carolina. The beginning book introduces Melanie Middleton, who inherited an historic house from an old man she only met once. Along with the house Melanie inherited a housekeeper, a dog, a new man and plenty of ghosts.” - Gene, Information Substitute
A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert
“Academic Librarian Amy Webber returns to her quite mountain home town in Virginia, and becomes the director of the small public library there. When a long-time patron is found murdered in the archives, Amy, along with her new neighbor begin investigating that leads to the uncovering of some long-hidden secrets. “ - Gene, Information Substitute
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
“I am diving into historical fiction because I haven't read much of it in the past. I read The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. It pulled me in immediately with two strong female characters, an unmarried pregnant college student dealing with her brother's death in World War II and an older woman in France with a gun in one hand and a drink in the other who has dark memories of World War I. The two go in search of another woman, lost in the war. It is a very satisfying page turner.” - Penni at Cascade
Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce
“It is about London during WWII and a young girl who wants to become a war correspondent. She inadvertently signs up for a women's advice columnist's job and the results leave the reader on the edge of their seat. I loved it!” - Anne at Krause Memorial
Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore
“Valentine chronicles the lives of fierce Texas women in the 1970’s. They celebrate, challenge, and protect each other throughout life’s ups and downs. It’s easy to imagine the tumbleweeds, tornados, and oil rigs on every page of this beautifully written book.” - Sam at KDL Service Center
I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
“I recently read "I Know This Much is True" by Wally Lamb and could not put it down! The author wove multiple stories across generations to explain an intricate family conflict and shed light on mental health issues. I'm even more excited to learn that HBO is airing a limited series in May and can't wait to see if it's as good as the book.” - Tricia at Cascade
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyninkan Braithwaite
“In this tightly written, twisted, and darkly comic noir, Korede often feels overshadowed by her beautiful and talented sister Ayoola, who has the inconvenient habit of murdering her boyfriends, acts which strain the bonds of sisterhood.” - Mark at Krause Memorial
Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera
“I am loving this historical fiction! This novel follows the intersecting lives of three women in a small Southern town trying to recover from the ravages of boll weevils which destroyed the cotton crop and the economy in the 1920's. Told in alternating voices, it's easy to appreciate the unique perspective of each and the true depth of women's strength. The character development, beautiful writing and compelling story line have kept me reading late into the night.” - Laura at Plainfield
I Could Pee On This by Francesco Marciuliano
“Even cats love poetry, read poems by cats for cats.” - Hannah at Wyoming
The Hilarious World of Depression by John Moe
“Amazingly raw, personal, yet funny memoir by John Moe about his (& his family’s) struggles with mental illnesses. This book highlights Moe’s journey to his great podcast from which the book gained its title. If you or anyone you care for has depression, this would be a great book with which to allow someone a chance to better understand how depression or mental illness aren’t just something you will yourself through. This will be a book I’ll buy to share with people as a way to lead to better understanding of mental illnesses.” - Steven at Gaines
Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles
“I really enjoyed Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles. Fans of Historical Fiction will love the blend of what life was like at the end of the Civil War for Texans. Jiles weaves together a rich story that includes everything from Union and Confederate press gangs, yellow fever in Galveston, traveling musicians, Irish immigrants, iron wills and frontier justice in a lawless post war society. I also appreciate her ability to wrap up her stories with a happy ending.” - Betsy, Circulation Substitute
Crown of Three by J.D. Rinehard
“I am just about to finish the Crown of Three series by J.D. Rinehart. It’s billed as Game of Thrones for kids. It’s a great fantasy series about triplets born under a prophecy and separated at birth. They must come together 13 years later to bring peace to their kingdom.” - Hannah at Alpine
Hero by Jennifer Li Shotz
“Hero by Jennifer Li Shotz is a fast-paced read best for 4th-6th grade dog lovers. It's about a retired search-and-rescue dog named Hero and his twelve year old boy, Ben. Ben struggles to keep up pet ownership, school and baseball all while a new puppy with a troubled past wanders into his life. When the puppy goes missing Hero jumps to the rescue. Available for immediate download using the Hoopla app!” - Jenny at East Grand Rapids
Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens
“This is a coming of age story about Boady Sanden that lives in the Ozarks with his widowed mother. He doesn't feel like he belongs in the small town that relies on the "us vs them" mentality. A family of color moves into the neighborhood and Boady strikes up a friendship with the son resulting in dire consequences.” - Shari at Gaines
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
“I loved this adult contemporary romance. Chloe and Red are so sweet and caring towards each other, and l really appreciated the humor. It is a wonderful "feel-good" book.” - Shelby at Caledonia
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
“Love the hard bits of life post-loss as well as the mix of ethnicities and life stories that come together to make a “family.”” - Marcia at Grandville
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
“Most of the Caledonia branch read 'The Bromance Book Club' and loved it! Uplifting, heartwarming, and a refreshing book about working hard at marriage and love. Light hearted read, which was a much needed escape for me for sure right now!” - Audrey at Caledonia
Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams
“Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams is a middle grade fiction story about a Detroit teen who comes home to find her family has been evicted yet again from an apartment. As they settle into another new place and Genesis starts again in another new school, this time seems hopeful. The house is in a nice suburban neighborhood, Genesis makes a couple of friends at school, and her dad has promised he'll pay the rent on time. However, her father's drinking and gambling cause a lot of tension in their household, and Genesis worries that this won't be her home for long.” - Susan at Plainfield
Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
“Jack, age 11, is about to enter middle school when his single mother decides to celebrate by taking him camping on Labor Day weekend. When Jack wakes up, he finds that he's alone at the campsite; no mother, no car, no food. Due to a previous encounter with DSS, he decides the best thing to do is to get home on his own. I thought the author did a great job in making this a believable quest in a fast-paced novel with wide appeal.” - Laura at Plainfield
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
“Likely one of my new all-time favorites, along with anything by Brene Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert.” - Ashten at Wyoming
The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton
“In this richly detailed and well researched classic historical novel, author Anya Seton tells the story of Elizabeth Winthrop, niece of John Winthrop, the Puritan governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. This plot driven page turner has something for everyone, including American history, politics, and lots of romance.” - Mark at Krause Memorial
Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly
“A sci-fi novel packed with espionage, politics, and hard decisions. A must read for lovers of spy novels, political thrillers, or social sci-fi.” - Grahm at the KDL Service Center
The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman
“Viola Shipman is a pen name for Wade Rouse, a Michigan author. This story, like the other books written under this name, is a heartwarming and delightful story that capture and charm the reader. This book is about two very different women brought together though the pain of two different wars, and engages the reader from the first chapter. “ - Barb, Information Substitute
American Vampire by Scott Snyder
“American Vampire is for those who want vampires to be scary, like really scary. Skinner Sweet is the first American vampire and has some new tricks up his sleeve. Follow his grisly hunt for riches and revenge throughout history.” - Hannah at Wyoming
Don’t Make me Pull Over by Richard Ratay
“This book is a blend of fact history and personal experience of the author’s childhood of when his family would take road trips. It’s an informative and often hilarious read and goes to show how much the family vacation has changed over the years. Also nostalgic for those who remember going on their own family’s road trip.” - Megan at the KDL Service Center
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
“Saleem Sinai, born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the exact moment of India’s independence from Great Britain, narrates this hilarious, wild, magical, and complicated account of three decades of his country’s recent history. First published in 1981 and a winner of the Booker Prize, Midnight’s Children set the standard for post-modern, post-colonialist, and magic realist literature.” - Mark at Krause Memorial Library
Finna by Nino Cipri
“One of the shorter but better books I’ve read recently is FINNA by Nino Cipri. It’s a sci-fi dimensional travel story on its face but becomes an emotionally satisfying novella because of its two central characters. One more reason for this recommendation is its solid & fascinating portrayal of a non-binary gendered character that is NOT a major hook on which the plot rests.” - Steven at Gaines
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
“My family has been reading Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad, and discussing it as a family. It explains concepts like White fragility, White privilege, White silence, and many more in short, easy-to-read chapters, and then gives you prompts to really think through your past experiences with these concepts. So far, our family has spent at least an hour discussing each concept, and it has been very eye-opening for all of us.” - Susan at Plainfield
A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
“Valerie Alston-Holt and her son live in the modest Oak Knoll neighborhood in North Carolina. Valerie is a forestry professor raising her talented 17 year-old, biracial son. When Brad and Julia Whitman move in to their newly constructed mansion next door, trouble ensues. Fowler explores issues of class, race, gender roles, and young love in this story where the neighborhood, itself, is an all-seeing character that alludes to trouble from the very beginning. It a complex and topical story, that I simply could not put down.” - Nanette at Cascade
Run Me to Earth by Paul Yoon
“After two short story collections and a nearly perfect debut novel, Paul Yoon has returned with Run Me to Earth. This book is slightly more evocative than his previous work, but still offers a quiet and often somber look into the lives of people in the midst of war and diaspora.” - Joel at Wyoming
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Volume 12, To All the Squirrels I've Loved Before by Ryan North
“Squirrel Girl is a smart all ages comic rife with metanarrative pop-culture references, computer science, butt kicking, and friendship. Ryan North's glorious portrayal is sure to make Squirrel Girl a key fixture in the Marvel Comics canon for years to come.” - Joel at Wyoming
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
“Dear Mr. Knightley by Katharine Reay is a contemporary epistolary novel with a delightful dash of Jane Austen. This was a very enjoyable read that I couldn't put down until I knew the fate of the title character, Samantha Moore. Learning to overcome personal struggles to achieve her higher educational goals with the help of an anonymous benefactor, she also found love along the way.” - Amy at Alto
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
“The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho tells the story of a young Andalusian shepherd named Santiago who has a recurring dream of finding great treasure. He faces new challenges and experiences over the course of his search. This was an inspirational read that reminded me to believe in one's dreams and to follow one's heart to achieve them, no matter the obstacles.” - Amy at Alto
If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha
“This book explores the different viewpoints and lives of Korean women living in Seoul and how body image afflicts them.” - Cassidy at Spencer
The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe
“This book will surprise and move you as Michael, a gay teen, explores the world with his friend who turns out to be a knockout queen.” - Cassidy at Alto
The Fall of Richard Nixon : a reporter remembers Watergate by Tom Brokaw
“I listened to this book called The Fall of Richard Nixon by Tom Brokaw. It was interesting to hear the story of Watergate and Richard Nixon from a reporter's perspective. “ - Marybeth, Information Substitute
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
“I am currently reading Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. It is a story about various black women in modern-day Britain. All the stories are so different and yet loosely connected. I could never understand what it’s like to go through the situations that come up in their lives, but I hope hearing these stories will help.” - Jennifer at Wyoming