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Staff Picks

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The Word Is Murder: A Novel by Anthony Horowitz
“A different spin on the classic whodunit! The author is one of the characters – tasked with simply observing the consulting detective and writing a book, but of course, ends up getting more involved than he should. There were clues to the identity of the murderer throughout but I didn’t figure them out in time – can you?” – Laura at KDL’s Service Center
We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
“I love kid’s books and am always excited to see the brand new ones arrive in delivery! This one is hilarious! Penelope, an adorable little dinosaur, starts school and discovers that her classmates make for tasty snacks. When the classroom pet takes a nibble on her, however, Penelope realizes that ‘We Don’t Eat Our Classmates’! The pictures in this book are great and it’s a great read-aloud. I’m in love with this fun book!” – Robin at Krause Memorial
They May Not Mean To, But They Do: A Novel by Cathleen Schine
“A humorous tale about aging and death and how it affects everyone in the family. This story is told by the matriarch of the family and by her children. Her husband passes away and everyone wants what is best for Joy. Her view of what is best differs greatly from what her children think is best. The reader learns to love Joy and her children, and her grandchildren, who mean well. I loved this book and appreciated its perspective because ‘they may not mean to, but they do!’” – Christina at Englehardt
Motherhood: A Novel by Sheila Heti
“Heti’s novel articulates an internal struggle of my own so eloquently: whether or not the life-transforming experience of motherhood is for me. Heti hones in how when the decision is riding your conscious, you analyze everything through a childless lens and the again through the lens of potential motherhood. Heti obsessively weighs the pros and cons without shaming either choice.” – Jaci at KDL’s Service Center
Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy by Angela Garbes
“Like a Mother brought what most books on motherhood lack: anatomy and science. Garbes puts full-body female health into perspective all while not dismissing or undermining anecdotal experience. I think everyone could benefit from reading this, not just expectant mothers, mothers who need to feel less alone, or the void-of-experience, baby-curious researchers like me.” – Jaci at KDL’s Service Center
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
“What would you do if you knew the day you would die? ‘The Immortalists’ follows the lives of the Gold siblings who, as young children, impulsively visit a gypsy fortune teller. What they learn has profound and rippling effects on the whole family. In this stirring novel, Benjamin pits religion versus science and fate versus free will. It is a tale that promises to provoke internal debates long after you turn the last page.” – Nanette at Cascade
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder: A Novel by Rebecca Wells
“Part historical fiction, part folklore, and lots of Louisiana heat and humidity, I think this novel by Rebecca Wells is probably her best work. The story follows about 25 years in the life of Calla Lily Ponder as she grows into herself as a strong young woman. Rarely does a book bring me to tears, but this one did.” – Laura at Plainfield
Sofie Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik
“The humor is quick, the heroine is flawed and relatable, and I really appreciate the sincere treatment of religion--it's a very personal element for Sofia but isn't too didactic or heavy-handed. She's totally a Muslim Bridget Jones, but with a lot of echoes of Jane Austen, especially at the end (without any spoilers).” – Anna at East Grand Rapids
The Lost Eleven: The Forgotten Story of Black American Soldiers Brutally Massacred in World War II by Array
“With stories of each soldier told through interviews with their families and fellow soldiers, it is sad to see the racism, segregation, and hatred this brave group of men fought through in civilian and military life for our country. I was saddened even more to see how one Belgian family’s offer of help eventually led to their deaths.” – Clyde at Spencer Township
Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism
“This new collection of intersectional feminist poems has many memorable zingers and contains a diverse array of voices that share their various and different experiences of womanhood and speak out about the current political and social climate. There is much to savor here!” – Jaci at KDL’s Service Center
Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
“On the eve of a joyous occasion, June Reid loses everything in an unimaginable accident. In the journey through her grief, endearing characters emerge to weave together a community of people there for the before and after. It is a thought-provoking book by a first time novelist that forces the reader to question the very core of what defines us as a people…family.” – Nanette at Cascade
The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road by Finn Murphy
“Murphy recounts with wit, candor, and charm the America he has seen change over the decades and the poignant, funny, and often haunting stories of the people he encounters on the job.” – Chris at Byron Center
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
“A small boy with a big voice, an armadillo, a dress form, and a foul ball are just a few of the many wildly diverse elements that combine to make up this entertaining, serious, heartbreaking, and comic novel about the meaning of faith, predestination, and free will.” – Mark at Krause Memorial
Baby Teeth: A Novel by Zoje Stage
“What can I say, I love books about psychotic children. It must be because I watched The Bad Seed at such an impressionable age. This book was exactly what I hoped it would be. Just the right amount of creep factor and unease.” – Tricia at Cascade
Detroit Hustle: A Memoir of Love, Life, and Home by Amy Haimerl
“Journalist Haimerl and her husband lived in Brooklyn, New York until they were priced out of the housing market. Looking for a new location that featured affordable real estate, the couple selected Detroit and relocated there during the city's bankruptcy. The author not only writes about the challenges of rehabbing a long-abandoned, historic house but also falling in love with and adopting a new city.” – Gene, Information Substitute
The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
“I really enjoyed The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee. The perfect book for anyone that loves the drama of 19th century Paris. Lilliet Berne transforms herself from American orphan to famous Parisian diva through a chain of unexpected and thrilling events.” – Cassidy at Spencer Township
Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
“Riley, identifying as gender fluid, is starting at the public school and hoping for a new start. But Riley has not been able to blend in enough to be ignored. When Riley is being attacked both verbally and digitally, who will be willing to stand up in support?” – Beth at Gaines Township
Driven: A White-Knuckled Ride to Heartbreak and Back by Melissa Stephenson
“A memoir of Midwestern lower middle class family dysfunction, this is the family’s history marked by the cars they drove. I appreciated this honest portrayal of the daughter who drove out and her brother who didn’t make it.” – Penni at Cascade
The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell
“This is a fantastic middle grade graphic novel about kids coping with life through imaginative play. It is a fun yet thoughtful read, with vibrant illustrations and plenty of adventures!” – Liz at Plainfield
Seven Days of Us: A Novel by Francesca Hornak
“I am really enjoying this modern British holiday story where romance is not the focus. As families go, their stories and secrets are all interwoven but the added effect of being in quarantine together for seven days during the holidays puts a twist on the plot.” – Michelle at KDL’s Service Center
The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith
“Who has not seen the video of the Scottish grandmother reading to her grandson this book?? After watching the video, I had to check out the book for myself! What a hoot! It’s a fun, rhyming book, with great illustrations! You will find yourself laughing just like the Scottish grandma!” – Robin at Krause Memorial
Deep Water by Watt Key
“Deep Water by Watt Key is an exciting middle grade adventure/survival story. Julie Sims and her father take customers out for a deep sea dive, but when they surface they realize that something is very wrong.” – Susan at Plainfield Township
War of the Wolf by Bernard Cornwell
“The Saxon Tales series continues with Lord Uhtred happily winding his days away in Bebbanburg, the family fortress that he has recaptured. He is an old man now but still a feared warrior by his foes. So much so, that they come up with a plan to lure him out of his castle. Uhtred is torn, who will he side with? Because he was born a Saxon, raised a Viking and has ties to the English throne and all come with many enemies he must battle.” – Craig at Walker
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
“A fun sci-fi romp about Murderbot, a slacker security android who’d rather Netflix than kill even though it has hacked it’s governor module and could be a rogue assassin if it wanted to be. Instead, Murderbot spends it’s time secretly streaming tv shows while half-heartedly doing its hired job to protect a group of scientists on what should have been a rather peaceful and boring exploration mission. But when strange forces threaten the lives of Murderbot’s charges, it has to press pause and get to work.” – Crystal at Kentwood
I Dream in Another Language
“In this beautifully shot and lush film, a young linguist named Martín travels to a small town in Tabasco to interview the last two surviving speakers of an indigenous language, only to find that they are sworn enemies and haven’t spoken with each other in fifty years.” – Mark at Krause Memorial
Three Identical Strangers
“A documentary on how triplets separated at birth and adopted into three different families found each other as young adult, with an unimaginable twisted secret. It is a bizarre and intriguing story.” – Megan at KDL’s Service Center
Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock
“This is the first Christmas novel written by bestselling inspirational author, Terri Blackstock. While this story is different from her suspense titles, this novel of love and redemption will warm your heart. It is the perfect Christmas story to get you in the mood for the holidays.” – Barb, Information Substitute
An Irish Country Cottage: An Irish Country Novel (Irish Country Books) by Patrick Taylor
“Newest title of my favorite series. As always, it makes me want to live there amongst the wonderful people. We fans talked about who should be cast if it becomes a movie/TV series (I’d love to see as TV series!), and my answer was ‘Patrick himself as Dr. O’Reilly.’” – Yuko at KDL’s Service Center
The Reptile Club by Maureen Fergus
“It’s a cute, funny and imaginative book about a boy who starts a reptile club at school and has some surprise members who come to join!” – Jill at KDL’s Service Center
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
“This is an amazing book about a young Chinese immigrant named Mia who fights for acceptance and a chance for a prosperous life in the United States. It addresses many of the key issues that immigrants and minorities face such as racism and being taken advantage of for low pay. Yang does an amazing job at creating likeable and relatable characters.” – Brittany at Cascade Township
Dear Sister by Alison McGhee
“Being the younger sister, the notes and letters written by the older brother resonated with me big time! It made me laugh, choked me up, and made me want to call my own big brothers.” – Liz at Plainfield Township
“Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer from Colorado, successfully managed to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan and became the head of the local chapter.” – Sue at Walker
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson
“In 2009, hundreds of irreplaceable bird specimens where stolen from the British Natural History Museum at Tring. Johnson’s relentless pursuit of the truth leads the reader through a fascinating history of explorers, evolution, fashion, fishing, criminal defense strategy, EBay and so much more. A riveting read for history buffs, mystery lovers, bird-watchers, and seekers of truth.” – Nanette at Cascade Township
Let's Go (So We Can Get Back): A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc. by Jeff Tweedy
“The songs that Jeff Tweedy writes and records are at times cryptic, dark, romantic, sad and funny. Let’s Go sheds a lot of light on his method and his life in a very personal way. His stories are often funny and deep but they also feel familiar, as if they’re remembered snapshots from your own life. While reading, keep your phone or computer nearby to lookup the people and music peppered throughout the book. As soon as you’re ready, let’s go!” – Randy at KDL’s Service Center
Dear Mrs. Bird: A Novel by AJ Pearce
“I adore books with letters in them and these WWII women’s correspondence is a gem. I also feel grateful after reading this that I never had to live through the Blitz in London.” – Michelle at KDL’s Service Center
Code Name Verity (Edgar Allen Poe Awards. Best Young Adult (Awards)) by Elizabeth Wein
“An in-depth look at the lives of two fierce friends through journal entries and letters. A truly stellar read that will tug on your heart strings and leave you wanting to keep the window open for your loved ones to fly back home.” – Brittany at Cascade Township
Like a Flower in Bloom by Siri Mitchell
“An inspirational romance set in Victorian-era northern England. Charlotte is such a devoted botanist, that at the ripe old age of 22, she is quite lost when introduced to society in order to fulfill her uncle’s wish for her to be married. Her position as her father’s assistant is given up to a long-time botany correspondent, and all of her attempts to earn it back by pursuing a husband go awry.” – Jill at KDL’s Service Center
Won't You Be My Neighbor?
“An exploration of the life, lessons, and legacy of iconic children's television host, Fred Rogers.” – Sue at Walker
Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
“A bipolar father, a compliant mother, and an isolated, anti-establishment upbringing set the scene for this riveting tale of perseverance. At what point does self-preservation trump the fundamental need to be a part of a family? Tara Westover’s biography documents her struggle to become educated. It is truly a lesson for all of us in the resiliency of the human spirit.” – Nanette at Cascade Township
Brahms Concertos by Helene Grimaud
“Brahms wrote only 2 piano concertos. No.1 in 1858 and no.2, 22 years later in 1881. Not many pianists have recorded both on one album and Grimaud is the only female pianist to do so. Not only do I love to feel his sorrow and anguish, but also the power of youth in no.1, and then to no.2, which always makes me feel that he made peace with this life.” – Yuko at KDL’s Service Center
The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld
“When everyone else is trying to offer advice after the world fall apart, the rabbit listened. I read this book to my son and it’s the perfect illustration of love by showing up and being there when someone needs you most.” – Ashley at Comstock Park
Elantris: Tenth Anniversary Author's Definitive Edition by Brandon Sanderson
“This was his first published novel in the ever-growing Cosmere Series and it was an absolute joy to read. Sanderson has a masterful touch when it comes to fantasy writing and this story was no different. If you are a fan of George R.R. Martin or J.R.R. Tolkien check out Brandon Sanderson!” – Jake, Circulation Substitute
Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein by Jamie Bernstein
“Not many of us can relate to the struggle of growing up with a famous parent and working to find your own voice but you can read about it! I think my favorite thing was how all the siblings found that they had bits of music stuck in their heads – a shared trait when your parent is musical.” – Michelle at KDL’s Service Center
Raised in Captivity by Marty Arnold
“This book is a must for lovers of “the Ridge” where the story takes place in a fictitious small town, a farm, and a zoo. It has elements mystery, romance, small town living, and friendship, and is a book that will appeal to readers that enjoy a West Michigan setting.” – Barb, Information Substitute
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
“Noah was born in South Africa to a black mother and white father during apartheid, truly making him a crime. The audio book is read by him and he gives such an authentic voice to his characters that you feel like you are a part of the experiences he describes.” – Sandy at Cascade
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier
“Following Nan, a chimney sweep in Victorian London, this story will make you laugh, cry and cheer for our heroine and her sweet golem, Charlie.” – Liz at Plainfield
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
“Moriarty is my go to author for a light hearted, page-turning read. Nine Perfect Strangers takes place in a “new age-y” health spa where we meet our nine participants and get to know them under increasingly bizarre circumstances as the spa’s guru’s methods and mental health begin do devolve. I laughed out loud.” – Penni at Cascade
Waiting for Eden: A novel by Elliot Ackerman
“This book is phenomenal! Eden Malcom lies in a bed, unable to move or to speak, imprisoned in his own mind. His wife Mary spends every day on the sofa in his hospital room. His friend and fellow soldier--who didn't make it back home--narrates this novel on loyalty and betrayal, love and fear. Even though this is a small book (173 pages), its message is large and powerful. Give this book a won't be disappointed!” – Robin at Krause Memorial
Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir by Amy Tan
“In this extraordinary memoir, the beloved author of The Joy Luck Club and other bestselling novels explores the complicated terrain of family, memory, and creativity and how they intersect with the process of writing.” – Mark at Krause Memorial
What Am I Thinking? by Karen Kleiman
“Being pregnant with my second child, I have become all too aware of the depression and anxiety that came along with my first baby. This book helped me work through those very real fears, and gave me solid instruction in preparing for my next postpartum stage in life. For all the future moms who need a little reassurance and guidance – this book is for you! It’s simple, short, and accessible (something you need with pregnancy brain).” – Abby at Wyoming
How Long 'til Black Future Month?: Stories by N. K. Jemisin
“This is a collection of short stories covering a wide variety of genres, but all asking the question of who are we and what will we become? At times terrifying, uplifting, and always wondrous, this is a great book for anyone who loves speculative fiction!” – Alyson at Caledonia
Courage in the Face of Evil by Mark Shaw
“I couldn’t put it DOWN! It is a fiction that’s base on a true person, you become emotionally attached to Vera & Andrea and you see the horrors of the war and that love may be universal when human survival is at stake. I loved how Vera confused the Nazi’s by putting on a Christmas party where kids from everywhere sang Silent Night, one of my favorite songs!” – Kelly at Nelson Twp
These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 (P.S.) by Nancy Turner
“This historical fiction book is based on the author’s great grandmother, Sarah Prine, and her time in the Arizona Territories. It is full of heartache, love, adventure and more so it’s a must read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction and/or westerns.” – Amber at Krause Memorial
Slugfest: Inside the Epic, 50-year Battle between Marvel and DC by Reed Tucker
“A fascinating account of the rivalry between the superhero-publishing giants, Marvel and DC.” – Megan at KDL’s Service Center
The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson
“This is a beautiful historical novel about Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown and two fascinating women who helped embroider it, Anne Hughes and Miriam Dassin. It’s truly a celebration of determination, courage, and hope coming full circle.” – Jill at KDL’s Service Center
A Walk in the Wood: Meditations on Mindfulness with a Bear Named Pooh by Joseph Parent, Nancy Parent
“Use the magic of Winnie the Pooh to practice mindfulness and slow down to smell the roses with this delightful guide. We should all be a little more like a bear named Pooh.” – Hannah at Wyoming
Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis
“I love her intonation and word choices, but more importantly I’m beginning to apply strategies she recommends to my semi-retired life! I even have my husband writing down his ten year goals! We listen together and it is actually helping us move forward from grieving recent losses to celebrating every day with intention. I love books and other creations by intelligent women!” – Rebecca at Kelloggsville/Wyoming
Daughter of Moloka'i: A Novel by Alan Brennert
“Significant in its discussion of discrimination, this novel offers valuable historical perspective on the Japanese internment during World War 2. The beauty in this story is in the purity and intensity of the relationship between the adoptive and biological mothers and their daughter, Ruth. Although this is an eagerly awaited sequel, it can be read without having first read Brennert’s Moloka’i.” – Nanette at Cascade
Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (A Targaryen History) (A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R. R. Martin
“During my period of Game of Thrones withdrawal waiting for the conclusion of Fire and Ice, (It has been a long wait, because I am one of those who read the books, the series of books, the UNFINISHED series of books, but I’m not bitter) Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin has eased my withdrawal by filling me in on the Targaryens’ backstory. It is a prequel that starts with the time of Aegon the Conqueror and tells the story of the Dragon-riding rulers in gory detail.” – Penni at Cascade
Stones for Ibarra (Contemporary American Fiction) by Harriet Doerr
“In this spare, lyrical, and tender autobiographical novel, which won the National Book Award in 1985, Sara and Richard Everton leave a comfortable life in San Francisco to reopen an abandoned copper mine in rural Mexico.” – Mark at Rockford
Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson
"I've had to stop reading this on the bus because people look at me funny when I laugh out loud! This memoir is super funny and easy to read. Highly recommend!” – Katie at Wyoming
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
“This book made me think and I keep talking about it with people!”—Michelle at KDL’s Service Center
Warped Passage (A Jo Riskin Mystery) by Debbie S. TenBrink
“This is the sequel to Warped Ambition and is another crime novel set in Grand Rapids with lots of local references thrown in. A possible serial murderer is on the loose in our fair city and his grisly crimes are the focus of Lt. Jo Riskin’s crime solving abilities. The other half of this riveting novel revolves around Jo trying to recover from the on duty death of her husband, also a GRPD officer, two years prior.” – Kathleen at Walker
Because by Mo Willems
“This is a picture book that brought back lot of memories of my dad. Because he loved classic music, my life was filled with beautiful sound. I didn’t get to be a real musician like the girl in this book, but I could tell what music is on the inside cover of the book by just reading the score.” – Yuko at KDL’s Service Center
Virgil Wander by Leif Enger
“Virgil escaped death but his brain injury makes him feel like a different person. He sees Death waiting patiently, but he’s making new choices every day. Virgil is a remarkable person.” – Deb at Cascade
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
“It seems like a straightforward plot but it’s not. The twists and turns in this book keep you hooked.” – Krista at Plainfield
Slugfest: Inside the Epic, 50-year Battle between Marvel and DC by Reed Tucker
“A fascinating account of the rivalry between the superhero-publishing giants, Marvel and DC.” – Megan at KDL’s Service Center
Race to Hawaii: The 1927 Dole Air Derby and the Thrilling First Flights That Opened the Pacific by Jason Ryan
“What is now a flight of a few hours was once only traversed by steamship. A thrilling tale of aviation between WWI & WWII. Dead reckoning, danger, and 2,400 miles of the vast Pacific Ocean.” – Grahm at KDL’s Service Center
Star Wars Are You Scared, Darth Vader? by Adam Rex
“What is Darth Vader scared of? Anything? This hilarious and fantastically illustrated book is sure to delight young and old Star Wars fans alike!” – Melissa at Krause Memorial
No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen
“Ms. Nielsen has been called ‘the John Green of Canada’, and I can see why! From the moment you pick up this read until the very last page, you’re hooked!” – Robin at Krause Memorial
The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation by Colin G. Calloway
“A fresh perspective on the American Revolutionary era that looks at one of the most iconic men in American history and the significant roles of various Native American tribes and tribal leaders in the foundation of the United States.” – Jake at Plainfield
From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg's Kitchen (Snoop Dogg Cookbook, Celebrity Cookbook with Soul Food Recipes) by Snoop Dogg
“Tasty recipes include: Not Ya Momma’s Corn Muffins, Spaghetti de la Hood, and Ain’t No Jive Herbed Turkey and Gravy.” – Shaunna at Alpine
Sadie by Courtney Summers
“I recommend listening to this story of a missing girl with many secrets. It’s written as a podcast, with alternating chapters of Sadie’s story and the narrator’s search for her. Recorded with a cast of voices, I had difficulty remembering it was a book and not an actual podcast!” – Liz at Plainfield
David Lean Directs Noel Coward
“The first two movies in this box set are especially wonderful: ‘In which we serve’ is a stirring tale of the men aboard a British warship sunk by the Germans, and ‘This happy breed’ is a meticulous, realistic family portrait spanning the years 1919 to the beginning (1939) of World War 2.” – David at Plainfield
Free Solo
“Climbing expert Alex Honnold embraces the elusive challenge of summiting 3,200 foot El Capitan, with no ropes or safety gear. When expertise and experience trumps fear, all bets are off.” – Nanette at Cascade
Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos by Lucy Knisley
“It’s a biography, but also contains empowering health education for all women.” – Samantha at KDL’s Service Center
Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt
“A family in crisis, an English butler sent to help out, and a lot about the sport of Cricket. Each chapter starts with a cricket term, followed by the definition which foreshadows what is happening in the chapter to the family. Local author, great book.” – Sandy at Alto
The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart
“Coyote, a 12 year old girl, is traveling in an old school bus around the country with her dad. She sneaks a kitten on board and names him Ivan. As the three travelers drive from Florida to Montana, they pick up many strangers along the way. This book was funny, sad, sweet, and so hopeful.” – Jill at Wyoming
I Am Easy to Find
“For the first time, they invite several female vocalists to join lead singer Matt Berninger and it gives the album a very different vibe from their previous seven albums.” – Stacy at KDL’s Service Center
The Uncommon Reader: A Novella by Alan Bennett
“Lovely, dry, British humour from the Queen's perspective. How she discovered reading joy late in life.” – Margo at Caledonia