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Staff Picks

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Bandette Volume 1: Presto! by Paul Tobin
"Meet my newest favorite heroine! Bandette is a costumed teen burglar – both the bane of the police and criminals. She adores chocolate bars, is a little bit French and has some Audrey Hepburn in her too so she has my heart! Three volumes of this graphic novel are now available." -Michelle at KDL's Service Center
Black Water Lilies: A Novel by Michel Bussi
"This intriguing novel starts out with a narrator telling you that it is the story of three women, of murder and mystery, and proceeds to twine the stories in incredible ways, all in Monet’s village of Giverny. I loved the settings, characters, descriptions of the art, the flowers AND the twisty, twining stories of the three women. Most excellent reading!" -Suzanne at KDL's Cascade Branch
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
"After an author has a stunning first series, it can be hard to do the same with the next published book. Well, I am very excited to say that Laini Taylor really pulled out all the stops in this beautiful and moving book! Loved it!" -Beth at KDL's Gaines Township Branch
A Town Like Alice (Vintage International) by Nevil Shute
"If you like historical fiction this is a gem. A Town Like Alice tells of a young woman who miraculously survived a Japanese "death march" in World War II, and of an Australian soldier, also a prisoner of war, who offered to help her--even at the cost of his life." -Jaime at KDL's Plainfield Branch
A Good Day for a Hat by T. Nat Fuller
"Young children will love how the main character has just the right hat for each situation he comes across. Great for pre-school age." -Jill at KDL's Service Center
Saturn Run by John Sandford
"Saturn Run by John Sandford is a fast moving sci fi book that might appeal to people who liked The Martian by Andy Weir. It is a thriller set in the future about the race between China and the U.S. to reach Saturn first, after activity was spotted there through a space telescope. It has action, a bit of mystery and a bit of humor all mixed together to create a good read with some unexpected surprises." -Susan at KDL's Plainfield Branch
The Private Life of Mrs Sharma by Ratika Kapur
"Read how Mrs. Sharma thinks a modern life in India should be lived. This risky first-person drama will get you yelling “no” (in your head, of course) throughout." -Michelle at KDL's Service Center
Unearthed by Alexandra Risen
"I love reading about someone else’s fixer-up garden project when it’s not my own. Note: This garden will come to life and become its own character in this memoir." -Michelle at KDL's Service Center
Windwitch: A Witchlands Novel (The Witchlands) by Susan Dennard
"This is a Fantasy teen book that is unique and original and I love it! The characters are strong and interesting, the world is unique and filled with adventure. Highly recommend this series." -Shaunna at KDL's Alpine Township Branch
Duets: The Final Chapter by The Notorious B.I.G.
“A lot of after death music comes out for our favorite musicians but this uses Biggies actual verses and flows to combine with current superstars and it works. Do not sleep on the B.I.G.” -Larry at KDL's Service Center
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley: A Novel by Hannah Tinti
"A strange but effective hybrid of ”Pulp Fiction” and a Greek myth, “The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley” is a tale about a non-traditional father-daughter dynamic and the repercussions of a dark past. With rich, vivid writing and strong plot force, you will not want to put it down until you discover the story behind each of Hawley’s bullet wounds." -Jaci at KDL's Cascade Branch
Molotov's Magic Lantern: Travels in Russian History by Rachel Polonsky
"When British journalist Rachel Polonsky moves into an apartment on Romanov Street in Russia she discovers that this place was once home to the Soviet Elite including the infamous Vyacheslav Molotov. Her curiosity of her new home causes her to delve into a research project that uncovers a side of Russia previously hidden to the world." -Hannah from KDL's Spencer Township Branch
Everything I Never Told You: A Novel (Alex Awards (Awards)) by Celeste Ng
"In an effort to read more diversely, I chose Celeste Ng’s gripping debut, which begins with one daughter’s peculiar death and ends in a flurry of unspooled secrets that will haunt James and Marilyn Lee forever. This book will break your heart and sew it back together all at once, if you’re lucky." -Paris from KDL's Kentwood Branch
The Vegetarian: A Novel by Han Kang
"Han Kang’s The Vegetarian is more than its macabre makeup, it is a meditation on patience in the face of oppression, and dare I say, avant-feminism? Told from three opposing perspectives to our female protagonist, Yeong-hye, who abruptly goes vegetarian to ward off blood-soaked nightmares, Kang’s most terrifying undertaking may be her finest." -Paris at KDL's Kentwood Branch
The Sheep Who Hatched an Egg by Gemma Merino
"I took Gemma Merino’s “The Sheep Who Hatched an Egg” to local preschool & young 5’s classes and it was a hit! In it, Lola the sheep learns that beautiful, glossy wool is not as important as taking care of a new friend. I also recommend Merino’s picture books, “The Cow Who Climbed a Tree” and “The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water” as fantastic readalouds." -Elizabeth at KDL's Plainfield Branch
Sharpe's Tiger (Richard Sharpe's Adventure Series #1) by Bernard Cornwell
"I could not got enough of this story. As a young private Richard Sharpe, in the British army in India is faced with an accusation of assaulting an officer and sentenced to 200 lashes. Luckily for him there is a secret mission to infiltrate the enemy stronghold and the general cuts down Sharpe and decides to give him another chance, the story unfolds from there." -Craig at KDL's Walker Branch
Hidden Figures
"This was an incredible story! The personal challenges these women had to overcome at NASA and at home, being black women in a segregated society, made their accomplishments even more astonishing. Don’t miss out on this wonderful part of history that should have been taught in school." -Beth at KDL's Gaines Township Branch
DAMN by Kendrick Lamar
"He’s got royalty, got loyalty inside his DNA and his music. This album is an origin story of race, struggle, power, redemption and legacy. It flows and flows and flows." -Abby from KDL's Wyoming Branch
The Chosen (Ballantine Reader's Circle) by Chaim Potok
"First published fifty years ago, this best-selling and now classic novel, set in the small Orthodox Jewish communities of Brooklyn, New York, addresses universal themes and conflicts, and is a great pick for adults, young adults, and book clubs." -Mark at KDL's Rockford Branch
American War: A novel by Omar El Akkad
"Set in the post-apocalyptic American South, a family struggles to survive a second Civil War where uncaring politicians, suicide bombers, and a deadly plague lay waste to the former United States of America. Excellent debut novel, well written and chilling." -Stephanie from KDL's Englehardt Branch
The Girl Before: A Novel by JP Delaney
"The Girl Before is a sleek thriller about a mysterious architect (think a sexy mash-up of Steve Jobs and Christian Gray) who is the brain of the most state of the art, high-tech house ever built in England. Emma and Jane make it past the competitive screening process to be residents – but at a terrible price. The women who are selected to live in the house have a tendency to be found dead. Those who enjoyed Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will especially find this to be a page turner." -Crystal at KDL's Caledonia Township Branch
Beartown: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
"Not just a hockey novel, Beartown puts Backman’s complex and lovely characters at even strength with the artfully unfolding plot. The dreams that this rough sport hold for so many residents in this shell of a town, heighten the tragic events and skew the characters’ abilities to discern the truth. Beartown has suspense, resolution and redemption, Backman delivers a hat trick." -Nanette from KDL's Sub Pool
The League Season One
"Comedy hijinks and fantasy football all rolled into one. Get your comedy fix this summer by binging this classic FX show." -Larry at KDL's Service Center
Fingal O'Reilly, Irish Doctor: An Irish Country Novel (Irish Country Books) by Patrick Taylor
"I just love this series so much, I’m listening to his entire series for the second time. They are really “feel good” stories. And the narrator John Keating has been fantastic portraying each character." -Yuko at KDL's Service Center
Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes by Mary E. Lambert
"Seventh grader Annabelle’s mother is a hoarder, and this story deals with the topic in an accessible way. The plot moves quickly, as Annabelle tries to navigate friends she tries to keep away from her home, relatives who want to help, and piles upon piles of STUFF." -Elizabeth from KDL's Plainfield Branch
In Return by Odesza
"So I’m going through a “chillstep” (think dubstep’s zen cousin) music phase right now, and this is consistently at the top of my playlist. It’s the perfect music for achieving peak flow or to ease a restless mind for a good night’s sleep. Who knew electronica could be so melodic and soothing! If you’re as obsessed as me, check out the Deluxe album on Apple Music or Amazon Prime Music for the instrumental versions." -Crystal at KDL's Caledonia Branch
Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff
"Gritty and impolite, Pulitzer prize winner LeDuff has set his own brand of unvarnished gonzo journalism to work in this very personal account of the downfall of his hometown of Detroit." -Mark at KDL's Rockford Branch
Collateral Beauty
"Collateral Beauty stars Will Smith, Helen Mirren and others in a story about a successful businessman who falls apart after the death of his daughter. How his colleagues intervene and how death, time and love become more than a concept that help him live and love again, make a moving and memorable story." -Deb at KDL's Cascade Branch
The Mothers: A Novel by Brit Bennett
“This deep and moving book covers mothers and the complexities surrounding this on so many levels. There is a lot here for book groups to delve into." -Michelle at KDL's Service Center
The Beach by Alex Garland
"Alex Garland's "The Beach" is the definition of a page turner. Richard is a young British traveller, scouring the globe for new experiences and adventures. On his first night in Bangkok, Richard meets Bugs: a ranting and raving mad Irishman who gives him a hand-drawn map with directions to a fabled hidden lagoon located in the Gulf of Thailand. Thus begins Richards search for an adventure unlike any other to a place few people have ever seen. Garland writes at a breakneck pace with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat. An entertainment read with something meaningful to say, "The Beach" is a book you won't be able to put down." -Jacob at KDL's Service Center
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen Mysteries) by Joanne Fluke
"This cozy mystery has parts of romance and comedy. It is a nice light read with some wonderful recipes included that go right along with the story!" -Teresa from KDL's Krause Memorial Branch
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
"This #ownvoices debut novel is a dynamic lesbian coming-of-age story that will have you laughing (and crying) out loud as Juliet tackles complicated social and personal issues. Charming, heartwarming and refreshing!" -Emily at KDL's East Grand Rapids Branch
Salt & Light: Photo Journal by Ryan Pernofski by Ryan Pernofski
“It's books like this that remind me why I like owning books. I checked out from the library, and it's the most inspiring one I've seen in awhile. The color palette, tension in the photographs, and little insights from the author say it all. Salt & Light. If you haven't read it, do it! It's gorgeous.” -Ashten at KDL's Wyoming Branch
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel by Gail Honeyman
"Eleanor’s character is extremely socially awkward and doesn’t understand why people react to her the way they do. You find yourself in love with the character and laughing at her many social faux pas. This would be a great beach read or a good book to cuddle up on the couch with." -Leigh from KDL's Comstock Park Branch
Exit West: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid
“Is it too early to consider this the best book of 2017? Exit West is an unflinching painful, and timely telling of the current refugee crisis told through the eyes of Nadia and Saeed, as terrorists take hold of their unnamed Middle Eastern country just as they were on the eve of falling in love with one another. Their only chance for escape from the bloodshed and terror are mysterious doors, with the ability to transport to another door elsewhere in the world. Nadia and Saeed attempt to endure the throes of violence, xenophobia, and the terrible toll being a refugee has on their families, themselves, and their relationship.” -Crystal from KDL's Caledonia Branch
The Quest for Z: The True Story of Explorer Percy Fawcett and a Lost City in the Amazon by Greg Pizzoli
"My ten-year-old and I both read it and had a great conversation about Fawcett’s adventures. Pizzoli’s illustrations add humor to this thrilling story and make the information accessible to a wide variety of reading levels." -Elizabeth from KDL's Plainfield Branch
Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld
"If you are looking for a new exciting series, look no farther! Spill Zone has lots of mystery and action plus Addison, who has spent the last three years photographing the lethal spill zone which was formerly her home town of Poughkeepsie." -Beth at KDL's Gaines Township Branch
Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese
"A good book enlightens us and I believe makes us better human beings. This book does that. We are shown the lives of four homeless people who escape the street in movies and are transformed when they win the lottery. Our conceptions of family, home, loss and brokenness are all challenge in this beautiful novel." -Stephanie from KDL's Lowell Township Branch
What We Lose: A Novel by Zinzi Clemmons
"A manifesto on motherhood—both the vacancy and the sadness of it—Zinzi Clemmons' What We Lose is very much a matter of fact in its unwillingness to let go. I read this novel in one sitting, and found myself holding on until the very last page." -Paris at KDL's Kentwood Branch
So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
"A fascinating look at the mob mentality that is ever present on social media. For the individuals Ronson features, a single mistake – a distasteful joke on Twitter, a picture taken in bad judgement, a small town scandal – has ruined the lives of ordinary people. Ronson examines the psychology behind public shaming and why we are so easily willing to grab our pitchforks and chime in. I particularly enjoyed listening to the audiobook, as the incredulity and disgust in Ronson’s voice brings home the fact that we are all one misstep away from being the subject of the Internet’s ire." -Crystal at KDL's Caledonia Branch
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
"This is one of my favorite time management books out there (and I’ve read a lot). Vanderkam’s suggestion to look at how you would like to spend your time vs. how you actually spend your time 168 hours (1 week) at a time was a game changer for me. Each day looks differently and it’s not always realistic to say “I will practice Spanish 30 minutes a day.” However, if you frame it as “I will practice Spanish 3.5 hours this week” it suddenly seems less daunting. Some of Vanderkam’s suggestions ruffled my feathers (who are these magical people who can afford a laundry service and wake up at 5 a.m.?!), but overall I was able to apply the concept to the specifics of my life." -Crystal at KDL's Caledonia Branch
Meatless?: A Fresh Look At What You Eat by Sarah Elton
"This book is for school age kids, but really good short reading for young adult and not-so-young adult too. It’s not trying to make people become vegetarian/vegan, but to give good information about it (I thought the author must be vegetarian/vegan, but no he’s not)" -Yuko at KDL's Service Center
Hip Hop Raised Me by DJ Semtex
"Growing up the same time Hip Hop started out and grew into a mega power in the music industry has changed my culture and outlook on other cultures I was not included in originally. This give you a history and some back ground on what is a force to be reckoned with some 40 years later." -Larry at KDL's Service Center
My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth by Wendy E. Simmons
"I discovered this book when it was returned and it was a pretty quick read but very interesting. It follows the trip of a middle aged women who visited North Korea on her own for 10 days. She is escorted everywhere by two guides who spend most of the time trying to convince her how great North Korea is. The book has a lot of pictures in it that the author was able to take to document her strange visit. At the end of the ten days she was ready to leave and starting to get pretty paranoid." -Craig from KDL's Walker Branch
Stardew Valley
"Do you feel like farming without actually going outside? This is the perfect game for you!" -Hannah from KDL's Spencer Township Branch
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel by Kathleen Rooney
"I would love to meet this character! She was actually based on a real person – Margaret Fishback - who worked for Macy’s in the 20s/30s and was the highest paid female in advertising in her day." -Michelle at KDL's Service Center
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
"In this funny and poignant debut novel, Auggie Pullman enters middle school. Born with severe facial deformities, Auggie just wants to fit in. This children’s book about kindness, empathy, and tolerance will appeal to adults as well. A future classic." -Mark at KDL's Rockford Branch
Small Great Things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult
"I found Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things fascinating. Having never read any of her work, I am so thankful for a popular author who is willing to invite the topic of racism into conversation. It’s a deeply moving story that is told from all sides, embracing courage and fear, transforming hate into peace. Amazing book. I couldn’t put it down." -Ashten at KDL's Wyoming Branch
Posted by John David Anderson
Cell phones are banned at a Michigan middle school, so students communicate via Post-Its instead. Sticky notes are everywhere and students learn the power and pain of words. Fabulous middle grade fiction!" -Elizabeth at KDL's Plainfield Branch
Most People by Michael Leannah
"This book is a great resource for younger children to understand that even though bad things happen sometimes (as seen in the news, etc), that most people are good, kind and helpful. It reassures children that even though a few people may choose to do bad things, most people are kind and want to help others." -Jill at KDL's Service Center
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
"Do you ever wonder what qualities grow a gold medalist? A prima ballerina? An Army ranger? In Grit, renowned psychologist and MacArthur Fellow, Angela Duckworth explores the qualities present in high achieving individuals. Engaging the reader with examples from education, sports, and business, Duckworth suggests that a combination of persistence and perseverance, “grit”, can make all the difference. Why do some people work so hard? Why are we so enthralled by “naturally” gifted athletes? Is grit measurable? How can parents teach “grit?” These are just some of the questions Duckworth tenaciously explores. With practical applications for anyone striving for success, this book is a must read now." -Nanette in KDL's Sub Pool
You'll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein
"Jessi Klein is a writer for Inside Amy Schumer, this book is funny, filled with essays about life, work, marriage, family." -Shaunna at KDL's Alpine Branch
I Am a Unicorn! by Michaela Schuett
"For everyone who has dreamed big magical dreams, this one’s for you! Perfect for younger kiddos, this book will have you sharing giggles over sprinkles and sparkles." Ashley at KDL's Comstock Park Branch
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder
"Timothy Snyder, an historian at Yale and prominent authority on the Holocaust and the rise of fascism in Europe offers this slim and accessible volume on the lessons that can be learned from Europe’s mistakes." -Mark at KDL's Rockford Branch
Shakespeare Saved My Life by Laura Bates
"Dr. Laura Bates, a professor of English at Indiana State University, offers this quiet, reflective, and inspiring account of her experiences teaching the works of Shakespeare to prisoners held in supermax solitary confinement." Mark at KDL's Rockford Branch
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces (Junior Library Guild Selection) by Isabel Quintero
"I didn’t read this book for the longest time because I really don’t love the cover. But I finally got it as an eAudiobook and it was seriously good. Great for older teens who are trying to figure out who they are and were they want to go." -Beth at KDL's Gaines Township Branch
The Windfall: A Novel by Diksha Basu
"A funny read about a newly wealthy Indian family (in India) who are working hard to keep up with their neighbors. It’s also great to learn a little about a different culture." -Michelle at KDL's Service Center
Secrets of the Tulip Sisters: A Novel by Susan Mallery
"This book was a great read. The Murphy family from Tulpen Crossings Washington run a Tulip farm. Kelly (the farmer) , Olivia (jack of all trades gal) and Helen (owns the local café) are all strong female characters with secrets galore. All three have interesting relationships with each other and the men in their lives. This book has laughter, happiness, and tears." -Jaime at KDL's Plainfield Branch
White Hot Truth: Clarity for Keeping It Real on Your Spiritual Path from One Seeker to Another by Danielle LaPorte
"Danielle LaPorte. Oprah has named her one of the top hundred awakened leaders who are using their voice to elevate humanity. She keeps it real, light, and absolutely a must read for anyone looking for a little growth in their lives." Ashten at KDL's Wyoming Branch
The New Paris by Lindsey Tramuta
"Mixing the old with the new, The New Paris features Parisian innovators that are changing the way food, fashion, and design are paving the way for French culture. If you’ve ever read In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney, you’ll love this. And, it’s gorgeous!" -Ashten at KDL's Wyoming Branch
Refugee by Alan Gratz
"Three stories of families making their ultimate journeys for survival will keep readers turning pages! Though each story takes place in a different time period, their stories echo and intertwine. Fantastic middle grade fiction!" Elizabeth at KDL's Plainfield Branch
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things: A Novel by Bryn Greenwood
"I loved this book throughout the raw core, right up to the last few haunting words. The main character, Wavy Quinn, is a tiny, feral girl, neglected by her addict parents and surviving in world where the stars are her only true comforts. Enter the knight, Jesse Joe Kellen, a brutish biker with a criminal record and a desire to protect. As the tale progresses, heroes become villains and villains, heroes. It is light and dark, good and evil, ugly and well...wonderful. Adeptly told from the perspectives of many characters over the course of a decade, it is a story that serves to remind us that love can take many forms. If read with an open mind it will settle into you in unexpected ways." -Nanette from KDL's Sub Pool
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
"We all die at the end. Nobody escapes this fact. We are all equal on this. Most of us don’t even think about it just because we don’t know when exactly the end would be. But few people know it’s coming and try to live the days you have to the fullest. In this story two boys tried to live their End Day as positive as they can be together. That makes all the difference even though the end comes for sure." -Yuko at KDL's Service Center
Shetland Season One & Two
"Based on the books by Ann Cleves, these adaptations, featuring DI Jimmy Perez and DS McIntosh are brimming with atmosphere and intrigue. Take a tour of the beautiful and remote Shetland Islands and meet some colourful characters along the way." Cathy at KDL's Gaines Township Branch
True Detective Season 1
I’m not one to reread books or watch a television series more than once, but I’ve blown through the dark, gritty eight-hour tale that is True Detective: Season 1 so many times I could write a book on it (admittedly, probably not a very good book). The characters portrayed by Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey have a great dynamic, and McConaughey’s character, Rust Cohle, is easily my favorite role that he’s ever played." -David at KDL's Service Center
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
"Michelle Alexander, who is a legal scholar and a professor, documents racial disparities in rates of arrests and incarcerations and explains the depth and breadth of the ways in which the legal system creates these disparities." -Mark at KDL's Rockford Branch
Joy in the Morning: A Novel by Betty Smith
"In this charming and realistic overlooked classic from the author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Annie and Carl, a struggling law student, marry after several years of courtship. Poverty and inexperience test the young couple’s relationship, but readers will appreciate the heartwarming ways that they find of making things work." -Mark at KDL's Rockford Branch
Be Free or Die: The Amazing Story of Robert Smalls' Escape from Slavery to Union Hero by Cate Lineberry
"Robert Smalls was an American who escaped slavery, who served the Union Army during the Civil War, and had the unique experience of acquiring the home he was once a servant in and ultimately, graciously hosting his former slave master family during a short period of the reconstruction period. Smalls later served as a US Congressman and this book provides an excellent account of his life." -Brian at KDL's Service Center
There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
"Stephanie Perkins is my favorite teen author of quirky romances, but she threw me for a loop with this suspenseful slasher novel. Makani, a Hawaiian teen forced to move to Nebraska to run away from her past, encounters a serial killer that begins to pick off her high school peers one by one. Makani and her group of friends are desperate to find a motive to figure out the killer’s next move – Makani’s afraid her secret will make her the next victim. Hold on to your cornstalks and get ready for a wild and scary ride." -Abby at KDL's Wyoming Branch
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
"This should not be a surprise choice from me! Ava is a high school student and struggles with a form of OCD. It really gives the reader a peek into the thought process of this mental health issue." -Beth at KDL's Gaines Township Branch
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
"It is a fascinating and sobering look at life in North Korea from the point of view of 6 North Korean defectors." -Megan at KDL's Service Center
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I read Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, and loved it! It’s perfect for October if you’re looking for something to read that’s full of mysterious pasts and little spookiness. When I read it I was reminded of Jonathan Franzen’s much loved read, Freedom. Given that feel, I couldn’t put it down." -Ashten at KDL's Wyoming Branch