Staff Picks

Staff recommendations for the best of what to read, listen to and view in our collection.

The New Yorkers: a novel

Polly has just broken up with Chris and moves out of his apartment into an apartment with a curious history. Jody falls in love with Everett but Everett falls for Polly. Simon loves Jody but seems to love his hobbies more. Dog love. People love. City love. It's all here and it's brilliant! The New Yorkers by Cathleen Schine is the new Jane Austen in my opinion. She writes about the relationships between people and their animals all the while commenting on society and manners with great subtlety and insight. Funny and touching!

 

Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Check our catalog for: Nanny Returns

It's 10 years later and Nan is back in New York after living abroad with her husband Ryan (aka Harvard Hottie). She's trying to get her consulting business off the ground and dealing with the renovations on the apartment they purchased upon returning to the city. Ryan has started pressuring her to start a family, but Nan isn't sure it is something she wants. When Grayer X, her former charge, shows up on her doorstep needing her help, she realizes she still feels guilty after all these years for leaving him. As much as she doesn't want to, she finds herself getting sucked back into the X family drama.  If you find yourself forgetting what happened in the first book, the authors have a great refresher on their website!

A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck

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Grandma Dowdel is back.  It's the 1950's and the country is still working it's way out of the effects of the Great Depression and WWII.  Twelve-year-old Bob and his family move in next door to Mrs. Dowdel.  As they fight bullies and prejudice, they learn that people and things aren't what they seem to be, and the toughest person in town has the biggest heart.  An excellent companion book to A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder.

La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith

Check our Catalog for: La's Orchestra Saves the WorldLa's Orchestra Saves the World

It is 1939. Lavender—La to her friends—decides to flee London, not only to avoid German bombs but also to escape the memories of her shattered marriage. The peace and solitude of the small town she settles in are therapeutic . . . at least at first. As the war drags on, La is in need of some diversion and wants to boost the town's morale, so she organizes an amateur orchestra, drawing musicians from the village and the local RAF base. Among the strays she corrals is Feliks, a shy, proper Polish refugee who becomes her prized recruit—and the object of feelings she thought she'd put away forever.

The Secret History of Tom Trueheart by Ian Beck

Tom Trueheart is the youngest of seven brothers whose job it is is to find exciting endings for "The Story Bureau." When his six brothers, all named Jack, fail to return home, it's finally Tom's turn to have his own adventure. He must follow the clues in each brother's story to determine what happened to them so they can finish their stories and return home. Readers will have a fun time with the humorous spin on traditional fairytales.

Check our catalog for the children's book: The Secret History of Tom Trueheart

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

Check our catalog for: In a Sunburned Country

Bill Bryson tells of his adventures traveling all over the vast, remote, and unfamiliar (to us) country of Australia.  The book is filled with absolutely fascinating information and it's so humorous, too.   I downloaded the digital audio version from our NetLibrary collection and listened to it. It's read by the author.  I didn't want the book to end --there's so much more of Australia to explore, as he keeps pointing out!  It really made me want to take a trip to the land down under.

Clover Twig and the Magical Cottage by Kaye Umansky

Check our catalog for the children's book: Clover Twig and the Magical Cottage

This is a great play on the "evil witch" story in fairy tales.  Clover is the oldest girl from a large, messy family with the soul of a neatnik.  When the local witch (just a witch, not evil) advertises for live-in help at the high rate of six pennies a week, Clover sees it as a chance to get a room of her own while supporting her family away from their chaos.  In the process she has to deal with the local grocery delivery-boy (who is painfully clumsy), the witch's cat (who chases foxes for fun), and the witch's evil sister (who REALLY wants the cottage).  Clover's down-to-earth sensibility comes in hand when Mrs. Eckles has to go away on a business trip, and how she deals with the problems that happen would leave your average prince or princess in her dust (if she let any build up around her).

Duchess of death by Richard Hack

Check out our catalog for:  Duchess of Death: the unauthorized biography of Agatha Christie

This a very informational, unauthorized biography which was created from over 5,000 unpublished letters, notes, and documents. It gives us a look at the hidden side of Agatha Christie and shows what a quiet, private person she was throughout her entire lifetime.  It tells what happened when her husband asked for a divorce and she simply disappeared.  Later on in her life it also showed how she preferred to live in a hovel in Egypt, to being recognized in England.  One will find many surprises in her life and understand why, when she was trying to enter the building for her big award's ceremony and the doorkeeper didn't recognize her.  After he told her that no one could get in early, she just walked away!

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Check our catalog for: Shiver

This book is the perfect read for teens who are fans of the Twilight series. Grace and Sam are two teens in love, with a twist. Sam spends half his life as a wolf. When the weather turns cold, he changes into his animal form and will remain that way until the spring. This time, Sam senses it may be the last year he will be human and with Grace's help, tries to figure out a way to keep him from making the change permanantely.

Ice Bridge, Mackinac Island's Hidden Season

This DVD features spectacular photography of Mackinac Island in all seasons. Do you know what a "fudgie" is? Mackinac Island has over 700 horses in the summer and only 20 in the winter. Where do they go? Watch how the "Ice Bridge" transforms the Island in winter.
Review by: Chris Hurt, Library Aide, Technical Services