Check out what our staff is reading, watching, and listening to. Click the title or the image of the staff pick to go to the item's entry within our catalog and check it out for yourself.
Previous Staff Picks
The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens | book | Children's Fiction | Submitted by: Donna Gnatowski, Children's Librarian
Time travel, evil wizards, monsters, and elves - this second installment of The Books of Beginning weaves them all together into a fantastic adventure.
Jiro Dream of Sushi | DVD | Biography | Submitted by: Abby Hindulak, Librarian
The 85-year-old Jiro Ono is considered by many to be the world's greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of a 10-seat sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restauran
The French Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone | Book | Nonfiction | Submitted by: Abby Hindulak
With a slow cooker, even novices can turn out dishes that taste as though they came straight out of the kitchen of a French grandmère. Provençal vegetable soup. Red-wine braised beef with mushrooms. Chicken with forty cloves of garlic. Oh my, yum!
Wonder by R. J. Palacio | Book | Children's Fiction | Submitted by: Donna Gnatowski, Children's Librarian
I decided to read this book because so many children were asking for it. It is the story of ten-year-old August, a boy with severe facial anomalies who begins school for the first time as a fifth grader. Don't miss this great book.
Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings | Book and DVD | Fiction | Submitted by: Abby Hindulak, Collection Development Librarian
I saw the DVD first,then again. I had questions from the DVD that piqued my interest, so I had to read the book. I was compelled by the character's behavior and felt bewildered at times by the dychotomy of event and environment
Gone Girl: Gillian Flynn | Book | Mystery | Submitted by: Kristina Coley
This delightfully disturbing thriller about a marriage gone terribly wrong kept me on my toes and guessing through each twist and turn. Prepare yourself for a wild ride!
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed | Book | Biography | Submitted by: Kristina Coley
Wild is part travelogue of the Pacific Crest Trail, and part raw, searing memoir of loss and despair. It is both brutal and beautifully written, with the reader feeling as though they are on the trail alongside Strayed in her incredible journey.
Stolen by Lucy Christopher | Book | Fiction | Submitted by: C. Allen Nichols
The arrowing story of Gemma, a 16 year old girl, who is abducted from a foreign airport and taken deep into the Australian outback. Frightened and alone she needs to deal with her captor and the fact that there isn't anyplace to go.
Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta | Book | Fantasy | Submitted by: C. Allen Nichols
The second book in the Lumatere Chronicles tells of the orphaned Froi and the secret mission he is assigned by the Queen. He has mysteries to untangle, including that of his own place in the world and it’s time for him to discover everything.
Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore | Book | Fiction | Submitted by: Janet Griffing, Marketing Coordinator
Christopher Moore, author of "Fool" (a bawdy, laugh-out-loud retelling of King Lear) & "Lamb," the story of Biff, Jesus' boyhood pal, shares a fantastical tale about the blue paint used by artists like Van Gogh, Renoir, and Seurat.
The Bible Repairman and Other Stories by Tim Powers | Book | Science Fiction | Submitted by: Sean Rapacki, Teen Librarian
Tim Powers has always been one of the more unique voices in speculative fiction, and this collection of short stories proves to be no exception. The title tale is about a repairman who will edit out passages in the Bible that you find troubling.
Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander | Book | Adult Fiction | Submitted by: Sean Rapacki, Teen Librarian
Auslander writes like a mad cross between Philip Roth and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and this tale of a modern day nebbish who discovers a very live Anne Frank hiding in his attic is about as darkly comic as tales come.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Living by Barbara Kingsolver | Non-Fiction | | Submitted by: Sandy Murphy
I LOVED this book so much I had to buy a copy. Kingsolver, her husband, & their college-aged daughter all give great perspectives on the local food movement. Chock full of great info and recipes, too!
Looneyspoons Collection | Book | Cookbook | Submitted by: Missi Watts
Not only is this cookbook full of beautiful food pictures and recipes, but it is funny and has a lot of helpful healthy eating tips.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas: a Fable by John Boyne | Fiction | | Submitted by: Sandy Murphy
I read this book in a day & couldn't put it down. Travel back to WWII and visit "Out-With" with a special visit from "the Fury." Sometimes, a child's viewpoint & voice is what's needed to drive a simple message home.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender | Fiction | | Submitted by: Sandy Murphy
We all like food, right? Eating is...social, soothing, fun! But, what if you were a food psychic? What if you tasted the feelings of the person who grew or prepared your food: the farmer, college student, grandmother, Chef Ramsey? What then?
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart | book | Children's Fiction | Submitted by: Donna Gnatowski, Children's Librarian
This is the fourth book in the series about the Mysterious Benedict Society. I love these books full of adventure and mystery. In this one we meet the founder of the society as a nine-year-old orphan. Read this and you'll want to read them all!
Bridge of Dreams by Anne Bishop | Book | Fantasy | Submitted by: Abby Hindulak
Third of Ephemera Series by a favortie author. Annotation - When wizards threaten Glorianna Belladonna and her work to keep Ephemera balanced, her brother Lee sacrifices himself in order to save her-and ends up an asylum inmate in the city of Vision
Cat Telling Tales | Book | Mystery | Submitted by: Donna Gnatowski, Children's Librarian
I love these mysteries featuring Joe Grey, the cat that talks to select humans. If you've never read one, I know the idea may sound silly, but suspend your disbelief, and you'll be in for an enjoyable read.
The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau | book | fiction | Submitted by: Donna Gnatowski, Children's Librarian
This is historical fiction at its best. Novice Joanna Stafford searches her priory for a long hidden crown once worn by King Athelstan. Only by finding it can she save her father who is being held in the Tower of London.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins | Teen Novel | Alternate Future Sci-Fi | Submitted by: Abby Hindulak
I know the film is coming out, so I have to read the book before. Even though I had a pretty good idea how this would go, the writing is so good, I couldn't put it down!Katniss, caught in the horror of her time, seeks to find a way out. So good!
Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James | book | mystery | Submitted by: Donna Gnatowski, Children's Librarian
I very much enjoyed revisiting Pemberley and getting to know Elizabeth and Darcy from a new perspective. P.D. James does a wonderful job of recreating Austen while giving us a satisfying mystery.
Moneyball by Michael Lewis | Book | Nonfiction | Submitted by: Abby Hindulak
This is a suspense filled and exciting (except Chap. 4 for me) look into professional baseball. More specifically into how a poor MLB team tries to even the playing field. Excellent prose and fascinating facts.
Distraction by Bruce Sterling | Book | Near Future Science Fiction | Submitted by: Abby Hindulak
This work hits the mark. Though the story is thin in places, the political landscape is riveting, dynamic and seeming all too plausible. I found the main character very likable and was truly interested in how it ended. Highly Recommend.
Pargeters by Norah Lofts | Book | Adult Historical Fiction | Submitted by: Abby Hindulak
By bestselling British author - "Pargeters" is a slice of British history during 17th century Civil War. It's an engaging story of a family striving to keep their home, "Pargeters", during this tumultuous time.
George Harrison: Living in the Material World | Book | Biography | Submitted by: Kristina Coley, Teen/Reference Associate
This companion to Scorsese's documentary draws on Harrison's own photos, letters, and diaries to tell the story of his life. Harrison's previously unpublished photography is stunning, and a highlight of this gorgeous book on "The Quiet Beatle".
There But For The by Ali Smith | Book | Adult Fiction | Submitted by: Sean Rapacki, Teen Librarian
Full or both humor and sorrow, this story told from multiple perspectives centers around a dinner guest who locks himself in a spare bedroom and refuses to leave.
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami | Book | Adult Fiction | Submitted by: Sean Rapacki, Teen Librarian
In alternating voices, a female assassin and a male ghost writer narrate their tales, which become increasingly intertwined. Bizarre and engrossing fiction from a modern master.
Seven Times Smarter: 50 Activities, Games, and Projects to Develop the Seven Intelligences of Your Child by Laurel Schmidt | Book | Parent Teacher Resource | Submitted by: Missi Watts, Circulation Assistant
There are many different ways children can be smart. Traditional thinking leads us to think book smart or number smart. This book highlights seven areas where children can be smart and provides activities to nurture each area of intelligence.
"Gone-Away Lake," Elizabeth Enright | Book | Children's Fiction | Submitted by: Maggie Orchard, Circulation Manager
I've read this Newbery Honor book over and over, and have heard it described as "that great book where nothing happens." It's cheerful and descriptive, and you'll want to check out its sequel ("Return To Gone-Away") as well.
"Julie and Julia," Julie Powell | Book | Nonfiction | Submitted by: Maggie Orchard, Circulation Manager
Read along as Julie Powell masters the art of French cooking and swears a lot...this very funny memoir will inspire you to cook all kinds of things, but not, I'm guessing, anything with....aspic.
"The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide," Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor | Book | Nonfiction | Submitted by: Maggie Orchard, Circulation Manager
Equal parts "What are you, crazy?" and "Say, that's pretty neat," "Word Made Flesh" will inspire you to revisit the classics, from Melville to "The Giving Tree."
"Slam," Nick Hornby | Book | YA Fiction | Submitted by: Maggie Orchard, Circulation Manager
Not my favorite book by Mr. Hornby (that would be "31 Songs," with "About A Boy" a close second) but still an entertaining read about youthful error and Tony Hawk.
"Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress," Debra Ginsberg | Book | Biography | Submitted by: Maggie Orchard, Circulation Manager
Tempted not to tip? Think again. Get the scoop from this fascinating glimpse into the restaurant world.
"Material World: A Global Family Portrait," Peter Menzel | Book | Nonfiction | Submitted by: Maggie Orchard, Circulation Manager
This is a fascinating book consisting of photographic essays comparing families from around the world and their possessions in a unique format.
Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Rock by Howard Kramer | Non-Fiction | Music/Rock & Roll | Submitted by: Sandy Murphy
As we anxiously await a 50th concert tour (please?) this colorful compilation will tide us over chronicling the Stones from the very beginning through their various stages via concert tours. Great pix, too!
"Saint Maybe," Anne Tyler | Book | Fiction | Submitted by: Maggie Orchard, Circulation Manager
One of Anne Tyler's lesser known gems, this novel spanning a generation in the life of the Bedloe family will make you wish it had a sequel.
"Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth," E.L. Konigsburg | Book | Juvenile Fiction | Submitted by: Maggie Orchard, Circulation Manager
Fans of Konigsburg's "From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" will also enjoy this quirky and funny book about friendship, the fifth grade, and a mystery.
"Bento Box In The Heartland," Linda Furiya | Book | Biography | Submitted by: Maggie Orchard, Circulation Manager
This delightful read -part memoir, part cookbook- is guaranteed to inspire a craving for potstickers.
"Happens Every Day," Isabel Gillies | Book | Biography | Submitted by: Maggie Orchard, Circulation Associate
Well-written, engrossing account of Gillies' discovery that her husband had fallen for another woman and the subsequent divorce.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline | Book | Fiction | Submitted by: Sean Rapacki, Teen Librarian
Imagine a virtual reality created by a genius with a fetish for 80s arcade games, movies & music. Now imagine that this virtual reality is setting for a contest that offers you your only opportunity to escape poverty and oppression. Game on!
The Walk | Book | Fiction | Submitted by: Missi Watts
The main character, Alan Christofferson, is faced with several devastating losses. The Walk is the beginning of Alan's journey to go on despite his life circumstances. This book is good because even in the depths of his sorrow Alan moves forward.
Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff | Book | History | Submitted by: Donna Gnatowski
In 1945 two American servicemen, and one WAC survived a plane crash in a remote area of Dutch New Guinea. This exciting and well-written book chronicles their encounter with the primitive Dani tribesmen and their eventual amazing rescue.
Understood Betsy, Dorothy Canfield Fisher | Book | Children's Fiction | Submitted by: Maggie Orchard, Circulation Associate
I'd somehow missed this book well into my adult years and promptly recommended it to everyone I know: a must-read for fans of classic children's literature.
The Take-Out Menu Cookbook, Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds | Book | Cookbook | Submitted by: Maggie Orchard, Circulation Associate
Nice comprehensive cookbook covering many classic take-out options presented in an appealing format and consisting of easy-to-follow recipes.
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers | Book | Fiction | Submitted by: Krystal Williams
1930s Georgia - The characters are the damned, the voiceless, the rejected. Some fight their loneliness with violence and depravity, some with sex or drink, and some with a quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.
The Real Macaw by Donna Andrews | book | Mystery | Submitted by: Donna Gnatowski, Children's Librarian
Donna Andrews is a master of the humorous mystery. In the latest installment of her series featuring Meg Langslow and her wacky family, Meg deals with homeless animals, eminent domain, and murder while caring for her new twins.
The Real Macaw | Book | Mystery | Submitted by: Donna Gnatowski, Children's Librarian
Donna Andrews is a master of the humorous mystery. This is the latest installment in her series featuring Meg Langslow and her wacky family. Mystery solving, eccentric family, and four-month-old twins are all on Meg's plate this time.
"The Ledge," Jim Davidson and Kevin Vaughan | Book | Nonfiction | Submitted by: Maggie Orchard, Circulation Associate
Grueling, descriptive story of an adventure gone wrong and a survivor's eventual success in coping with the aftermath of tragedy.
The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz: A True Story of WWII | | Non-Fiction | Submitted by: Sandy Murphy
Meet Denis Avey, a 90+ WWII vet who finally tells his story of changing places with a prisoner at the Nazi death camp, Auschwitz. Avey walks you through many battles before describing the nightmare incarceration he volunteered for. An excellent read
The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens | Book | Children's Fiction | Submitted by: Donna Gnatowski, Children's Librarian
Many people enjoyed the Harry Potter series and would like to read something similar to it - this is the book for you! Fantasy, adventure, magic, and interesting characters abound. For adults as well as children.
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma | book | Children's fiction | Submitted by: Donna Gnatowski, Children's Librarian
A group of exceptionally intelligent children battle the evil Ledropha Curtain in his efforts to take over the world. This is the third in a great series that mixes puzzles, adventure, and a bit of mystery. Adults will like it, too!
Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern | Non-fiction | | Submitted by: Sandy Murphy
Just finished this title, and it's a scream. If you are offended by foul-language, it's not the book for you. Meet Dr. Sam Halpern who has quite a way of summing up life's events and difficulties. I laughed out loud too many times to count. Enjoy!
"Dicey's Song" by Cynthia Voigt | Book | Children's Fiction | Submitted by: Maggie Orchard, Circulation Associate
Excellent sequel to "Homecoming" and a must read for anyone who fell in love with the Tillermans and wondered what happened next.
"Little Pink House" by Jeff Benedict | Book | Nonfiction | Submitted by: Maggie Orchard
Excellent account of the infamous eminent domain fight in New London, Connecticut.
Betsy Was A Junior by Maud Hart Lovelace | Book | Children's Fiction | Submitted by: Maggie Orchard, Circulation Associate
Betsy and Tacy's friend Tib has moved back to Deep Valley, and their junior year gets off to an exciting start when the girls form a sorority based on Betsy's sister Julia's experiences at college. To their surprise, though, the fun doesn't last.
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott | Book | Teen/realistic | Submitted by: Krystal Williams
After being abducted when she was ten and abused for five years by her kidnapper, Ray, Alice's only hope of freedom is in death, but her only way to achieve such an escape is to help Ray find the next girl for his collection.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett | Book | General Fiction | Submitted by: Sandy Murphy
There is a reason this title is on the bestseller's list. It was excellent! Follow the story of Skeeter, Aibileen, & Minny as they find themselves part of the civil rights movement in Mississippi during the 1960s.
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson | Book | History | Submitted by: Donna Gnatowski, Assistant Manager, Children's Services
In 1933 history professor William Dodd became U.S. ambassador to Germany. In the next four years he, his wife, and two adult children experienced firsthand the deepening horror of Nazism. I found this book insightful, readable, and full of unforgettable descriptions of the era’s people and events.
The Pale King by David Foster Wallace | Book | Fiction | Submitted by: Sean Rapacki
When the author tragically took his own life in 2008, he left behind this manuscript in progress. Although an unfinished work, this ironic expose of the IRS is as compelling and stunning an achievement as his previous two novels
The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross | Book | Science Fiction | Submitted by: Ryan Dean
A fast paced Sci-fi mix of H.P. Lovecraft and Ian Fleming, the Atrocity Archives combines complex ideas and interesting characters in comedic romps through magical technology, secret service procedures, and Cthulu mythos hilarity.
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny. | Book | Mystery | Submitted by: Donna Gnatowski
Louise Penny's beautiful writing moves this mystery into a different level of storytelling while describing Quebec City so intimately that the reader feels she is there.
Life by Keith Richards | Book | Biography | Submitted by: Sandy Murphy
Fasten your seatbelt for a wild ride with Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones spanning his childhood to present day. I’m not finished with it, but it’s an impressive read so far.