Staff Picks - February 2018

    • In the Country We Love: my family divided
      Diane Guerrero

      The actress from the megahit Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was just fourteen years old on the day her parents were detained and deported while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career. This is a moving story of one woman's extraordinary resilience in the face of the nightmarish struggles of undocumented residents in this country. This memoir is a tale of personal triumph that also casts a much-needed light on the fears that haunt the daily existence of families likes the her's and on a system that fails them over and over.

    • A Court of Mist and Fury
      Sarah J. Maas

      This is the sequel to the spellbinding A Court of Thorns and Roses. Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court--but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people. As Feyre navigates a dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms--and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future--and the future of a world cleaved in two. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed teen series to new heights.

    • The Daily Stoic: 366 meditations on wisdom, perseverance, and the art of living
      Ryan Holiday

      Why have history's greatest minds embraced the wisdom of the ancient Stoics? Because they realize that the most valuable wisdom is timeless and that philosophy is for living a better life, not a classroom exercise. The Daily Stoic offers 366 days of insights and exercises. By following these teachings over the course of a year (and, indeed, for years to come) you'll find the serenity, self-knowledge, and resilience you need to live well. How a man this young has such wisdom, I will never know. - Sue

    • A Lady in Shadows
      Lene Kaaberbol

      I just read this second book in the Madeleine Karno series -- a historical mystery with a formidable female character. Madeleine desires nothing more than to put her intellect to good use; however, assisting her forensic doctor father is far from acceptable for a young woman in nineteenth-century France. This time, she's put to the test both as the first female student admitted to her local university and in pursuit of justice for a murdered. - Brooke

    • Being a Dad is Weird: lessons in fatherhood from my family to yours
      Ben Falcone

      A funny and intimate look at fatherhood from the actor and writer/director of The Boss and Tammy that combines stories about his own larger-than-life dad and how his experiences raising two daughters are shaped by his own childhood. In this winning collection, Ben shares his funny and poignant adventures as the husband of Melissa McCarthy, and the father of two young daughters. He also shares tales from his own childhood, and life with his father Steve Falcone--an outspoken, brilliant, but unconventional man with a big heart and a somewhat casual approach to employment. Ben is just an ordinary dad. As he navigates the complicated role of being the only male in a house full of women, he finds himself growing concerned as he sounds more and more like his dad. While Steve Falcone may not have been the briefcase and gray flannel suit type, he taught Ben priceless lessons about what matters most in life. Steve made sure his sons' lives were never dull--a sense of adventure that carries through this warm, sometimes hilarious, and moving memoir.

    • Bluebird, Bluebird
      Attica Locke
      I don’t usually go for mysteries but I enjoyed this one! The protagonist is a Texas Ranger who, when summoned to a small town to help solve two murders, is forced to come to terms with the town’s long history of racial tensions as well as his own life choices. - Keri
    • What Happened
      Hillary Rodham Clinton
      If you love her, you'll be sure to read this. If you hate her, you'll steer clear. But if you're ambivalent, I highly recommend picking up this book. Her voice is candid and warm. The chapters titled "On Being a Woman in Politics" and "Motherhood, Wifehood, Daughterhood, Sisterhood" are especially poignant. Chapters like "Those Damn Emails" add a wealth of background information. Plus, you get funny tidbits like George W. Bush's comment after the 2017 inauguration speech: "That was some weird sh*t." —Heather
    • Gilead
      Marilynne Robinson
      Robinson taught at the Iowa Writer's Workshop and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. This book is done as a diary written by an old pastor who is dying and wants to leave his young son a legacy to know him by. Very spiritual. It was the All Iowa Reads selection in 2006. - Mary
    • The Saboteur: the aristocrat who became France's most daring anti-Nazi commando
      Paul Kix
      This breathtaking biography, as fast-paced as the very best spy thrillers, illuminates an unsung hero of World War II--Robert de La Rochefoucauld, an aristocrat turned anti-Nazi saboteur--and his daring exploits as a resistance fighter trained by Britain's Special Operations Executive. When the Nazis invaded and imprisoned his father, he escaped to England and learned the dark arts of anarchy and combat. With his newfound skills, he returned to France and organized Resistance cells, blew up fortified compounds and munitions factories, and executed Nazi officers. Caught by the Germans, La Rochefoucauld withstood months of torture without cracking, and escaped his own death, not once but twice. Whatever the mission, whatever the dire circumstance, La Rochefoucauld acquitted himself nobly, with the aplomb of a man of breeding: he was James Bond before Ian Fleming conjured him.
    • Otherworld
      Jason Segel

      Fans of Ready Player One should check out this YA novel written by Jason Segel of television's How I Met Your Mother.  This fast-paced adventure features a life-and-death journey through the surreal, decadent, and dangerous Otherworld. Perhaps even more compelling is the web of intrigue and mystery created by the powerful corporation that controls Otherworld, which our ensnared teenage heroes cleverly combat inside and outside of the game. - Jacque

    • Unseen: unpublished black history from the New York Times Photo Archives

      Hundreds of stunning images from black history have long been buried in The New York Times archives. Unseen uncovers these unpublished photographs and tells the stories behind them. It began with Times photo editor Darcy Eveleigh discovering dozens of these photographs. She and three colleagues began exploring the history behind them, and subsequently chronicling them in a series entitled Unpublished Black History, that ran in print and online editions of The Times in February 2016. This book includes those photographs and many more. Were the photos--or the people in them--not deemed newsworthy enough? Did the images not arrive in time for publication? Were they pushed aside for lack of space? The editors explore all these questions and more in this one-of-a-kind book.  

    • Weave a Circle Round
      Kari Maaren

      When the unexpected moves in next door, anything can happen in this YA-friendly debut. Freddy doesn't want people to think she's weird. Her family makes that difficult, though: her deaf stepbrother is a major geek, and her genius little sister is training to be the next Sherlock Holmes. All Freddy wants is to survive high school. Then two extremely odd neighbors move in next door. They are definitely not normal. Neither is their house, which defies the laws of physics. Nor is Freddy's situation, when she suddenly finds herself stuck thousands of years in the past with her very weird neighbors. And that's only the beginning. Discover your inner child once again in this fantasy adventure for fans of Madeleine L'Engle, Diana Wynne Jones, and E. L. Konigsburg.

    • Mistborn: the final empire
      Brandon Sanderson
      Mix adventure with another world of the past, fold in fantasy of an ancient culture, add an amalgam of metallurgy, season with a bit of the wild west, top off with steampunk and you have a wonderful blend that Sanderson has cooked up for us fantasy readers who want something a little different to read or listen to this winter.
    • Grit
      Gillian French

      A great YA read, at turns funny, moving , and sad, this book (similar to Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy) has at its center an amazing main character whose voice brought the setting and story fully to life. - Katie B.

    • Future Home of the Living God
      Louise Erdrich

      Bestselling author Erdrich, paints a portrait of a young woman fighting for her life and her unborn child against oppressive forces that manifest in the wake of a cataclysmic event. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Cedar Hawk Songmaker, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America. But for her, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant. A chilling dystopian novel both provocative and prescient, this is a startlingly original work: a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time.

    • Laura Ingalls Wilder Country
      William Anderson

      This is an older title, so check before you make the trek!  It features various Ingalls and Wilder family sites that have been restored or are replicas of the many places that the family lived in, or were employed at.  Any fan of the Little House stories will enjoy "armchair traveling" with this book! - Luann

    • Shroud of Eternity
      Terry Goodkind

      This is the second book in the Nicci Chronicles, which are a continuation of The Sword of Truth series.  It follows the powerful sorceress Nicci and the currently powerless wizard Nathan on a mission to restore his gift and let other lands know of the empire she came from, and its benevolent rulers.  High fantasy, with Ayn Rand's objectivism being the philosophy behind the main characters motivations. You may want to start with book one, Death's Mistress.

    • Spook Street
      Mick Herron
      This is the fourth book in the Jackson Lamb series. He's the head of Slough House, the place where disgraced MI-5 agents are sent to finish their careers. The story focuses on River Cartwright, one of the demoted spies, and his grandfather who was once a top agent during the Cold War era and is now succumbing to dementia. There's been an attempt to silence the old man but it's River's body that's found at the scene. And there's a terrorist bombing at a London shopping center. The agents at Slough House are busy figuring out if these events relate. It's a fast paced and well-told tale with great characters, sharp humor, and a twisty mystery. I listened to the audio book which was wonderfully narrated and plan to go back to the beginning of the series - it was that good. - Carla
    • The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily
      Laura Creedle

      The main characters in this young adult novel are dealing with all the intensity of everyone's teen years, plus the added challenges of being on the ADD spectrum. This struck me as sweeter than a similar story, Turtles All the Way Down by John Green, partly because the ending ties the characters together in a more positive way, but both are well-written and thought-provoking stories about the opportunities we take and lose out on, the mistakes we make, and how we navigate friends, families and love. - Sandy