Staff Picks

Red clocks by Leni Zumas Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.
This novel is considered a dystopian and has been compared by many to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, but this one feels a little more close to home. The women in this story, who face very different life situations, are just like the real women that surround us.
–Emily, Outreach Librarian
Little fires everywhere by Celeste Ng Little fires everywhere by Celeste Ng
Enter Mia Warren--an enigmatic artist and single mother--who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.
Not only is this an interesting story full of dynamic characters, but its local setting makes it a particularly fun read. I loved looking for the references of places I've actually been.
–Emily, Outreach Librarian
Educated Educated by Tara Westover
Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
This memoir is both fascinating and disturbing. Family is complicated and Tara Westover knows that better than most. With no education, no support, and even no known birth date, she was able to overcome extreme brainwashing and abuse to make a better life for herself. It's hard to not be inspired by the author's resilience and determination.
–Emily, Outreach Librarian
Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob
Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob's half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything . At first they are innocuous enough, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. Trying to answer him honestly, Mira has to think back to where she's gotten her own answers: her most formative conversations about race, color, sexuality, and, of course, love.
This is a graphic novel, but if graphic novels are not your thing, it also comes in an awesome audiobook version! You might wonder how a graphic novel can translate to audio.. but this book is entirely in conversations! It was inspired by the author's own conversations with her family and friends and especially her six year old son about the world we live in. Mira's conversations dive into topics like politics, racism, and sexuality. I would highly recommend this book!
-Emily, Outreach Librarian
Magical realism for non-believers : a memoir of finding family by Anika Fajardo
A young woman from Minnesota searches out the Colombian father she's never known in this powerful exploration of what family really means He loved Colombia too much to leave it. The explanation from her Minnesotan mother was enough to satisfy a child's curiosity about her missing father. But at twenty-one, Anika Fajardo wanted more.
For someone who loves bright colors, it was hard to resist this cover! I am also a huge fan of the magical realism genre, so the title definitely intrigued me. Anika Fajardo's memoir is a beautiful true story of the complicated nature of family. I'm sure many readers, like myself, will be able to relate to parts of her story. The author is a truly gifted story teller, so while this may be non-fiction, it reads much like a magical piece of fiction.
-Emily, Adult Reference Librarian
Sabrina & Corina : stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine Sabrina & Corina : stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
Kali Fajardo-Anstine's magnetic story collection breathes life into her Latina characters of indigenous ancestry and the land they inhabit in the American West. Against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, Colorado--a place that is as fierce as it is exquisite--these women navigate the land the way they navigate their lives: with caution, grace, and quiet force.
I was initially drawn to this book of short stories because of the beautiful cover, but I soon came to realize that the words inside are just as stunning. All of the stories take place in Denver, Colorado, and each story focuses on a different Latina protagonist. The characters feel so real showing both strength and vulnerability. I look forward to reading more of this author's work in the future!
-Emily, Outreach Librarian
Book Love by Debbie Tung Book Love by Debbie Tung
Book Love is a gift book of comics tailor-made for tea-sipping, spine-sniffing, book-hoarding bibliophiles. Debbie Tung's comics are humorous and instantly recognisable - making readers laugh while precisely conveying the thoughts and habits of book nerds. Book Love is the ideal gift to let a book lover know they're understood and appreciated.
"This book of comics was recommended to me by several co-workers here at the library, and after reading it, I can understand why. It is the perfect little book for any true bookworm or bibliophile. If you fall under that category, you are sure to have moments of, "Omgosh! That is so me!" Each page is a new comic, so it is super easy to read a few pages whenever you have a spare moment!"
- Emily, Outreach Librarian
My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper
Meet Ellie, the best-intentioned redhead next door. You'll laugh right alongside her as she shares tales of her childhood in St. Louis, whether directing and also starring in her family holiday pageant, washing her dad's car with a Brillo pad, failing to become friends with a plump squirrel in her backyard, eating her feelings while watching PG-13 movies, or becoming a "sports monster" who ends up warming the bench of her Division 1 field hockey team in college.
In her memoir, Kemper shares funny anecdotes from throughout her life from childhood to Hollywood to motherhood. She also talks about her time spent on the tv shows, The Office and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and the movie, Bridesmaids. I'd highly recommend the audiobook version as it is read by the author. Listening to Ellie Kemper's memoir felt like hanging out with a really funny friend.
–Emily, Outreach Librarian
All we shall know by Donal Ryan All we shall know by Donal Ryan
Melody Shee is alone and in trouble. At 33 years-old, she finds herself pregnant with the child of a 17 year-old Traveller boy, Martin Toppy, and not by her husband Pat. Melody was teaching Martin to read, but now he’s gone, and Pat leaves too, full of rage. She’s trying to stay in the moment, but the future is looming, while the past won’t let her go. It’s a good thing that she meets Mary Crothery when she does. Mary is a bold young Traveller woman, and she knows more about Melody than she lets on. She might just save Melody’s life.
This book not only left me a bit speechless, but also went immediately to the top of my favorites list! Donal Ryan is an exquisite writer. He tells the story of Melody Shee, an extremely flawed but also very real character, who is drowning in her own bad decisions and regrets. Although less than 200 pages, this novel isn't an easy read as it is written in a fairly heavy dialect at times, but it is so very worth it!
–Emily, Outreach Librarian
The exact nature of our wrongs by Janet Peery The exact nature of our wrongs by Janet Peery
On a summer evening in the blue-collar town of Amicus, Kansas, the Campbell family gathers for a birthday dinner for their ailing patriarch, retired judge Abel Campbell, prepared and hosted by their still-hale mother Hattie. But when Billy, the youngest sibling--with a history of addiction, grand ideas, and misdemeanors--passes out in his devil's food cake, the family takes up the unfinished business of Billy's sobriety.
This novel is for the fans of realistic fiction. The story centers around an elderly couple and their adult children who are each facing their own demons and regrets. Like many real families, the Campbell family is a very dysfunctional unit. Janet Peery is not only a beautiful writer, but she also has a unique ability to create empathy for characters who might otherwise be completely unlikable. I loved this book so much that I had a hard time returning it to the library.
– Emily, Outreach Librarian