Staff Picks

Normal People by Sally Rooney Normal People by Sally Rooney
Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation--awkward but electrifying--something life changing begins. A year later, they're both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.
Two people who feel anything but normal don't realize just how normal they really are. I loved everything about this book, from the writing style, to the characters and setting, but most importantly the commentary on mental health and how it affects relationships.
–Emily, Outreach Librarian
Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos by Lucy Knisley Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos by Lucy Knisley
This moving, hilarious, and surprisingly informative memoir, Kid Gloves, not only follows Lucy’s personal transition into motherhood but also illustrates the history and science of reproductive health from all angles, including curious facts and inspiring (and notorious) figures in medicine and midwifery. Whether you’ve got kids, want them, or want nothing to do with them, there’s something in this graphic memoir to open your mind and heart.
Lucy Knisley creates heartwarming graphic novels about real life things like traveling, cooking, and even wedding planning. So it was natural that her experience with pregnancy would make its way into a book as well. This book is at times equally funny, emotional, and terrifying. I love that she is willing to share not only her art but also her life with her audience.
– Emily, Outreach Librarian
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