Staff Picks

Happiness as such by Natalia Ginzburg Happiness as such by Natalia Ginzburg
At the heart ofHappiness, as Such is an absence--an abyss that pulls everyone to its brink--created by a family's only son, Michele, who has fled from Italy to England to escape the dangers and threats of his radical political ties. This novel is part epistolary: his mother writes letters to him, nagging him; his sister Angelica writes, missing him; so does Mara, his former lover, telling him about the birth of her son who may be his own. Left to clean up Michele's mess, his family and friends complain, commiserate,tease, and grieve, struggling valiantly with the small and large calamities of their interconnected lives.
This novel is considered an epistolary novel as it is told almost entirely in letters. I have always been intrigued by this style of story telling because it relies so heavily on the perspective of the letter writer. In this novel, we get mostly the perspective of the various women in this young man's life: his mother, his sister, his ex-lover, etc. It shows how complex familial and romantic relationships can be and that a person's view of a situation is altered so intensely by their own feelings and experiences. While this book has been beloved in Italy since 1973, it is new to us as the English translation was published recently in 2019.
–Emily, Outreach Librarian
Broken Broken by Cynthia Eden
Ex-SEAL and LOST founder Gabe Spencer is accustomed to the unusual in his job. But when knockout Eve Gray steps into his office, he's rattled. For the mysterious woman is a dead ringer for the heiress thought to be the latest prey of the serial killer who goes by the name Lady Killer.
I first picked up Cynthia Eden’s books in March. I finished her “LOST” series in a matter of weeks and I am on my 2nd series by her, “Wilde Ways”. If you enjoy suspense, mixed with a good dose of thrill, add in a good pour of romance, than Cynthia Eden may be your next favorite author too
–Leanne, Library Assistant
A Bad Day for Sunshine A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones
Darynda Jones is the American author of the Charley Davidson series of paranormal romantic thrillers and a young adult series called The Darklight Trilogy. Her books, Eighth Grave after Dark and Summoned toThirteenth Grave, made the New York Times bestseller list.
Darynda Jones gives us a new fun character and a rollicking good story without the paranormal bent of the Charley Davidson Series. Sunshine Vicram finds herself sheriff of Del Sol, New Mexico thanks to the machinations of her adorable parents. She and her daughter are back in her home town prepared for the mundane crimes of a small town, but instead end up with a missing teenager, a kidnapper running around, and murder. Add in her oldest best friend, an old crush, and a new hot and sexy U.S. Marshall and things start getting hot in Del Sol pretty fast. A fun quick read that had me laughing out loud, and a welcome new series to those of us who like Darynda’s works and were sad to see the last Charley Davidson book end.
-Kristine, Adult Reference Librarian
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

In the north of England, far from the intrusions of cities but not far from civilization, Silvie and her family are living as if they are ancient Britons, surviving by the tools and knowledge of the Iron Age.

For two weeks, the length of her father's vacation, they join an anthropology course set to reenact life in simpler times. They are surrounded by forests of birch and rowan; they make stew from foraged roots and hunted rabbit. The students are fulfilling their coursework; Silvie's father is fulfilling his lifelong obsession. He has raised her on stories of early man, taken her to witness rare artifacts, recounted time and again their rituals and beliefs--particularly their sacrifices tothe bog. Mixing with the students, Silvie begins to see, hear, and imagine another kind of life, one that might include going to university, traveling beyond England, choosing her own clothes and food, speaking her mind.

The ancient Britons built ghost walls to ward off enemy invaders, rude barricades of stakes topped with ancestral skulls. When the group builds one of their own, they find a spiritual connection to the past. What comes next but human sacrifice?

This creepy little novel takes you into the past while remaining in the present. I was sucked in from the very first page, and I loved the ominous feeling that this novel provided. This is the perfect book for anyone who likes bizarre history and spooky settings.
-Emily, Outreach Librarian
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
In the Dream House is Carmen Maria Machado's engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming.
I've read a lot of memoirs, but I have never read one with such an interesting and unique writing style. The memoir covers an abusive relationship during the author's time in her graduate writing program, and it is clear that Machado can write! Each chapter is written using a different literary device, genre, or trope which not only makes for a fascinating read but also contributes to the roller coaster feel of an abusive relationship. I look forward to reading more of her writing in the future!
-Emily, Outreach Librarian
Trust exercise by Susan Choi Trust exercise by Susan Choi
In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving "Brotherhood of the Arts," two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed--or untoyed with--by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley.
Winner of the 2019 "National Book Award for Fiction", this novel is for fans of literary fiction who find themselves fascinated by unique writing styles. You can read the synopsis for this book, but it won't really tell you what this book is about because nothing is really as it seems. This wasn't the easiest read and there were points early on where I almost gave up, but by the end, it was one of my favorite reads of the past year.
- Emily, Outreach Librarian
Overview : a new way of seeing Earth by Benjamin Grant and Sandra Markle Overview : a new way of seeing Earth by Benjamin Grant and Sandra Markle
In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving "Brotherhood of the Arts," two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed--or untoyed with--by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley.
This stunning, spectacularly beautiful collection of satellite images offers an unexpected and eye-opening look at our planet, revealing the beauty, wonder, resources, marvels and perils of our Earth. Overview shows the surprising, fascinating, and destructive ways humans have impacted our environment. This book allows you to see things in a way you have never seen them before, and is truly worth your time. Grades 4 – 6.
–Kim, Youth Services Librarian
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