Book List, Staff Picks

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

My Bavarian grandmother taught me German as a young child and as I studied the language and culture throughout the years, I came to love the tradition of St. Nicholas Day (Nikolaustag). Before bed on December 5th, children put their shoes outside the door for St. Nichoals (he’s the patron saint of children) and he would put treats in them if you were good, or Krampus would steal you away if you were naughty. But maybe this year, instead of sweets in shoes, a book would be a lovely St. Nicholas Day present! So check out our latest staff picks, we’re pretty sure a lot of them would fit into some shoes!


HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style by Elizabeth Holmes

(alas, this book will not fit in shoes, even if they’re a robust size 12 like mine)

I’m always a sucker for everything pertaining to the royal ladies, and have been curating a Kate Pinterest board for a decade. As a student of historical costume, I studied how fashion changed over time and this book will serve a role for generations to come who are fascinated by how we dressed – it’s the celebrities and royals we looked at most in the past and will, most likely, continue to be in the future.

Veteran style journalist Elizabeth Holmes expands her popular Instagram series, So Many Thoughts, into a nuanced look at the fashion and branding of the four most influential members of the British Royal Family: Queen Elizabeth II; Diana, Princess of Wales; Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge; and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex.
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle are global style icons, their every fashion choice chronicled and celebrated. With all eyes on them, the duchesses select clothes that send a message about their values, interests, and priorities. Their thoughtful sartorial strategies follow in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth II and Diana, Princess of Wales, two towering figures known for using their personal style to great acclaim.
With one section devoted to each woman, HRH is a celebration of their stories and their style, pairing hundreds of gorgeous photographs with extensive research. A picture emerges of the British monarchy’s evolution and the power of royal fashion, showing there’s always more than what meets the eye.

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

(definitely for adult shoes only)

The only Good Indians is one of my favorite horror novels that I have read in a long time. Normally I like my horror with an element of humor, this is an exception. This book is a story of revenge and what happens when you try to run what you are. A brutal story with a social commentary that makes you ask hard questions this story has notes of a truth that we all should heed.

A tale of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones.
Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

(this one will fit nicely in shoes for St. Nicholas Day!)

THE MERMAID, THE WITCH, AND THE SEA is a sweeping saga, a lyrical tale, and a fantastical high-seas adventure. With pirates, queer romance, and folklore you will be hooked from the very first word. The story is wonderful, epic, magical, too many things for me to put here. It’s one of those books that’s just so beautiful it’s very hard to explain to others except by saying, you just have to read it. Seriously you just have to.

In a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic, a desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial lady find a connection on the high seas.
The pirate Florian, born Flora, has always done whatever it takes to survive—including sailing under false flag on the Dove as a marauder, thief, and worse. Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, a highborn Imperial daughter, is on board as well—accompanied by her own casket. But Evelyn’s one-way voyage to an arranged marriage in the Floating Islands is interrupted when the captain and crew show their true colors and enslave their wealthy passengers.
Both Florian and Evelyn have lived their lives by the rules, and whims, of others. But when they fall in love, they decide to take fate into their own hands—no matter the cost.
Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s sweeping fantasy debut, full of stolen memories, illicit mermaid’s blood, double agents, and haunting mythical creatures conjures an extraordinary cast of characters and the unforgettable story of a couple striving to stay together in the face of myriad forces wishing to control their identities and destinies.

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

(will fit in shoes, but we would use flats or open sandals to be safe!)

Everything about this book makes me happy, from the new characters, to my favorite old characters from The Infernal Devices. You do not need to have read the previous books to understand this one, which is great for new fans. This book is making me feel nostalgic in all of the best ways. The world is fantastic, the demons are back and scarier than ever, I’m in love!!! Clare’s world building keeps getting better with each series.

From #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Cassandra Clare comes the first novel in a brand-new trilogy where evil hides in plain sight and love cuts deeper than any blade. Chain of Gold is a Shadowhunters novel.
Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.
But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

(the best fit for shoes for all children!)

When You Reach Me is a story that at first glance seems basic, but as you dive deeper will find nuanced writing fit for all audiences. Seriously, pay attention to the details and you won’t regret it. It’s the perfect introduction to science fiction and mystery, yet also a great read to learn about ways to navigate complicated relationships between people, and even still valuable for insight on New York in the 70s.

This Newbery Medal winner that has been called “smart and mesmerizing,” (The New York Times) and “superb” (The Wall Street Journal) will appeal to readers of all types, especially those who are looking for a thought-provoking mystery with a mind-blowing twist. 
Shortly after a fall-out with her best friend, sixth grader Miranda starts receiving mysterious notes, and she doesn’t know what to do. The notes tell her that she must write a letter—a true story, and that she can’t share her mission with anyone.
It would be easy to ignore the strange messages, except that whoever is leaving them has an uncanny ability to predict the future. If that is the case, then Miranda has a big problem—because the notes tell her that someone is going to die, and she might be too late to stop it.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

(will definitely fit comfortably in a teenager’s shoes!)

One of Us is Lying is must-read for fans of The Breakfast Club and Pretty Little Liars. Told from multiple perspectives, this story follows five unique students in a classroom together for detention. When detention is over, one of the students is dead. This highly addicting and mystery book will have you on the edge of your seat and flying through the pages as you try to guess who committed the crime.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

  • Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
  • Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
  • Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
  • Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
  • And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

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