Book List, Staff Picks

New Staff Picks!

Check out our latest staff picks!

Friends Like These by Kimberly McCreight

No one writes a contemporary thriller quite like Kimberly McCreight – she is a true master of her art. I loved the multiple perspectives and the immersion into the world of both privilege and poverty that accompany the ongoing opioid epidemic. I cannot wait to share this book with her exciting fans and new readers alike!

In this relentlessly twisty literary thriller from New York Times bestselling author Kimberly McCreight, a desperate intervention brings together a group of college friends 10 years after graduation—a reunion marked by lies, betrayal, and murder.

Everyone has those friends. Doesn’t matter how long it’s been, or how badly they’ve occasionally behaved, or how late it is when that call finally comes—you show up. No questions asked.

Honestly, that’s how the five of us ended up here in the Catskills. We did have the best of intentions. Especially after what happened to Alice all those years ago, we can’t bear to think of losing anyone else. In fact, we’ll do anything to make sure that doesn’t happen. We’ll go so much farther than we ever thought we would.  

In the end, maybe that’s what caught up with us. That, and the fact that we’re such a complicated group—so much history and so many big personalities. Secrets, too, that can slip out at the most inopportune moments. Of course, we love each other despite all of those things. We love each other no matter what.

There’s something so beautiful about that kind of unconditional love. It can turn ugly, though. Or maybe that’s just us. After all, we’ve already been through so much together. And we have so very much to hide.   

The Ghoul Next Door by Cullen Bunn & Cat Farris

Spooky and funny with just enough scares to force you to keep reading, THE GHOUL NEXT DOOR is absolutely wonderful. Grey is an awesome protagonist and his relationship with Lavinia is so adorable you’ll fall instantly in love with both of them. Through all the chills and thrills, at its core this is a story about the strong bonds of friendship transcending differences, and finding the courage to fight for the people you love. An eerie and beautiful tale.

For fans of Ghosts and HiloNew York Times bestselling author Cullen Bunn and acclaimed artist Cat Farris deliver a fun, spooky, full-color middle grade graphic novel about a supernatural adventure and friendships that go beyond the grave. 

Eleven-year-old Grey lives in the legend-haunted New England town of Ander’s Landing, and he can’t help but feel like a pair of eyes is watching his every move.

He discovers odd, gruesome bits and pieces from the graveyard that are left for him as gifts like art carved from bones or jewelry made from (hopefully not human) remains. Soon Grey is caught up in something bigger than he could ever have imagined.

He finds himself drawn into a strange mystery involving a race of reclusive subterranean creatures—ghouls, the eaters of the dead! Turns out, his secret admirer is a ghoul named Lavinia. An unlikely friendship forms between them. The only problem is, their friendship breaks traditions—and the punishment is a fate worse than death.

Learning from the Germans by Susan Neiman

As we all begin to reckon with our own history of race relations here in the United States it can at times be a daunting task. How do we approach correcting a system that has been built on the abuse of others, how do we reconcile our history with the fact that the same period in time can be viewed VERY differently depending on which Americans we’re asking? Learning From The Germans does a wonderful job of showing how Germany approaches it’s own history and provides some thoughts on how we could do the same.

As an increasingly polarized America fights over the legacy of racism, Susan Neiman, author of the contemporary philosophical classic Evil in Modern Thought, asks what we can learn from the Germans about confronting the evils of the past

In the wake of white nationalist attacks, the ongoing debate over reparations, and the controversy surrounding Confederate monuments and the contested memories they evoke, Susan Neiman’s Learning from the Germans delivers an urgently needed perspective on how a country can come to terms with its historical wrongdoings. Neiman is a white woman who came of age in the civil rights–era South and a Jewish woman who has spent much of her adult life in Berlin. Working from this unique perspective, she combines philosophical reflection, personal stories, and interviews with both Americans and Germans who are grappling with the evils of their own national histories.

Through discussions with Germans, including Jan Philipp Reemtsma, who created the breakthrough Crimes of the Wehrmacht exhibit, and Friedrich Schorlemmer, the East German dissident preacher, Neiman tells the story of the long and difficult path Germans faced in their effort to atone for the crimes of the Holocaust. In the United States, she interviews James Meredith about his battle for equality in Mississippi and Bryan Stevenson about his monument to the victims of lynching, as well as lesser-known social justice activists in the South, to provide a compelling picture of the work contemporary Americans are doing to confront our violent history. In clear and gripping prose, Neiman urges us to consider the nuanced forms that evil can assume, so that we can recognize and avoid them in the future.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This WWII historical fiction is my favorite of all-time. From the rich and unique settings, to the refreshing writing style (focusing on feelings and smells over sight), to the very real and emotional characters, this book gets everything right. So beautifully written, yet so sad and scarily suspenseful at points. The whole story keeps building and building until the very end, if you haven’t picked this up yet what are you waiting for!?

From Anthony Doerr, the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning author of Cloud Cuckoo Land, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt

Becca choosing a book that isn’t speculative fiction…practically unheard of. In my other life, I’m a classicist and this is one of the books that made me one. The Swerve chronicles the rediscovery of Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura, a work of Epicurean philosophy. Greenblatt is such a storyteller that sometimes you forget he’s writing non-fiction.

Renowned scholar Stephen Greenblatt brings the past to vivid life in what is at once a supreme work of scholarship, a literary page-turner, and a thrilling testament to the power of the written word.

In the winter of 1417, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties plucked a very old manuscript off a dusty shelf in a remote monastery, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. He was Poggio Bracciolini, the greatest book hunter of the Renaissance. His discovery, Lucretius’ ancient poem On the Nature of Things, had been almost entirely lost to history for more than a thousand years.

It was a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functions without the aid of gods, that religious fear is damaging to human life, that pleasure and virtue are not opposites but intertwined, and that matter is made up of very small material particles in eternal motion, randomly colliding and swerving in new directions. Its return to circulation changed the course of history. The poem’s vision would shape the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein, and—in the hands of Thomas Jefferson—leave its trace on the Declaration of Independence.

From the gardens of the ancient philosophers to the dark chambers of monastic scriptoria during the Middle Ages to the cynical, competitive court of a corrupt and dangerous pope, Greenblatt brings Poggio’s search and discovery to life in a way that deepens our understanding of the world we live in now.

Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyemi

If you ask me, fantasy fiction is nothing without solid world-building, and Toni Adeyemi nailed it in The Legacy of Orisha series. She brings a beautiful West African inspired fantasy world to life, perfect for lovers of epic fantasy and YA. The maji of Orisha are being eliminated and Zelie is ready to destroy the monarch that stole her peoples’ magic and her parents lives. Zelie makes unlikely allies and an even more unlikely romance that will have you screaming at the pages. I’m still waiting unpatiently for the release of the third novel, but it will be worth the wait!

With five starred reviews, Tomi Adeyemi’s West African-inspired fantasy debut, and instant #1 New York Times Bestseller, conjures a world of magic and danger, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir.

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

Call Me Athena by Colby Cedar Smith

I never really cared for books written in verse but this story made me reconsider. All three narrators have such distinct voices and their struggles are so clearly mirrored in each other. Smith is able to paint such a clear picture using such few words, it is truly amazing. What really sold me on this book is that the story is based off the author’s grandmother and great-grandparents (pictures are included!).

This enchanting novel in verse captures one young woman’s struggle for independence, equality, and identity as the daughter of Greek and French immigrants in tumultuous 1930s Detroit.

Call Me Athena: Girl from Detroit is a beautifully written novel in verse loosely based on author Colby Cedar Smith’s paternal grandmother. The story follows Mary as the American-born daughter of Greek and French immigrants living in Detroit in the 1930s, creating a historically accurate portrayal of life as an immigrant during the Great Depression, hunger strikes, and violent riots.

Mary lives in a tiny apartment with her immigrant parents, her brothers, and her twin sister, and she questions why her parents ever came to America. She yearns for true love, to own her own business, and to be an independent, modern American woman—much to the chagrin of her parents, who want her to be a “good Greek girl.”

Mary’s story is peppered with flashbacks to her parents’ childhoods in Greece and northern France; their stories connect with Mary as they address issues of arranged marriage, learning about independence, and yearning to grow beyond one’s own culture. Though Call Me Athena is written from the perspective of three profoundly different narrators, it has a wide-reaching message: It takes courage to fight for tradition and heritage, as well as freedom, love, and equality.

1010 Ways to Go Zero Waste by Kathryn Kellogg

I discovered Kathryn Kellogg’s lovely Instagram account while trying to reduce my carbon footprint. In this book you’ll find a list of easy and practical ways you can cut down on waste. Maybe the best solution is already in your home! She includes recipes and ideas to help declutter, spend less money, and of course the ultimate guide to what can I actually recycle. Pick this up and learn some tips to make a difference!

Minimalism meets DIY in an accessible guide to household waste reduction

We all know how important it is to reduce our environmental footprint, but it can be daunting to know where to begin. Enter Kathryn Kellogg, who can fit all her trash from the past two years into a 16-ounce mason jar. How? She starts by saying “no” to straws and grocery bags, and “yes” to a reusable water bottle and compostable dish scrubbers.

In 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste, Kellogg shares these tips and more, along with DIY recipes for beauty and home; advice for responsible consumption and making better choices for home goods, fashion, and the office; and even secrets for how to go waste free at the airport. “It’s not about perfection,” she says. “It’s about making better choices.”

This is a practical, friendly blueprint of realistic lifestyle changes for anyone who wants to reduce their waste.

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