In observance of Memorial Day, the J.V. Fletcher Library will be closed Saturday, May 25 through Monday, May 27. The Library will re-open on Tuesday at 10:00AM.

Staff Recommends

FICTION:

Beautyland by Marie-Helene Bertino. If you enjoy science fiction, be sure to check out Beautyland by Marie-Helene Bertino.At the moment when Voyager 1 is launched into space carrying its famous golden record, a baby of unusual perception is born to a single mother in Philadelphia. Adina Giorno is tiny and jaundiced, but she reaches for warmth and light. As a child, she recognizes that she is different: She possesses knowledge of a faraway planet. The arrival of a fax machine enables her to contact her extraterrestrial relatives, beings who have sent her to report on the oddities of Earthlings. For years, as she moves through the world and makes a life for herself among humans, she dispatches transmissions on the terrors and surprising joys of their existence. Then, at a precarious moment, a beloved friend urges Adina to share her messages with the world. Is there a chance she is not alone?

Diva: a Novel by Daisy Goodwin. The scandalous love affair between Aristotle Onassis and Maria Callas is woven into a captivating story inDiva: A Novel by Daisy Goodwin. “In the glittering and ruthlessly competitive world of opera, Maria Callas was known simply as la divina: the divine one. With her glorious voice, instinctive flair for the dramatic and striking beauty, she was the toast of the grandest opera houses in the world. But her fame was hard won: raised in Nazi-occupied Greece by a mother who mercilessly exploited her golden voice, she learned early in life to protect herself from those who would use her for their own ends. When she met the fabulously rich Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, for the first time in her life, she believed she’d found someone who saw the woman within the legendary soprano. She fell desperately in love. He introduced her to a life of unbelievable luxury, showering her with jewels and sojourns in the most fashionable international watering holes with celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. And then suddenly, it was over. The international press announced that Aristotle Onassis would marry the most famous woman in the world, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, leaving Maria to pick up the pieces.”

Eternal by Lisa Scottoline. Lisa Scottoline is best known for her mystery writing.  Her novel, Eternal is historical fiction with a few twists and turns that add an element of mystery. “Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro grow up as the best of friends despite their differences. Elisabetta is a feisty beauty who dreams of becoming a novelist; Marco the brash and athletic son in a family of professional cyclists; and Sandro a Jewish mathematics prodigy, kind-hearted and thoughtful, the son of a lawyer and a doctor. Their friendship blossoms to love, with both Sandro and Marco hoping to win Elisabetta’s heart. But in the autumn of 1937, all of that begins to change as Mussolini asserts his power, aligning Italy’s Fascists with Hitler’s Nazis and altering the very laws that govern Rome. In time, everything that the three hold dear–their families, their homes, and their connection to one another–is tested in ways they never could have imagined. As anti-Semitism takes legal root and World War II erupts, the threesome realizes that Mussolini was only the beginning. The Nazis invade Rome, and with their occupation come new atrocities against the city’s Jews, culminating in a final, horrific betrayal. Against this backdrop, the intertwined fates of Elisabetta, Marco, Sandro, and their families will be decided, in a heartbreaking story of both the best and the worst that the world has to offer. Unfolding over decades, Eternal is a tale of loyalty and loss, family and food, love and war–all set in one of the world’s most beautiful cities at its darkest moment.”

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarrows. “As war grows more deadly, Violet Sorrengail joins the elite Navarre: the dragon riders. But she’ll need to keep her wits because once you enter the Basgiath War College, there are only two ways out: graduate or die.”

Good Bad Girl by Alice Feeney. “Twenty years after a baby is stolen from a stroller, a woman is murdered in a care home. The two crimes are somehow linked, and a good bad girl may be the key to discovering the truth. Edith may have been tricked into a nursing home, but at eighty-years-young, she’s planning her escape. Patience works there, cleaning messes and bonding with Edith, a kindred spirit. But Patience is lying to Edith about almost everything. Edith’s own daughter, Clio, won’t speak to her. And someone new is about to knock on Clio’s door … and their intentions aren’t good. With every reason to distrust each other, the women must solve a mystery with three suspects, two murders, and one victim. If they do, they might just find out what happened to the baby who disappeared, the mother who lost her, and the connections that bind them.”

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride. “In 1972, when workers in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, were digging the foundations for a new development, the last thing they expected to find was a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there were two of the long-held secrets kept by the residents of Chicken Hill, the dilapidated neighborhood where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side and shared ambitions and sorrows. Chicken Hill was where Moshe and Chona Ludlow lived when Moshe integrated his theater and where Chona ran the Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. When the state came looking for a deaf boy to institutionalize him, it was Chona and Nate Timblin, the Black janitor at Moshe’s theater and the unofficial leader of the Black community on Chicken Hill, who worked together to keep the boy safe.”

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano.   “William Waters grew up in a house silenced by tragedy, where his parents could hardly bear to look at him, much less love him. So it’s a relief when his skill on the basketball court earns him a scholarship to college, far away from his childhood home. He soon meets Julia Padavano, a spirited and ambitious young woman who surprises William with her appreciation of his quiet steadiness. With Julia comes her family; she is inseparable from her three younger sisters: Sylvie, the dreamer, is happiest with her nose in a book and imagines a future different from the expected path of wife and mother; Cecelia, the family’s artist; and Emeline, who patiently takes care of all of them. Happily, the Padavanos fold Julia’s new boyfriend into their loving, chaotic household. But then darkness from William’s past surfaces, jeopardizing not only Julia’s carefully orchestrated plans for their future, but the sisters’ unshakeable loyalty to one another. The result is a catastrophic family rift that changes their lives for generations.”

How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang. “Newly orphaned children of immigrants, Lucy and Sam are suddenly alone in a land that refutes their existence. Fleeing the threats of their western mining town, they set off to bury their father in the only way that will set them free from their past. Along the way, they encounter giant buffalo bones, tiger paw prints, and the specters of a ravaged landscape as well as family secrets, sibling rivalry, and glimpses of a different kind of future.”

None Of This Is True by Lisa Jewell. “Celebrating her forty-fifth birthday at her local pub, popular podcaster Alix Summers crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie, it turns out, is also celebrating her forty-fifth birthday. They are, in fact, birthday twins. A few days later, Alix and Josie bump into each other again, this time outside Alix’s children’s school. Josie has been listening to Alix’s podcasts and thinks she might be an interesting subject for her series. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life. Josie’s life appears to be strange and complicated, and although Alix finds her unsettling, she can’t quite resist the temptation to keep making the podcast. Slowly she starts to realise that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets, and before she knows it, Josie has inveigled her way into Alix’s life, and into her home. But, as quickly as she arrived, Josie disappears. Only then does Alix discover that Josie has left a terrible and terrifying legacy in her wake, and that Alix has become the subject of her own true crime podcast, with her life and her family’s lives under mortal threat.”

Roman Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. “The first short story collection by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author and master of the form since her number one New York Times best seller Unaccustomed Earth • Rome—metropolis and monument, suspended between past and future, multi-faceted and metaphysical—is the protagonist, not the setting, of these nine stories.”

Save What’s Left by E. Costellano. “When Kathleen Deane’s husband, Tom, tells her he’s no longer happy with his life and their marriage, Kathleen is confused. Who said anything about being happy? They live in Kansas, for goodness sake! But with Tom off finding himself, Kathleen starts to think about what she wants. And her thoughts lead her to a small beach community on the east coast, a town that has always looked lovely in the Christmas cards her childhood friend Josie sends every year. It turns out that life in Whitbey is nothing like Josie’s Christmas cards. Kathleen’s new neighbor, Rosemary, is cantankerous and the town’s supervisor won’t return Kathleen’s emails, but worst of all is the Sugar Cube, the monstrosity masquerading as a holiday home that Kathleen’s absentee neighbors are building next door to her quaint (read: tiny) cottage. As Kathleen gets more and more involved in the fight agains the Sugar Cube and town politics overall, she realizes that Whitbey may not be a fairytale, but it just might be just what she needed.”

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan. “It is 1985 in a small Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man faces into his busiest season. Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery which forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church. Already a bestseller in France and certain to be read worldwide for generations to come, Small Things Like These is a deeply affecting story of hope, quiet heroism, and empathy from one of our most critically lauded and iconic writers.”

The Stanger in a Lifeboat by Mitch Albom. “What would happen if we cried out to God for help and someone claiming to be God actually appeared before us? In Mitch Albom’s novel, a group of shipwrecked passengers must face that challenge when a strange man they pull from the water says he can save them all, but only if they believe in him … The story is narrated by a lonely passenger named Benji, who recounts the events in a notebook that is discovered-a year later-when an empty raft washes up on the island of Montserrat. It falls to the island’s chief inspector, Jarty LeFleur, a man battling his own demons, to solve the mystery of what really happened out at sea”.

Zero Days by Ruth Ware. Hired by companies to break into buildings and hack security systems, Jack and her husband, Gabe, are the best penetration specialists in the business. But after a routine assignment goes horribly wrong, Jack arrives home to find her husband dead. To add to her horror, the police are closing in on their suspect her. Suddenly on the run and quickly running out of options, Jack must decide who she can trust as she circles closer to the real killer in this unputdownable and heart-pounding mystery from an author whose “propulsive prose keeps readers on the hook and refuses to let anyone off until all has been revealed”

NONFICTION:

The Code Breaker : Jennifer Doudna, gene editing, and the future of the human race by Walter Isaacson. “The bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns with a gripping account of how the pioneering scientist Jennifer Doudna, along with her colleagues and rivals, launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and enhance our children”.

The Comfort of Crows : a backyard year by Margaret Renkl.  “In The Comfort of Crows, Margaret Renkl presents a literary devotional: fifty-two chapters that follow the creatures and plants in her backyard over the course of a year. As we move through the seasons — from a crow spied on New Year’s Day, its resourcefulness and sense of community setting a theme for the year, to the lingering bluebirds of December, revisiting the nest box they used in spring — what develops is a portrait of joy and grief: joy in the ongoing pleasures of the natural world, and grief over winters that end too soon and songbirds that grow fewer and fewer. Along the way, we also glimpse the changing rhythms of a human life. Grown children, unexpectedly home during the pandemic, prepare to depart once more. Birdsong and night-blooming flowers evoke generations past. The city and the country where Renkl raised her family transform a little more with each passing day. And the natural world, now in visible flux, requires every ounce of hope and commitment from the author—and from us. For, as Renkl writes, ‘radiant things are bursting forth in the darkest places, in the smallest nooks and deepest cracks of the hidden world.

100 Trails, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do by Joseph Yogerst. “From the waterfalls of Kauai’s Napali coast to the tests of the Appalachian Trail, 100 Trails, 5,000 Ideas highlights the preeminent hiking treks across the United States and Canada, including the best scenic overlooks, camping sites, and off-trail activities.”

The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel. “Doing well with money isn’t necessarily about what you know. It’s about how you behave. In The Psychology of Money, author Morgan Housel shares 19 short stories exploring the strange ways people think about money and teaches how to make better sense of one of life’s most important topics.”

What it Takes to Save a Life by Kwan Stewart If you enjoy All Creatures Great and Small, be sure to pick up a copy of What it Takes to Save a Life: a Veterinarian’s Quest for Healing and Hope by Kwane Stewart. “Mountains Beyond Mountains meets Tattoos On the Heart in this unforgettable, powerful, and stunningly-told memoir of a struggling veterinarian saving animals and humans on the streets of California – and how he discovered what bonds all living creatures”.

CHILDREN:

Big by Vashti Harrison (Picture Book) “Praised for acting like a big girl when she is small, as a young girl grows, “big” becomes a word of criticism, until the girl realizes that she is fine just the way she is.”

Cat Kid Comic Club – Influencers by Dave Pilkey. “The Cat Kid Comic Club is in crisis! After learning that one of their comics will be published, the baby frogs are filled with anxiety and doubt. How will they get their creative groove back? Will Naomi or Melvin emerge as a leader? Will Flippy convince them to finally straighten up and fly right?”

The Horseback Librarians  by Jane Yolen (Picture Book) “In 1930’s rural Kentucky, Anna Mary, rhymes with library, and her horse, Sand, go from farm to farm to deliver books to the delight of both children and adults.”

Maisy’s Big Book of Kindness by Lucy Cousins (Picture Book) “This exuberant celebration of kindness follows Maisy and her friends as they spread joy around them by sharing toys, making cards and gifts, nurturing animals, caring for the environment and looking out for one another.”

No Brainer – Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. “Middle school hasn’t been a joyride for Greg Heffley. So when the town threatens to close the crumbling building, he’s not too broken up about it, until he realizes he will be separated from his best friend.”

A Spider Named ITSY by Steve Light (Picture Book) “Everyone knows the rhyme “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” We know about the climb up the waterspout, the washout, the return of the sun, and the determined climb back up the spout–again. Generations of children have sung this beloved verse and mastered its accompanying twisty finger play. But what sent the tiny spider on his upward trek to begin with? What happened along the way–and where is Itsy now?”

MIDDLE GRADES AND YOUNG ADULTS:

Fury of the Dragon Goddess by Sarwat Chadda (MG) “When the ancient Tablet of Destinies falls into the wrong hands, it is up to Sikander Aziz and his friends to save humanity from having its future erased by two fearsome Mesopotamian gods”

Good Different by Meg Eden Kuyayy (MG) “Seventh-grader Selah Godfrey knows that to be “normal” she has to keep her feelings tightly controlled when people are around, but after hitting a fellow student, she needs to figure out just what makes her different–and why that is ok.”

Nic Blake and the Remarkables by Angie Thomas (MG) “It’s not easy being a Remarkable in the Unremarkable world. Some things are cool–like getting a pet hellhound for your twelfth birthday. Others, not so much–like not being trusted to learn magic because you might use it to take revenge on an annoying neighbor. All Nic Blake wants is to be a powerful Manifestor like her dad. But before she has a chance to convince him to teach her the gift, a series of shocking revelations and terrifying events launch Nic and two friends on a hunt for a powerful magic tool she’s never heard of…to save her father from imprisonment for a crime she refuses to believe he committed.”

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi  (YA) “There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told.”

The 21: the true story of the youth who sued the US government over climate change by Elizabeth Rusch (YA) “From severe flooding in Louisiana to wildfires in the Pacific Northwest to melting permafrost in Alaska, catastrophic climate events are occurring more frequently–and severely–than ever. And these events are having a direct impact on the lives (and futures) of young people and their families. In the ongoing landmark case Juliana vs. United States, twenty-one young plaintiffs claim that the government’s support of the fossil-fuel industry is actively contributing to climate change, and that all citizens have a constitutional right to a stable climate–especially children and young adults, because they cannot vote and will inherit the problems of the future. Elizabeth Rusch’s The Twenty-One is a gripping legal and environmental thriller that tells the story of twenty-one young people and their ongoing case against the U.S. government for denying their constitutional right to life and liberty. A rich, informative, and multifaceted read, The Twenty-One stars the young plaintiffs and their attorneys; illuminates the workings of the United States’s judicial system and the relationship between government, citizens’ rights, and the environment; and asks readers to think deeply about the future of our planet”

Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley (YA) “Perry Firekeeper-Birch was ready for her Summer of Slack but instead, after a fender bender that was entirely not her fault, she’s stuck working to pay back her Auntie Daunis for repairs to the Jeep. Thankfully she has the other outcasts of the summer program, Team Misfit Toys, and even her twin sister Pauline. Together they ace obstacle courses, plan vigils for missing women in the community, and make sure summer doesn’t feel so lost after all. But when she attends a meeting at a local university, Perry learns about the “Warrior Girl”, an ancestor whose bones and knife are stored in the museum archives, and everything changes. Perry has to return Warrior Girl to her tribe. Determined to help, she learns all she can about NAGPRA, the federal law that allows tribes to request the return of ancestral remains and sacred items. The university has been using legal loopholes to hold onto Warrior Girl and twelve other Anishinaabe ancestors’ remains, and Perry and the Misfits won’t let it go on any longer. Using all of their skills and resources, the Misfits realize a heist is the only way to bring back the stolen artifacts and remains for good. But there is more to this repatriation than meets the eye as more women disappear and Pauline’s perfectionism takes a turn for the worse. As secrets and mysteries unfurl, Perry and the Misfits must fight to find a way to make things right – for the ancestors and for their community.”

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