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May 2018 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
I liked it so much, I read it twice! What was it about Frank Lloyd Wright that made Mamah Borthwick Cheney abandon her husband, 2 children, and her literary ambitions? What was it about her that made him abandon his 20 year marriage and 6 children? And did it make them happy? I truly enjoy these sneak peeks into fictionalized versions of famous people from history.
For fans of Paula McLain, Melanie Benjamin, and Marie Benedict.

 

Katherine

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty
It’s a classic closed-room murder mystery…. in space! With clones! A wonderful blend of two very different genres, and not like anything I’ve read before. If you like Poirot and Star Trek, you might like this. Or if you want something fun, intelligent, and different.

 

Sarah

Nutshell by Ian McEwan
An unborn child overhears a secret plot between his adulterous mother and his uncle, but being unborn what can he do? In the meantime he becomes a connoisseur of fine wine, continues to listen in on his mother’s daily life, ruminates on his fate and the powers he has to alter it, starts to develop opinions about his duplicitous relatives, and begins to plot. Ian McEwan nails this ingenious riff on Shakespeare’s Hamlet and while the tone is dark, it is leavened with plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor. Absurd and brilliant and unlike anything I have read.

 

Cheryl

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
This book takes you to remote regions of Alaska when a Vietnam veteran impulsively moves his family to a property left to him by a fallen comrade.  It is not a gentle book – war is not gentle, and the Allbrights, Cora, Ernt, and thirteen year old daughter Leni turn to Alaska to escape the brokenness of their world. As the family arrives in Alaska unprepared for living rough, Ernt continues to plummet into the darkness of PTSD. This is a story of survival of family, and of a love that is never free from the emotional scars of war.

 

Kelly

trials of apolloThe Trials Of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Apollo is known as the Greek god of music, archery, the sun, medicine… what can’t this guy do? In the eyes of his godly father, Zeus, the one thing he can’t do is behave. In this novel, the multifaceted god is kicked from his immortal home on Mount Olympus and into the world of mortals after he betrays his father one too many times. The once handsome, brave, talented (need I go on) god is sentenced to life as a curly-haired, acne-faced teenager named Lester Papadopoulos. He concludes that he must find a way to gain back his father’s love, so he sparks up a partnership with the powerful street rat Meg McCaffrey and sets his sights on Camp Half-Blood. After his perilous journey, (featuring meeting his own children and fighting giant ants), he discovers that campers have been disappearing. Lester decides to take it upon himself to save them from their captor; the vicious immortal, Emperor Nero.

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March 2018 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

evictedEvicted: Poverty and profit in the American city by Matthew Desmond
This book doesn’t need any praise from me. It was on every bestseller and awards list of 2016. Matthew Desmond dives deep into complicated issues of poverty and homelessness in the United States today. We look through the lens of life choices made by eight individuals in Milwaukee over about two years. With great empathy, Desmond shows how hard it can be to make those choices and how frustrating limitations can be. It’s all brought to vivid life and there’s a fascinating chapter about the way the research was done.

Katherine

BlanketsBlankets by Craig Thompson
 This graphic novel/memoir, despite its large size, is still a quick read. It’s a little hard to say how much is novel and how much is memoir. It says it is “based on personal experiences… and certain characters, places, and incidents have been modified in service of the story.” Regardless, it’s really good and really well done. The artwork beautifully complements the story, adding mood, telling more, helping it along. It’s tender and moving, and tugs at your heartstrings. It’s a coming of age story, of the struggles of first love and coming to terms with the religion you were raised with.

Already read it? Try Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi or Ghost World by Daniel Clowes.

Sarah

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is a loner and that’s the way she likes it! She goes to work, comes home, has some vodka and freezer pizza, does her crossword puzzle, occasionally talks on the phone with her abusive jailbird-mother, and doesn’t want to bother with the rest of humanity. When her routine is interrupted by an elderly gentleman lying ill on a sidewalk, she is forced to interact with her coworker who leads her on a journey into the world of the heart. This journey brings Eleanor to the realization that not all is as she thought, and face to face with a past she must make peace with. Check this book out if you enjoyed A Man Called Ove or any of Fredrick Backman’s books, Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, or Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig. Also check this out if you like quirky but lovable characters, or uplifting and humorous books with happy endings!

Cheryl

Will's red coat Will’s Red Coat: The story of one old dog who chose to live again
by Tom Ryan

“Life has a strange way of leading you where you need to be.”  – Tom Ryan
On this snowy day home and hearth were welcoming.  I reached for Will’s Red Coat, a book I had not yet considered reading but had thrust into my book bag “just in case!”
Life and a snow storm indeed led me where I needed to be!  This book is about the author, Tom Ryan, and a discarded little dog.  Will, aged,  frightened, deaf and mostly blind, was left at a kill shelter because its elderly and frail owners were no longer able to provide care.  And so begins a tale (tail) of something akin to Felix and Oscar, as this little dog, angry, frail, and a fierce biter, takes up residency with Tom and Atticus in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
This is much more than a story of a man and his dog; rather it is an inspiring reflection of the author’s extraordinary outlook on life. He is a gentle spirit. Tom Ryan writes vividly about nature, about the White Mountains, about life, and about abundant blessings shared.
For me, the sign of a good book is a book that longs to be read again and again.  I returned this book to the library, and purchased my very own copy, to savor for the many more snow days to come!

Kelly

carry onCarry On: The rise and fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell

Harry Potter fan-fiction is rarely good, but this reiteration takes the universe and retells it in the perfect fashion. Simon Snow takes the role of the Chosen One, with impeccable power and an arch nemesis; The Insidious Humdrum. Alongside his best friend Penelope Bunce, questionably loyal girlfriend Agatha Wellbelove, and suspicious roommate Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch, Simon attends Watford School of Magicks. While taking classes and living the crazy life of a teenager, Simon must harness his powers to fight evil and save the World of Mages. Throughout this story, Simon encounters dangerous tasks, beautiful romances, and the occasional ultimate sacrifice.

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Staff Picks February 2018

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

Every thriller claims to be a Gone Girl read-alike, but this one actually is. One Folgate Street, London is architect Edward Monkford’s masterpiece. Living in such a wonder requires a few sacrifices – ones Jane is prepared to make. Moving in after a personal tragedy, Jane soon becomes intrigued by the untimely death of Emma, the house’s previous tenant. Interest turns to obsession until Jane may suffer the same fate as the girl before.

 

Katherine

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
A young adult fantasy novel about the conflicts between those with Red blood and those with Silver. The Reds are the common people, while the Silver are the magical ruling class. But it turns out that Mare Barrow, the protagonist, has power as well. Problems and romance ensue.  An entertaining, well-written, and fast-paced read. It’s fairly lightweight – not heavy literature by any sense – but just so much fun. Full of adventure with plenty of twists and turns.

Recommended for readers of The Selection by Kiera Cass, the Game of Thrones series, and there’s a touch of the Hunger Games in there too.

 

Sarah

Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers, art by Shawn Harris

Lady Liberty is covered with a copper sheath that is as thick as 2 pennies. She was first assembled in France, disassembled and shipped, and then reassembled in the United States. She stands 150 feet tall, wears a size 879 shoe, and weighs 450,000 lbs. The spikes on her crown represent Earth’s seven seas, seven continents, and the rays of the sun. But have you noticed her right foot? With playful and informative text and brightly colored illustrations, Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris bring us an insightful story about the Statue of Liberty and the symbolism behind the Statue of Liberty’s right foot.

 

Cheryl

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

This book is one of my recent favorites!   A short, somewhat simplistic, yet beautifully written novel about aging, second chances, and companionship.  In this story septuagenarian widow, Addie, reaches out to her neighbor, a widower, to ward off loneliness at night.   It is a wonderful book; touching, beautiful, sad – full of grace and truth.

This book was edited posthumously by Haruf’s wife.  I am sad that we won’t have any more books from Kent Haruf, but this, his last, is a true treasure.  Read if for yourself, your parents, or grandparents, it is both thought provoking and important.  It is a story that will linger.

 

Kelly

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Shakespeare’s Othello took place in a sixth grade classroom in the 1970s? This book explains just that. The characters from the famous play are aged down and given all new backstories as they work their way through a day of school. Featuring Othello as Osei the son of a Ghanaian diplomat, Desdemona as Dee the classic “good girl” with a crush on the new boy, and Iago as Ian the good-for-nothing bully with a king-like hold on the playground. Osei faces racial discrimination from his white classmates and teachers, Dee discovers a forbidden love, and Ian finally learns what it means to stand up for something, even if it’s pure evil. This novel shows that children have the ability to hate, love, and act the same way adults do. They can be cunning and wicked or loving and naive. Though fast-paced, this book takes in a diverse range of characters and produces a story that no one would ever believe unless it was told by Shakespeare himself.

belmont · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Books · Library Reads · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

Staff Picks January 2018

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

22889767
Better than Before: Mastering the habits of our everyday lives by Gretchen Rubin

Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin

I personally love to start in January with a whole bright list of New Year’s resolutions. Gretchen Rubin is a best-selling author and pod-caster who “studies happiness, good habits, and human nature.” In this book she discusses forming, changing, and keeping habits and why what works for one person may not work for someone else. If you find this kind of topic as fascinating as I do, you may want to also try authors who publish similar works such as Susan Cain, Angela Duckworth, Malcolm Gladwell, or anyone shelved in the 150s in our non-fiction section.

 

 

Katherine

And I Darken
And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken by Kiersten White
Very interesting. Strong characters who are sympathetic despite major flaws (such as being rather ruthless and vicious). Historical fiction is kind of a loose term for it – it takes many liberties with history, the major one being imagining Vlad the Impaler as a teenage girl.  Nevertheless, it’s very engaging and kept me up til 2 am. There’s lots of rich detail in the setting, but the plot keeps moving.  Features drama, intrigue, romance, you name it.  An excellent choice for fans of Game of Thrones.  Just don’t expect vampires – this isn’t that Dracula.

 

Sarah

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

Ginny Moon is an unlikely and unique narrator! Placed in the foster care system from a young age and diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Ginny is finally in her forever home but something is still not quite right! Ginny has memories of leaving behind something or someone very important, but no one will believe her, so she carefully plans a mission to set the record straight. Ginny Moon was very hard to put down – it had both lovable and unlikable characters that brought so much intrigue and tension to Ginny’s journey and story. If you enjoyed Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, or books with themes of family, quirky narrators, and are mildly suspenseful then this book might be for you! The author, Benjamin Ludwig, lives in New Hampshire and adopted a teenager who has ASD. His journey with his adopted daughter and his time spent with families at the Special Olympics provided his inspiration for the story.

Ann

6320534
Under the Dome by Stephen King

Under the Dome by Stephen King

This was a very interesting read! Under the Dome has many twists and turns that will surprise you until the end. The story reveals how some small town people have very big secrets and how much they will do to keep those secrets and to keep the power that they have.

 

 

Kelly

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Shadow Moon has been released from prison due to the death of his wife; Laura. On his journey home he meets a man that’s just like everyone else, apart from the small detail that he’s a god. “Mr. Wednesday” offers a job to Shadow, a “don’t ask any questions and do what I tell you” kind of job. He takes the offer, not yet knowing he’s joining a war of epic proportions. He’s fighting on the side of the Old Gods, brought over by hundreds of years worth of immigrants. His target? The New Gods of America, like Media and Technology. Alongside Mr. Wednesday and a whole cast of other godly powerhouses, Shadow must find his own path and learn what (and who) he stands for. Though not for the weak of heart, this novel takes everything we think we know about world mythology and turns it on its head.

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Staff Picks December 2017

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

Winter Storms by Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand writes mostly about Nantucket in the summer, but the Winter Street series is about Nantucket at Christmas. The Quinn family – patriarch Kelley owns the Winter Street Inn – is in for a rough few years over the series of four books. There’s fraud and drug abuse, a missing soldier, love triangles and tested relationships, and a whole lot of drama. I like this series because of the beautiful setting and warmth of family love in changing times.

For fans of: Nancy Thayer, Dorothea Benton Frank, Jennifer Weiner, and Susan May Warren.

 

Katherine

Jane, Unlimited
Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Fantasy fiction, with an intricate plot and diverse, likable characters. I loved it! This book is magic. Not just about magic, it is magic. Also, I love books with magical houses in them. Kristin Cashore’s writing is the best. Welcome to the multiverse, where each choice brings you to a different story.

For fans of Maggie Stiefvater (fantasy, similar writing style) & Connie Willis (idea-driven speculative fiction)

Already read it? Try Redshirts by John Scalzi or The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

 

 

Sarah

Matchless: A Christmas Story by Gregory Maguire

Matchless takes the traditional tale of the “The Little Match Girl” written by Hans Christian Andersen and intertwines the tale of a young boy, Frederik, and his mother, a seamstress to the Queen. Frederik unwittingly crosses paths with the little match girl before she dies. The original story, often considered a bit dismal, is elevated to a new height with Gregory Maguire’s rendition. The symbolism of the light cast by the matches subtly suggests the connectedness of humanity and the kinship of spirit. This illustrated novella is a tale to be read aloud and shared.  Matchless honors life’s hardships while remaining both heartwarming and hopeful.

For fans of: short stories, novellas, and folktales, hopeful tales, bittersweet stories, and Christmas books.

 

Ann

Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast

This book is AWESOME! It’s entertaining and cute. It is also knowledgeable. I had no idea about streets and avenues and their directional meanings. This book makes me really want to visit Manhattan!

For fans of: contemporary graphic novels, travel memoir, and anyone dreaming or planning to go to NYC! Highly recommended in general – many staff members have read this and enjoyed it!

 

 

 

Kelly

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Set in the middle of the American Civil Rights Movement, this story follows the journey of Lily Evans, a young white girl. Lily lives with an abusive father and the knowledge that she accidentally killed her own mother rests on her shoulders. Using her mother’s belongings (that she keeps a secret), she escapes her cruel life to seek out the truth. She and her housekeeper Rosaleen travel to Tiburon, South Carolina together, hoping to get answers. They find them alongside the boisterous Daughters of Mary, forbidden love by the name of Zach Taylor, and a group of bee-loving, motherly, black women nicknamed the Calendar Sisters.

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · Christmas Book Buying Guide · Christmas Book Guide · Holiday Shopping Guide · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

Holiday Book Guide

We have taken the guesswork out of your holiday book-buying!

Take a look at some of our top circulating & recommended fiction and non-fiction for all ages from 2017!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

Staff picks November 2017

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

The Invention of Fire by Bruce Holsinger

London, 1886. John Gower, a friend of Geoffrey Chaucer, is summoned to investigate a mass murder within city walls. I like this series for its detailed and authentic history as well as a compelling plot. Recommended for fans of Alison Weir’s fiction and non-fiction books, and Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth.

 

 

 

 

Katherine

The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1)
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The atmospheric writing of this book draws you into a magical world.  Set in medieval Russia, it is both fairy tale and fantasy.  Vasya, the main character, was deeply sympathetic. The story was very satisfying and nourished my soul.

For fans of: Fairy tales, historical fantasy, Naomi Novik

Already read it? Try: Uprooted by Naomi Novik, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

 

 

Sarah

by Kiersten White
And I Darken by Kiersten White

Looking for a book to keep you up late? Look no further (and it’s the first in a series!)

Set against the backdrop of the Ottoman Empire during the 15th century, this book re-imagines the infamous Vlad the Impaler as a girl, Lada Dragwlya.  The story traces Lada’s rise to power, the grittiness of her life as a young woman struggling with finding power in a world run by men, and her love affair with a powerful future-sultan. In addition to Lada, her brother Radu plays a central role. Lada and her brother Radu are extremely close but the trials of loving the same man (Radu’s closely held secret), and finding a place at court could break them. The book is packed with atmosphere, romance, political subterfuge, and intriguing relationships. I would recommend it for anyone interested in Transylvanian history, the Ottoman Empire, Dracula, and because of the intrigue, subterfuge, and romance…the Game of Thrones series.

6288Ann

A post-apocalyptic novel set in a bleak, ashy world. A story of love (and questionable hope) and the will to go on. Check this out if you liked Stephen King’s The Stand or Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It series.

 

 

 

12000020
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Kelly

Set in 1987, this story details the lives of two best friends living in El Paso, Texas. The two Mexican-American boys are Aristotle, who can’t swim, and Dante, who loves art. They become fast friends at the public pool, bonding over their ancient names. As they become closer, they meet the other’s family. Before long, Aristotle finds himself in a car accident, leaving him without use of his legs. At the same time he finds his best friend is moving away to Chicago. Aristotle ages, occasionally receiving letters from his friend that detail his biggest secret, one that could possibly get him killed.