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Staff Picks

Each Saturday a staff member is featured on the website and social media with a book selection from the Allegany County Library System collection that really stood out to them. See what catches your attention and next time you visit the library, chat up the librarian about the book you saw on the Staff Picks!

May 25 – Molly

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 3 by Judi Barrett

If Then by Kate Hope Day

Summer Reading has begun and in a “Universe of Stories” I couldn’t pick just one!

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 3 by Judi Barrett

Picture books can be so much fun for kids and adults alike! Remember ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs?’ Join Grandpa and the gang from Chewandswallow on an adventure to Mars where a thick, glutinous substance is falling from the skies. Could it be pie filling?

If, Then by Kate Hope Day

Kate Hope Day’s debut novel ‘If, Then’ is an introspective, literary page turner. Four neighbors living on a quiet cul-de-sac in Clearing, Oregon begin seeing different versions of themselves as if they had made different decisions in the past. What if I hadn’t married my husband? What if I didn’t have a baby? What if my mother were still alive? Get to know these characters as they react to these visions and face life changing decisions. Day will leave you thinking about all of your life choices and all of the possible versions of yourself that could exist.

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Find it on Overdrive and Libby!

May 18 – Kathy

5 Minute Mickey Mouse Stories

For my staff pick this week, I chose a children’s book. Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word. Even after children learn to read by themselves, it’s still important for you to read aloud together. Join Mickey and friends on a dozen adventurous short stories that will definitely keep your child’s attention with page after page of colorful pictures! Another reason I chose this particular book is because it was purchased by a donation given to the library system by Sara Thompson Gibbs in memory of patron Diane Snyder. Sara, who now lives in Kentucky, and Diane, were my neighbors. Diane died after a short illness not long ago. Diane dearly loved her community and children. Thank you, Sara, for donating to your local hometown library and for remembering Diane with this thoughtful gift. If you have someone you would like to remember or honor, consider giving a donation to your local library.  

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Courtney Staff Pick

May 11 – Courtney

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

This is not your average coming-of-age story. It’s an engaging memoir about, the often considered taboo, topic of death and dealing with the dead. Doughty has been fascinated with death since she was a young child and tackles death with enthusiasm as she recalls her experience working at a Crematory and peppers the story with surprisingly fascinating details about the culture of death and how it is handled in America and throughout the world. This humorous take is both engrossing and a bit gross (it’s definitively not a book for the squeamish), but I highly recommend reading it even though it may be a bit outside your comfort zone. It’s a fun read about a topic that we often try not to think about. Take a chance and check it out – it may just surprise you!  

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May 4 – Sarah

Cutler, Sutter, & Salinas trilogy by Jane Ann Krentz

The Cutler, Sutter, & Salinas trilogy is full of twist and turns, it makes bobsledding look easy. Follow three brothers as they fight to help others solve ignored crimes and find the criminal who brought them all together so long ago.

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April 27 – Lisa M.

Never Tell by Lisa Gardner

A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun.Detective D.D. Warren arrives to discover that the accused is Evie Carter, the same person that “accidentally” shot and killed her father when she was sixteen.  Lisa Gardner continues her Detective D.D. Warren series with this book and it does not disappoint.  Although this book is part of a series, it can absolutely be read on its own.  I really enjoyed this book in the audio format due to the pleasing voice of the narrator. 

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Find it on Overdrive and Libby!

Ali Staff Pick

April 13 – Ali

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by  Taylor Jenkins Reid

It doesn’t seem to matter what genre you usually love to read, you’ll still love The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (honestly, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t enjoyed it). This is an addicting story following the rise of a Hollywood star, Evelyn Hugo, and the reasons she married seven different men. It depicts so perfectly the struggles and triumphs; loves and losses; pains and pleasures. There were aspects I would have never guessed were coming, and a twist at the end that left me speechless. This is a story of glamor, love, betrayal, and what it means to fight for the things you want in life.  

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April 6 –  Jennifer L.

Wish, Dream, and Hope by Matthew Cordell

Wish, published in 2015, is a simply illustrated, yet evocative children’s book about an elephant couple who longs to become parents.  This book is part of a series of three anthromorphic books celebrating the joys, sorrows and enduring bonds of family through various stages of life.  Dream, a 2017 offering, follows a gorilla family as they ponder who their child will become and what experiences he/she will have in the future.  Hope (2019) centers on two lion grandparents who convey their love and hopes to their grandchild as they ponder the enduring bonds of familial love through the generations.  Although the prose and lush drawings are simple, the emotions invoked are universal and powerful. Great books to celebrate family life!

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Shane Staff Pick

March 30 – Shane

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Murderbot doesn’t want to be bothered while on assignment to protect humans. Murderbot just wants to watch his Stories. But he’ll find.. there’s more to being an artificial being.. than he thought…. All Systems Red by Martha Wells is great sci fi featuring a very relatable half robot, half human construct who just needs to learn how to love again.   

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Linda Staff Pick

March 23 – Linda

A couple weeks ago, I was planning on watching my niece perform in her high school’s production of Chicago. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get there because of snow, so I did the next best thing. I checked out the movie on Hoopla! Hoopla is great because all items are available NOW and they are FREE! In honor of March Movie Madness here at Allegany County Library, I urge you to try a movie or TV show using the program Hoopla.

Visit hoopla today!

Laura Staff Pick

March 16 – Laura

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

A must read for everyone is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Find a cozy spot and make sure to have some chocolate on hand, this book is just the ticket!

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March 9 – Kristin  

Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen

I read Harry’s Trees, by Jon Cohen, after I saw a patron return it and noticed it was on hold for someone else. Must be good, eh? Loved the title, the story looked interesting, the prose looked inviting, and the cover is cool, too. I’m so glad I checked it out! It’s a story about Harry Crane, a thirty-something, mid-level forestry service bureaucrat, whose wife dies tragically, leaving him unable to cope. He runs off to the Pennsylvania forest, where he meets a young widow, Amanda Jeffers, and her 9-year-old daughter, Oriana, who are grieving their own loss. Their lives intertwine in a coming-of-age / adventure/ love story/ fairy tale that includes a “Wolf” in the forest character and a proverbial pot of gold. The story also features a falling-apart library and an eccentric librarian named Olive, who’s about 300 years old and smokes a meerschaum pipe (she blows smoke rings and everything). For the most part, the characters are believable and engaging, though the fairy tale elements feel a little forced, especially toward the end of the book. But it’s a super-creative, life-affirming story that leaves a reader satisfied in the way that only a fairy tale can. No spoilers here, but think, “happily ever after.”

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Listen on hoopla today!