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!
December 21 – Regina
Home Front Girls – Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan
Rita Vincenzo and Glory Whitehall have become pen pals…their men are off fighting in World War II. As different as night is to day, Rita and Glory, manage to connect, share, learn, and support each other as only women can do, especially when faced with the uncertainties of war..
This wonderful story is told from the correspondence between the two women as the United States enters the war. If you love books set in this particular era, this is a must read. I am looking forward to the two author’s new writings…
Read in January of 2015 and reread in November 2019.. Favorite Quotes:
“Think about it this way–our actions speak truth our words cannot.” “We don’t need to have the answers. We’ll never have them. They’ll come and go and change. And all we can do is figure out the best way to behave when life comes at us. Even if society says it isn’t right. Right is so subjective, after all.”
“We are always waiting, aren’t we? All in a state of hesitation and held breath. Sometimes it’s glorious like a storm at the end of a hot day.”
“Tonight started innocently enough. Most terrible things do, right?”
“Silence is a powerful tool.”
December 14 – Toni
If you are like me, I love savoring the Holiday season! One of my favorite traditions is taking the weeks leading up to Christmas and settling our family in for a time of reading and reflection in preparation for Christmas. We begin this activity 4 weekends before Christmas. A Family Advent, which can be borrowed from Hoopla, focuses on the season of Advent that many churches celebrate this time of year. It’s been a great resource for our family over the past years and the time spent together is priceless to us, even if we spare only a few moments before the week begins. Christmas Is Coming! : Celebrate the Holiday with Art, Stories, Poems, Songs, and Recipes and The Christmas Almanac are two of my favorite compilations. Both of these books are beautifully illustrated, offer a variety of material, and could be used as well to gather the family for a short story or poem, singing a Christmas song and trying a fun holiday recipe! Happy Holidays!
December 7 – Lisa
The Chain – Adrian McKinty
The chain cannot be broken. Rachel’s daughter, Kylie, is kidnapped from her bus stop. The only way to get her back is to kidnap another family’s child and pay a ransom. The next family must also pay a ransom and kidnap a child so that you can release their child. The chain cannot be broken or the child will die. No police may be involved or the child will die. Who is behind this scheme and what can be done to stop them and finally break the chain? This intense psychological thriller makes you wonder what you are actually capable of doing in order to save your child.
November 30 – Cathy R
Strands of Truth – Colleen Coble
If you are a Colleen Coble fan, you will love her latest book. Strands of Truth grips you on page on with a heart-pounding open and keeps you guessing till the end.
November 23 – Cathy N
A Mrs. Miracle Christmas – Debbie Macomber
Debbie Macomer’s, A Mrs. Miracle Christmas, is an inspiring adventure that will get you ready for the holiday season. There are Angels among us!
November 9 – Maureen
Perveen Mistry series – Sujata Massey
Looking to travel in time and place without leaving the comfort of home. Read the Perveen Mistry series by Sujata Massey! Massey Plots a compelling mystery, while at the same time transporting readers to 1920’s India with rich details and descriptions.
October 26 – Courtney
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Are you looking for the perfect fall read to cozy up with at home? This coming of age YA read has received near-universal critical acclaim and numerous accolades since its publication in 2012, and it’s not hard to see why. As you read, you will fall in love with the writing and the characters as they learn about themselves and each other.
BONUS: It is now available on audiobook read by Lin-Manuel Miranda (aka the genius who wrote/starred in Hamilton). Miranda is absolutely perfect as he tells the story of the two Mexican-American boys growing up in the late 80’s. I can’t imagine a more perfect narrator for the audio book. If you’re like me, and you could listen to him read the encyclopedia CHECK OUT THE AUDIOBOOK!
October 19 – Jennifer L.
A Streetcat Named Bob – James Bowen
A Streetcat Named Bob is a touching memoir about a recovering addict who works as a busker in London, and the stray ginger cat he finds in his apartment building. This inspiring true story showcases the power of love and kindness. In 2016, ‘A Streetcat Named Bob’ was adapted into a movie starring the actual Bob the Cat.
October 12 – Sarah
Local Girl Missing – Claire Douglas
Awesome audio book to the rescue! When listening to this audio book I didn’t want to turn it off. It was a creepy thriller, that kept a hold of your senses and won’t let go. Also very nostalgic for the late 90’s.
October 5 – Ali
Take your pick, or read them all! Ali has selected a variety of her favorite fall reads!
My favorite time for reading is here: Fall! I love stories full of dark corners, the unusual, and morally grey decisions. I have five recommendations for the fall season, with different age ranges and genres in mind.
City of Ghosts by V.E. Schwab is a middle grade paranormal story about a young girl whose best friend is a ghost. Her parents, ironically, are ghost hunters, meaning she comes into contact with a lot of other ghosts (and in this case, a really not so nice one). She has to learn to navigate behind the veil in order to save herself and find her purpose. A great tale of friendship and just enough ooky-spooky action to keep anyone on their toes.
Vicious by V.E. Schwab (what can I say, she’s a master storyteller) is a wonderfully dark and unique story about people with superpowers. This is not a story about heroes though. Two college friends decide to experiment to find a way to gain superpowers. As you may guess, things do not go according to plan and they end up with powers more sinister than good. A story about enemies, revenge, and morally grey decisions, this is a story you are not soon to forget.
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White is a YA retelling of Frankenstein that is eye-opening and refreshing. Told through the point of view of a young woman who had been taken in as a child to be Victor’s friend, we are able to see the birth of Frankenstein’s monster as a spectator. Elizabeth seems to have Victor’s best interests in mind, but the choices she has to make to protect him are not always that of an innocent person. The eerie atmosphere and chilling scenes make it a fast-paced read, keeping you wondering what Elizabeth will be forced to do next.
Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware is a new mystery/thriller release this year that needs to be on everyone’s radar. This retelling of Turn of the Screw is brought to the present, where a nanny has taken a job in a smart house to watch two rather disobedient and temperamental children. From the beginning, we know that the nanny has been arrested for the death of one of these children and her description of the events leading to her arrest is chilling and captivating. I can’t give away too much, but know that the ending is well worth the anticipation.
Last but not least, we have one of my all time favorite books, If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. This is a deliciously dark story about a group of Shakespearean theater students (don’t worry, you don’t need to know any Shakespeare) who find one of their own dead in the lake. This sends their friend group into disarray as their secrets and desires are uncovered and our imprisoned narrator slowly reveals which one of them is more deadly than they seem. A thrilling tale about friendship and ambitions and how those two things can be a deadly mix.
September 28 – Ashley
Daisy Jones and The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
I read Daisy Jones and The Six over the summer and it transported me back to the groovy 70s. The book reads as if you are watching a documentary on a rock band. Take a journey with the band members as they tell their story of success and what led to their break-up at the height of their popularity. The book is written with such detail and real emotion, I sometimes felt as if I was reading a real transcript. I yearned to see their album cover and hear their music! Bonus: we will get the chance to see this story come to life, as the book is being made into a mini-series on Amazon Video!
September 21 – Laura
Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindalwald
If you love the Harry Potter movies, you will enjoy the Fantastic Beasts movies! They are magical!
September 14 – Linda
Ahoy, Mateys! I be goin’ outside the box fer me staff pick this here go round an’ be goin’ to recommend a library free service called Mango. Mango be a language learnin’ resource offered free ‘ere at the library. Anyone can learn to speak another language easily. Languages offered include French, Spanish, Urdu, Vietnamese an’ even gentleman o’ fortune (Pirate)! So, give Mango a try, or walk the plank, ye scurvy dogs!
Sign up for Mango here: http://bit.ly/ACLSMango
September 7 – Liz
The Underneath by Kahi Appelt
I listened to the book on Hoopla, the narrator was fabulous. It’s a fantasy that weaves tales of mythological creatures into the reality of the Louisiana bayou. You’ll cheer on the old hound dog Ranger and his kitten family that includes Puck and Sabine against the awful cruel Gar Face.
August 31 – Connie
Nanaville by Anna Quindlen
I became a grandparent September 4, 2018. This book came across my radar three months ago. I am called Nana and this is Nanaville -Adventures in Grand parenting by Anna Quindlen. I could not put this book down. Fast read and very emotional at times. I find this new role both fascinating and a little sad. My baby is a mother now and where I once led, I have to learn to follow! I am not the main character in my granddaughters life but a secondary one. I am here for support and most of all love. Great read and insightful for all grandparents everywhere.
August 24 – Maureen
Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry
This book is written in poetic verse, and is so full of emotion. It made me cry, smile, and wonder at the resilience Calli shows. When middle school student Calliope’s mom breaks up with yet another boyfriend they move again, and Calli starts at a new school for the ninth time. Not only does Calli keep having to adjust to new schools, she is bullied because of her Tourette syndrome and misunderstood by her mother who is ashamed of her daughter’s tics. At first Calli tries to hide her tics, but it isn’t possible. This book feels so honest and accurate, since the author Ellie Terry was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome herself. Forget Me Not speaks to everyone about being true to oneself.
August 17 – Kristin
Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
Newbery Medal-winner Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, by Kate DiCamillo, is just the dearest book — touching, humorous, imaginative. I simply loved it. So glad I gave it a chance, because at first I thought it might be a little bit ridiculous! A story about a squirrel that gets sucked into a vacuum cleaner and is transformed into a superhero who writes poetry? Ummm….maybe entertaining for a sixth-grader. But there’s so much going on beneath the story’s comic-book veneer (illustrations are gridded, graphic novel style, including thought bubbles for dialogue and bold-type, ALL CAPS plot developments : “The squirrel typed. The people waited. Destiny bestirred itself….”) As we follow the adventures of Flora and Ulysses, we learn about her parents’ recent divorce and the sadness that informs Flora’s self-proclaimed cynicism, her father’s withdrawal, and her mother’s manic work ethic. By the story’s end, we can feel the love that underlies it all, not least of all Ulysses’ love for Flora. A sample from a squirrel poem: “I love your round head,/ the brilliant green,/ the watching blue,/ these letters,/ this world,/ you.”
August 10 – Linda
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! by Laura Amy Schlitz
Are you a drama queen? or lord? Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! by Laura Amy Schlitz is the book for you. It was written by a school librarian for a middle school class who all wanted lead roles in their drama production. Schlitz writes a series of monologues and dialogues that portray different children in a medieval village. She adds footnotes and background material to educate the reader about life in 1255 England. And the illustrations by Robert Byrd are fun to investigate!