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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!

Lisa's Pick: Racing to the Finish December 1 – Lisa Mc.

Racing to the Finish: my story by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

My nearly twenty years of being a fan of Dale Earnhardt Jr solidified in 2009 when I checked out the book Driver #8 from the LaVale Library.  Driver #8 recounted Earnhardt’s rookie season in NASCAR with plenty of fun anecdotal shenanigans along the way.  That was Junior in his twenties, the same age as I was at the time.  I remember thinking that this was a likable and entertaining person that I would be happy to cheer for each Sunday.  And I did just that for over eighteen seasons, listening in to the team communications, watching interviews, going to races, and staying tuned in for the victories like two Daytona 500 wins, and tragedies, like the death of his father at that same racetrack.

Fast forward to 2018 and Racing to the Finish, a book which reflects Earnhardt’s maturation into a family man, a responsible businessman and owner of JR Motorsports, and an established and recognizable sports persona and icon of Junior Nation, his millions of fans.   The focus of the book, however, is the serious concussion symptoms Dale Jr suffered and his mission to be a voice to bring awareness to others who are in need of help. It was absolutely shocking to me, super fan that I am, to read what was going on for years unbeknownst to everyone but Junior, who was waging an internal struggle and suffering in silence until the nausea, balance issues, and moodiness could not be ignored. Junior shares what he learned on his journey to recovery, including the different types of concussions and how they are treated.

This book is recommended for fans of Earnhardt and racing, as well as anyone who participates or has participated in any contact sports at risk for concussions.

Find a copy here! 


Kathy's Pick: A Christmas Sea November 17 – Kathy

A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson

Just out in time for Christmas, this romantic heartwarming Christmas story is about a widow and her son who inherits the family beach cottage in Maine struggling to make the right decision about their future. Should Wendy renovate and sell the beachside cottage then return to her job in Ohio or should she make a new life in this quaint seaside village. Wendy will trust in the Lord to make the right decision.

Find a copy here!


Sarah's Pick: Digital Collections November 10 – Sarah

Try all our electronic reading resources! Having a book on my phone is very handy! Weather it’s  a book, audiobook, movie, or magazine, there is something for everyone. You can keep up with new releases, or reread Harry Potter! My kiddos love the different versions of books available as well!



Overdrive/ Libby


Kathy's Pick: Shelved under Murder November 3 – Kathy

Shelved Under Murder by Victoria Gilbert

This cozy mystery, sequel to A Murder for the Books, takes place in a small town in Virginia. Lead character, Amy Webber, librarian in Taylorsford,  is set to partake in the town’s fall festival with donated paintings when prominent local artist, Rachel LeBlanc is found murdered in her art studio by Amy and her beau.  The plot thickens with a host of possible killers. Read this cozy mystery to find out how family secrets of Amy’s late artist uncle are connected.

Find a copy here!

Lisa Staff Pick October 27 – Lisa Ma.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

This lyrical and foreboding debut YA novel by Shea Ernshaw is a perfect read for the season! The Wicked Deep takes place in a long cursed coastal town in Oregon. Back in 1822, the townspeople condemned the beautiful Swan sisters to death for witchcraft by drowning them in the ocean. Now, the Swan sisters return every June by inhabiting the bodies of young women and enticing boys into the sea to drown. One of the sisters decides to stay in the body she has claimed so that she may finally find love. This book is enjoyable for both the dark mystery as well as the romance.

Find a copy here!

Shane Staff Pick October 20 – Shane

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay.

Fans of the horror genre will love this home invasion thriller which goes to unexpectedly weird places. If you don’t mind a book that will keep your blood pressure raised, this one is for you.

Find a copy here!

Linda Staff Pick October 13 – Linda

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

It is that spooky time of year. Instead of reading the master of horror, Stephen King, why not try a different author…one who inspired the king. In Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury spins a tale just as creepy as Mr. King, but without all that graphic gore. Turn the lights down low, sink back and enjoy……….

Find a copy here!


Nora Staff Pick October 6 – Nora

Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness

Just in time for Halloween, another vampire story! This one is different from most others, and not all blood, lust, and gore. The plot in this novel features a main character, Phoebe Taylor, a human who is in love with and the mate of Marcus de Clermont, an ancient vampire. She decides, after much discussion and permission from the de Clermont vampire dynasty, to become a vampire herself. This is not a simple matter of a bite in the neck and voila! A vampire is born! The reader learns that there is a traditional process for “baby” vampires and new vampires are not randomly chosen. The de Clermont vampires are ancient and sophisticated and have traditional ways of interacting with each other and human society. Baby vampires are taught how to walk, talk, interact with inanimate and animate objects, where to find and how to stalk and drain their next meal. Phoebe, like other vampires, has a refined taste for blood and prefers cats and middle-aged women. The story moves along pretty quickly, there is tension between Phoebe learning how to be a vampire and isolated from Marcus, and Marcus remembering his past lives. As a breakaway novel from the Discovery of Witches trilogy by the same author, characters from that series fill in historical information and ask pertinent questions about Marcus’ American and French Revolutionary War background. This is a fascinating book you can sink your teeth into!

Find a copy here!


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September 29 – Ali

Reading isn’t always about finding a new story, sometimes it is about revisiting a world we love. One series I love to reread is the Harry Potter series. It doesn’t matter how many times I read this story, I always find something I hadn’t noticed before. The constant battle between good and evil, Harry’s antics, and the mystical world never fail to draw me in. Whether a first time reader, or a long time fan, I think this story is relevant and fun no matter what age it is read at.

PS: The audiobooks are just as amazing and really transport readers into the story.


Find them here!