Season's Readings! Check Out Our Staff Picks

by Susan on 2021-01-08 12:00:00

It's our first Staff Picks list of the new year! Check out what we've been reading lately, and click the links to request a copy for yourself.

Emily:  Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (2020)

A bank robber attempts to hide from police in a nearby apartment and accidentally stumbles into an open-house viewing, ending up with the world's worst hostages.  And it is really their stories that makeup this story.  Backman delivers a literary mystery with great humor and heart.

Available in standard print and large print, as an audiobook on CD, and as an ebook and e-audiobook via OverDrive.

Sara:  Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore (2020)

It is New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight, she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she is told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. A remarkably inventive novel that explores what it means to live a life fully in the moment, even if those moments are out of order.

Available in standard print and large print, as an audiobook on CD, and as an ebook and e-audiobook via OverDrive.

Hannah:  The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (2020)

Desiree and Stella are identical twins growing up in the first half of the 20th century, two fair-skinned Black residents of a small Louisiana town populated entirely by fair-skinned Black folks. At 16, they run away together to New Orleans, and Stella slowly realizes she can pass for white - pass well enough to get a good, white job in the 1940s south. But when Stella's daughter, who has never had any reason to believe she is anything other than 100% white, meets a young Black woman who introduces herself as a long-lost cousin, everyone's world gets turned upside-down. This jaw-dropping work of historical fiction asks some big, important questions, and their answers aren't as clear-cut as one might hope.

Available in standard print and large print, as an audiobook on CD, as an OverDrive ebook and e-audiobook, and as a book club kit.

Hannah:  Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (August 1938)

This is a classic. I know my granny enjoyed it very much, and I always meant to get around to it eventually. Now, knowing how good it is, I cannot believe I waited so long. When our mousy, lower-class protagonist meets the wealthy Lord de Winter while serving as a maid, she can't imagine their introduction will turn into a whirlwind romance and surprise marriage proposal. The only flaw in her Cinderella-style wave of good fortune is Rebecca, the now-deceased first Lady de Winter, who casts a long shadow from beyond the grave. The twists and turns in the plot absolutely thrilled me, and I cannot wait to check out the Alfred Hitchcock adaptation (1940)!

Available in standard print and large print, as an audiobook on CD, and as an ebook and e-audiobook via OverDrive.

Ryan:  The Sentinel: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child and Andrew Child (2020)

As is his wont, Reacher is just passing through town.  This time in Pleasantville, Tennessee, when he discovers trouble...

Available in standard print and large print, as an audiobook on CD, and as an ebook and e-audiobook via OverDrive.

Terika: Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (2015)

I found myself with a 2.5 hour car ride without children, so I went right to the Libby library app to download an eAudiobook for the drive. I chose Jodi Picoult, and it was a great choice. The story kept me interested the entire time and I did not want to stop listening when I arrived home.

Leaving Time is about a 13-year-old girl, Jenna, whose mother has been missing for a decade. The mother, Alice, was a scientist who studied elephants, and her father was admitted to a mental hospital after Alice's disappearance. Jenna believes her mother would have never abandoned her and enlists the help of a psychic to uncover the truth. The audiobook version is very engaging, and I am sure the physical book would be a page-turner as well. 

Available in standard print and large print, as an audiobook on CD, as an OverDrive ebook and e-audiobook, and as a playaway portable audiobook player.

Susan:  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (December 19, 1843)

After finally reading this, I discovered why it is a beloved classic.  Dickens writes with descriptions that bring great depth to the story.  He paints pictures of the settings and characters in a brilliant but simple way and his characters are realistic.  It is said that when the novel came out, charity and assistance to the working-class poor soared almost overnight.  Even though there have been countless movie renditions and stage plays made over the years, the book is amazing, as it is a timeless tale that will never cease to touch peoples’ hearts.

Available in standard print and large print, as an audiobook on CD, and as an ebook and e-audiobook via OverDrive. Many different audiobook readers have recorded versions of A Christmas Carol; there are also young readers' editions available.

Amber:  I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones & Gilly Segal (2019)

A compelling story, the likes of The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas. Two teens, one white, one black, must stick together to make it through a night of riots and violence in their city. What they learn from and about each other is something we can all internalize and reflect on. 

Available in standard print, as an audiobook on CD, and as an ebook and e-audiobook via OverDrive.

As a wise pig once said, that's all folks! Check back in February for another round of Staff Picks.