Staff Picks: Books In, Books Out – Paying Good Reads Forward

Posted by Aaron on

Stack of booksYou might be surprised to learn that during 2014 approximately 453,250 books passed through the hands of our circulation team.  Because our group is so hands-on, we regularly come across titles that we may have otherwise missed if a patron hadn’t recently checked them out or recommended them to us.  You can see from the eclectic sampling below that the circulation staff members are reading a wide variety of books. Of the more than 400,000 titles that have been checked out in the past year, we’d like to share just of a few of our favorites with you…
Julia, Circulation Manager, Warrenton central library

Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter

The onset of a new year is the perfect time for fresh beginnings. How about starting off 2015 with some life-altering new habits that will improve your health and energy? Dr. Perlmutter reveals compelling science behind eliminating gluten-containing grains from our diets. This book is so fascinating, I couldn’t put it down. It has revolutionized my own thinking about food and is a must read.
Jackie, Library Clerk, Warrenton central library

Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg

A lovely, well written novel about a widow, Helen Ames, who is beginning to emerge from her fog of grief which has over-taken her life. In the process of “reawakening” she re-examines her marriage and her husband, both of which she has been idealizing, and she realizes that she has to stop depending on her grown daughter and allow her to live her own life and, in doing so, Helen will be able to better live hers. Ellie, Library Clerk, Warrenton central library

King’s Mountain by Sharyn McCrumb

This is a work of historical fiction by a well-established writer with extensive knowledge of the history and traditions of the Virginia-Tennessee-North Carolina border area. King’s Mountain tells the story of the individuals and families involved in the Revolutionary War battle at the site of the same name. The characters as depicted by McCrumb are fascinating and the reader can be assured that extensive research has been done by the author to include historical facts to the extent possible in a work of fiction. The audio version is also very well done.
Maryellen, Library Associate (retired January 2015) Warrenton central library

Mr. Penumbras 24-*Hour Bookstore  by Robin Sloan

This was a fun and funny mystery read.  I particularly enjoyed the weaving of old style research and modern computer research.  If you enjoy mystery, humor and intrigue with a bit of romance thrown in, you will also enjoy it!
Donna, Circulation Clerk, Warrenton central library

Pandora’s DNA:Tracing the Breast Cancer Genes Through History, Science and One Family Tree by Lizzy Stark

I liked how this book was both scientifically informative AND a narrative of one woman’s personal family history of dealing with cancer, passed down through heredity from generation to generation.  Ms. Stark and her relatives must cope with a genetic mutation known to cause early onset breast cancer (the BRCA gene). She tells her own story of the challenges of undergoing genetic testing and ultimately a preventive mastectomy. I learned so much about recent advancements in the field of genetics, historical anecdotes about famous scientists and doctors, and was also drawn in to learn about Lizzie Stark’s life and the fate of her mother, grandmother, aunts etc. I was left feeling much empathy for all of them. This book is an intelligent read, but make no mistake it a page turner as well. I highly recommend it.
Carol, Circulation Clerk, Warrenton central library

Ocean at the End of the Lane and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

I’m a Neil Gaiman fan, so I’d like to recommend two of his titles.

Ocean at the End of the Lane follows the life of a little boy who is plunged into a world filled with the impossible and the magical.  The combination of fantasy and surrealism with touches of horror paint a narrative with nightmare-like qualities.  It kept me turning the pages just to see if I could figure out what was real and what was imagined and ultimately left me wondering if there was a difference.

The Graveyard Book introduces us to Nobody Owens and his unlikely family – which includes ghosts, witches, werewolves and vampires – who adopted him after his birth family was murdered.  This is just a fun, quick listen, though as with most of Gaiman’s work it is tinged with the sinister.  I loved following Nobody as he grew, had triumphs, made mistakes and faced fears.  The audio book is a special treat in that it’s narrated by the author who does a wonderful job of giving each of his characters a personality all their own.
Frances, Circulation Clerk, Warrenton central library

Till We Have Faces,  by C. S. Lewis

Within his final novel, C. S. Lewis retells a classic myth in which he reminds us of not just love’s beauty but its destructive potential.  Combining masterful prose, a moving story, and the life-like character of Orual, Lewis transports you to the fictional country of Glome, where two sisters’ relationship is marred and transformed not just by tragedy of circumstance but by their love for one another, culminating in a conclusion only someone like Lewis can so truthfully present.
Rachel, Library Page, Warrenton central library

Looking for more book lists and staff suggestions? Stop by the reference desk at your local library. For online book lists published prior to January 2015, visit Book Notes, our blog all about books.

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