Staff Picks: Baby, it’s Cold Outside

Posted by Aaron on


At this wonderful, but busy time of year, sometimes we just need to warm up with a cup of hot tea and a good book. Consider a few of our favorites.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

While enjoying some bibliotherapy it’s even better if we can listen to seasonal and traditional music. One of my favorites is “The Nutcracker.” This Thanksgiving vacation I was able to combine a great read and enjoy a playlist by the author, which included “The Nutcracker.”

In the 1920’s Count Alexander Rostov was sentenced to live in a hotel in Moscow due to writing a poem that was considered seditious by the Bolsheviks. In spite of having to live in a small attic room, Rostov lives a full life filled with friends and family. Charming and gracious, he accepts his fate and still manages to enjoy many of the finer things of life. This is a beautifully written and at times heartbreaking story that is also  hard to put down. The author’s website has the aforementioned playlist as well as maps and other information if you want to delve further into Rostov’s world.

While waiting for the book, check out other fiction books set in Russia and the Ukraine. Some other reads include The Summer Guest, City of Thieves, and Anna Karenina. All are even more enjoyable with a hot drink and some Russian Tea Cakes.

~Veronica, Circulation, John Marshall branch library

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Australian Kate Morton is one of my favorite authors for a winter’s night of reading. Beautifully written, these novels are enchanting, mysterious and border on the magic of fairy tales. Having read, and loved, all of Morton’s books, “The Forgotten Garden” continues to be the title that I regularly recommend. With a story that spans a hundred years, and travels between Australia and England, the tale is told through a grandmother and her granddaughter. This is the rare book that grabs the reader from the opening paragraph. A little girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia with nothing but a small suitcase and, more significantly, a beautiful volume of fairy tales. Why a book of fairy tales? Not until her twenty-first birthday does Nell learn her story. Though she travels back to England in an attempt to unlock the secrets of her past, it is her granddaughter, Cassandra, who in the end pieces together the mystery of her family.

If this book draws you in from beginning to end, Morton’s other works will not disappoint.

~Deborah, Branch Manager, John Marshall branch library

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore

I was introduced to this novel via audio book during a recent trip back home. I wasn’t certain of my interest level in the subject of electricity, but after listening to Graham Moore’s writing I was soon won over. This historical fiction is narrated by Paul Cravath, a young and inexperienced attorney, who was hired by George Westinghouse to handle the hundreds of lawsuits filed against him by Thomas Edison. A battle to determine the true inventor of the electric light bulb was ensuing and no one was willing to back down. I learned a lot about the people and events surrounding this invention and found it eye-opening how ruthless and obsessively driven these inventors were.

~Joan, Circulation, John Marshall Branch library

Book listsreviews from our book clubs and favorites from library staff are great resources when searching for your next book. Or stop by the reference desk at your local library.









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