Staff Picks: Books to Help You Learn and Make You Laugh
Over time, as you read the recommendation posts or peruse the Staff Picks display at your favorite branch, do you find yourself gravitating toward one staff member’s selections again and again? Perhaps you prefer to chat with library staff about their recent reads? Everyone on our staff enjoys sharing their reading lists with patrons, so please feel free to stop by the circulation or reference desks or explore an online reading list the next time you need assistance deciding what to read next.
Until then, consider one of these recently read titles from the Warrenton circulation team.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
This novel had me laughing out loud! Don Tillman, professor of genetics, is a socially awkward genius in search of the perfect wife. He takes a scientific approach and creates a sixteen page questionnaire to find the right woman. Rosie unexpectedly enters his life and turns his structured world upside down.
∼Jennifer, library page, Warrenton central library
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
I recently read “The Thirteenth Tale” and loved it. It harkened back to the style of writing of Bronte in Jane Eyre (which was referenced a few times in the book). It was suspenseful, emotional and had a great surprise ending. The protagonist is a book lover too! If you loved Jane Eyre you will enjoy this book!
∼Vicky, library page, Warrenton central library
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
An old favorite of mine and an American classic for over 40 years, “A Separate Peace” is timeless in its description of growing up during the tumultuous years of World War 2. Set at a boys boarding school in New England, it’s a coming-of-age story of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a quiet, reserved intellectual. Phineas is a good-looking, friendly, outgoing athlete. Gene admires and envies Phineas, while Phineas trusts Gene and feels deeply loyal to him. A tragedy occurs that ends their innocence forever. Themes of friendship, jealousy, betrayal and loyalty shine through in this thought-provoking book. The differences in these boys’ personalities, and yet the way they rely on each other and form a tight bond, fascinated me. “A Separate Peace” proves that trust and friendship can take years to develop and only an instant to destroy. There is a lot more to this book than on the surface – “A Separate Peace” is truly a gem, and I highly recommend it.
∼Carol, library clerk, Warrenton central library
Death of a Liar (a Hamish MacBeth Mystery) by M.C. Beaton
When a new woman comes to town, residents begin to notice she is a chronic liar. She lies about having cancer and being attacked, but then she turns up dead in her garden. Sergeant Hamish MacBeth must solve the mystery in the Highlands of Scotland before the true murder escapes.
Katrina, library associate, Warrenton central library
The Book of Speculation by Swyler, Erika Swyler
“The Book of Speculation” is a book about a book, and not just any book, but an old crusty handwritten journal from a 1700’s traveling carnival. The journal, which is mysteriously delivered to a slightly neurotic librarian, connects him to generations of mermaid performers, fortune tellers and side-show entertainers. As the librarian pieces together his family’s past, he discovers some shocking truths and becomes increasingly concerned that an old curse is about to reappear. Why have generations of the carnival mermaids drown on July 24th? Is his sister next? As the calendar presses forward, the questions grow.
This is an entertaining family saga that moves along effortlessly. An impressive accomplishment by debut author Erika Swyler considering the dual storylines, a multitude of vibrant characters and an engrossing plot that builds to the very end. Swyler seamlessly skips across centuries, from life in the menagerie to the highs and lows of a modern-day researcher. An interesting, sometimes dark and tender read.
∼Julia, Circulation, Warrenton Central Library
I love perusing crochet patterns, whether it’s online, in magazines, or in books. I have such appreciation for other people’s creativity that I could spend hours looking at the pictures and glancing over the patterns, so it’s no wonder that 746.434 is one of my favorite sections in the library!
On my last visit there, I picked up “Crochet: The complete Step-by-Step Guide.” It’s a large volume (seriously, bring a bag to tote it home) filled with beautiful pictures of projects of all shapes and sizes, from bedspreads and pet cushions to smaller items more suited to instant-gratification crafters. Toys, home decor, hats, scarves and lots of different blankets — there’s truly something here for everyone. The patterns are easy to understand, the photos are vibrant and inspiring, and the entire first section illustrates the basics of crochet itself. This is a great book for novice and experienced crocheters alike. Brand new to crocheting? Check out “I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting!” or one of the library’s other instructional DVDs to get started. That’s how I learned!
∼Emily, library clerk, Warrenton central library