Staff Picks: Favorites from the Past Year
As a regular contributor to the library “Staff Picks” post I am tasked periodically with harassing (in good humor) my colleagues for book reviews and I often try to find a theme for us to congregate around. Other times I just ask for a good book recently read, which is exactly what I did this time. See what library administration staff have been reading and enjoying.
Long Upon the Land by Margaret Maron
This is the 20th book in the Deborah Knott series. Deborah is the daughter of a well-known bootlegger and a circuit court judge in North Carolina. This book includes the story of how her parents met as well as the usual murder to be solved. Like all of the series, it is a good read with mystery and storytelling to hold your interest.
Linda, Support Services Manager, Warrenton central library
Only a Kiss by Mary Balogh
This is book six in the series called the Survivor’s Club. The series follows six men and one woman injured in the Napoleonic Wars and the lifelong friendships that are created from this shared experience. This story is about the women, Imogen, Lady Barclay. Imogen, having personally witnessed the death of her husband during the war, has decided that the best coping mechanism for her is to spend the rest of her life alone and without attachment in Hardford Hall. Her plan goes well until the arrival of the Earl of Hardford, the rightful owner of Hardford Hall. The Earl stirs up more than a little trouble. A classic romance with some mystery and excitement sprinkled in, you definitely do not have to read the series in order to enjoy this very entertaining book.
Kim, Accounting clerk, Warrenton central library
Brooklyn: A Novel by Colin Toibin
Hauntingly beautiful, “Brooklyn” is set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950’s. Eilis Lacey reluctantly crosses the ocean at the urging of her mother and sister to make a new life for herself. She finds work and love in a neighborhood “just like Ireland.” But just as she begins to fall in love, news arrives from Ireland that threatens the promise of her future. Toibin is an elegant writer who manages to make everyday life seem mystical. And if you like the book-film connection, Brooklyn is now a major motion picture.
Maria, Director, Warrenton central library
Go Set a Watchman and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
With all the hoopla that surrounded the release of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman,” I was anxious to see if the hoopla was really something to get excited about. Turns out it wasn’t. The book is very good, don’t get me wrong there. I enjoyed it and even went back to re-read “To Kill a Mockingbird” to be sure I wasn’t being overly romantic about Lee’s first published work. I wasn’t—Mockingbird is beautifully and lyrically written. “Watchman” isn’t as lyrical, but then again, it’s Scout’s coming of age story. It’s Scout seeing Atticus more clearly and coming to grips with her own beliefs, even if they don’t jive with her father’s. I recommend “Go Set a Watchman,” and if you’ve never read “Mockingbird,” or haven’t read it in a long time—you should. (Or listen to the CD read by Sissy Spacek—a pure joy).
Dawn, Public Services Manager, Warrenton central library