Staff Picks: Top Picks for April
After a long winter, it is delightful to spend time outdoors enjoying the sun. However, on rainy or chilly Spring days, it’s time to find some great reads at the library. The John Marshall branch library staff has some favorite suggestions on what to read in your free time.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Naomi Novik is best known for her wonderful fantasy series, Temeraire, (the Napoleonic Wars – with dragons!). Inspired by Eastern European folktales told by her family, she has written Uprooted, a standalone novel that is enchanting and a little spooky. Readers will recognize a bit of the tale of Beauty and the Beast in the book, but this heroine is not Belle. The dragon comes every 10 years to Agnieszka’s village to claim another girl in reward for protecting the townspeople from the sinister Woods. Agnieszka knows she will lose her dear and beautiful friend Kasia when he arrives. However, in a twist of fate the dragon chooses Agnieszka instead. She proves to be worthy of the challenge, and both the dragon and Agnieszka battle the evil Woods in an effort to save the villagers. Novik has created a fascinating and magical work that is a very compelling and exciting read.
∼ Veronica, Circulation, John Marshall branch
Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn
I love British comedies so this title caught my eye, and it was a delightful read. The Queen is depressed because her yacht, which held such good memories, was decommissioned, and now her private train is considered too expensive to be maintained.
The Queen visits her favorite horse, who loves a particular brand of cheddar cheese. As it is sleeting and the Queen has gone out without a proper wrap, the stable girl offers her a hoodie decorated with a skull and cross bone motif. No one expects the Queen to be out on her own wearing a hoodie and the adventure lifts her spirits. She is so pleased she decides to take public transport to travel to Scotland where she thinks happy memories will help to perk her up even more.
Her common travelling companions notice her very posh accent and unusual apparel, but accept her as a charming and rather eccentric older lady. Her butler, attaché, stable girl and the clerk from the cheese shop all become involved in tracking down Her Majesty before the press can find out she is missing and thus speculate in the tabloids about her mental state. While following the trail of their monarch, surprising alliances develop.
I hope this fun read eventually becomes a recorded book as I would love to hear it performed with authentic British accents.
∼ Gloria, Library Associate, John Marshall branch
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
Wilbur and Orville Wright changed history in 1903 on the Outer Banks, N.C. Thus began the age of flight with their air powered machine that could even carry a pilot. The Wright brothers were bicycle mechanics with exceptional ability, determination and far-ranging interests with a large dollop of curiosity. They grew up without electricity or indoor plumbing, but had lots of books supplied by their preacher father. Katherine, their high-spirited and devoted sister, played a far more important role in their endeavors than has been generally understood.
When the brothers worked together, no problem was unsolvable. Wilbur was the oldest and the genius, and Orville had great mechanical ability. Nothing stopped them in their determination to fly. If you don’t usually read non-fiction than this is the book for you. It reads like a fiction story. I learned so much about the Wright brothers and the first airplane.
∼ Johnetta, Circulation, John Marshall branch
Stop by for more recommendations – we love to help our patrons discover great books!
∼ Veronica, Circulation, John Marshall branch library
Book lists, reviews from our book clubs and favorites from library staff are great resources when searching for your next book. You can also find more Staff Picks online or stop by the reference desk.