Welcome to our latest edition of Staff Picks!
Every month, we ask all our library staff to submit the best best books they read over the past month, and then we collect all the titles here for easy access. Just select your favorite genre below to find titles and catalog links. Many titles come in a variety of formats, including audiobooks you can check out on CD or download directly to a digital device.
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Beth's pick was...Image
The Golden Doves by Martha Hall Kelly 
Two former female spies, bound together by their past, risk everything to hunt down an infamous Nazi doctor in the aftermath of World War II—an extraordinary novel inspired by true events from the New York Times bestselling author of Lilac Girls
American Josie Anderson and Parisian Arlette LaRue are thrilled to be working in the French resistance, stealing so many Nazi secrets that they become known as the Golden Doves, renowned across France and hunted by the Gestapo. Their courage will cost them everything. When they are finally arrested and taken to the Ravensbrück concentration camp, along with their loved ones, a reclusive Nazi doctor does unspeakable things to Josie’s mother, a celebrated Jewish singer who joined her daughter in Paris when the world seemed bright. And Arlette’s son is stolen from her, never to be seen again.
A decade later the Doves fall headlong into a dangerous dual mission: Josie is working for U.S. Army intelligence and accepts an assignment to hunt down the infamous doctor, while a mysterious man tells Arlette he may have found her son. The Golden Doves embark on a quest across Europe and ultimately to French Guiana, discovering a web of terrible secrets, and must put themselves in grave danger to finally secure justice and protect the ones they love.
Martha Hall Kelly has garnered acclaim for her stunning combination of empathy and research into the stories of women throughout history and for exploring the terrors of Ravensbrück. With The Golden Doves, she has crafted an unforgettable story about the fates of Nazi fugitives in the wake of World War II—and the unsung females spies who risked it all to bring them to justice.
Diana's pick was...Image
The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth 
There’s a cottage on a cliff. Gabe and Pippa’s dream home in a sleepy coastal town. But their perfect house hides something sinister. The tall cliffs have become a popular spot for people to end their lives. Night after night Gabe comes to their rescue, literally talking them off the ledge. Until he doesn’t.
When Pippa discovers Gabe knew the victim, the questions spiral...Did the victim jump? Was she pushed?
And would Gabe, the love of Pippa’s life, her soulmate...lie? As the perfect facade of their marriage begins to crack, the deepest and darkest secrets begin to unravel.
Cameron's pick was...Image
I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai 
A successful film professor and podcaster, Bodie Kane is content to forget her past—the family tragedy that marred her adolescence, her four largely miserable years at a New Hampshire boarding school, and the murder of her former roommate, Thalia Keith, in the spring of their senior year. Though the circumstances surrounding Thalia's death and the conviction of the school's athletic trainer, Omar Evans, are hotly debated online, Bodie prefers—needs—to let sleeping dogs lie.
But when the Granby School invites her back to teach a course, Bodie is inexorably drawn to the case and its increasingly apparent ﬂaws. In their rush to convict Omar, did the school and the police overlook other suspects? Is the real killer still out there? As she falls down the very rabbit hole she was so determined to avoid, Bodie begins to wonder if she wasn't as much of an outsider at Granby as she'd thought—if, perhaps, back in 1995, she knew something that might have held the key to solving the case.
Laurel's pick was...Image
The Girl Before by Rena Olsen 
In this powerful psychological suspense debut, when a woman’s life is shattered, she is faced with a devastating question: What if everything she thought was normal and good and true . . . wasn’t?
Clara Lawson is torn from her life in an instant. Without warning, her home is invaded by armed men, and she finds herself separated from her beloved husband and daughters. The last thing her husband yells to her is to say nothing.
In chapters that alternate between past and present, the novel slowly unpeels the layers of Clara’s fractured life. We see her growing up, raised with her sisters by the stern Mama and Papa G, becoming a poised and educated young woman, falling desperately in love with the forbidden son of her adoptive parents. We see her now, sequestered in an institution, questioned by men and women who call her a different name—Diana—and who accuse her husband of unspeakable crimes. As recollections of her past collide with new revelations, Clara must question everything she thought she knew, to come to terms with the truth of her history and to summon the strength to navigate her future.
Sofia's pick was...Image
The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki 
Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . .
So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all. Growing up in the modest farmlands of Battle Creek, Michigan, Marjorie was inspired by a few simple rules: always think for yourself, never take success for granted, and work hard—even when deemed American royalty, even while covered in imperial diamonds. Marjorie had an insatiable drive to live and love and to give more than she got. From crawling through Moscow warehouses to rescue the Tsar's treasures to outrunning the Nazis in London, from serving the homeless of the Great Depression to entertaining Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Hollywood's biggest stars, Marjorie Merriweather Post lived an epic life few could imagine.
Marjorie's journey began gluing cereal boxes in her father's barn as a young girl. No one could have predicted that C. W. Post's Cereal Company would grow into the General Foods empire and reshape the American way of life, with Marjorie as its heiress and leading lady. Not content to stay in her prescribed roles of high-society wife, mother, and hostess, Marjorie dared to demand more, making history in the process. Before turning thirty she amassed millions, becoming the wealthiest woman in the United States. But it was her life-force, advocacy, passion, and adventurous spirit that led to her stunning legacy.
And yet Marjorie's story, though full of beauty and grandeur, set in the palatial homes she built such as Mar-a-Lago, was equally marked by challenge and tumult. A wife four times over, Marjorie sought her happily-ever-after with the blue-blooded party boy who could not outrun his demons, the charismatic financier whose charm turned to betrayal, the international diplomat with a dark side, and the bon vivant whose shocking secrets would shake Marjorie and all of society. Marjorie did everything on a grand scale, especially when it came to love.
Bestselling and acclaimed author Allison Pataki has crafted an intimate portrait of a larger-than-life woman, a powerful story of one woman falling in love with her own voice and embracing her own power while shaping history in the process.
Kara's pick was...Image
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt 
After Tova Sullivan's husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she's been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.
Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn't dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors--until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.
Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova's son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it's too late.
Shelby Van Pelt's debut novel is a gentle reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible.
Cindy's pick was...Image
The Winner Stands Alone by Paulo Coelho 
“[Coelho’s] special talent seems to be his ability to speak to everyone at once. The kind of spirituality he espouses is to all comers. . . . His readers often say that they see their own lives in his own books.”
— New Yorker From the bestselling author of The Alchemist , Paulo Coelho, comes an absorbing new novel that holds a mirror up to our culture’s obsession with fame, glamour, and celebrity.
Lisa's pick was...Image
Normal People by Sally Rooney 
At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers - one they are determined to conceal.
A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.
Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.
Lesia's pick was...Image
Play the Fool by Lina Chern 
For Katie True, a keen gut and quick wit are just tools of the trade. After a failed attempt at adulting in Chicago, she's back in the suburbs living a bit too close to her overbearing parents, jumping from one dead-end job to the next, and flipping through her tarot deck for guidance. Then along comes Marley.
Mysterious, worldly, and comfortable in her own skin, Marley takes a job at the mall where Katie peddles Russian tchotchkes. The two just get each other. Marley doesn't try to fix Katie's life or pretend to be someone she's not, and Katie thinks that with Marley's friendship she just might make it through this rough patch after all. So one day, having been encouraged by Marley to practice soothsaying, Katie reads tarot for someone who stumbles into her shop. But when she sneaks a glance at his phone, she finds more than just clairvoyant intel. She finds a photo. Of Marley. With a gunshot wound to the head.
The bottom falls out of Katie's world. Her best friend is dead? Who killed her? She quickly realizes there are some things her tarot cards can't foresee, and she must put her razor-sharp instincts to the ultimate test. But the truth has deadly consequences, and Katie's recklessness lands her in the crossfire of a threat she never saw coming. Now Katie must use her street smarts and her inner Strength card to solve Marley's murder--or risk losing everything.
- Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sofia's pick was...Image
The Witch and the Vampire by Francesca Flores 
Ava and Kaye used to be best friends. Until one night two years ago, vampires broke through the magical barrier protecting their town, and in the ensuing attack, Kaye’s mother was killed, and Ava was turned into a vampire. Since then, Ava has been trapped in her house. Her mother Eugenia needs her: Ava still has her witch powers, and Eugenia must take them in order to hide that she's a vampire as well. Desperate to escape her confinement and stop her mother's plans to destroy the town, Ava must break out, flee to the forest, and seek help from the vampires who live there. When there is another attack, she sees her opportunity and escapes.
Kaye, now at the end of her training as a Flame witch, is ready to fulfill her duty of killing any vampires that threaten the town, including Ava. On the night that Ava escapes, Kaye follows her and convinces her to travel together into the forest, while secretly planning to turn her in. Ava agrees, hoping to rekindle their old friendship, and the romantic feelings she'd started to have for Kaye before that terrible night.
But with monstrous trees that devour humans whole, vampires who attack from above, and Ava’s stepfather tracking her, the woods are full of danger. As they travel deeper into the forest, Kaye questions everything she thought she knew. The two are each other's greatest threat—and also their only hope, if they want to make it through the forest unscathed.
Jonathan's pick was...Image
The Last Shadow (The Shadow Series #6) Orson Scott Card 
Orson Scott Card's The Last Shadow is the long-awaited conclusion to both the original Ender series and the Ender's Shadow series, as the children of Ender and Bean solve the great problem of the Ender Universe - the deadly virus they call the descolada, which is incurable and will kill all of humanity if it were allowed to escape from Lusitania.
Three sapient species living peacefully together.
And one deadly virus that could wipe out every world in the Starways Congress, killing billions.
Is the only answer another great Xenocide?
Michelle's pick was...Image
Paradise-1 by David Wellington 
When Special Agent Petrov and Dr. Lei Zhang are woken up from cryogenic sleep, dragged freezing and dripping wet out of their pods with the ship's alarms blaring in the background, they know something is very wrong. Warned by the Captain that they're under attack, they have no choice but to investigate.
It doesn't take much time to learn that they've been met by another vessel—a vessel from Paradis-One, Earth's first deep-space colony, and their final destination.
Worse still, the vessel is empty. And it carries with it the message that all communications from the 150,000 souls inhabiting the Paradis-One has completely ceased.
Petrov and Zhang must board the empty ship and delve further into deep space to discover the truth of the colony's disappearance—but the further they go, the more dangers loom.
Sean's pick was...Image
Witch King by Martha Wells 
A story of power and friendship, of trust and betrayal, and of the families we choose.
"I didn't know you were a... demon."
"You idiot. I'm the demon."
Kai's having a long day in Martha Wells' Witch King....
After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well.
But why was Kai imprisoned in the first place? What has changed in the world since his assassination? And why does the Rising World Coalition appear to be growing in influence?
Kai will need to pull his allies close and draw on all his pain magic if he is to answer even the least of these questions.
He’s not going to like the answers.
Marlin's pick was...Image
Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson 
Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burnout kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary mom who's often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon. Jared does smoke and drink too much, and he does make the best cookies in town, and his mom is a mess, but he's also a kid who has an immense capacity for compassion and an impulse to watch over people more than twice his age, and he can't rely on anyone for consistent love and support, except for his flatulent pit bull, Baby Killer (he calls her Baby)--and now she's dead.
Jared can't count on his mom to stay sober and stick around to take care of him. He can't rely on his dad to pay the bills and support his new wife and step-daughter. Jared is only sixteen but feels like he is the one who must stabilize his family's life, even look out for his elderly neighbours. But he struggles to keep everything afloat...and sometimes he blacks out. And he puzzles over why his maternal grandmother has never liked him, why she says he's the son of a trickster, that he isn't human. Mind you, ravens speak to him--even when he's not stoned.
You think you know Jared, but you don't.
Katelyn's pick was...Image
The Good House by Tananarive Due 
From the American Book Award winner and author of "one of the most talked about debuts in the horror field since the advent of Stephen King" (Publishers Weekly) comes a terrifying story of supernatural suspense, as a woman searches for the inherited power that can save her hometown from evil forces.
Tananarive Due's first three novels gained her legions of dedicated fans who recognize a true master of the genre. Now she returns with her best yet – a chilling story set in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. The house Angela Toussaint's late grandmother owned is so beloved that townspeople in Sacajawea, Washington, call it the Good House. But is it?
Angela hoped her grandmother's famous "healing magic" could save her failing marriage while she and her family lived in the old house the summer of 2001. Instead, an unexpected tragedy ripped Angela's family apart.
Now, two years later, Angela is moving past her grief and taking control of her life as a talent agent in Los Angeles, and she is finally ready to revisit the rural house she loved so much as a child. Back in Sacajawea, Angela realizes she hasn't been the only one to suffer a shocking loss. Since she left, there have been more senseless tragedies, and Angela wonders if they are related somehow. Could the events be linked to a terrifying entity Angela's grandmother battled in 1929? Did her teenage son, Corey, reawaken something that should have been left sleeping?
With the help of Myles Fisher, her high school boyfriend, and clues from beyond the grave, Angela races to solve a deadly puzzle that has followed her family for generations. She must summon her own hidden gifts to face the timeless adversary stalking her in her grandmother's house – and in the Washington woods.
Bill's pick was...Image
Among Thieves by M.J. Kuhn 
A high-stakes heist novel set in a gritty world of magic and malice
In just over a year’s time, Ryia Cautella has already earned herself a reputation as the quickest, deadliest blade in the dockside city of Carrowwick—not to mention the sharpest tongue. But Ryia Cautella is not her real name.
For the past six years, a deadly secret has kept her in hiding, running from town to town, doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the formidable Guildmaster—the sovereign ruler of the five kingdoms of Thamorr. No matter how far or fast she travels, his servants never fail to track her down...but even the most powerful men can be defeated.
Ryia’s path now leads directly into the heart of the Guildmaster’s stronghold, and against every instinct she has, it’s not a path she can walk alone. Forced to team up with a crew of assorted miscreants, smugglers, and thieves, Ryia must plan her next moves very carefully. If she succeeds, her freedom is won once and for all…but unfortunately for Ryia, her new allies are nearly as selfish as she is, and they all have plans of their own.
Beth's pick was...Image
Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez (Part of Your World #2) 
A novel of terrible first impressions, hilarious second chances, and the joy in finding your perfect match.
Dr. Briana Ortiz’s life is seriously flatlining. Her divorce is just about finalized, her brother’s running out of time to find a kidney donor, and that promotion she wants? Oh, that’s probably going to the new man-doctor who’s already registering eighty-friggin’-seven on Briana’s “pain in my ass” scale. But just when all systems are set to hate, Dr. Jacob Maddox completely flips the game . . . by sending Briana a letter.
And it’s a really good letter. Like the kind that proves that Jacob isn’t actually Satan. Worse, he might be this fantastically funny and subversively likeable guy who’s terrible at first impressions. Because suddenly he and Bri are exchanging letters, sharing lunch dates in her “sob closet,” and discussing the merits of freakishly tiny horses. But when Jacob decides to give Briana the best gift imaginable—a kidney for her brother—she wonders just how she can resist this quietly sexy new doctor . . . especially when he calls in a favor she can’t refuse.
Phillis's pick was...Image
Royal Holiday (The Wedding Date #4) by Jasmine Guillory 
Vivian Forest has been out of the country a grand total of one time, so when she gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie’s work trip to England to style a royal family member, she can’t refuse. She’s excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn’t expect is to become instantly attracted to a certain private secretary, his charming accent, and unyielding formality.
Malcolm Hudson has worked for the Queen for years and has never given a personal, private tour—until now. He is intrigued by Vivian the moment he meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. When flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling.
Despite a ticking timer on their holiday romance, they are completely fine with ending their short, steamy affair come New Year’s Day. . .or are they?
Samantha's pick was...Image
Baby Daddy by Kendall Ryan 
We met in a trapped elevator.
Emmett was on his way to work, sophisticated and handsome in his tailored suit and tie.
I was on my way to the sperm bank. Awkward, right?
At thirty-five, my life hadn’t taken the path I thought it would and I was tired of waiting—I wanted a baby. And I was ready to take matters into my own hands to make it happen.
After our ill-fated elevator encounter, Emmett insisted on taking me to dinner—he also insisted on something else—that I ditch my plan involving a turkey baster and let him do the job. He would be my baby daddy. He was a wealthy and powerful CEO with little interest in diapers or playdates. And since he didn’t want kids, I’d be on my own once his bun was in my oven, free to go my own way.
But once his baby was inside me, it was like a switch had been flipped, and I got a whole lot more than I ever bargained for.
This full-length standalone contains a hot, swoonworthy hero, lots of playful banter and some hot baby-making s-e-x! Enjoy.
Jordyn's pick was...Image
A Witch's Guide to Fake Dating a Demon by Sarah Hawley 
Mariel Spark knows not to trust a demon, especially one that wants her soul, but what’s a witch to do when he won’t leave her side—and she kind of doesn’t want him to?
Mariel Spark is prophesied to be the most powerful witch seen in centuries of the famed Spark family, but to the displeasure of her mother, she prefers baking to brewing potions and gardening to casting hexes. When a spell to summon flour goes very wrong, Mariel finds herself staring down a demon—one she inadvertently summoned for a soul bargain.
Ozroth the Ruthless is a legend among demons. Powerful and merciless, he drives hard bargains to collect mortal souls. But his reputation has suffered ever since a bargain went awry—if he can strike a bargain with Mariel, he will earn back his deadly reputation. Ozroth can’t leave Mariel’s side until they complete a bargain, which she refuses to do (turns out some humans are attached to their souls).
But the witch is funny. And curvy. And disgustingly yet endearingly cheerful. Becoming awkward roommates quickly escalates when Mariel, terrified to confess the inadvertent summoning to her mother, blurts out that she’s dating Ozroth. As Ozroth and Mariel struggle with their opposing goals and maintaining a fake relationship, real attraction blooms between them. But Ozroth has a limited amount of time to strike the deal, and if Mariel gives up her soul, she’ll lose all her emotions—including love—which will only spell disaster for them both.
Samantha's pick was...Image
Shielding Gillian by Susan Stoker 
As an event planner, Gillian Romano’s an expert at rolling with the punches and solving unexpected problems. But her flight getting hijacked while returning from a job is definitely out of her skill set. Passengers are being murdered, and when she’s chosen by the terrorists to be their mouthpiece, even more innocent lives rest on Gillian’s shoulders. Only the calm, reassuring voice on the other end of the line keeps her sane, forging a bond with a stranger she’s never seen but trusts with her life.
Walker “Trigger” Nelson and his Delta Force team have spent years training for close-quarter hostage rescue. When they get called to South America to attempt to save an airplane full of hostages, he doesn’t expect to meet a woman who rocks his world in the middle of the op. Gillian’s cool head and bravery in the face of certain terror—and possible death—blows him away. Any outcome that doesn’t include Gillian leaving that plane alive and well is not an option.
After their safe return to Texas, both Trigger and Gillian are excited to find out if their instant chemistry can survive the real world. Neither realizing that someone isn’t happy with the outcome of the hijacking, and is watching, waiting, for a second chance to strike.
Heather's pick was...Image
This One Wild and Precious Life: A Hopeful Path Forward in a Fractured World by Sarah Wilson 
Will you sleep through the revolution? Or do you want to wake up and reclaim your one wild and precious life?
We live in truly overwhelming times. The climate crisis, political polarisation, racial injustice and coronavirus have left many of us in a state of spiritual PTSD. We have retreated, morally and psychologically; we are experiencing a crisis of disconnection - from one another, from our true values, from joy, and from life as we feel we are meant to be living it.
Sarah Wilson argues that this sense of despair and disconnection is ironically what unites us - that deep down, we are all feeling that same itch for a new way of living. this one wild and precious life opens our eyes to how we got here and offers a radically hopeful path forward. Drawing on science, literature, philosophy, the wisdom of some of the world's leading experts, and her personal journey, Wilson weaves a one-of-a-kind narrative that lights the way back to the life we love. En route, she leads us through a series of 'wildly awake' and joyful practices for reconnecting again that include:
- Go to your edge. Do what scares you and embrace discomfort daily. Use it to grow into your Big Life.
- #buylesslivemore. Break the cycle of mindless consumption and get light with your life.
- Become a soul nerd. Embrace poetry, deep reading, art, and classical music to light up your intellect.
- Get 'full-fat spiritual'. How to have an active practice - beyond the 'lite' 'rainbows and unicorns' - and use it to change the world.
- Hike. Just hike. Walking in nature reconnects us with ourselves, and with our true purpose.
- Practise wild activism. If you can get 3.5 per cent of a population to participate in sustained, non-violent protest, change happens. We create our better world.
The time has come to boldly, wildly, imagine better. We are being called upon, individually and as a society, to forge a new path and to find a new way of living. Will you join the journey?
Lisa's pick was...Image
Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor 
No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you're not breathing properly.
There is nothing more essential to our health and well-being than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat twenty-five thousand times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences.
Journalist James Nestor travels the world to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. The answers aren't found in pulmonology labs, as we might expect, but in the muddy digs of ancient burial sites, secret Soviet facilities, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets of Sao Paulo. Nestor tracks down men and women exploring the hidden science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, and Tummo and teams up with pulmonary tinkerers to scientifically test long-held beliefs about how we breathe.
Modern research is showing us that making even slight adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can jump-start athletic performance; rejuvenate internal organs; halt snoring, asthma, and autoimmune disease; and even straighten scoliotic spines. None of this should be possible, and yet it is.
Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again.
Ash's pick was...Image
Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication by Oren Jay Sofer 
Communication is hard. Here's a proven method that makes it not only considerably easier, but also much more effective for people on both sides of the conversation. Oren Sofer's method for effective communication is a unique combination of mindfulness with the modality called nonviolent communication (NVC), a method popular since the 1960s that is based on the belief that all human beings have the capacity for compassion and resort to violence or behavior that harms others only when they don't recognize more effective strategies for meeting needs. NVC provides those peaceful strategies. Oren's unique method for fostering peaceful--and effective--communication has three "steps" or components: (1) presence: bringing mindful awareness to the interaction, (2) intention: clarifying and setting a goal for the interaction, and (3) attention: learning to really hear and understand in a way that enables you to navigate the difficulties, express yourself clearly, and listen like it really matters--which it most certainly does. The steps are accompanied by many practical exercises, and in the course of this three-part training, readers will learn how to apply these skills to personal and social relationships with romantic partners, friends, colleagues, and family.
Charissa's pick was...Image
You Will Find Your People: How to Make Meaningful Friendships as an Adult by Lane Moore 
From Lane Moore, the critically acclaimed author of How to Be Alone, comes a searingly intimate, yet wildly funny exploration of the frustrating, messy, and, at times, deeply joyful experience of learning how to make meaningful friendships as an adult.
Part memoir, part self-help, You Will Find Your People uncovers the complex, frightening, and often vulnerable process of building real, healthy friendships and finally creating your chosen family. Moore takes readers on a journey that examines and challenges the ideas of friendship we’ve seen in pop culture, answers every question you’ve ever had about friend breakups, and teaches us how to fearlessly ask for what we want in friendships once and for all.
Full of Moore’s hilarious personal anecdotes, advice on how to identify your attachment style, and real tools to create better communication and boundaries, this book is your personal guide on how to heal from your past friendships, improve your current ones, and finally have the friendships we know we deserve.
Lynda's pick was...Image
Successfully Navigating Your Parents' Senior Years: Critical Information to Maximize Their Independence and Make Sure They Get the Care They Need by Star Bradbury 
Millions of Americans are in an active caregiver role or will be in one in the future, yet few have a solid plan for the inevitable challenges of aging.
Whether your parents are in their 60s or their 90s, and whether they have years of health ahead of them or already need more support, Successfully Navigating Your Parents' Senior Years provides the framework and information you need to prepare for and handle with confidence the changes ahead.
The responsibility of caring for an aging loved one is often daunting--and when trouble hits, the sudden barrage of questions you face can be overwhelming. Have your parents executed their Advance Directives? Do you know what to look for in a senior community (and how to ensure a spot is available when you need it)? If your parents want to stay in their home, what can you do to ensure their safety?
Certified aging life care specialist and CEO of Senior Living Strategies Star Bradbury draws on her 25 years of experience in senior living to bring you an up-to-date, comprehensive guide to navigating the tricky waters ahead--starting with putting a plan in place now that maximizes your parents' independence while providing them with the support they need.
Successfully Navigating Your Parents' Senior Years covers:
- How to bring up sensitive topics with your aging parents
- Steps you can take to keep your parents safely independent in their own homes for longer
- Red flags that indicate your parents may need more help
- Senior living options and the key questions to ask in choosing any kind of retirement community
- Alternative living arrangements to consider for aging parents, such as senior roommates, cohousing, and/or niche retirement communities
- How to get help paying for your parents' medical care (you have more options than you think!)
- Legal and financial documents to have on hand in case of a sudden medical emergency
- Insider tips, helpful checklists, and more
Don't wait for a crisis to begin planning for the future. Successfully Navigating Your Parents' Senior Years is an indispensable blueprint that will give you the tools and knowledge you need to advocate for your parents when they need you most.
Katelyn's pick was...Image
The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks by Amy Stewart 
Every great drink starts with a plant. Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley. Gin was born from a conifer shrub when a Dutch physician added oil of juniper to a clear spirit, believing that juniper berries would cure kidney disorders. "The Drunken Botanist" uncovers the enlightening botanical history and the fascinating science and chemistry of over 150 plants, flowers, trees, and fruits (and even one fungus).
Some of the most extraordinary and obscure plants have been fermented and distilled, and they each represent a unique cultural contribution to our global drinking traditions and our history. Molasses was an essential ingredient in American independence: when the British forced the colonies to buy British (not French) molasses for their New World rum-making, the settlers outrage kindled the American Revolution. Rye, which turns up in countless spirits, is vulnerable to ergot, which contains a precursor to LSD, and some historians have speculated that the Salem witch trials occurred because girls poisoned by ergot had seizures that made townspeople think they d been bewitched. Then there's the tale of the thirty-year court battle that took place over the trademarking of Angostura bitters, which may or may not actually contain bark from the Angostura tree.
With a delightful two-color vintage-style interior, over fifty drink recipes, growing tips for gardeners, and advice that carries Stewart's trademark wit, this is the perfect gift for gardeners and cocktail aficionados alike.
Liz's pick was...Image
Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates Jr. & Tonya Bolden 
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. presents a journey through America's past and our nation's attempts at renewal in this look at the Civil War's conclusion, Reconstruction, and the rise of Jim Crow segregation.
This is a story about America during and after Reconstruction, one of history's most pivotal and misunderstood chapters. In a stirring account of emancipation, the struggle for citizenship and national reunion, and the advent of racial segregation, the renowned Harvard scholar delivers a book that is illuminating and timely. Real-life accounts drive the narrative, spanning the half century between the Civil War and Birth of a Nation. Here, you will come face-to-face with the people and events of Reconstruction's noble democratic experiment, its tragic undermining, and the drawing of a new "color line" in the long Jim Crow era that followed. In introducing young readers to them, and to the resiliency of the African American people at times of progress and betrayal, Professor Gates shares a history that remains vitally relevant today.
Lesia's pick was...Image
The Swamp Peddlers: How Lot Sellers, Land Scammers, and Retirees Built Modern Florida and Transformed the American Dream by Jason Vuic 
Florida has long been a beacon for retirees, but for many, the American dream of owning a home there was a fantasy. That changed in the 1950s, when the so-called "installment land sales industry" hawked billions of dollars of Florida residential property, sight unseen, to retiring northerners. For only $10 down and $10 a month, working-class pensioners could buy a piece of the Florida a graded home site that would be waiting for them in a planned community when they were ready to build. The result was Cape Coral, Port St. Lucie, Deltona, Port Charlotte, Palm Coast, and Spring Hill, among many others—sprawling communities with no downtowns, little industry, and millions of residential lots.
In The Swamp Peddlers , Jason Vuic tells the raucous tale of the sale of residential lots in postwar Florida. Initially selling cheap homes to retirees with disposable income, by the mid-1950s developers realized that they could make more money selling parcels of land on installment to their customers. These "swamp peddlers" completely transformed the landscape and demographics of Florida, devastating the state environmentally by felling forests, draining wetlands, digging canals, and chopping up at least one million acres into grid-like subdivisions crisscrossed by thousands of miles of roads. Generations of northerners moved to Florida cheaply, but at a huge high-pressure sales tactics begat fraud; poor urban planning begat sprawl; poorly-regulated development begat environmental destruction, culminating in the perfect storm of the 21st-century subprime mortgage crisis.
Wendy's pick was...Image
I Cried to Dream Again: Trafficking, Murder, and Deliverance -- A Memoir by Sara Kruzan & Cori Thomas 
There is perhaps no crime more disturbing than the abuse of a child—and no court cases as upsetting as those in which juveniles who have faced abuse are tried for fighting back. In this gripping memoir Sara Kruzan, a survivor of childhood abuse and sex trafficking, tells the honest, disturbing, and ultimately empowering story of her journey from abuse to incarceration without parole for killing her abuser to finally gaining her liberation.
"As someone who has worked with trafficking survivors in the developing world, I am struck by how vividly Kruzan’s memoir shows us how easily these same atrocities take place, barely noticed, beneath the sophisticated veneer of life in the U.S. A brilliant and illuminating read."—Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and author of Mighty Be Our Powers
Sara is currently an advocate for the rights of incarcerated women and children, and the inspiration behind Sara’s Law, a bill currently in the House of Representative seeking to protect children of abuse from facing life sentences.
Charissa's pick was...Image
Madame Restell: The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Old New York's Most Fabulous, Fearless, and Infamous Abortionist by Jennifer Wright 
In Madame Restell, readers are instantly transported to the glamorous mansions and bejeweled carriages of pre-Gilded Age New York, where they meet our eponymous heroine: the city’s premiere abortionist. An industrious woman who built her business from the ground up, Restell was a self-taught surgeon on the cutting edge of healthcare, and her bustling “boarding house” provided birth control, abortions, and medical assistance to thousands of women—rich and poor alike. As her practice expanded, her notoriety swelled, and Restell established herself as a prime target for tabloids, threats, and lawsuits galore. But far from fading into the background, she flaunted her wealth defiantly, parading across the city in designer duds and expensive jewelry, rubbing her success in the faces of the many politicians, publishers, religious zealots, and male competitors determined to bring her down.
Unfortunately for Madame Restell, her rise to the top of her field coincided with “the greatest scam you’ve never heard about”: the campaign to curtail women’s power by restricting their access to healthcare. For centuries, midwives and female practitioners, like Restell, had tended to public healthcare needs of both men and women. But after the birth of the medical clinic, newly-minted male MDs were eager to edge out their feminine competition—by forcing women back into the home and turning medicine into a standardized, male-only practice. At the same time, a group of powerful, secular men—threatened by women’s burgeoning independence in other fields—persuaded the Christian leadership to declare abortion a sin, rewriting the meaning of “Christian morality” to protect their own interests. By unraveling the misogynistic and misleading lies that put women’s health in jeopardy, Wright simultaneously restores Restell to her rightful place in history and obliterates the faulty, fractured reasoning underlying the very foundation of what has since been dubbed the “pro-life” movement.
Thought-provoking, character-driven, boldly written, and feminist as hell, Madame Restell is required reading for anyone and everyone who believes that when it comes to women’s rights, women’s bodies, and women’s history, women should have the last word.
Cindy's pick was...Image
I Remain in Darkness by Annie Ernaux 
Written in journal form, Annie Ernaux's account of her mother's steady decline spans a period of nearly three years. When her mother first becomes ill, Ernaux takes her in. Soon, it becomes painfully obvious that professional help is needed. Diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, her mother enters a nursing home, never to leave. As it explores the complexities of death and parent-child role reversal, Ernaux's latest work takes its place on the shelf beside John Bayley's Elegy for Iris and Roger Kamenetz's Terra Infirma. "As revealed by Ernaux, the details of a loved one's deterioration have such emblematic force and terror that the particular becomes universal." - The New York Times Book Review
Fiona's pick was...Image
Once Upon a Tome: The Misadventures of a Rare Bookseller by Oliver Darkshire 
Some years ago, Oliver Darkshire stepped into the hushed interior of Henry Sotheran Ltd on Sackville Street (est. 1761) to interview for their bookselling apprenticeship, a decision which has bedevilled him ever since.
He'd intended to stay for a year before launching into some less dusty, better remunerated career. Unfortunately for him, the alluring smell of old books and the temptation of a management-approved afternoon nap proved irresistible. Soon he was balancing teetering stacks of first editions, fending off nonagenarian widows with a ten-foot pole and trying not to upset the store's resident ghost (the late Mr Sotheran had unfinished business when he was hit by that tram).
For while Sotheran's might be a treasure trove of literary delights, it sings a siren song to eccentrics. There are not only colleagues whose tastes in rare items range from the inspired to the mildly dangerous, but also zealous collectors seeking knowledge, curios, or simply someone with whom to hold a four hour conversation about books bound in human skin.
By turns unhinged and earnestly dog-eared, Once Upon a Tome is the rather colourful story of life in one of the country's most ancient bookshops and a love letter to the benign, unruly world of antiquarian bookselling, where to be uncommon or strange is the best possible compliment.
Wendy's pick was...Image
Mother Noise by Cindy House 
A poignant, “raw[,] and tender” ( The New York Times Book Review ) memoir told in essays and graphic shorts about what life looks like twenty years after recovery from addiction—and how to live with the past as a parent, writer, and sober person—from a regular opener for David Sedaris.
In the opening of this “unexpectedly uplifting...masterfully crafted memoir” ( Shelf Awareness , starred review) Cindy, twenty years into recovery after a heroin addiction, grapples with how to tell her nine-year-old son about her past. She wants him to learn this history from her, not anyone else; but she worries about the effect this truth may have on him. Told in essays and graphic narrative shorts, Mother Noise is a stunning memoir that delves deep into our responsibilities as parents while celebrating the moments of grace and generosity that mark a true friendship—in this case, her benefactor and champion through the years, David Sedaris.
This is a powerful memoir about addiction, motherhood, and Cindy’s ongoing effort to reconcile the two. Are we required to share with our children the painful details of our past, or do we owe them protection from the harsh truth of who we were before?
With dark humor and brutal, clear-eyed honesty, Mother Noise is “a full-throated anthem of hope, [that] lends light to a dark issue” ( Publishers Weekly , starred review).
Katelyn's pick was...Image
Anzu the Great Listener by Benson Shum 
In this follow-up to Anzu the Great Kaiju , created by Walt Disney Studios animator Benson Shum, we follow sweet and well-intentioned Anzu as he learns a valuable lesson about patience and empathy in the face of sadness―perfect for fans of The Rabbit Listened .
Anzu the kaiju loves to tend to his bonsai.
Whenever he feels overwhelmed or unsettled, it helps him pause and reminds him to just . . . breathe.
One day, when Anzu hears crying in the distance, he’s eager to help! The flower-power that makes his bonsai bloom has a way of making others smile.
But when Anzu’s flowers seem to lose their power, hurting more than they help, he’s not sure where to turn―until he remembers some valuable lessons he learned from his bonsai tree.
In Anzu the Great Listener , creator and Walt Disney Studios animator Benson Shum illustrates the importance of patience, empathy, and above all, taking the time to listen.
Katelyn's pick was...Image
Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao 
Zachary Ying never had many opportunities to learn about his Chinese heritage. His single mom was busy enough making sure they got by, and his schools never taught anything except Western history and myths. So Zack is woefully unprepared when he discovers he was born to host the spirit of the First Emperor of China for a vital mission: sealing the leaking portal to the Chinese underworld before the upcoming Ghost Month blows it wide open.
The mission takes an immediate wrong turn when the First Emperor botches his attempt to possess Zack’s body and binds to Zack’s AR gaming headset instead, leading to a battle where Zack’s mom’s soul gets taken by demons. Now, with one of history’s most infamous tyrants yapping in his headset, Zack must journey across China to heist magical artifacts and defeat figures from history and myth, all while learning to wield the emperor’s incredible water dragon powers.
And if Zack can’t finish the mission in time, the spirits of the underworld will flood into the mortal realm, and he could lose his mom forever.