Staff Picks

Staff Picks

Staff Picks

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Starr's life has always felt divided. She lives in "the bad" part of the area and her dad was a former gang member. But she also attends an exclusive private school outside her neighborhood and her dad now owns a neighborhood store. Starr has never felt like she could be fully herself in either place, and when she becomes the sole witness to a police shooting of childhood friend, her struggle to be true to who she really is becomes even harder. This novel is timely and gives voice to a young person that is rarely heard in real life or fiction, the black female. I found the novel reflects the black culture, especially the complexity of being yourself and yet a part of the larger world which holds deep bias about that same culture. Essential reading for anyone who wishes to engage in dialog around the issue of police violence in the Black community and the larger issues of race and implicit bias. ~Danielle, CCL

A Deadly Business by Lis Wiehl

Mia Quinn prosecutes violent criminals. Raising two children after her husband’s death, she is just trying to keep ahead of the bills left by her husband.  When Charlie, a friend and detective, begins asking questions about her husband’s fatal car accident, Mia’s world is turned upside down.  Was it an accident, or murder?  If murder, why?  The author’s first hand knowledge of prosecution brings authenticity to the story. A decent read. ~Beverly, HH

Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai

12-year old Mai is super excited to have the best summer of her life, hanging out at the beach with her best frenemy Montana while hoping to catch the eye of her crush. But then her father tasks her with being the travel companion to her grandmother on a trip to Vietnam to discover the details of her grandfather's disappearance during the war.  With themes of identity and family connections, this book will appeal to anyone who is or has been on a path to self discovery. Be sure to have the address to a great Vietnamese restaurant at the ready because this novel will make you hungry to sample the many foods that are entwined with the complexity of Mai and  Vietnam.  I really enjoyed how the audio book allowed me to become fully immersed in the story without having to struggle with the Vietnamese. ~Danielle, CCL

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

The audio version of Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, is performed by a whopping 166 voices, although most of those perform only a sentence or two. Listening to this book was like no other audiobook experience I've had. The novel takes place the night after the burial of Abraham Lincoln's 11-year-old son, Willie. Abe Lincoln is but a minor character, never speaking, although his thoughts are revealed at times.  This is more the story of all the other "residents" stuck in the limbo of the graveyard, who will not acknowledge their deaths, and who cling to the familiar world of the living rather than move on.  "Bardo" in Tibetan Buddhism, is a kind of purgatory state between two lives. Tragic, yet comic in its own way, this is one unusual, entertaining and heartbreaking tale.  I think of it as a cross between Ken Burns' The Civil War and Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. ~Pat, HH

The Hidden Lives of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

This little book is full of the wonder of trees, told by Peter Wohlleben, the guardian and ranger of an old growth forest near Hummel Germany. You will neverlook at trees the same way. Magical! ~Pat, HH