Staff Picks

Staff Picks

Staff Picks

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

Willa Drake’s childhood, marked by the ranting, ravings and frequent abandonments of her highly dramatic mother, often requires her to be the responsible one for the sake and safety of her younger sister and amiable, go-with-the-flow father.  The role of predictable care-taker embodies Willa throughout much of her life, until years later when a bizarre phone call from a stranger sets Willa on an adventure through which she comes to realize the cost to her happiness that playing this role has caused.  A tale of self-actualization later in life, which shows that it is never too late to take a risk. ~Claire Michelle, HH

Clouds of Glory by Michael Korda

After reading the biography of William Sherman, I decided to read a biography about someone from the opposing side of the Civil War in order to get a fuller experience of the war, and Robert E. Lee was a natural choice. Much like the Sherman biography, this book demonstrates that Robert E. Lee was a lot more nuanced a person than the polarizing effect of time can render such historic figures. It provides riveting details of Lee's battles in language a military novice can understand, against the backdrop of his life, and follows him beyond the Civil War to his final years as president of a university. ~Meredith, CCL

The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas

Being a teen is hard enough, but being an autistic teen in a mainstream school has its own challenges.  The author, who is autistic herself, cannily depicts Grace's inner view of the world.  Grace is smart, funny, has solid friends and is trying to navigate the twists and turns of growing up.  This is a British book and the slight differences in language are fun, although the situations are completely relatable for Americans.  I really loved Grace and her family! ~Lori, CCL

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

What does it mean to harbor someone? How would you do that for someone? These are the questions that the group of six students come to ponder each Friday. Their teacher has decided that they need a space to talk about the things in their lives that they wouldn't feel comfortable sharing with adults around. Their stories are varied but touch on many of the topics in the news currently. The audiobook is done with a full cast that lends authenticity to the voices of the characters and draws the listener  in. The audio ends with a track of the author and her son discussing the book. This is a timely pick for anyone who is looking for a way to explore the topics that are in the headlines. ~Danielle, CCL

Mr. & Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

This novel is a hoot with heart. Maxine Hortense Simmons is a Palm Springs housewife in 1969 when she is thrown out of her country club life and showcase house by her scheming husband. But Maxine is a schemer too. She ends up in Scottsdale, Arizona where she begins to plot her comeback. Picking up a husband and two kids along the way, she is determined to become the next Mrs. American Pie at a beauty pageant back in Palm Springs. McDaniel has created a seriously flawed, but lovable character in Maxine. In spite of yourself, you will be rooting for her plan to triumph. The pop references to the late 60s and early 70s are wonderful: cars, hairstyles, clothing, music, beauty pageants, and society. I hope someone makes a movie from this book. ~Kathryn, CCL