Staff Recommendations

February 2019

Woof: A Love Story by Sarah Weeks illustrated by Holly Berry

Woof : a love story Opens in new windowA pooch who is usually content to spend his time doing “dog things” such as running and growling and rolling around suddenly finds his whole world upended when a beautiful white cat appears next door; a cat with a nose  “as pink as a cake-frosting rose.” Their initial inability to communicate slows the budding romance until a shiny brass object is found that allows them to understand each other through its magical sound. Cleverly illustrated with colorful collage prints, this funny Valentine to the power of love will both delight and warm the hearts of cat and/or dog people of all ages. ~Shannon McKeown~

Dear Mrs. Bird by A. J. Pearce (audio book)

Dear Mrs. Bird Opens in new windowEmmeline Lake has ambitions of becoming a Lady War Correspondent and leaps to reply to an ad in The London Evening Chronicle. The interview doesn't exactly cover what her job description will be. No matter. But her on the first day of the job, she discovers she has been hired to assist Mrs. Henrietta Bird, the advice columnist for a women's publication. Although disappointed, she becomes intrigued with the letters from readers who ask for advice, especially the "Unpleasant" ones which she is instructed to deposit in the trash bin. Emmeline is determined to find ways to help the war effort, both on the job and as a volunteer at the firehouse call center. A snapshot of Home-front courage during the Blitz, I enjoyed the humor, warmth and bravery displayed by Emmy and her friends. ~Nancy Arevalo~

The American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards for 2019 were named at the end of January. Here are some of the winners, in case you haven’t caught up with them yet.

The poet X Opens in new windowThe Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature was awarded to The Poet X: a novel by Elizabeth Acevedo. This novel in verse tells the story of Xiomara Batista, a Dominican girl from Harlem, who finds that slam poetry gives her a way to express her feelings about everything that is going on in her life. The Poet X became a front-runner early on because of the strength of the main character and the many different issues that are tackled through her poetic words.

Merci Suárez changes gears Opens in new windowThe Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children went to Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina. It’s a coming-of-age tale in which sixth grader Merci is juggling new challenges including a bossy bully at school and the failing health of her beloved grandfather. Medina is known as an author who portrays the experiences of Latinx girls well.

Hello Lighthouse Opens in new windowThe Caldecott Medal is for the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. This year, it was awarded to Sophie Blackall who illustrated and wrote the book Hello Lighthouse which chronicles the life of a lighthouse, through fair weather and storms, highlighting the final family to live and work there. Blackall’s detailed ink and watercolor illustrations give the book a charming, old-fashioned feel. ~Sue Daniels~

My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now by Peter Mayle

My twenty-five years in Provence : reflections on then and now Opens in new windowI always feel like life isn’t so bad when I read a Peter Mayle book. He looks at society and people in such an amusing way. Sadly, this book is the last reminder of that particular pleasure, since Mr. Mayle died in January 2018. In 21 short chapters, Mayle describes early days of house hunting, spectacular scenery of southern France, and recommends favorite restaurants and cafes. These are all familiar themes to Mayle fans, but enjoyable nonetheless. He is uniquely qualified to describe French habits, tourists’ complaints, the practice of truffle-hunting, the pleasure of wine, the beauty of lavender fields, and curiosities of village life. Describing the gesticulations common to French conversation, he says: “To watch fifty or more highly animated French people talking at once is like watching a tai chi class on stimulants.” This lovely little book also includes charming photographs taken by Mayle’s wife Jennie. ~Sarah Muench~


RBG Opens in new windowRBG tells the story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and her leading role in breaking down gender barriers. The film spans her childhood, her legal career including her own experiences with gender discrimination, and ultimately her impact as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, both on and off the bench. Viewers learn that Justice Ginsburg’s reserved nature, no-nonsense approach and strong work ethic have been present since her childhood. Her story is told from interviews with Justice Ginsburg, her children, her granddaughter, former colleagues, friends and even politicians whose feathers she ruffled. Interspersed throughout the film are excerpts from her arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in support of gender equality, her confirmation hearing following her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court and footage of speaking engagements often including her late husband Martin (Marty) Ginsburg. Equal time is given to her 56 year marriage with Marty, a marriage filled with love and mutual respect. It is this balance between personal life and legal career that makes this documentary worthy of its Oscar nomination. ~Sharon Long~

By The [Library] Book Interview with EGPL Librarian Paulette Brooks

What books are on your nightstand?

There is quite an eclectic stack of books currently on my nightstand including Sister Pie (a recipe book), Women Rowing North: Navigating life’s currents and flourishing as we age by Mary Bray Pipher, The Emissarya dystopian novel by Japanese author Yoko Tawada (Winner of 2018 National Book Award in Translated Literature), Deeper Places:Experiencing God in the Psalms by Australian musician Matthew Jacoby. My Kindle is also on my nightstand and contains mostly Advanced Reading Copies of books coming out soon. I’m really excited about a new memoir (to be published in May) by Fredrik Backman titled Things My Son Needs to Know about the World My little MP3 player is nearby, so I’ll just mention that I am enjoying listening to bestseller novel Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and I can’t say enough good things about the recently released audio version of The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo (narrated by the author).

You are organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

Due to the early influences in sparking my imagination as a young reader, I would love to invite C.S. Lewis (I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in Grade 6 – an amazing introduction to fantasy literature), Agatha Christie (I still remember the first of her novels I discovered while in high school - The Murder of Roger Ackroyd), and Ray Bradbury (his short story All Summer in a Day just blew me away in Grade 7) to say thank you.

What kind of stories are you drawn to?

I love really good prose that explores the human condition, creates tension between good and evil resulting in redemption. Humor goes a long way in my book. I also demand complicated and flawed characters who though quirky also possess an innate sensibility that shows how kindness goes a long way to defeating the darkness in this world. Virgil Wander by Leif Enger is a really good example of a recent satisfying read.

January 2019

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile

The road back to you : an Enneagram journey to self-discovery Opens in new windowFor anyone looking for fresh insight into their own personality or that of a loved one, this book is for you. I read it as an introduction to the personality type system called the Enneagram and found it to be fascinating. The authors take individual chapters to flesh out descriptions of each of the nine personality types, using personal stories and examples which allow the reader to relate to and, perhaps, identify with one type over the others. This book can be a helpful tool for self-discovery and a means to grow in empathy for others in your life. ~Nancy Arevalo~

The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships by Suzanne Stabile

The path between us : an Enneagram journey to healthy relationships Opens in new windowWith a basic understanding of the Enneagram personality types, the next question is: how does your approach to life affect your relationships? The author specifically looks at relational traits of each type and how that type tends to interact with each other Enneagram type. With warmth and humor, the author effectively illustrates how the Enneagram can tell us who we are and who we can be in relationship with others. ~Nancy Arevalo~

Gmorning, Gnight!: little pep talks for me & you by Lin-Manuel Miranda, illustrated by Jonny Sun

Gmorning, gnight! : little pep talks for me & you Opens in new windowFrom the composer and creator of the hit musical Hamilton comes a collection of original posts for morning and evening consideration. Words of encouragement, comfort, and motivation for anyone who needs a great way to start and end their day! ~Paulette Brooks~

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, read by Allan Corduner Samantha Bond (also available in print)

Magpie murders Opens in new windowIf you are a fan of classic British who-done-its, this is the title for you. With homage to Agatha Christie and all the other great mystery writers Horowitz pulls you into a fascinating tale. First you get editor Susan Ryeland settling down to read best-selling crime writer Alan Conway’s latest work of his detective Atticus Pund.  Even though the author has some very troubling behaviors Susan must put up with them if she wants to keep her job. There is a murder at Pye Hall, more dead bodies, many suspects, but a feeling there is more to the story. And there is … Listen and enjoy. ~Sharon Passick~

Wait For Your Laugh (DVD)

Wait for your laugh Opens in new windowFor over half a century we’ve known her as the perennially single working girl who was just one of the guys on the Dick Van Dyke Show but decades before that Rose Marie was a beloved child star of the vaudeville and radio eras who grew into one of the most popular singers and comediennes of all time. Once known as “the little girl with the adult voice” Rose Marie began a career at age 4 that spanned 9 decades until her death at age 94 a year ago. Full of history and behind the scenes tidbits and reminisces by familiar stars, this wonderful documentary is a must for any television and entertainment fan. ~Shannon McKeown~        


In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien

In the Lake of the Woods Opens in new windowThis work is from 1994, and it’s still a masterpiece. In fact, it’s one of my favorites, ever. There is so much to unpack inside: the mystery central to the story, the psyches of its principal characters, a gorgeous, unforgiving setting, the horrors of Mai Lai, and more. There’s a reason it's frequently used in college literature classes and is a perfect book club pick. The writing is something past beautiful: it’s alive, not a sentence is wasted, its structure is compelling, there are so many questions. It’s not a pleasant book in the least, but it’s one you’ll want to pick up and re-read every couple of years, just to think about it some more. ~Noah Weckwerth~

They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki

They say blue Opens in new windowJillian Tamaki has created a visually stunning portrayal of a young girl’s observations about colors in her world. Vivid pictures depict the child’s reflections on obvious colors (the ocean is blue) and the not so obvious colors (but it becomes “clear as glass” once you put it in your hand). Interwoven in her observations is the subtle impact colors have on our emotions; feeding our imagination, damping our spirit or providing a sense of comfort. This journey through colors is well worth the trip for all ages and begs the question shouldn’t we all take the time to examine the colors in our lives? ~Sharon Long~

Tea with the Dames (DVD)

Tea with the dames Opens in new windowAwarded with the title of Dame for services to drama by the British monarchy, Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Eileen Atkins, and Dame Joan Plowright are among the most celebrated actresses of the time, with scores of iconic performances, decades of wisdom, and innumerable awards between them. They are also longtime friends who invite viewers to join them for a weekend in the country as they catch up with one another, reminisce, and share their candid, delightfully irreverent thoughts on everything from art to aging to love to a life lived in the spotlight. Delightful to watch! ~Paulette Brooks~

By The [Library] Book Interview with EGPL Youth Librarian Sue Daniels  

What books are on your nightstand?

The books currently sitting on my nightstand include two books for a mock awards discussion coming up soon: a Printz (YA) contender called Sadie by Courtney Summers and a possible Newbery (children) book by Kate DiCamillo called Louisiana’s Way. The two adult books on my shelf are the most recent entries in two of my favorite series: Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny, and To Die But Once by Jacqueline Winspear (a Maisie Dobbs novel).

What kind of reader were you as a child?

I was not particularly interested in reading at an early age. Even though I grew up in a book-rich environment, I wasn’t an early reader and I didn’t like sitting still long enough to work at reading a book. However, my school librarian took me under her wing and steered me toward fabulous books that I couldn’t get enough of. As a result, I became an enthusiastic reader, and ultimately, a children’s librarian!

What’s your favorite thing to read?

Agatha Christie hooked me on mystery novels when I was a teen. At the time, I liked the way her stories focused on plot and didn’t spend a lot of time on character development. Now, while I still love mysteries, I prefer that they also have engaging characters with stories of their own.