Charlevoix Public Library  Where your imagination takes flight

Staff Picks


Our staff’s choice of books and movies for each season:



Children’s Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin – Full of descriptions depicting the beauty and dangers of life on the prairie, this historical novel details the  heart-rending experiences of pioneers during the mammoth blizzard of 1888 in the Dakota territory. Fiction based on the oral histories of survivors.   – Davonne’s Pick

Outlawed by Anna North – A Western like no Western you’ve read before. Set in an alternative American West of the year 1894 in which a flu epidemic a couple of generations back had wiped out 90% of the population. Towns govern themselves independently, and folks get by with a mixture of religion and superstition. Women are expected to have babies and those who don’t (or can’t) are often accused of witchcraft, and ostracized, jailed, or killed.  The novel is narrated by seventeen-year-old Ada, who begins the story as she’s just settling into her life as a married woman. After a year of trying to get pregnant without success, her husband kicks her out. A series of events leads her to join the infamous Hole in the Wall Gang, a group of female and non-binary outlaws with a revered leader known only as “The Kid”. The storyline moves along at a good pace, just right to really immerse yourself, and I loved the author’s exploration of the diversity of the queer characters’ experiences. Outlawed would make an excellent book club choice.  –  Alicia’s Pick

Klara and the Sun by Kazuro Ishiguro – A touching, dystopian novel about life, love, and what it means to be human told through the eyes of an exceptionally observant narrator, Klara who is an AF – Artificial Friend.  The story is so well told, it is like riding a wave of words…and a nice escape from these out-of-control times.  – Davonne & Sara’s Pick

Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda, translated by Polly Barton – Despite being based upon ancient traditional stories of ghosts and monsters that figure prominently in Japanese folklore called yokai, Matusda’s short story collection feels both highly inventive and completely contemporary. From tales of mysterious door-to-door saleswomen to a shape shifting factory, all of Matsuda’s stories are linked yet twist and turn in delightful ways. Most unexpected, is Matsuda’s ability to give each tale a modern, feminist focus that never feels forced but instead is wrought in witty, brilliant prose that I couldn’t turn away from.  – Ryan’s Pick

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline – This is a fascinating work of fiction about the life of Christina Olson who was the inspiration of Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting “Christina’s World.” To Christina, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Living with only her brother and becoming more incapacitated by illness, she seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for 20 years she was host and friend to Andrew Wyeth and had many interesting experiences. Fans of Wyeth’s art will savor this book; a photograph of the painting is included as well. Pam’s Pick

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews  – On the outside, Dina Demille looks normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast, and her biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. And now, something with wicked claws and teeth has begun to hunt at night. Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved.  Book One of The Innkeeper Chronicles.  Carrie’s Pick

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy – Listened to this novel as an audiobook and absolutely loved the narrator’s voice, this is big for me. I must enjoy their voice. We have a constantly moving (migrating) strong woman character Franny. We have science, and the reminder of how amazingly mind blowing the animal kingdom is/can be, if allowed.  Rebecca’s Pick

Non Fiction:

Paying the Land – A Nonfiction Graphic Novel by Joe Sacco – Known for his graphic novel journalism that has shined a unique light on Palestine and Bosnia amongst other topics, Sacco’s Paying the Land turns his masterful lens on Canada’s First Nations Dene tribes and the subarctic Northwest Territories they call home. Tapping a vast variety of voices from the linked yet different tribes that inhabit the area, Sacco’s gorgeous artwork touches on the conflicts wrought by development, natural resource exploitation, drugs, and violence while also celebrating the strength of a diverse people and their cultures. I found this to be a very powerful and enlightening book as many of the challenges and successes of the Dene mirror those faced and celebrated by Native Americans here in the United States. Yet along with the similarities, are vast differences in how both the various Dene tribes and the Canadian Government have started and still are working through these issues and Sacco’s abilities as a reporter and artist plumb these similarities and differences amazingly.  Ryan’s Pick    

Keep Moving by Maggie Smith – What began as posts on Twitter, mainly for her own benefit following her divorce, ended up being a collection of essays on facing challenges and getting through trying times. 2020 has been challenging for so many in many different ways. Reading this book was a good reminder to be courageous, be strong and most of all, just keep moving.  – Leanne’s Pick

Dearly: New Poems by Margaret Atwood – Best known for her fiction such as The Handmaid’s TaleAtwood offers introspective and observant poetry that expresses the sometimes self-imposed difficulties of life, in lyrical, illuminating phrases.  – Davonne’s Pick

Shakespeare in a Divided America: What His Plays Tell Us About Our Past and Future by James Shapiro – It may have been the Bard’s name in the title or because we seem to be in the midst of one of the most divisive periods of history in America that caught my attention when I saw this book. I do not remember which, but upon reading it, I was impressed with how the author pulled these two themes together in a fascinating and accessible history of the United States. James Shapiro is a Columbia University professor, the Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at New York City’s Public Theater and sits on the board of directors of the Royal Shakespeare Company. In this book he shows how Shakespeare’s work shaped a growing nation and how it relates to—and can calm– our troubled society today. – Beth’s pick

House Lessons: Renovating a Life by Erica Bauermeister – House Lessons is about so much more than home renovation. It’s a testament to love, family, the importance of home, and what home means to you. A smart, thoughtful read that will capture you from the first page.  – Leanne’s Other Pick

Unsolaced – Along the Way to All that Is by Gretel Ehrlich – This timely book is a collection of memories, observations, and meditation on how nature, animals, and climate change have shaped her life and understanding of the world we live in. She embarks on strenuous adventures to Greenland, Africa, Kosovo, Japan, and an uninhabited Alaskan Island, always returning to her simple Wyoming cabin and the existence that keeps her grounded.  – Pam’s Pick



 Past Picks




2019 Fall

2019 Summer

2019 Spring
2019 Winter 
2018 Fall
2018 Summer
2018 Spring
2018 Winter
2017 Fall

2017 Summer
2017 Spring
2017 Winter
2016 Fall
2016 Summer
2016 Spring
2015 Winter
2015 Fall
2015 Summer
2015 Spring
2014 Winter
2014 Fall
2014 Summer
2014 Spring
2013 Winter
2013 Fall
2013 Summer
2013 Spring