Charlevoix Public Library  Where your imagination takes flight

Staff Picks


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


The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea: Miguel Angel de la Cruz, or Big Angel, is dying, but he intends to have one last birthday celebration before he goes. What he doesn’t expect is that his mother would die a week be-fore the party, which results in his large family gathering for both a funeral and a birthday party on the same week-end. Theirs is a boisterous, sometimes contentious clan, which makes for a novel that is both humorous and bitter-sweet. This is, above all, the story of an American Family. – Beth’s pick

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah: Thirteen-year old Leni and her parents flee to the beautiful, yet dangerous wilds of Alaska, as her father struggles with trauma from fighting in the Vietnam War and subsequently abuses his family. As the family learns to survive in the wilderness and Leni connects with the sparse community, her father’s stability continues to deteriorate. Leni’s resilience and love for her family and Alaska deliver a dramatic tale. – Davonne’s pick


The Overstory by Richard Powers: The long-term, incrementally developing life of trees is the “overstory”. The short-term, fast-paced, erratic life of humans is the understory. The story divulges the interlinking of tree and hu-man experiences, and the impact they impart on each other. Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. – Davonne & Sara (both!) pick

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: Glowing descriptions of the North Carolina coastland marshes repre-sent a reassuring home for the orphaned Kya Clark, from a young girl through adulthood. Her interactions with ‘civilized’ society result in painful personal distress and a murder mystery. – Davonne’s pick

There There by Tommy Orange: A very original multi-generational story of the plight of the urban Native Ameri-can, this author brings a voice to the lives of 12 people in Oakland, CA who are connected by family history, tradi-tion, and violence. But, it also shows the recovery, forgiveness, love and beauty woven into their lives. It is written with so much urgency and force that some of the chapters seem to explode on the page and you must keep read-ing. A very impressive first novel and a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. – Pam & Davonne (both!) pick

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss: Set in the 1970s in the rugged countryside of the far north of England, Ghost Wall is such a weird and distinctive story: it could be labeled a supernatural tale, a coming-of-age chronicle, even a timely meditation on the various meanings of walls themselves. All this, packed into a beautifully written novel of 130 pages. No wonder I read it twice in a week – so many things stay with you after the last page. – Sara’s pick



A Sucky Love Story by Brittani Louise Taylor: Not my usual type of read, but another author I enjoy wrote a review on this title, so my interests were sparked. I told the great CPL librarians I would like to read this new title and … they ordered it! Such wonderful Ladies! I really enjoy non-fiction, its my preference over fiction and *wow* this story of Brittani Taylor is crazy! She tells about her woes of dating in her 30s until she finds the “perfect guy”. This book tells her love story survival story. A fun book. – Rebecca’s pick

Heartland – A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Poor in the Richest Country on Earth
by Sarah Smarsh: By telling the story of her life as the daughter of wheat farmers in Kansas Sarah challenges us to examine the class divide in our country and the myths about people thought to be less because they earn less. Through her life of growing up in inter-generational poverty and teenage mothers, she presents her experiences by telling them to the child she never had (and the reasons why). Heart-wrenching, informative, and
thought provoking. – Pam’s pick

Into No Man’s Land by Irene Miller: Irene Miller, a Holocaust survivor from Warsaw, Poland, spoke at the Charlevoix Library in March of this year. Her book will take you on a survival journey that included no man’s land, a labor camp in Siberia and the orphanages she lived in throughout WWII. This first person account of a young child’s journey and perseverance as a young Jew in Poland, Siberia and Uzbekistan will inspire you. – Linda’s pick

Becoming by Michelle Obama: Except for my traveling companion, I can’t think of anyone better to spend 19 hours of a road trip with than Michelle Obama. Listening to her narrate her book Becoming was, in turn, inspiring, informative, moving, frustrating, and always, entertaining. My respect for this intelligent, articulate former First Lady has only grown as a result of “reading” her life story. Highly recommended for readers with an interest in
history, politics, biography, and women’s studies. – Beth’s pick

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow: A full, discerning biography of one of the founding fathers, clearly depicting his place in history. The book that inspired the Broadway musical “Hamilton”. – Davonne’s pick

Southern Lady Code by Helen Ellis: I absolutely loved this collection of essays! Helen Ellis is that witty, snarky, honest, hilarious person that you would want as your best friend because you know she’d call you out on your stuff, and then write about it. I also recommend “American Housewife” by this author. It’s laugh out loud funny! – Leanne’s pick

The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek by Howard Markel: A fascinating study of John and Will Kellogg, building the Kellogg business together and apart, their truly battling personalities and the genius – as well as odd ideas in the areas of health, food, and business practices. A 2018 Michigan Notable book. – Dee Marie’s pick

 Past Picks

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