Charlevoix Public Library  Where your imagination takes flight

Staff Picks

 

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

STAY-AT-HOME STAFF PICKS:

Fiction:

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel: If you have read Mandel’s previous bestseller, “Station Eleven,” you may notice some characters have made their way into this new novel, though in slightly different form and circumstance. Where “Station Eleven” tells the story of the aftermath of an apocalyptic pandemic (sound familiar?), this book is a mosaic of stories, with a Ponzi scheme at its center, and the drowning of a main character serving to bookend the themes of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences. A rich and layered read.-Beth’s pick

The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman:  Military themes aren’t always my favorite, but this story captured me from the beginning. Such a delightful, rich, emotional story with flawed, relatable characters  It was the perfect stay at home read and the right book at the right time.-Leanne’s pick

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi: Set in the 1950s, a few years after India’s independence from Britain, this is the story of Lakshmi, who left an abusive marriage at 17 and ended up in Jaipur where she has built a henna and herbal business that serves some of the city’s wealthiest women. Her carefully constructed life comes unraveled at the arrival of a headstrong younger sister, whom Lakshmi did not know existed. This glimpse into a post-Raj India is fascinating, and the book is filled with well-drawn and complex characters. That Lakshmi is an imperfect heroine adds poignancy to this compelling novel.-Beth’s pick

If I Never Met You by Mahairi McFarlane and Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert: There are similarities between these two novels: they are both set in the UK, the female protagonist in each is a woman of color, they follow some of the standard romance story tropes, and, most importantly, they are both highly entertaining. When the news of the world seemed at its bleakest, reading these moving and engaging stories full of “sass, sparkle, and heart” were just what the doctor ordered. -Beth’s pick

Milkman by Anna Burns:  Winner of the prestigious Man Booker prize in 2018, Anna Burns novel tells a coming of age story set during The Troubles in 1970’s Northern Ireland. Narrated by Middle Sister, who is courted and stalked by a married, powerful paramilitary nicknamed Milkman, the novel provides deep insight into the reality of living and growing up in fear.  And while that doesn’t sound terribly enticing, Burns manages to do it intelligently, humorously, and uniquely thereby providing insight and personalization to a challenging history that is only recently being openly discussed. As an extra add, this book pairs well with 2019’s critically acclaimed “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland” by Patrick Radden Keefe.-Ryan’s pick

Non Fiction:

Book Love by Debbie Tung – Such fun for true book lovers!-Davonne’s pick

Epic Solitude: A Story of Survival and a Quest for Meaning in the Far North by Katherine Keith:  The only book I read during  the stay-at-home order and the perfect title!  A book of freedom and peace with a soul connection and love of working dogs. All with a tough girl at the helm. Loved it!-Rebecca’s pick

 Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman (Youth) – A beautifully illustrated book outlining the obscure story and life of Maria Merian (1647 –1717) who studied, drew, and painted butterflies in all stages of development, providing science with intricate descriptions of entomology. Maria achieved this recognition despite the fact that society actively discouraged girls and women from such pursuits during this time period.-Davonne’s pick

 Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki: Marie Kondo is the current authority on minimalism in 2020. Her words, programs and consultations fill the media avenues daily with good advice on the nature of “things” in our lives. But one must consider that the “things” in our lives is a very personal experience. That is where Fumio Sasaki’s perspective takes shape in “Goodbye, Things”. He takes us on a personal journey from a place of too much intensity of “things” to the realization of that which he “really” needs. Sasaki seems to live in the small space of so many “things” that his options and spirit seem blocked off from the possibility of large spaces for gratitude and the understanding of what he really needs. Sasaki’s goal is to have real room for happiness and contentment in his life instead of “things”. Sasaki embraces a true minimalist lifestyle (being able to pack up his apartment and move in about 20 minutes), but notes that it is not the getting rid of “things” that will provide the actualization of gratitude and contentment, but really coming to “understand” what your personal “minimalist” potential really is.-Dwain’s pick

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land – This first-hand account depicts the struggles of a young woman trying to make a living for herself and her young daughter, by working as a maid in many types of houses for a wide collection of characters.-Davonne’s pick

 Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby:  I laughed out loud more than once while reading Irby, but since I was home alone it didn’t really matter. Samantha Irby offers her unique insights on everything from weight to Crohn’s disease and aging.   Fresh, funny and relatable. –Leanne’s pick

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom: The Yellow House is part family memoir, part untold history of New Orleans, and part exploration of race and politics all centered around the shotgun house author Sarah Broom grew up in as the youngest of 12 children. Personally, I loved this book because it forced me to question some of my assumptions both about family as well as race. Mostly though, I loved this book because Broom is a phenomenal and intelligent writer and her prose and insight hit the mark throughout.-Ryan’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

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