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Staff Recommendations


  • The cat who saved books : a novel

    by Natsukawa, Sōsuke, 1978-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction

    May 18, 2022

    Writer Sosuke Natsukawa has taken what might appear to be rather mundane characters and created a unique novel that has many twists and turns. 

    A high school student (Rintaro Natsuki), who is lacking purpose or direction in life, and whose grandfather peacefully dies in his sleep leaving his independently owned bookstore to his grandson.

    A cat (Tiger the Tabby) who suddenly appears out of nowhere and begins talking to this aimless young man, prodding him to help save books that, “ … have been imprisoned.”

    A classmate (Sayo... Read Full Review

  • Four Treasures of the Sky

    by Zhang, Jenny

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction

    May 11, 2022

    This debut novel is a stunner, historical fiction at its best (captivating, illuminating and provoking) in its depiction and portrayal of the horrors of racism, discrimination, abuse and greed. The inspiration for the novel was happenstance, as recalled by Jenny Zhang, “In 2014, my father returned from a work trip through the northwestern region of the United States with an interesting anecdote: He was driving through Pierce, Idaho, when he saw a marker referencing a “Chinese Hanging.” The marker described the story of how five Chinese men were hanged by vigilantes for the... Read Full Review

  • The Fervor: A Novel

    by Katsu, Alma

    May 2, 2022

    Meiko is the Japanese wife of Jamie Briggs, a white US Air Force pilot fighting in World War II. Meiko, and her daughter Aiko, are “residents” of the Minidoka internment camp in Idaho. A few days ago, an unscheduled truck came to the camp. The residents are told to stay away from the truck and guards are posted around it. It leaves shortly after whatever was inside is unloaded under the cover of darkness. Shortly after the truck leaves, residents of the camp begin to become ill.

    Fran Gurstwold is a journalist for a small newspaper in Lincoln, Nebraska. While... Read Full Review

  • The best of Ogden Nash

    by Nash, Ogden, 1902-1971.

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction

    April 26, 2022

    Call Number: 811 N252-30

    In a previous review about a poetry book, I wrote:

    "Poetry is the most intense and concentrated form of writing, using words, metre, rhyme and format to express thoughts, feelings and ideas that can be fact or fiction. It gets at the marrow of truth and truth-telling using words to create an image, not a picture, of an idea. Poetry slams on the brakes and makes you reconsider what was written. It may very well make you look up words in a dictionary because you do not understand the meaning of the most ordinary words as used in a poem."

    I would... Read Full Review

  • Fresh water for flowers

    by Perrin, Valérie, 1961-

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction

    April 19, 2022

    Writer Valérie Perrin portrays her main character, Violette Toussaint, as someone who has found her true calling in life. She is the caretaker of a cemetery in a small town in France, where she makes the arrangements for funerals and religious services for the deceased and their family.   Among the many ironies, in this tender novel, is the life of Violette Toussaint. Until finding this job, her previous experiences in life have been harsh, tenuous, and definitely heart-and-spirit breaking. She was abandoned at birth and sent to live with foster families who... Read Full Review

  • Only a Monster

    by Len, Vanessa

    April 12, 2022

    Call Number: YA

    Joan believes herself to be a typical teenager. She spends her summers in London visiting her maternal grandmother, while her father visits his family in Malaysia. During this visit she has been volunteering at Holland House, a historic home and museum in Kensington. Holland House is where she met Nick, the quiet and shy volunteer whom she really likes. It’s going to be a marvelous summer.

    And then, over the course of a single day, Joan’s world is turned upside down. An unexpected occurrence mysteriously robs Joan of an entire afternoon and her grandmother is... Read Full Review

  • Mickey7

    by Ashton, Edward

    April 4, 2022

    Call Number: SF

    Mickey Barnes NEEDS to get off Midgard, the colony planet on which he has lived his entire life. Because staying on Midgard is not an option, he takes the only avenue open to him: he volunteers to be the “expendable” on Midgard’s first outgoing colony ship, the Drakkar. An “expendable” is the member of the crew designated as expendable for dangerous, difficult, and/or terminal activities. The body of the expendable is scanned and their memories are copied, allowing for the expendable to be duplicated, with all but their most recent memories intact, when needed.

    ... Read Full Review

  • Secret Identity: A Novel

    by Segura, Alex

    March 29, 2022

    Call Number: M

    In 1975, the comic book industry is struggling. It has survived, mostly, Frederic Wertham’s criticisms and claims regarding a causal relationship between reading comics and becoming a juvenile delinquent in Seduction of the Innocent. But there have been casualties. Readership is down. Publishers are closing. Writers and artists are left scrambling for available positions. And yet, amazing things are happening in the industry. Marvel has created, and is developing, characters that will define the industry in future decades. Artists like Jack Kirby, who will work at both... Read Full Review

  • The chancellor : the remarkable odyssey of Angela Merkel

    by Marton, Kati

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction

    March 23, 2022

    Call Number: 92 M5633Ma

    There are three major "firsts" in Angela Merkel’s lifetime of public service. She was the first female Chancellor of Germany. She was the first leader of Germany with a doctorate in quantum chemistry who had done extensive research in the field of quantum theoretical chemistry.  She was the first Chancellor, raised in East Germany, to be elected to govern a post-World War II unified Germany. As Chancellor she transformed Germany’s economy and its status as a world leader. Never forgetting her own past that was lived under a despotic government where she could only dream... Read Full Review

  • Shelf life : chronicles of a Cairo bookseller

    by Wassef, Nadia

    Reviewed by: Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction

    March 15, 2022

    Call Number: 085.462 W321

    “Against all odds, we had proven to our doubters and detractors that a modern bookstore could survive in Egypt … Though Diwan was not a huge financial success, it was a moral victory, an experiment in marketing, and a mastery of the will.” These are the words of Nadia Wassef, who, along with her sister, Hind, came up with the idea for a modern bookstore in Cairo.  Sharing dinner with friends, several were taken with the idea, and three more people (Ziad, Ali and Nihal) became part of this business adventure. The store called Diwan began in 2002. What began as one store in... Read Full Review

  • Married love and other stories

    by Hadley, Tessa.

    Reviewed by: Michael C. Baradi, Librarian, West Valley Area

    March 7, 2022

    In Married Love and Other Stories, Tessa Hadley digs deep into the unconscious of family life.  Her dense prose offers a tour into the emotional contours of sibling relationships, parenthood, and the kind of intergenerational melodrama to be found in weighty novels. She has a keen sense about the psychology of children and teenagers, who are brimming with awareness and curiosity about the world they inhabit, but are highly vulnerable to the hegemonic power of parenthood.  Hadley understands how that power constricts and limits the freedom of young people to do... Read Full Review

  • The City We Became

    by Jemisin, N. K.

    March 1, 2022

    N.K. Jemisin is a multiple award-winning, speculative fiction writer. Currently, she resides in Brooklyn, New York and, as evidenced by her novel, The City We Became, she LOVES the “Big Apple”.

    Every century or so, a city will “manifest”, it becomes a living thing, an entity of its own. This has happened several times throughout history: Hong Kong, Paris, and São Paulo are all “living” cities. The transition can be fraught with peril and, if it doesn’t go well, the city, and all of its inhabitants may be destroyed. New York is on the brink of becoming... Read Full Review