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Staff Picks

Looking for a good book to read? See below for what members of the Adult Reference and Readers Advisory Department have been reading. Click on the link or book cover to be taken to the catalog record for each title. If you have already read and enjoyed one of the books listed below, we have provided a readalike.





Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
Chef Marcus Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia, then adopted and raised in Sweden with professional training around the world. He ultimately becomes a famous chef, television personality and restaurant owner in Harlem, New York but not without major struggles and setbacks. This is a coming of age memoir that details kitchen politics, individual passion and the grueling, back-breaking work required to become a top chef. Yes, Chef is an inspiring memoir. (SW)
                     Readalike: Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton


Farthing by Jo Walton
The murder of an aristocrat during an English country house weekend is a common mystery plot from the era of Agatha Christie. But, the setting in this novel is an alternate England of the 1940s where the group of aristocrats at the country house led the government to negotiate peace with Hitler. This first novel in a trilogy is suspenseful and thought-provoking. (DS)
Readalike: Fatherland by Robert Harris


Dream When You're Feeling Blue by Elizabeth Berg
This is a story of three sisters in Chicago during World War II. Kitty, Louise and Tish write to servicemen every evening. Glimpses of the war and life on the home front are seen through the letters sent and received. The plot is fairly predictable but the final chapter held a bit of a twist. This book was an innocuous, fast read that would be especially appealing to older women who might enjoy the references to the fashion, music and dances of the World War II era. (NW)
                     Readalike: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer


Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
A man in Atlanta goes to great lengths to hide the fact that he's a bigamist with two families. The book focuses on the lives of the wives and teenage daughters. I enjoyed the girls' stories; I must admit that I changed my opinion about some characters as the tale progressed. My dad's favorite quote is, "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!" (Sir Walter Scott) Very appropriate to this book! (NW)
Readalike: The Color Purple by Alice Walker


Trapeze by Simon Mawer
Marian Sutro is a young woman of English/French parentage who is recruited to parachute into France during World War II. Working for the French resistance, Marian dodges several close calls and becomes reacquainted with a man who may be vital to the war effort. Adventure, suspense, romance--this historical fiction has it all. (NW)
Readalike: Jackdaws by Ken Follett


The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
This 4th novel in Philippa Gregory’s series about the turbulent 15th century in England before the reign of the Tudors, tells the captivating story of Jacquetta of Luxembourg and Richard Woodville, English squire of the Duke of Bedford. Their love carried them through the shifting rivalries and alliances during the War of the Roses between the houses of Lancaster and York and their daughter Elizabeth Woodville became Queen of England as the wife of King Edward IV. (NK)
                     Readalike: Lady of the English by Elizabeth Chadwick


Dead Scared by S.J. Bolton
Rebellious Detective Constable Lacey Flint is asked to go undercover at the University of Cambridge after a rash of exceptionally dramatic suicides occur on campus. Working with a resident psychologist, who is going through some personal trauma of her own, Lacey attempts to discover a common thread between each occurrence. Could someone be preying upon depressed, impressionable students? Bolton takes the reader on a dark rollercoaster ride that is full of twists and turns. (BB)
                     Readalike: Raven Black by Ann Cleeves