Staff Picks You’ll Love (Part 19)

Welcome to our latest round of staff picks! Sometimes, it’s hard to find a good book. But, we’ve done all the hard work for you! The books listed here are titles that our staff have read and enjoyed…and we think you will, too! If you’d like to see more staff picks, consider checking out our full list here.

Frances (Adult Services) recommends: The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis
Category: Adult Fiction

Eight year-old orphan Beth Harmon is quiet, sullen, and by all appearances unremarkable. That is, until she plays her first game of chess. Her senses grow sharper, her thinking clearer, and for the first time in her life she feels herself fully in control. By the age of sixteen, she’s competing for the U.S. Open championship. But as Beth hones her skills on the professional circuit, the stakes get higher, her isolation grows more frightening, and the thought of escape becomes all the more tempting. This thrilling novel was adapted for a Netflix series, as well, so if you enjoyed this, consider checking it out, too!

Rebecca (Youth Services) recommends: The Stationary Shop by Marjan Kamali
Category: Adult Fiction

Teenage Roya finds solace from the political upheaval of 1953 Tehran in Mr. Fakhri’s book and stationary shop. Surrounded by paper, pens, and ink, Roya finally feels at peace. Meanwhile, Mr. Fakhri, with a keen instinct for budding romance, introduces Roya to his other favorite customer–the handsome Bahman, and the two are never the same again. On the eve of their marriage, Roya agrees to meet Bahman at town square which erupts into a violent coup d’etat that will forever change Iran’s future. But, Bahman never shows up to the rendezvous, and for weeks afterwards, Roya struggles to find him, but cannot.

Sixty years later, fate reunites the former lovers, and Roya finally gets her chance to ask Bahman the questions that have plagued her for over half a century: Why did he leave? Where did he go? How was able to forget her?

Guy (Administration) recommends: Mob Boss: The Life of Little Al D’Arco, the Man Who Brought Down the Mafia by Jerry Capeci
Category: Adult Non-Fiction

Guy says: Jerry Capeci is rightfully often thought of as America’s foremost expert on the American Mafia. He wrote a column on that subject (Gang Land News) for several NYC newspapers for 20 years. It is now a pay site, which is unfortunate. Mob Boss is the true story of Little Al D’Arco, who, fearing that his fellow mobsters were going to kill him,  went to the FBI and became a cooperating witness in 1991. At that time, he was the highest-ranking actual “made man” to flip. He went into the Witness Security program and stayed out of trouble until he died in 2019 at 86.  

Nancy (Building Services) recommends: Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist by Eli Saslow
Category: Adult Non-Fiction

Nancy says:  I recently read the biography about Derek Black, Rising out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist.  I had heard of Neo-Nazi David Duke but was not familiar with his friend Don Black, founder of the supremacist website Stormfront.  Don’s son Derek was supposed to be the heir apparent to Stormfront, but Derek’s life changed when he went to college and befriended immigrants and minorities.  I appreciated the pull-no-punches telling of how Derek came to change his beliefs.  

Robin (Tech Services) recommends: A Sudden Light by Garth Stein
Category: Adult Fiction

Robin says: Most people know Garth Stein as the author of The Art of Racing in the Rain, and while I enjoyed that book, I really loved his later novel A Sudden Light. Set in the Pacific Northwest, A Sudden Light is a mix of historical fiction revolving around the timber industry, a multi-generational family saga, and a bit of the supernatural. Great storytelling!

Erin

I'm the Reader's Advisory Librarian at WPPL. My interests include old horror films, classic novels, manga and anime, paper-crafting, and plants. If you like my suggestions, you can request personalized recommendations from me on My Librarian page.