Staff Picks You’ll Love (Part 22)

Ann (Circulation) recommends: Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall
Category: Adult Fiction

In the summer of 1963, nine-year-old Starla decides to run away. The unplanned daughter of teenage parents, Starla is raised by her strict grandmother, who worries that Starla will turn out just like her mother. Despite her parents abandoning her, Starla is convinced that her mother will make good on a promise she once made: to take her daughter and husband to Nashville with her, and to become a famous singer. So, when she’s grounded on the 4th of July, Starla sneaks out to see the parade, and realizing that her grandmother might make good on her threats to send her to reform school, she runs away, hitching a ride with Eula, a black woman travelling with a white baby. As the trio embark on their road trip, Starla’s eyes are opened, to the realities of 1960s segregation, to her own family history, and to the dreams of a better world.

Guy (Administration) recommends: They Died Crawling by John Stark Bellamy
Category: Adult Non-Fiction (True Crime)

Guy says: John Stark Bellamy has written 6 books about Cleveland-area crimes and disasters. His first one They Died Crawling is my favorite. It includes chapters on the 1895 Central Viaduct Horror (which my maternal grandfather talked about), the 1908 fireworks explosion downtown which led to the Safe and Sane Fourth movement and laws prohibiting private fireworks discharges, and a 1920 shootout in Bedford between a gang of bank robbers and a local posse. Plus he was a Cuyahoga County librarian, and his father and grandfather were Cleveland newspapermen. Such credentials.  

Jane (Technical Services) recommends: A Shadow Intelligence by Oliver Harris
Category: Adult Fiction

Jane says: Eliot Kane is a spy for the British Intelligence Service, MI6. When his latest job goes awry he’s called back to England, but before he can meet with his bosses to debrief he discovers that his friend, lover and fellow operative, Joanna Lake, has gone missing. Desperate to find her before her enemies can, Eliot embarks on an adventure into the wilds of Kazakhstan, where he stumbles into a coldblooded battle being fought between Kazakh nationalists and citizens under the sway of a sophisticated Russian disinformation campaign.

I’m a sucker for a good espionage novel, but I’m picky! This one has it all: deep dives into spying techniques, psychological warfare, savvy dialogue. The setting is a bonus too: I never realized how little I knew about Kazakhstan (Borat doesn’t count!) until I read this book.

Frances (Adult Services) recommends: The Writer’s Library by Nancy Pearl & Jeff Schwager
Category: Adult Non-Fiction

Twenty-three literary legends come together to share the books that made an impact on their lives. These are the titles that made them laugh, made them cry, and changed them in more ways that they could count. From Michael Chabon to Donna Tart, Amor Towles to Dave Eggers, this book is packed with a star-studded reading list. If you enjoy our staff picks, why not check out this powerful and thought-provoking list of “author’s picks”? This is a love-letter to literature, lovingly compiled by “America’s Librarian,” Nancy Pearl.

Natalie (Adult Services) recommends: A History of Kindness by Linda Hogan
Category: Adult Non-Fiction (Poetry)

In her latest poetry collection, Linda Hogan (recipient of the 2007 Mountains and Plains Booksellers Spirit of the West Literary Achievement Award), takes a long look at a history of colonialism and mankind’s transgressions towards the earth, balancing both the good and the bad in a beautiful collection of poetry that manages to remain very tender, despite the difficult subject matter. Blending a love of nature with a passion for justice, this is a powerful and thought-provoking collection.

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.