Due to restroom ren­o­va­tions, the Wes­ley Chapel-William C. Brown Library will be closed on Sat­ur­day, July 20.

July Staff Picks

Sum­mer is in full swing, and the heat is con­spir­ing with the humid­i­ty to cre­ate a swel­ter­ing, sauna-like atmos­phere out­side our doors. Inside though, we’ve got tens of thou­sands of books hop­ing for read­ers, includ­ing these five. Sim­ply click on a title you’re inter­est­ed in to place a hold. And there’s still plen­ty of time to sign up for our sum­mer read­ing chal­lenge and log your read­ing for a chance at prizes!

Want even more recs? Check out our What We’re Read­ing page, or com­plete a short form and we’ll email you a list of per­son­al­ized recommendations.

A Com­mon­wealth of Thieves: The Improb­a­ble Birth of Aus­tralia by Thomas Keneally

James says:

Thomas Keneal­ly’s book explores the first four years of the British cre­ation and set­tle­ment of the penal colony of New South Wales in Aus­tralia. This his­tor­i­cal account appealed to me because Keneal­ly, as a writer of both fic­tion and non-fic­tion, skill­ful­ly cre­at­ed a flow­ing nar­ra­tive from the first-hand accounts of indi­vid­u­als who made the ardu­ous jour­ney to New South Wales. Fur­ther­more, the book’s struc­ture is engag­ing and mem­o­rable, mak­ing it a valu­able read for those curi­ous about the foun­da­tions of mod­ern-day Australia.”

The Pri­o­ry of the Orange Tree by Saman­tha Shannon

DeaAnne says:

You may look at the page count and think Well, I might as well spend that amount of time on a grad­u­ate degree.” Do not be deterred! Once you start read­ing the pages will fly by. This is epic fan­ta­sy with all the ele­ments you might expect: court intrigue, dan­ger­ous quests, and com­pli­cat­ed romance … but with some notable dif­fer­ences. Shannon’s world-build­ing is seam­less and immer­sive. The nov­el is pop­u­lat­ed with a diverse and fas­ci­nat­ing group of char­ac­ters – both human and non-human. What I espe­cial­ly appre­ci­ate is that the queer char­ac­ters expe­ri­ence pain in their lives and rela­tion­ships, but that pain is not relat­ed to or caused by their queer­ness. This is an approach that feels refresh­ing and much need­ed. I’ve read a num­ber of excel­lent books this year but this one is, hands down, my favorite. High­ly recommended!”

Witch­craft: A His­to­ry in Thir­teen Tri­als by Mar­i­on Gibson

Heather L. says:

A well-writ­ten and metic­u­lous­ly researched his­to­ry of witch­craft per­se­cu­tions span­ning from the 15th cen­tu­ry to the present day. This his­to­ry delves into ear­ly Mod­ern era per­se­cu­tion of out­spo­ken or under­priv­i­leged women, includ­ing those belong­ing to indige­nous Euro­pean trib­al belief sys­tems, into African and mod­ern Amer­i­can witch hunts against women who chal­lenge patri­ar­chal val­ue sys­tems. Gib­son flesh­es out the polit­i­cal, social, and reli­gious under­pin­nings that have led to cen­turies of vio­lence and hor­rors per­pet­u­at­ed by the pow­er­ful onto the powerless.”

Ver­i­ty by Colleen Hoover

Heather F. says:

When­ev­er I think of Colleen Hoover, I think romance’ – and that’s not a genre that I nat­u­ral­ly grav­i­tate towards. But, this book came high­ly rec­om­mend­ed. Ver­i­ty is quite dif­fer­ent from what I was expect­ing and lives up to the cat­e­go­ry of thriller. I often won­der about how a pop­u­lar book series is com­plet­ed when the orig­i­nal author is no longer able to fin­ish their work as planned. This book gives an insider’s look into that sit­u­a­tion and includes many unex­pect­ed twists and turns. If you are look­ing for a nov­el that keeps you guess­ing until the very end, you will be com­plete­ly satiated.”

You Dreamed of Empires by Alvaro Enrigue

Col­in says:

In this his­tor­i­cal nov­el about the ini­tial meet­ing between Aztec Emper­or Moctezu­ma and Span­ish con­quis­ta­dor Her­nan Cortes, Enrique trans­ports read­ers 500 years back in time. Once there, he pulls off the incred­i­ble trick of pop­u­lat­ing the mag­nif­i­cent float­ing city of Tenochti­t­lan with a cast of Mesoamer­i­can and Euro­pean char­ac­ters whose behav­iors, moti­va­tions, and needs will seem all too famil­iar to mod­ern minds. If you’ve been suf­fer­ing through a post-Suc­ces­sion with­draw­al, this fast-mov­ing nov­el about back­room pow­er strug­gles and the end of an empire is the cure for what ails you.”