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

December Staff Picks

Hap­py Decem­ber! If you’re scram­bling to hit your end of year read­ing goals, con­sid­er one (or more!) of these titles, rec­om­mend­ed by our staff. Sim­ply click on a title to place a hold request, and add it to your to-be-read list!

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

The Christ­mas Guest by Peter Swanson

Scot says:

I’m nor­mal­ly averse to hol­i­day-themed books, but Peter Swanson’s name on the cov­er of this slim, read-it-one-sit­ting novel­la drew me in. In 1989, an Amer­i­can girl study­ing abroad joins a class­mate for Christ­mas in the Cotswolds. She’s imme­di­ate­ly smit­ten with the Eng­lish­ness of it all, and espe­cial­ly by the classmate’s old­er broth­er … a charmer who is also the lead sus­pect in the unsolved mur­der of a local girl. Swanson’s expert deliv­ery of twists pack an emo­tion­al wal­lop, and turns what could have been a sim­ple Yule­time goth­ic into a qui­et med­i­ta­tion on memory.”

The Deep End by Julie Mulhern

Denise says:

It’s 1974. Dur­ing a sun­rise swim in her coun­try club’s pool, Elli­son Rus­sell glides into the life­less body of her husband’s mis­tress. Since Elli­son is the num­ber one sus­pect in the mur­der, she goes to work solv­ing the crime, which results in reveal­ing unsa­vory secrets about her hus­band. Fans of cozy mys­ter­ies will enjoy the famil­iar tropes of the genre: implau­si­ble num­bers of mur­ders, an under­es­ti­mat­ed pro­tag­o­nist, and quirky char­ac­ters. What’s fun here is the absur­di­ty of the coun­try club set and the ref­er­ences to 1970s cul­ture, such as Tab, har­vest gold décor, fem­i­nism, and Watergate.”

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Mandy says:

To go along with its catchy title, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is one of those books designed for a young adult audi­ence that will hook you despite being … sigh … mid­dle-aged. 17-year-old Greg is forced by his moth­er to make over­tures of friend­ship to a fel­low high school senior in the neigh­bor­hood who has been diag­nosed with leukemia. Hav­ing spent much of his life avoid­ing deep­er feel­ings, this presents a chal­lenge for Greg. This book is hilar­i­ous, touch­ing, and sweet, and is sure to make you laugh and cry. The movie is great as well!”

The Per­son­al Librar­i­an by Marie Bene­dict and Vic­to­ria Christo­pher Murray

Shahi­dah says:

This nov­el is based on the sto­ry of Belle da Cos­ta Greene, a young Black woman who was encour­aged by her moth­er to pass as white – a deci­sion she and her moth­er would feel remorse about. Greene’s per­son­al­i­ty, smarts, and wit would one day make her instru­men­tal in the devel­op­ment of J.P. Morgan’s library. Although I wasn’t com­fort­able with this book at first, I was moved by the sac­ri­fices both women made. And now I can’t wait for my next trip to New York, so that I can vis­it the Mor­gan Library and see the results of Greene’s work.”

Pirane­si by Susan­na Clarke

Anna says:

Pirane­sis tit­u­lar char­ac­ter was named by his only vis­i­tor – a man who asks for help with his research into A Great and Secret Knowl­edge. Piranesi’s house is no ordi­nary build­ing: its rooms are infi­nite, its cor­ri­dors end­less, its walls lined with thou­sands of stat­ues. As Pirane­si explores it, he begins to dis­cov­er that he has for­got­ten a time and a world before this one. This sto­ry is a mys­tery, but it is also a sto­ry of lone­li­ness that was writ­ten while Clarke was strug­gling with ill­ness. Pirane­si’s efforts to cat­e­go­rize the vast labyrinth in which he finds him­self are vivid­ly described, and the mys­tery of what hap­pened to him will pull you in.”