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

January Staff Picks

New year, new to-be-read list! If you’re look­ing for a book to start your year off right, con­sid­er these titles rec­om­mend­ed by our staff. Sim­ply click on a title to place a hold request.

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.

Once We Were Broth­ers by Ronald H. Balson

Ruthie says:

A con­cen­tra­tion camp sur­vivor accus­es a wealthy phil­an­thropist of being a noto­ri­ous Nazi from his Pol­ish home­town. Alter­nat­ing between 2005 and WWII, Once We Were Broth­ers exam­ines the reli­a­bil­i­ty of mem­o­ry, fam­i­ly her­itage and loy­al­ty, and betray­al. What real­ly tran­spired all those years ago? Whose sto­ry of events is accu­rate? This book has every­thing: a his­tor­i­cal mys­tery, an intrigu­ing court case, mis­tak­en iden­ti­ty, and a sweet love story.”

Starter Vil­lain by John Scalzi

Eliz­a­beth says:

I love a snarky John Scalzi book and Starter Vil­lian did not dis­ap­point. Char­lie seems to only have bad luck. When he inher­its his uncle’s busi­ness, he (mis­tak­en­ly) believes things might be look­ing up. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, his uncle was a supervil­lain with a bunch of supervil­lain fren­e­mies who now want to take Char­lie down. This book has every­thing you’d expect, like vol­cano lairs and mur­der. It also has some things you would­n’t expect, like spy­ing cats and dol­phins who want to union­ize. A fun and fast-paced read with a bit of a James Bond vibe.”

Far­thing by Jo Walton

Kady says:

I don’t nor­mal­ly pick who­dun­nits, and I nev­er pick fas­cism, but Jo Walton’s Far­thing com­bines the two into a book I think about a lot, sev­en years after first read­ing it. Set in an alter­nate real­i­ty where the U.K. made peace with the Nazis, this locked room mys­tery is about the mur­der of an Eng­lish aris­to­crat who helped bro­ker the alliance with Ger­many. Far­thing was first pub­lished in 2006, but the themes run­ning through it – from the mun­dane bureau­cra­cy of evil, to the strug­gle between indi­vid­ual safe­ty and the free­dom of the oppressed – are time­less and par­tic­u­lar­ly pre­scient today.”

The Book of Form and Empti­ness by Ruth Ozeki

Colleen says:

The Book of Form and Empti­ness is mes­mer­iz­ing. It ampli­fies your own aware­ness of the world around you while you bar­rel head-first into Ben­ny’s world. He and his moth­er are nav­i­gat­ing fresh grief, beau­ti­ful­ly detailed by Oze­ki. Ben­ny begins to hear voic­es from objects, and the book itself becomes a char­ac­ter. No sur­prise that Ben­ny finds him­self at the pub­lic library. I could not put this book down, and am enjoy­ing it even more the sec­ond time around.”

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers

Mar­cie says:

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy is the sec­ond book in the Monk and Robot series and, boy, it is a heal­ing salve for the heav­i­ness that exists in our world. Con­tin­u­ing their jour­ney across Panga’s human ter­ri­to­ries, this sto­ry fol­lows Sib­ling Dex, a trav­el­ing Tea Monk, and robot Moss­cap as they help humans find ease through a sim­ple cup of tea (Sib­ling Dex) and search for what humans real­ly want and need (Moss­cap). If you are look­ing for a gen­tle, cozy read that explores human­i­ty and the pow­er of com­mu­ni­ty, this is the book (well, series) for you.”