It’s officially November, and time for another round of staff picks! Five of our avid readers have chimed in with books they’ve enjoyed recently. See one or more you’re interested in? Click on a title to place a request.
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“In her stunning debut, the now-celebrated author Mary Doria Russell masterfully combines elements of moral philosophy, science, religion, and anthropology into an unforgettable tale. A near-future imagining of first contact with a sentient alien species, this winner of an Arthur C. Clarke Award addresses fundamental questions of choice and consequence; of perspective and culture. With a conclusion of incredible impact, The Sparrow is an experience that will stay with readers for a lifetime.”
“I enjoyed this novel, which follows the members of a Chinese family from the 1930s onward. I particularly liked the on-the-ground view of the Japanese invasion of China, and seeing how it affected the characters. The thoughts and feelings of the main character – a woman forced to flee her home with her four-year-old son – painted an intimate, inside portrait of China, which I haven’t seen before in English-language fiction. I was also happy that the author didn’t explain the politics of the time, but let my own knowledge inform my perceptions of what the characters were experiencing.”
“I am so, so in love with this book and want to press it into the hands of everyone I meet. The protagonist, Daunis, is a remarkable character whose strength and determination in the face of adversity are truly inspiring. The book’s exploration of Native American (specifically Ojibwe) identity and the challenges faced by indigenous communities is both enlightening and essential. It beautifully weaves together a thrilling mystery with themes of family, heritage, and the complexities of identity. If you like smart, driven teen heroines like Veronica Mars, you’ll love Daunis. A perfect read for Native American Heritage Month, or, honestly, any month.”
“This book invites you to indulge an absurd idea: If you could hit the snooze button and sleep for an entire year, would you? And, if you did, how would that work? The melancholic unnamed narrator hatches a plan to do just that. The further I read, I wondered if this preposterous idea would actually work. The characters – as unlikeable as they are – will stick with you long after you put the book down. If you want to read something dark, gloomy and bizarre, then say, “Yes, please,” to this book.”
“This is the first book in a series about a female shapeshifter who can see and talk to ghosts and has an on-again, off-again friendship with a Scooby-Doo-loving vampire. It’s set in a world where secret battles are fought between various paranormal/supernatural entities, and humans are prevented from realizing just how dangerous things are. The heroes don’t always make it to the end of each book unscathed, and not every good person lives throughout the series. This fast-paced series has me wanting to download the next book before the book I’m listening to even finishes.”