Staff Picks

Staff Review
Book cover

An Unkindness of Ghosts

By Rivers Solomon
5
Rated by Chris K.
Aug 22, 2018

I give An Unkindness of Ghosts a clear 5 stars for characters, worldbuilding, and social commentary. I would go with 4 stars for plotting and pacing. Though it certainly doesn't lack for excitement and intrigue, it reads a bit episodically, with an underlying emphasis on each episode illustrating an experience more than carefully crafting a narrative. But what they illustrate is powerful and significant.

Staff Review Aug 20, 2018

Unforgotten opens with a series of scenes depicting perfectly ordinary people going about their lives and interacting with other perfectly ordinary people. At the same time, a body is discovered in the basement of a building that's over a century old, and DCI Cassie Stuart and her partner DI Sunny Khan must figure out not only what happened to the deceased, but when, in the long history of that building, he died.

Staff Review Aug 18, 2018

Dear Ijeawele begins with a young, new mother's question: "How might I raise my daughter to be a feminist?" This slim book is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's letter of response, acting as an encouraging and thoughtful manifesto for feminism, in fifteen funny, compassionate, and observant suggestions for loving empowerment.

Oh, I love this book, this essay, this letter. So well articulated, Adichie's work is quick and easy to read and underline. 

Staff Review Aug 16, 2018

One of the things that draws me to young adult books is their handling of serious issues. When I saw this title dealing with both depression/suicide and the search for roots and answers to family secrets, I was intrigued. The Astonishing Color of After handled both beautifully. Leigh's search for answers and connection to the Taiwanese grandparents she never knew after her mother's death is a painful one that reaches no easy answers but still ends with hope and an implied sense that healing can finally begin.

Staff Review
https://jocolibrary.bibliocommons.com/v2/search?locked=false&query=baby+teeth&searchScope=KS-JOHNSONCOUNTY&searchType=smart

Baby Teeth

By Zoje Stage
4
Rated by Debbie F.
Aug 13, 2018

This intriguing and disturbing book tells the story of Suzette, Alex and their 7 year old daughter, Hannah, who has quite literally become a threat to their existence. Baby Teeth is told in alternating chapters between Suzette and Hannah and you quickly realize that not all is right with their world. Hannah is mute and nothing Suzette has done, including numerous schools and eventually homeschooling, has helped Hannah learn to talk.

Staff Review
Gospel of Loki cover

The Gospel of Loki

By Joanne Harris
4
Rated by Dylan R
Aug 11, 2018

For many readers, Joanne Harris will forever be known as the author who brought them the delectable Chocolat. They'd likely be as shocked as I was to discover this gem from Harris, a collection of Norse myths all written from the perspective of the diabolical Loki!

(Sorry, Loki . . . I just couldn't resist!)

Staff Review
A house with the front porch light on at night.

Our souls At Night

By Kent Haruf
4
Rated by Melody M.K.
Aug 10, 2018

I just loved Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf.

Set in a small town in Colorado during a current time period, this book kept me think about the situation that Addie Moore, a lonely widow, and Louis Waters, a widower have found themselves in. Being old and living alone can be very lonely.

Staff Review Aug 5, 2018

Where the Crawdads Sing, an enthralling, magical novel by Delia Owens, is set in rural North Carolina in the 1950s and 60s. Kya is known locally as the “marsh girl,” abandoned by her family to grow up in the marshlands with little more than her fierce determination and equally fierce intelligence. Ostracized from society and spending her time living off the land - and dodging truancy officers - she tentatively makes contact with the outside world and develops a relationships with two boys.

Staff Review Aug 4, 2018

In Paris in the late 1800s, with hypnotism as a popular form of entertainment, a strange murder case captivated the world. Gabrielle Bompard claims to have been hypnotized on numerous occasions since childhood, and everyone from her lovers to her family doctor concur that she is very susceptible to suggestion. When she is captured after having worked with Michel Eyraud, kills a man, and then lives on the run, her defense is that she can not be held responsible for her part in the crime, because, not only was the murder Eyraud's idea, but he had a hypnotic power over her, and she was not a w

Staff Review Aug 2, 2018

This is an absolutely fascinating book.

Walker starts with a question: What makes great sports teams great? He came up with a criteria and looked at the history of athletic teams--national and international, men's and women's, all varieties, so long as they were a cooperative venture--and identified the most dominant dynasties of their eras. He found 122 teams that met the basic criteria, then identified 16 that stood out as the best of the best. He dubbed the 16 as Tier One and the remaining 106 as Tier Two.

Then he looked at the 16 teams to see if he could identify anything they had in common as a shared secret of their success. He noticed that the span of success for one team coincided with the membership of a particular player. Then he looked at the others. [They] weren't the only team whose Tier One performance corresponded in some way to the arrival and departure of one particular player. In fact, they all did. And with an eerie regularity that person was, or would eventually become, the captain. The more he looked, the more he found similarities between all of those figures, until he eventually had to conclude that the most crucial ingredient in a team that achieves and sustains historic greatness is the character of the player who leads it.

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