Welcome to this month's Staff Picks page, where our librarians share some of the great books they've read recently. Discover hidden gems, popular titles, and diverse recommendations that will captivate your imagination and enrich your reading experience. Happy exploring!
After years of working as an FBI agent, Titus Crown returns home to Charon County, land of moonshine and cornbread, fist fights and honeysuckle. Seeing his hometown struggling with a bigoted police force inspires him to run for sheriff. He wins, and becomes the first Black sheriff in the history of the county. Then a year to the day after his election, a young Black man is fatally shot by Titus's deputies. Titus pledges to follow the truth wherever it leads. But no one expected he would unearth a serial killer who has been hiding in plain sight, haunting the dirt lanes and woodland clearings of Charon. Now, Titus must pull off the impossible: stay true to his instincts, prevent outright panic, and investigate a shocking crime in a small town where everyone knows everyone yet secrets flourish. All while also breaking up backroads bar fights and being forced to protect racist Confederate pride marchers. For a Black man wearing a police uniform in the American South, that's no easy feat. But Charon is Titus's home and his heart, and he won't let the darkness overtake it. Even as it threatens to consume him.
Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars. But Athena's a literary darling. June Hayward is literally nobody. Who wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks. So when June witnesses Athena's death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena's just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers during World War I. So what if June edits Athena's novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song, complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn't this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That's what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree. But June can't get away from Athena's shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June's (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.
The Return to Monsterland' opens Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone, a collection of twelve fabulist and genre-bending stories inspired by Japanese folklore, historical events, and pop culture. In 'Rokurokubi', a man who has the demonic ability to stretch his neck to incredible lengths tries to save a marriage built on secrets. The recently dead find their footing in 'The Inn of the Dead's Orientation for Being a Japanese Ghost'. In 'Girl Zero', a couple navigates the complexities of reviving their deceased daughter via the help of a shapeshifter. And, in the title story, a woman instigates a months-long dancing frenzy in a Tokyo where people don't die but are simply reborn without their memories.
2019: Under cover of darkness, Kate flees London for ramshackle Weyward Cottage, inherited from a great aunt she barely remembers. With its tumbling ivy and overgrown garden, the cottage is worlds away from the abusive partner who tormented Kate. But she begins to suspect that her great aunt had a secret. One that lurks in the bones of the cottage, hidden ever since the witch-hunts of the 17th century. 1619: Altha is awaiting trial for the murder of a local farmer who was stampeded to death by his herd. As a girl, Altha's mother taught her their magic, a kind not rooted in spell casting but in a deep knowledge of the natural world. But unusual women have always been deemed dangerous, and as the evidence for witchcraft is set out against Altha, she knows it will take all of her powers to maintain her freedom. 1942: As World War II rages, Violet is trapped in her family's grand, crumbling estate. Straitjacketed by societal convention, she longs for the robust education her brother receives--and for her mother, long deceased, who was rumored to have gone mad before her death. The only traces Violet has of her are a locket bearing the initial W and the word weyward scratched into the baseboard of her bedroom. Weaving together the stories of three extraordinary women across five centuries, Emilia Hart's Weyward is an enthralling novel of female resilience and the transformative power of the natural world.
Like every other girl in her class, twelve-year-old Justine is drawn to her glamorous, charismatic new teacher, and longs to be her pet. However, when a thief begins to target the school, Justine's sense that something isn't quite right grows ever stronger. With each twist of the plot, this gripping story of deception and the corrosive power of guilt takes a yet darker turn. Young as she is, Justine must decide where her loyalties lie. Set in New Zealand in 1984 and 2014, and probing themes of racism and misogyny, Pet is an elegant and chilling psychological thriller.
Funny, charismatic and generous; angry, vicious and hurt; in pub lounges all over Cork City, Noelle McCarthy's mother Carol rages against her life and everything she's lost. As soon as she can, Noelle runs away. All the way to New Zealand, to make a new, different kind of life. But then Mammy gets sick, and it's time to face everything that's waiting back home. From Catholic Ireland in the '70s, '80s and '90s to sparkling Auckland in the first years of the new millennium, this is a story of the invisible ties that bind us, of bitter legacies handed down through the generations, and of the leap of faith it takes to change them.
Why is art important and what impact does it have on society? Wild Kinship: The Makers takes us on a journey to find out just that. A collection of over twenty-five chapters The Makers speaks with artists from all walks of life to discover the impact that arts and creativity have on the cultural wellbeing of society and that of our own. It explores what it means to be a creative today and explains why it is essential to our wellbeing through thought provoking, inspiring conversations that implore you to begin to take note and to notice the small things that bring us joy and make life meaningful.
There are few shows in our lifetime that have garnered over a billion views, that have reached a global audience of 220 countries, that elicits an emotional reaction from a theme song, or that defined a period of time more for its viewers. That is simply because there is no show that is more iconic or beloved than Friends. It didn't matter that their apartment was unrealistic by New York City's standards or that they always had enough free time to hang out in a coffee shop; they were our friends, they were us. And over the last twenty-seven years, it has yet to lose its title of the greatest sitcom of all time. Yet, the nostalgia and the truth about their relationships is a story that only Matthew Perry could tell, especially as his addiction soared faster than his career. Heartbreaking and funny, Matthew's honesty is explosive and unrivaled. Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is an unforgettable memoir that shares the most intimate details of the love he lost, his darkest days, and his greatest friends.
Growing up, Chloe Hayden felt like she'd crash-landed on an alien planet where nothing made sense. Eye contact? Small talk? And why are you people so touch-oriented? She moved between 10 schools in 8 years, struggling to become a person she believed society would accept, and was eventually diagnosed with autism and ADHD. When a life-changing group of allies showed her that different did not mean less, she learned to celebrate her true voice and find her happily ever after. This is a moving, at times funny story of how it feels to be neurodivergent as well as a practical guide, with advice for living with meltdowns and shutdowns, tips for finding supportive communities and much more. Whether you're neurodivergent or supporting those who are, Different, Not Less will inspire you to create a more inclusive world where everyone feels like they belong.
Meghan Markle's trajectory from unknown actress to world icon is remarkable. After a childhood spent on Hollywood film sets, she fought hard for stardom. But even when she landed her breakthrough role, her lifelong dream of celebrity remained elusive. In 2016 she created the ultimate fairy-tale ending: she captivated her very own prince. Finally, the world was her stage. The British Royal Family believed that the dizzy success of the Sussex wedding, watched and celebrated around the world, was the beginning of a new era for the Windsors. Yet, within one tumultuous year, the dream became a nightmare. In the aftermath of the infamous Megxit split and the Oprah Winfrey interview, the Royal Family's fate seems persistently threatened.