Librarian's Pick

Here's what our librarians are reading lately.

Librarian’s Pick: The Mystery Of Mrs. Christie – Marie Benedict

“In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car—strange for a frigid night. Her World War I veteran husband and her daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.

The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark historical fiction exploration into the shadows of the past, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such murky historical mysteries.

What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators?

Agatha Christie novels have withstood the test of time, due in no small part to Christie’s masterful storytelling and clever mind that may never be matched, but Agatha Christie’s untold history offers perhaps her greatest mystery of all.”

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Librarian’s Pick: The Business Of Lovers – Eric Jerome Dickey

“Unlike their younger brother, André, whose star as a comedian is rising, neither Dwayne nor Brick Duquesne is having luck with his career—and they’re unluckier still in love. Former child star Dwayne has just been fired from his latest acting role and barely has enough money to get by after paying child support to his spiteful former lover, while Brick struggles to return to his uninspiring white-collar job after suffering the dual blows of a health emergency and a nasty breakup with the woman he still loves.

Neither brother is looking to get entangled with a woman anytime soon, but love—and lust—has a way of twisting the best-laid plans. When Dwayne tries to reconnect with his teenage son, he finds himself fighting to separate his animosity from his attraction for his son’s mother, Frenchie. And Brick’s latest source of income—chauffeur and bodyguard to three smart, independent women temporarily working as escorts in order to get back on their feet—opens a world of possibility in both love and money. Penny, Christiana, and Mocha Latte know plenty of female johns who would pay top dollar for a few hours with a man like Brick . . . if he can let go of his past, embrace his unconventional new family, and allow strangers to become lovers.

Eric Jerome Dickey paints a powerful portrait of the family we have, the families we create, and every sexy moment in between.”

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Librarian’s Pick: Black Futures- Kimberly Drew & Jenna Wortham

Black Futures by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham

Librarian’s Pick: The Fixed Stars – Molly Wizenberg

“At age 36, while serving on a jury, author Molly Wizenberg found herself drawn to a female attorney she hardly knew. Married to a man for nearly a decade and mother to a toddler, Wizenberg tried to return to her life as she knew it, but something inside her had changed irrevocably. Instead, she would discover that the trajectory of our lives is rarely as smooth or as logical as we’d like to believe.

Like many of us, Wizenberg had long understood sexual orientation as a stable part of ourselves: we’re “born this way.” Suddenly she realized that her story was more complicated. Who was she, she wondered, if something at her very core could change so radically? The Fixed Stars is a taut, electrifying memoir exploring timely and timeless questions about desire, identity, and the limits and possibilities of family. In honest and searing prose, Wizenberg forges a new path: through the murk of separation and divorce, coming out to family and friends, learning to co-parent a young child, and realizing a new vision of love. The result is a frank and moving story about letting go of rigid definitions and ideals that no longer fit, and learning instead who we really are.”

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Librarian’s Pick: On Ocean Boulevard – Mary Alice Monroe

“It’s been sixteen years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. Over those years, she has weathered the tides of deaths and births, struggles and joys. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again.

Meanwhile, the rest of the storied Rutledge family is also in flux. Cara’s niece Linnea returns to Sullivan’s Island to begin a new career and an unexpected relationship. Linnea’s parents, having survived bankruptcy, pin their hopes and futures on the construction of a new home on Ocean Boulevard. But as excitement over the house and wedding builds, a devastating illness strikes the family and brings plans to a screeching halt. It is under these trying circumstances that the Rutledge family must come together yet again to discover the enduring strength in love, tradition, and legacy from mother to daughter to granddaughter.”

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Librarian’s Pick: In A Holidaze – Christina Lauren

book jacket for In a Holidaze “A young woman gets a holiday do-over in In a Holidaze by author duo Christina Lauren. Maelyn Jones is looking forward to her annual Christmas celebration with family and friends, including her longtime crush, Andrew. But when it looks like she’s ruined her chance with him, some magical force intervenes and she gets a replay . . . or two. Trapped in a time loop in which she experiences the same cabin vacation over and over, will she seize the opportunity to pursue her heart’s desire? Lauren’s first holiday romance is feel-good from the get-go. Set in Park City, Utah, there are snowball fights and games around the fire, along with a pair of protagonists who are reluctant to upend decades of conviviality by changing their relationship. The story and characters have a cozy, old-fashioned vibe, and the love scenes are warm but not too detailed. In a Holidaze is an engaging and entertaining treat, with no sharp edges and plenty of seasonal sparkle.”

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Librarian’s Pick: One Night Two Souls Went Walking- Ellen Cooney

“A young interfaith chaplain is joined on her hospital rounds one night by an unusual companion: a rough-and-ready dog who may or may not be a ghost. As she tends to the souls of her patients–young and old, living last moments or navigating fundamentally altered lives–their stories provide unexpected healing for her own heartbreak. Balancing wonder and mystery with pragmatism and humor, Ellen Cooney (A Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances) returns to Coffee House Press with a generous, intelligent novel that grants the most challenging moments of the human experience a shimmer of light and magical possibility.”

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Librarian’s Pick: This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing – Jacqueline Winspear

This Time Next Year We'll Be Laughing by Jacqueline Winspear “After fifteen novels in her beloved Maisie Dobbs series, Jacqueline Winspear has taken the bold step of turning to memoir, revealing the hardships and joys of her family history. Both shockingly frank and deftly restrained, her memoir tackles such difficult, poignant, and fascinating family memories as her paternal grandfather’s shellshock, her mother’s evacuation from London during the Blitz; her soft-spoken animal-loving father’s torturous assignment to an explosives team during WWII; her parents’ years living with Romani Gypsies; and Jacqueline’s own childhood working on farms in rural Kent, capturing her ties to the land and her dream of being a writer at its very inception.

An eye-opening and heartfelt portrayal of a post-War England we rarely see, This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing is the story of a childhood in the English countryside, of working class indomitability and family secrets, of artistic inspiration and the price of memory.”

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Librarian’s Pick: Memorial – Bryan Washington

Memorial by Bryan Washington“It sometimes feels like romantic relationships are becoming harder and harder to navigate. Meeting someone, getting to know them, constantly finding ways to communicate about everything, searching for common ground, trying and failing to move forward or take a leap of faith—it’s all exhausting. The routine isn’t entirely disheartening, though, and to the most curious of minds, it can be fertile ground for analysis and creation. So it is with Bryan Washington’s debut novel, Memorial, a celebratory lamentation of modern love.

The novel follows two men who are in love with each other. Through a major miscommunication, Benson, a Black day care worker in Houston, ends up living with his boyfriend Mike’s Japanese mother, who doesn’t seem all too happy to be the guest of someone she has never met before. Mike, on the other hand, is a chef who must travel to Japan to help his father, who is dying of cancer, through his final days.

As the novel begins just before Mike’s departure, the two men are unsure of their path forward together. This classic will-they-won’t-they scenario gives Memorial a timeless feel, but by placing two gay men at the center of this familiar setup, Washington poses fresh questions about contemporary romantic relationships with quiet grace. From the intermittent use of text messages and shared photographs to the mastery of a decade of slang, his writing is invigorating, reminding the reader of the realities every human must face and how we’ve all learned to communicate them.

Memorial is more than just a love story—though it is a very good love story. It’s this generation’s response to centuries of love stories, to a whole history of them. It’s what is coming; it’s what is here.”

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