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Staff Picks

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

July 29, 2019 Becca N. @ Hughes Main
Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

In Notes on a Nervous Planet, Matt Haig comes through once again with the mental health advice we all need. This time he focuses on how modern life fuels our anxiety and unhappiness, largely stemming from our use of technology. The frequency with which we check our phones for notifications and scroll through news feeds has negatively impacted our health in ways we do not always realize, from our quality of sleep to our levels of anxiety and feelings dread. We are overwhelmed by information, most of which inspires fear or sadness. Haig reminds us to take a step back and regulate our intake in order to save our lives. His writing style makes this a quick and easy read that is full of helpful information on how to survive our times. 


The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

February 6, 2019 Becca N. @ Hughes Main
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is an unconventional mystery. Aiden Bishop is tasked with solving the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle, but there are a few rules. He has to present the solution at 11 pm, and he has to be the first to do so. He has rivals in this game, and only one of them can leave Blackheath. To add to the difficulty of his task, Aiden wakes up in a different body each day after he fails to solve the murder. At the end of eight days and eight hosts, his memory will be reset and he will be forced to start over again. Aiden has to race against time and his rival sleuths in order to escape the loop. ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ This book is destined to become one of my favorites. It combines everything I love about mysteries, suspense, and period pieces. The plot twists and revelations rival the works of my dearly beloved Agatha Christie. I usually don’t go for stories that involve time travel and repetition of events, but Stuart Turton handled this aspect of the story exceptionally well. The amount of time the author must have spent plotting out this novel is incomprehensible to me. This will definitely warrant a re-read in the future. 


Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

December 19, 2018 Rebekah @ Augusta Road
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

For fans of Tamora Pierce and Victoria Schwab, this novel is the perfect darkly magical world to lose yourself in on a snowy evening in front of the fire.  

Spinning Silver is a clever and suspenseful fantasy novel set in the heart of winter. At its center, it is a loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. The protagonist is Miryem, a skilled moneylender who brags that she can turn silver into gold. When the king of a race of wintry fey takes this boast a little too literally, Miryem is drawn into a world of intrigue and magic much larger than the small village where she was born. As her life grows more and more intertwined with that of an enterprising village girl, a duke's daughter, and a young tsar with a dark secret, it's not only her life at stake but also the survival of two kingdoms.

The book's rich world-building, vivid characters, and nuanced social commentary have made it one of my favorite reads of the year.


A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny

October 15, 2018 Brian E. @ Hughes Main
A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny

This is my favorite book.  As a voracious reader and librarian, I understand the gravity of this statement.  I was first introduced to this novel in 7th grade, and fell in love immediately.  Zelazny takes many of literary horror’s greatest characters (Dr. Frankenstein, Dracula, etc.) and puts them in an intense month-long competition – a mysterious game that has dramatic, earth-shattering consequences.  Part of the joy is in the discovery, but as someone who re-reads this book every year, I can say with certainty that there is great pleasure in reading this book to get in the Halloween spirit!  And I have not even mentioned the eye-popping Gahan Wilson art scattered throughout!  If you enjoy Halloween as much as I do, you will love this novel. 


Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

October 5, 2018 Brian E @ Hughes Main
Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

Foundryside is one of the best and most imaginative fantasy novels I have read in years.  The story follows Sancia, a thief that struggles to survive in a city state governed by four wealthy founding houses.  These houses maintain their power through the invention and utilization of industrial magic – magic Sancia is all too willing to steal.  Once she acquires an artifact strong enough to change – or destroy – the world, things get intense, bizarre, and fantastic.  My only reservation in suggesting it is the fact that the rest of the series has not been published yet!  If you like fantasy, or merely want to like fantasy, I would give this book a try.


Calypso by David Sedaris

September 27, 2018 Becca N @ Hughes Main
Calypso by David Sedaris

In his newest essay collection, David Sedaris delves into some morbid territory, though he maintains his trademark humor. His new beach house on the coast of North Carolina, named Sea Section, serves as the backdrop for several of his stories. He discusses the deaths of his mother (cancer) and his sister (suicide) as well as his own tumor story, revealing how his life has transformed from looking to the future to reminiscing on the past. This collection gives readers a better look at Sedaris's family, including his 92-year old conservative father, and shows how our families always keep us laughing. Full of dark humor and deeply personal tales, Calypso is a rewarding read for fans of Sedaris's storytelling. 


The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

September 27, 2018 Beth Anne @ Hughes Main
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down! This psychological thriller begins with two strangers, Ted and Lily, who meet over martinis in an airport bar. Ted has just discovered that his wife Miranda is cheating on him, and finds a sympathetic listener in Lily. The conversation eventually turns to whether he should just murder his unfaithful wife – Lily claims she believes that murder isn’t always wrong and Ted can’t quite tell if she’s serious or not. When the plane lands, Ted still has to decide what he’s going to do next. For anyone looking for a suspenseful read and surprising plot twists! 


The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

May 16, 2018 Becca N @ Hughes Main
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

This family saga follows the Gold children from the day they encounter a psychic to the dates of their respective deaths. Do their fortunes dictate the day they will die, or do the choices they make decide their fates? The four Golds go down unique paths: one a dancer, a magician, a military doctor, and a longevity scientist. As they question their Jewish upbringing and test the bonds of family, they learn about love, grief, and revenge. This book is a great exploration of family dynamics and belief beyond reality. 


Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

March 29, 2018 Elizabeth @ Greer
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

In her breakthrough novel, Ruth Emmie Lang weaves a tale of loss and love, magic and realism, horned pigs and a boy raised by wolves.  Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is the modern day fairytale of a man named Weylyn Grey told by the people whose lives were touched by the boy raised by wolves who could control the weather and do so much more. The perspective of the novel switches between a host of characters, young and old, to tell the life story of a peculiar man in a way that stays fresh and interesting.

I was drawn to the book by the amazing cover art and the premise of the novel. Weylyn Grey’s infectious personality and the charm of the story had me spellbound and reading late into the night.


The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

March 1, 2018 Ashley @ Hughes Main
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

In this heartwarming children's book, the Vanderbeeker family has just found out they have to vacate their beloved brownstone home due to a grumpy landlord’s request. The precocious children band together to find ways to make sure their family can stay together in the home that holds so many dear memories. Although this book may be difficult for young readers to read independently, it would be a great choice for families to share with children of all ages before bedtime with its themes of family, friendship, and sense of community. Keep an eye out for a sequel to this story coming out later this year!