October Staff Picks

We have quite a selection of staff reviews this month, and they are very meaty, indeed! Enjoy the picks made by our smart staff members, and enjoy the wide variety of what we love!

David S.

  • Awesome Alita! Alita: Battle Angel (DVD) A dystopian tale co-written by James Cameron and directed by Robert Rodriguez (and based on a 1990s series of Japanese manga), ‘Alita’ proves incredibly satisfying, thanks to some nicely seamless CGI and appealing performances from lead Rosa Salazar and supporting player Christoph Waltz.
  • Commendable Captive! Captive State (DVD) A surprisingly good, down ‘n’ dirty take on the aliens-have-conquered Earth scenario, reminiscent of the now-defunct USA series “Colony.” It features young star du jour Ashton Sanders (of the Oscar-winning “Moonlight”), but John Goodman steals the show as a cop bent on bringing down a resistance group.
  • Mama’s Boy: A Story from Our Americas by Dustin Black
  • Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Patty F.

The Selection by Kiera Kass (YA series)
Hunger Games meets Divergent meets “The Bachelorette” in this tale of fierce intrigue!

Katie F.
On Call in the Arctic by Thomas Sims
The fish-out-of-water stories of Northern Exposure and Doc Martin meet the rough-and-rugged setting of The Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People… – Library catalog

Thirst by Heather Anderson is a memoir by the National Geographic 2019 Adventurer of the Year. By age 25, Heather Anderson had hiked what is known as the “Triple Crown” of backpacking: the Appalachian Trail (AT), Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and Continental Divide Trail (CDT)–a combined distance of 7,900 miles with a vertical gain of more than one million feet. A few years later, she left her job, her marriage, and a dissatisfied life and walked back into those mountains. – Library catalog

When I Was Small by Sara O’Leary
“Sweet,” is the best word to describe this little book. Written by Sara O’Leary, the book is  illustrated by Julie Morstad in a series of delicate line drawings that guide the reader through a conversation between a mother and child. The mother tells the story of when she was little. In this case ‘little’ takes on magical connotations. We see mom as a tiny child in the way that Thumbelina is tiny, and we begin to wonder if mom was really ever that little. If she was that little, was I that little too? This book recalls the unwinding mysteries that childhood poses, when everything is new and imbued with wonder, and trusting a parent means that we come to understand the imagination and its connection to reality.

Travel light, Move Fast by Alexandra Fuller tells the utterly original story of Alexandra’s father, Tim Fuller, and is a deeply felt tribute to a life well lived. After her father’s sudden death, Alexandra realizes that if she is going to weather his loss, she will need to become the parts of him she misses most.

Fuller moves seamlessly between the days and months following her father’s death, as she and her mother return to his farm with his ashes and contend with his overwhelming absence, and her childhood spent running after him in southern and central Africa.

Here, in Fuller’s Africa, is a story of joy, resilience, and vitality, from one of our finest writers. – Library catalog

…recommends these new or forthcoming historical fiction books about obscure or little-known topics!

  • The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
    A Chinese advice columnist lives hidden in 1890’s Atlanta because of discrimination. The author was inspired by a photograph of living underground in Portland, OR, and by the circumstance of Chinese field laborers coming to the South after the Civil War to replace freed slaves.
  • Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys takes place in Spain during the Franco dictatorship of the 1950s. The author asks the question “does silence heal pain or prolong it?” and talks about stolen babies of former Civil War Republicans.
  • Lovely War by Julie Berry
    Two World War I love stories about soldiers and the women they love. One of the soldiers is in the Hellfighters segregated Harlem regiment of musician soldiers, and one of the women is a Belgian refugee singer that entertains the troops. The book addresses the connection between women working during the war and the path to women’s suffrage.
  • Someday We will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin was inspired by real photographs of teens during World War II playing table tennis in monogrammed club shirts, and toddlers holding rag dolls with painted Asian faces. This story takes place in Japanese-occupied Shanghai during World War II, where 25,000 Jewish refugees lived in a ghetto after escaping Europe.

Kate M

  • The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander
    Kids new fiction! The Library of Ever is an instant classic for middle grade readers and book lovers everywhere–an adventure across time and space, as a young girl becomes a warrior for the forces of knowledge. – Library catalog
  • Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman. Friedman exposes the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today and explains how to get the most out of them and cushion their worst impacts. You will never look at the world the same way again after you read this book. – Library catalog
  • Range : Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein
    A powerful argument for how to succeed in any field: develop broad interests and skills while everyone around you is rushing to specialize. – Library catalog


Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
…A powerful examination of our interactions with strangers–and why they often go wrong. – Library catalog

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

…A letter from a son to a mother who cannot read, written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties. A powerful portrait of family, first love, and the power of storytelling.  – Library catalog

Miss Julie
I am Love: A Book of Compassion by Susan Verde. This picture book for young readers is a celebration of love in all its forms.
– Library catalog


Shirley O

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan is a charming, clever, and quietly moving debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us. – Library catalog

At the Wolf’s Table by Rosella Posterino
Set in WWII Germany, young women are conscripted to be Hitler’s “food tasters”. A haunting true story that raises provocative questions about complicity, guilt, and survival.
– Library catalog

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