Staff Picks

Girl in the Blue Beret, a WWII Novel

Veterans’ Day is coming soon on November 11, and each year we lose more of our World War II veterans. In remembrance, why not read one of the many novels or nonfiction books on WWII? The Girl in the Blue Beret by Bobbie Ann Mason would be an excellent choice.

World War II is a popular setting for novels. I have read and enjoyed several in the past few years:

I Gave My Heart to Know This by Ellen Baker

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian

Carry Me Home by Sandra Kring

Romance Readers Unite!

We romance readers take a lot of heat for our love of the genre, and now there is a book that proves all those critics wrong - Everything I Know about Love I Learned from Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell. This book was a stitch! Co-founder of one of the top romance blogs, SmartBitchesTrashyBooks.com, Sarah combines her own views, quotes from famous authors, and from romance readers like us to explain why the romance genre is so popular – to the tune of over a billion dollars annually.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

I am interested in reading books with a Wisconsin connection—either the author is from Wisconsin or the setting is Wisconsin. In this case both the author and the setting have a Wisconsin connection. Chad Harbach grew up in Racine and has set his debut novel The Art of Fielding in Wisconsin at a fictional college called Westish which is somewhere north of Milwaukee and south of Door County.

Back to School and Back to Non-Fiction

The first hints of fall are here: the chill in the early morning air, a few yellow leaves on trees in Lakeside Park, and kids heading back to school. While the kiddos may be dreading the end of summer break and the return to class, I love this time of year. I find myself reading more non-fiction as the days get longer and the leaves turn. Hints of fall just make me want to learn something new! Libraries often are called places of “lifelong learning.” What does that even mean?

A Book for People Who Liked Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

While reading The Informationist by Taylor Stevens I was struck by how this thriller has some of the same aspects of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I think people who enjoyed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo would also enjoy The Informationist.

Dystopias and You

Dystopian novels are all the rage in YA lit right now—from The Hunger Games, Matched, and Scott Westerfield's

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  • Mischief Managed.

    The last Harry Potter movie is being released today and I find myself feeling strangely sad. As someone who doesn’t even particularly love the movies, this is a pretty odd sensation.

    I started reading Harry Potter in 1999. I was almost the same age as the characters and it all felt so deliciously real. I devoured the first book and immediately demanded the second. Luckily, it had just come out, and in a matter of a day or two, I had finished that one too. Then came the waiting for the publication of the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

    A Grown-up Book for People Who Like Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia

    The final Harry Potter movie is coming out this month. If you liked reading the Harry Potter series and the Chronicles of Narnia series, try reading The Magicians by Lev Grossman. This is a book about magic with dark overtones. The main character, Quentin, is a high school senior who has always loved the “Chronicles of Fillory” and feels disconnected with his world. He goes for a college interview only to find the interviewer dead and a strange paramedic there who gives him an envelope that leads him to Brakebills, a college for magicians.

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