Solano County Library Staff Picks



Girl From Everywhere
Once every few years one stumbles across a title that needs to be read by anyone you know who loves fantasy. Heilig's debut novel is just such. If the premise of time-travelling pirates doesn't grab you, her lyrical storytelling voice will. This has all the makings of a modern classic with complex characters, a hint of adventure, interesting historical places, and a world (with consistent internal rules) all its own.
Recommended by: Taaren S. Want it? 




Gardening for Butterflies
Attractive layout and photos augment helpful ideas for designing gardens and selecting plants that will attract butterflies and other insects and create a more healthful outdoor habitat. The Xerces Society, a Portland, Oregon-based organization, is a leader in butterfly research.
Recommended by: Serena E. Want it? 




Coltrane: The Story of a Sound
Closely attentive to Coltrane's sound, this biography focuses on what matters: Coltrane's creative journey and its impact on jazz, classical, and pop music. It also stands as one of the best works of jazz criticism and examination of the collaborative creative process along with Robin Kelley's Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original.
Recommended by: Serena E. Want it? 




Du iz tak?
Somewhere by a fallen log, a shoot arises from the earth, while two damselflies look on. The mysterious growing plant becomes the center of the insect community, and the source of much drama, expressed in the insects' own language. Yes, there isn't a word of human language in this exquisitely illustrated picture book, but it's so much fun decoding the insect language. At least as much fun as learning Klingon! This is a great read for young linguists and their parents, one which offers new discoveries every time it's read.
Recommended by: Nancy V. Want it? 




Racing the Rain (audiobook)
Though I am not usually a big fan of sports including reading about them, I did really enjoy this book. It follows a young man through his middle and high school years exploring friendships, sports and his inner self. He learns throughout his journey that what he thinks he wants the most actually might not be what is really the right fit for him. The book was very engaging and richly detailed giving a lot to the feeling of it being set in the 1950's and 1960's. I read this book not realizing that it actually belong to a series but I looked up the title and found out even though it is the authors newest book it is a prequel to two previous other books he has written. I now want to go read those two books as well! I listened to this book on CD and found the narration to be pleasing to listen to as well.
Recommended by: Sarah Lee GZ. Want it? 




Station Eleven
Imagine this headline: Georgia Flu Wipes Out Most of Earth’s Population! This novel begins with the death of an actor on stage on the night that a quickly-spreading, lethal flu is identified and takes us both forward and back in time to tell the stories of the people whose lives were intertwined in some way with that character. There are flashbacks to a time before the pandemic but much of the novel is set twenty years after, and we see how those who remained adapted, made new connections, forged new societies, and learned to live without electricity, running water, phones, lights, cars, airplanes, medicine, and everything else we take for granted. The artifacts of our modern society are museum pieces and no one knows how to make them work again. One escape from their focus on survival is the Traveling Symphony that travels through one region performing Shakespearean plays and keeping music alive. The novel shows us humanity at its best and its worst, and somehow manages to end with a ray of hope. This book was fascinating – It made me appreciate what we have but also want to learn all that I do not know about survival. It also made me think about how we are all connected and how much we rely on each other's individual contributions. Check it out in print, as an ebook, or as an audiobook.
Recommended by: Sabine S. Want it? 




Ascension (DVD)
A mini series for science fiction lovers. I thought the show had very good writing and a great cast. The only disappointing thing about this show, is that it is a mini series. I really wish they had made this into a full length show!
Recommended by: Kristina C. Want it? 




The Voices
Horror fans will be creeped out by this tale of postmortem communiques from the other side. This book is a well written chiller with plot references to "The Shining" and "The Yellow Wallpaper".
Recommended by: Heather C. Want it? 




Power of Habit
Whether you're looking to make a small change or a large one in your life, Charles Duhigg's ability to distill research papers into a compelling read that gives readers key insights into how to effectively change their lives or organizations. How habits are formed, why they perpetuate themselves, and the patterns that make up human nature are a fascinating study unto themselves and what makes this book worth a listen.
Recommended by: Taaren S. Want it? 




A Covert Affair: The Adventures of Julia Child and Paul Child in the O.S.S. (audiobook)
WWII era and O.S.S., one of my favorite areas for narratives, although interesting, fell just a bit short in meeting the premise of title this time but was still an good and interesting read. The information about the period along with the fear and damage brought about by the McCarthy hearings was accurately portrayed to my knowledge. The details on the O.S.S. rang true to me as well. I expected it would be full of information about the exploits and adventures of Julia and Paul Child. It was not until I was about a third of the way into the book, that the focus switched over (and stayed tuned in on) to an associate and friend of Julia and Paul - Jane Foster Zlatovski , the alleged Soviet spy. (Jane wrote her memoirs and her husband George edited and published them after her death. Much of this book draws from those memoirs.) I was expecting a book that would introduce many characters, events and make some sense of the chaos of the period. It delivered on much of that and gave me a new perspective on Julia.
Recommended by: Ellen P. Want it? 




The Tropic of Serpents
In an alternate Victorian Era, it follows Isabella Camherst as she travels Eriga and the Green Hell to study dragons. Mainly in the third person, since it is written as memoir, you see the world through Isabella's scientific mind. She follows her passion, studying dragons, while navigating swamps, politics and war-parties. After reading this book I immediately began reading the rest of the series.
Recommended by: Jasmin M. Want it? 




Dog Medicine
Julie Barton delivers an incredible account of her struggle with depression and how her dog Bunker rescued her from the darkness of her illness. I couldn't put it down; it paints an accurate picture of depression and shows exactly why pets are such an important part of human life.
Recommended by: Mychal T. Want it? 




The Eye of the World
The Eye of the World is book one of fourteen in the epic fantasy "Wheel of Time" series by Robert Jordan. This book is filled with adventures, magic, and mystery. Fans of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the Song of Ice and Fire(Game of Thrones) series will enjoy this book.
Recommended by: Nathan M. Want it? 




Eggnog Murder
Three short stories with eggnog and murder as a common theme. I always enjoy a cozy mystery during the holidays. This particular collection includes two of my favorite cozy mystery authors and introduced me to a new author. What's great about short story collections is that you can squeeze in a "book" in between all the holiday craziness. This book also throws in some holiday recipes.
Recommended by: Julie W. Want it? 




Calling All Cars
Simple rhyming text and colorful illustrations make this a fun story to share with your little one.
Recommended by: Julie W. Want it? 




Lilac Girls
Lilac Girls is a fictional work that is based on real people and events during World War II. The book follows three women from about 1939 to the end of the war: An American consulate staff person/socialite, a teenager from Poland, and a German doctor. Each woman gives the reader different perspectives as the war brings atrocities into their lives and the lives of those around them. I have always appreciated both fiction and non-fiction works regarding the Holocaust. In her well-woven story, Ms. Kelly brings to light other aspects about World War II that I have not read much about in other books. I was amazed as I read the Author's Notes section regarding the journeys Ms.Kelly took in order to bring authenticity and heart to the story.
Recommended by: Ann N. Want it? 




Life Story (DVD)
A show that highlights the difficulties of life for different animals in the wild. Each episode has a different theme and revisits some animals at different stages of their life. The stories and the photography in this show are amazing.
Recommended by: Kristina C. Want it? 




Jonesy is a teenager that loves "Stuff!" (her absolute favorite music artist), making zines, her pet ferret Rocky, and getting even with the people that pick on her. How does she get even? With her super secret powers!! Jonesy can make anybody fall in love with anything (except herself!), but she often ends up getting in more trouble rather than enjoying sweet revenge like she intended. The cover art for this comic caught my eye at first. It reminds me of the art style of the "Scott Pilgrim" comic series, but much more colorful and expressive. I love Jonesy as a character; she's hot-headed, mischievous, and isn't afraid to tell everyone what's on her mind. The plot of the comic is more on the juvenile side so tweens/younger teens would enjoy this the most. But anyone who enjoys light-hearted comics and flashy art will love "Jonesy" too!
Recommended by: Andrea K. Want it? 




I'll Give you the Sun
“There should be a horn or gong or something to wake God. Because I’d like to have a word with him. Three words actually: WHAT THE [EXPLETIVE DELETED]?!” Let me start by saying that it took me a LONG time to get over this book. “I’ll Give You The Sun” is a unforgettable, heartbreaking, and somewhat aggravating novel that will leave the reader breathless (probably from all the crying and screaming that you do into your pillow). The story focuses on a girl named Jude and her twin brother Noah who are, at first, inseparable. The twins earlier years are narrated by Noah, and the later by Jude. As the story switches back and forth between past and future, the reader helplessly struggles to understand what went wrong and why the twins are barely speaking to each other. The lack of communication between the characters in this book is enough to drive even the sanest person to the brink of madness. In the words of Jandy Nelson “WE WERE ALL HEADING FOR EACH OTHER ON A COLLISION COURSE, NO MATTER WHAT. MAYBE SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST MEANT TO BE IN THE SAME STORY.”
Recommended by: Tyler C. Want it? 




Merry Widow (DVD)
A silent classic from Erich von Stroheim. Beautiful, decadent, romantic.
Recommended by: Mark F. Want it? 




Out 1: Noli me Tangere (DVD)
This masterpiece has been completely unavailable legally in the United States (and most other countries) since it's completion in 1971. So now's your chance to finally get a look at it. It is sometimes said that it's a 13 hour movie, which makes it sound really intimidating, but in fact, it is an 8 episode series - watch it just like your favorite TV show and you should be fine. What's actually challenging are a few very long sequences (including one in the first episode that lasts 40 some minutes) of theater groups doing improv training. If you can, just go with it. If you have to fast forward through some of the theater stuff, that's cool - because the rest of the series is intensely enjoyable. Some absolutely incredible French actors of the 70s (Jean-Pierre Leaud, Juliet Berto, Michael Lonsdale), a fascinating, if perplexing, mystery about a secret cabal of 13 running Paris, and some of the most gorgeous technicolor you'll ever see.
Recommended by: Mark F. Want it? 




News of the World
Captain Kidd, an elderly widower who has survived three wars, makes his way through post-Civil War Texas reading the news aloud for coins. His solitary life is brought to an end when he is tasked with returning Johanna, a girl kidnapped by the Kiowa four years earlier, to her relatives. Unlikely partners, the unwilling Johanna and Captain Kidd traverse Texas from top to bottom on their journey. They encounter all sorts of characters - Texas Rangers, cowboys, Kiowa raiders, and plenty of nefarious activity. Fans of westerns like True Grit and Lonesome Dove will appreciate this funny and endearing yarn.
Recommended by: Brenda W. Want it? 




Longmire (DVD)
Longmire is a TV series. It's about a sheriff in a small town that's outside a reservation area. I find the performers and storyline to be believable. I enjoy the friendship between the sheriff and the owner of the Red Pony.
Recommended by: Junella H. Want it? 




Born of Night
This is the first of the League series. It's a science fiction series by the author of the Dark-Hunter series. I am always impressed by the way the author can change the "bad guy" into the misunderstood good guy. If you like science fiction this is a must read.
Recommended by: Junella H. Want it? 




Hunt for the Wilderpeople (DVD)
I love stories of community and unconventional families. And misfit teens. And misfit senior citizens too. You have that here in this Kiwi film adaptation of Barry Crump's "Wild Pork and Watercress". Pathos, humor, and talent abound in this fantastic comedy!
Recommended by: Heather C. Want it? 




The Legend of Tarzan (DVD)
I was surprised by how good this movie was. It's great for those who enjoyed whichever version of Tarzan they grew up with, and unexpectedly for those who enjoy the majesty of the animals of the African jungle. If anything, Samuel L. Jackson's performance is great and provides humor throughout.
Recommended by: Mychal T. Want it? 






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