Solano County Library Staff Picks



Have You Seen Elephant?
Have you seen Elephant? He’s not that hard to find or is he? This book is like a Where’s Waldo book …okay so not that intense. It’s definitely a hilarious book to read aloud to the seeing impaired, young at heart adults and absolutely children. The details and the beautiful watercolor illustrations are worth placing this book on hold.
Recommended by: Rosemarie C. Want it? 




Made to Kill
Ray is a robot (the last of his kind) and also a private detective. When he's hired to kill a famous Hollywood star he finds more than he bargained for. A fun quirky read in the style of film noir.
Recommended by: Juli H. Want it? 




Surf's Up
Bro and Dude go to the beach but discover they have wildly different ideas about how to enjoy their day. This totally tubular story references the tale of Moby Dick and illustrates how the love of a good tale can be infectious. It's a super cowabunga book for storytime!
Recommended by: Heather C. Want it? 




Clue (DVD)
I just had read the screenplay to this movie, reminding me of how much I love it. Tim Curry is astounding, as is the rest of the cast. If you love the movie, track down the screenplay, as there is a fourth ending not in the final film.
Recommended by: Mark F. Want it? 




A Thousand Falling Crows
Dust Bowl winds are flying through north Texas while Texas Ranger Sonny Burton pursues outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. This pursuit quickly leaves him crippled and out of a job. Adjusting to life as a civilian, Sonny's struggles increase with himself, family, and community with a series of murders. This is a beautifully atmospheric, Depression-era mystery with undertones of Western themes. A must read for lovers of stoic lead characters displaying wisdom and courage.
Recommended by: Heather C. Want it? 




The Children's Home: A Novel
A strangely compelling short novel about a disfigured recluse whose home becomes a refuge for a ever-growing group of children who have no (apparent) connections to the rest of the world.
Recommended by: Mark F. Want it? 




Smarter Better Faster (audiobook)
A fascinating look at the science and art of productivity for anyone looking to improve their work or home life. This should be required reading for any managers on how to help their organizations run more efficiently and at a higher quality level. Drawing from psychologists, sociologists, business leaders, and organizations who have improved their results in surprising ways, Duhigg has created a relateable and compelling narrative that is worth your time.
Recommended by: Taaren S. Want it? 




Always Remember
This modest yet moving tale recounts for beginning readers the varied ways in which recently deceased Old Turtle impacted the lives of his friends. Their fond memories of Old Turtle as a teacher, heroic helper, and fun loving pal are strikingly illustrated and presented in an unsentimental style. This gentle story not only brings comfort to those dealing with loss, but carries a subtle reminder concerning our conduct of life. How do you want to be remembered?
Recommended by: CS C. Want it? 




President Squid
Giant squid wants to be President. And why not? He can wave eight flags at once and he has all the necessary qualities. He has a tie, a great big house and he loves to tell people what to do. He's perfect! But wait. Could there be other important traits a president should have? Nah! Fun for kids, squids and election-weary adults.
Recommended by: Nancy V. Want it? 




Throne of Blood
One of the best film adaptations of Shakespeare's work, Akira Kurosawa's film takes the story of Macbeth eschewing the Bard's dialogue into feudal Japan using elements of Noh theater along with an eerie atmosphere, all combining to make for a visually-stunning and refreshing twist on the classic tale. Watch as samurai Washizu (the Macbeth here) encounters an evil spirit in a forest near his home and makes the prediction that he can become the chief war lord by seizing the opportunity for assassinations that will present itself. Great acting, cinematography, and a haunting soundtrack further drives this masterpiece.
Recommended by: Joaquin A. Want it? 




A well crafted popular history of the American Revolution from a Pulitzer Prize winning author. Follows the rise and fall of Washington's army during that fateful year. Narrative not only includes important figures such as Washington and General Howe, but also accounts of the common soldier.
Recommended by: Jason A. Want it? 




A Silent Voice v. 1
This book is in graphic novel/manga format. A boy bullies a deaf student because he thinks it's funny. It gets to the point she transfers, and he becomes the bullied kid. Six years later, he stops her in the hallway of her new school. And then...?
Recommended by: Jennifer L. Want it? 




Massage & Aromatherapy: Simple Techniques to Use at Home to Relieve Stress, Promote Health, and Feel Great
Easy-to-use, photo-style walk-through of techniques for reducing stress, maintaining general health and overall conditioning.
Recommended by: Serena E. Want it? 




Tiny Homes on the Move: Wheels and Water
Think the tiny home movement is just about shoe-box homes on land? Think again. Wonderful pictorial of tiny homes either rolling on the road or floating on water. Nomadic life in the 21st century. Ingenious.
Recommended by: Yvette K. Want it? 




Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong
This book is a graphic novel. Charlie is the captain of the basketball team, but he's not a stereotypical jock. When the robotics team and the cheer squad unexpectedly have to compete for the student council's approval to get funding, Charlie is forced into running for student body president. Reluctant to deal with any kind of conflict, Charlie stays involved just enough to bring these two unlikely cliques together - and eventually confronts his parents about their divorce.
Recommended by: Jennifer L. Want it? 




Ancestral Journeys: The Peopling of Europe from the First Venturers to the Vikings
Fascinating book about the impact of DNA and genome sequencing on the history of human evolution, archaeology, and migration into Europe and Asia. Manco discusses successive migrations, new information on the Basques and Celts, and the spread of languages.
Recommended by: Serena E. Want it? 




A la Mala (DVD)
Charming romantic comedy. Maria "Ma-La" Laura, an out-of-work actress, hires herself out as bait to catch cheating boyfriends. Unfortunately, she falls in love with the one guy who's on the level. English subtitles. PG-13.
Recommended by: Yvette K. Want it? 




Without You, There is no Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite
Suki Kim’s “Without You, There is No Us” is an account of the author’s time teaching in an elite North Korean college. Her perspective is interesting because she grew up in South Korea before immigrating to the United States as a child. Her command of the Korean language and history sharpened her understanding of the cultural and political repression in the North. She was startled to learn that computer majors knew nothing about Facebook, unrestricted internet access, tablets, smart phones, and many other computing and social media tools we take for granted. Kim came to love her students and also worry about the men they would become in a country where there is no privacy, individual thought or knowledge of the world. While it lacks the epic quality of Adam Johnson’s fictional work “The Orphan Master’s Son,” Kim’s memoir is quietly disturbing, illuminating and well worth reading.
Recommended by: Sabine S. Want it? 




The Stepford Wives
I've never seen either of the two movies based on this novel, so all I knew about it was the cultural term "stepford wives" to refer to suburban housewives. So I was pleasantly surprised at how funny, feminist, and satirical this is, with the satire aimed directly at men who want nothing more than a stepford wife of their own.
Recommended by: Mark F. Want it? 




Alan's Big, Scary Teeth
This book begs to be read aloud with a campy villain laugh. If you and your kiddos are weary of overly saccharine tales of how to get along and finding one’s place in the world but you still think those are great topics to broach through books, this one has enough snark and humor to captivate your audience.
Recommended by: Natasha N. Want it? 




Deathtrap: A Thriller in Two Acts
A fabulous murder-thriller about a pair of playwrights working on a play very similar to the one the audience is watching/reading. What makes the metafictional elements work so well is that the thriller elements and the characters' discussions of their play are equally entertaining.
Recommended by: Mark F. Want it? 




In the Shadow of the Cypress
The son of literary giant John Steinbeck is an acclaimed novelist himself. The great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 unearths a fascinating historical document and jade artifact near a Chinese fishing village in Monterey. The find may prove that the Chinese explored the California coast long before Columbus arrived. Alternating between modern times and the turn of the past century, this story brings historical and multi-cultural California to life.
Recommended by: Tim M. Want it? 




Chamber Music Society (Music CD)
The moment the music began, I was caught in the magic of the sounds. Esperanza's music is vivid and fresh in the world of jazz. This new artist, whose voice scats like a soulful bird song, will inspire younger audiences to finally feel appreciation for this genre. Her creations are genius. I especially love her way of using stringed instruments (bowed not plucked) to create abstract poetry in melody.
Recommended by: Katrina L. Want it? 




An enchanting read. This man vs. nature tale is complete with storybook villages, great battles, pretentious wizards, a self-centered prince, an evil forest, walkers (not the Game of Thrones kind, but nightmarish enough), a dragon (not really, he’s actually a wizard), and a young lady who discovers she is a witch of extraordinary ability. It was difficult not to think about this book between my other activities.
Recommended by: Katrina L. Want it? 




Willow (DVD)
Willow (Warwick Davis) must protect the baby that is prophesied to bring about the destruction of the evil sorceress queen. With the help of a great swordsman, Madmartigan (Val Kilmer), Willow ventures out on the quest to deliver the baby to safety and to fulfill her destiny. There is some good action and humor in the flick. This is the film that Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic created the visual effects of “digital morphing” technology. An overall fun fantasy movie from the 1980’s. Directed By Ron Howard. Produced by George Lucas (who also developed the story). Rated PG.
Recommended by: Shawn K. Want it? 






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