Solano County Library Staff Picks



Love, Lashes, and Lipstick: My Secrets for a Gorgeous, Happy Life
I picked up this book because, well, I also love lashes and lipstick. The author is make-up artist to the stars (Beyonce and J-Lo to name a few). She also has a successful make-up line (I happen to own her fabulous mascara). Mally appealed to me because she's a woman of color (Filipino like me!) with a similar background and upbringing as me. Her book talks about her rise to success, juggling a career and raising a family. She also offers up some awesome make-up tips. My fave is her "I'm-Not-21-Anymore (and that's ok!) Face."
Recommended by: Melissa P. Want it? 




The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet
In the formerly boisterous, song-filled village of La Paz where the new mayor has outlawed sound, not even the tea kettles are free to whistle. And then a little rooster comes to town, “Kee-kee-ree-KEE!” Thus begins a battle of wills between the oppressive mayor and the plucky (ha ha) bird who refuses to be silenced, determined to sing on behalf of all those who cannot. Written by Cuban author Carmen Agra Deedy, this is an amusing parable on the resiliency of the human (or rather, fowl) spirit in the face of censorship.
Recommended by: CS C. Want it? 




The Born Again Runner
In The Born Again Runner author and runner Pete Magill tells us that no matter our age, physical condition, ability or disability, we can still run. In Part One, Magill goes over every excuse for not running, then proceeds to bust those excuses. Part Two discusses how to start running, developing a training plan, and how to stick with it. Part Three goes over nutrition and injury. Whether you once were a runner and stopped, you're a brand new runner, or you've never exercised a day in your life, The Born Again Runner shows you all you have to do to start running is put on some shoes and get out your front door.
Recommended by: Sandy S. Want it? 




Twinsters (DVD)
Samantha and Anais grew up in two different countries, adopted by two different families, and were never aware that they had a twin sister until they accidently found each other on the internet. The sisters captured their first interactions with each other on camera which later became the footage for this documentary. Together, the sisters get to know each other and meet for the first time.
Recommended by: Kristina C. Want it? 




Save Me A Seat
Fifth graders Ravi and Joe are very different from one another. Ravi’s family just moved to the United States from India and Joe has always lived in the same small town. The only thing they have in common is they go to the same school. When the class bully starts picking on them, they realize they have more in common than they thought. They must now band together to take control of the situation. If you enjoyed Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, you will enjoy this book.
Recommended by: Elizabeth B. Want it? 




Mother Bruce
Bruce the grumpy bear does not like anything. He does not like the sun, people or even cute little animals. The only thing he enjoys are eggs cooked with recipes he found on the internet. So what happens when one day some of those eggs hatch into little goslings who mistake him for their mother? What will Bruce do? This hilarious story is sure to bring a smile to readers of all ages.
Recommended by: Elizabeth B. Want it? 




Rebel of the Sands
With a clever mix of Middle Eastern folklore and sharpshooting western-style adventure, Rebel of the Sands quickly became one of my favorite books of 2016 and one I recommend whenever I can. The writing immediately pulled me in as we get dropped right into the action and it just keeps that same exciting pace the entire way through. The second we meet Amani, she is showing her gutsy nature, despite the challenges she faces escaping a life of no choices, a cruel family, and an arranged marriage. I loved the stark desert setting mixed with the wild array of mythological creatures, both good and evil. There is a daring escape on a horse made of sand, a high speed train heist, and a battle that plays out with deception and magic. This is the first in a three-book series and I'm hoping the rest of the trilogy is just as fun!
Recommended by: Becky V. Want it? 




The Winding Stream (DVD)
This documentary tells the fascinating story of the rise of The Carter Family and the related Cash family. It traces the beginnings of "country" music in America, featuring great footage and important interviews with key people--including the last interview of Johnny Cash before his death. The star of the movie, however, is Maybelle Carter ("Mother Maybelle") who was not only a great singer/songwriter but revolutionized guitar playing with her advanced picking style. I also discovered the little-known talents of her daughter Anita Carter. She had a bit of a solo career in her own right--what a voice! As her sister June put it, "Anita's got a voice that'll blow the top of your head off." This film is a must see for American music fans. (See also the CD soundtrack of the same name in our collection.)
Recommended by: Jeff K. Want it? 




Good as Gone (audiobook)
Thirteen-year-old Julie Whitaker is kidnapped from her home at knife-point. Her mother, father, and younger sister search and hope, but she is gone without a trace. As the years wear on, the family twists out of shape, each member wrestling with guilt, longing, and denial. Eight years after the abduction, as the family is sitting down to a special dinner welcoming younger sister Jane home from college, the doorbell rings. It’s Julie. She is whisper-thin, dehydrated, and has clearly been through an ordeal. Where has she been, and what has happened to her? And is she really Julie, after all?
Recommended by: Teri S. Want it? 




The Last Painting of Sarah De Vos
An art heist and a forgery weave the stories of two women painters, one living during Holland’s Golden Age of art, the other a struggling student who executes a fake she will always regret. Dominic Smith walks us through the guilds and countryside of Amsterdam during its 17th century heyday of art and trade as aptly as he immerses us in the auction houses and charity benefits of millennial New York City. The stories of these women and the men who control their worlds is as compelling as the fictional painting of the title.
Recommended by: Ann M. Want it? 




The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones
ZOMBIE CHICKEN. I feel like that phrase should be enough to have children running to find this book. A story full of heart and humor, hardship and delight. The character of Lincoln Jones will stay with you long after you've reached the last page.
Recommended by: Natasha N. Want it? 




Grumpy Pants
Everyone--kids included--wakes up in a grumpy mood from time to time. This appealing penguin protagonist is certain that by shedding layers of clothing he can shed his funk. He might just be right! At any rate, there was never a children's book featuring underpants that has failed to make children smile.
Recommended by: Natasha N. Want it? 




Hillbilly Elegy
If you are looking to understand the white working class, their problems, and why they vote the way they do, JD Vance has a phenomenally insightful memoir for you. Raised by hillbilly grandparents, he tells the story of his own family which is rife with the problems of his class: addiction, poverty, trauma, abuse, and the lack of hope that echoes through the decline that has been studied by so many academics. A Marine and Yale law school graduate who was able to build a better life for himself than so many of his peers, his struggle will resonate with Americans of any class or race.
Recommended by: Taaren S. Want it? 




White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America (audiobook)
This refreshing collection of data is the epitome of what America needs right now. Nancy Isenberg outlines historical events chronologically in order to give a holistic view of class in America. Although very heavy in documentation and factual evidence, this book defines class is it is, as it is viewed, and as it is changing. In many ways, Nancy takes the veil off of our current understanding of classism in America and provides a notable unbiased argument about how the poor whites have factored into every facet of the class struggle today.
Recommended by: Charlie H. Want it? 




Paper Towns
This tale of brilliance is a deeply revelatory depiction of life and perception. Quentin Jacobsen, cautious and stable, has for a lifetime been enamored with his idea of Margo Roth Spiegelman. Growing up as friends and becoming distant until their senior year in high school, Quentin idolizes Margo as adventurous, mysterious and beautiful. As leaves of grass, they come together in this upside down life to find what truly matters: connection. John Green combines humor and adventure to pull his readers into the winding road that Margo creates. This is a must read!
Recommended by: Charlie H. Want it? 




The American Association of Patriots Presents How to Talk to your Cat About Gun Safety: and Abstinence, Drugs, Satanism, and other Dangers that Threaten their Nine Lives
This hilarious book will teach you how to talk to your cat about gun safety, the dangers of catnip, and everything in between. It offers advice on how to handle situations like your cat being bullied online and their first romantic relationship. This is quite possibly the only book that will teach your cat how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. It is a must read for all cat guardians. How to Talk to your Cat about Gun Safety will give you all the tools necessary to raise a safe and prepared feline.
Recommended by: Laura S. Want it? 




The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart
There is only one person Lionel can tolerate, and that is Marybeth, the other 9 year old living in the orphanage. She is gentle, sensible, and can even appreciate his nature loving, almost feral-boy ways. So when Marybeth becomes possessed by a mysterious entity that drives her to act out in a puzzling and increasingly self-destructive manner, there are no lengths to which Lionel will not go in his effort to protect her. Can they unravel the dark secret of the spirit’s past before Marybeth is lost to it forever? This unsettling tale touches (sometimes tenderly) on the depth and strength of friendship between two cast off children in a grimly human world.
Recommended by: CS C. Want it? 




Dark Lord: *The Early Years
What happens when the Dark Lord is forced from his realm in another plane in the universe into the body of a twelve year-old boy? He’s forced to go to middle school of course. This is one of the funniest Young Adult novels I have ever read. It is very much tongue-in-cheek and does not follow a typical plot line.
Recommended by: Tim M. Want it? 




The Bear and the Nightingale
If you liked Naomi Novik's Uprooted, you will love this book too. This tale takes place in the Russian wilderness during it's cold and dark winters. Vasya is a wild and spiritually gifted young girl who can see and speak to the spirits who inhabit her village's woods, yards, and hearths. After her mother dies and her father take another wife, things change so that her village turns away from honoring these household and forest spirits. This results in crops failing, sickness, harsher winters, etc. And the village suffers. Vasya must use her gifts to save her village from an ancient evil that has been allowed to take hold. This was a magical journey and good winter read.
Recommended by: Emily R. Want it? 




The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House
How timely it was to read this book before the election. I really enjoyed this book and had trouble putting it down. It was so informative on the workings of the White House and the staff that runs it. There were a lot of touching private moments such as the widow's departure of Jacqueline Kennedy after JFK's assassination and George Bush's final farewell to staff after his term was over. Did you know that each first family was financially responsible for their own personal goods and items? You really got a glimpse into the life of the people who take care of the first family. Some of them had been there to see several presidents and their families come and go and witness history go by. Author Kate Brower gives us some juicy details about certain occupants but for the most part it's about the dedicated staff, the humans behind the power that remain loyal, faithful, respectful, and proud of serving their country.
Recommended by: Emily R. Want it? 




This novel ties together three generations of cops in Philadelphia via the murder of grandfather Stan while on duty back in 1965. His son James thinks he has a lead on the killer in 1995, but granddaughter Audrey discovers the truth while trying to keep from getting kicked out of grad school in 2015. All three protagonists are well-developed and the alternating decades kept the story flowing smoothly.
Recommended by: Tim M. Want it? 




This is a unique book that archives a collection of postcards collected by retired Oakland firefighter Edmund Clausen. The 230 postcards trace the history of my hometown of Oakland, CA dating back to 1893. There is a description for each postcard that helps explain that particular subject, era, and history. One of the postcards displays the African American Library that I visited many times in my youth. The book also explains why the Montclair Firehouse is no longer occupied. I won't spoil the mystery. I recommend this book for a visual historical view of Oakland, CA.
Recommended by: Johnny P. Want it? 




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? 






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