Solano County Library Staff Picks



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? 




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? 






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