Solano County Library Staff Picks



The Just Bento Cookbook
This cookbook is an excellent way for anyone interested in Japanese bento to get started with making these simple, tasty lunches. Many of the recipes include traditional Japanese ingredients, which you can find in most Asian grocery stores, but also includes a "Not-so-Japanese" section for readers looking to put on a different spin in their lunch. All of the recipes are easy to follow, and the author includes many tips, cooking timelines, and variation recipes for each type of bento. I recommend that you also check out the author's website, which have many more recipes and articles about Japanese cooking:
Recommended by: Andrea K. Want it? 




Carl Warner's Food Landscapes
If you are in the mood for some whimsy, I recommend Carl Warner’s Food Landscapes. Carl Warner’s Food Landscapes is a coffee table book with whimsical landscapes made with food. The pictures deserve close inspection. The author also demonstrates how he creates his unique artwork.
Recommended by: Jasmin M. Want it? 




Kitchens of the Great Midwest
Eva Thorvald is a young woman growing up in the Midwest after her mother leaves and her father dies when she is just a baby. Each chapter of the book is a particular food that is part of Eva's journey and growing up in the Midwest. This book is both hilarious and touching with its quirky characters. The last chapter is a culmination of these culinary ingredients of her life that come together in the ultimate dinner. I really enjoyed this book and it made me hungry.
Recommended by: Emily R. Want it? 




Nightcrawler (DVD)
This movie provides an eccentric view on how a freelance photographer acquires footage for journalists. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a riveting role as an amateur camera man collecting footage of crime in the suburbs. There were times I wanted to stop watching but Gyllenhaal does an amazing job at being creepy that I couldn’t look away.
Recommended by: Rosemarie C-B. Want it? 




A fabulous book told by a bizarre narrator, Richard. His strange psychology is a perfect storm of unreliability: addicted to opium, carrying a dark secret from Cambridge, and in the grips of sexual frustration that leads him to flights of fancy and to believe at some point or another that practically every young woman in town is in love with him. The abundant mysteries and finely tuned prose keep the narrative moving compulsively forward, but Richard’s broiling late-adolescent sexual energy, which may find themselves alternately repulsed by and drawn to, is the novel’s anchor.
Recommended by: Mark F. Want it? 




Best Boy: Novel
A moving portrait of a high functioning autistic man living in a group home and assessing his situation at midlife. He yearns to be reunited with his brother and return to his childhood home, but he meets challenges along the way. Gottlieb offers a sympathetic depiction of group homes and their residents.
Recommended by: Serena E. Want it? 




To Be or Not to Be: A Chooseable-Path Adventure
There’s no telling what will happen in this humorous romp through Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet. Will you make choices as Hamlet, Ophelia, or Hamlet's dad? Will Ophelia become a scientist? Do you encounter the ghost dinosaurs? This book does not take itself (or you) seriously at all, and it is extremely fun to flip through. If you grew up loving Choose Your Own Adventure books, don’t skip To Be or Not To Be.
Recommended by: Jennifer L. Want it? 




Leon Bridges Coming Home
Leon Bridges is a young twenty-six year old who has a captivating old soul that resounds on each track of his debut album, “Coming Home.” I was first introduced to Bridges on the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon during the summer. His sound is similar to Otis Redding, Sam Cook , Al Green and basically 1950’s and 60’s rhythm and blues. I recommend his album to be accompanied with a hot coffee, cozy chair and a sunrise.
Recommended by: Rosemarie C-B. Want it? 




A Barrel of Laughs, a Vale of Tears
Feiffer is one of those magical artists who can produce work for any age level, in a variety of formats - cartoon, novel, movie, picture book, etc. This book is among the funniest children's books I've read. If you can get your hands on the audiobook, I highly recommend that as well.
Recommended by: Mark F. Want it? 




Between the World and Me
As the cover says, mandatory reading.
Recommended by: Kristen L. Want it? 




The Princess Bride
Far too funny to describe.
Recommended by: Kevin T. Want it? 




The Language of Flowers (audiobook)
This is a very moving novel that follows the life of Victoria, a young woman who has aged out of the foster care system. Her knowledge of flowers stems from a foster care placement that almost led to adoption. As she slowly builds her life using these talents she is confronted with her past rejection and faces heartrending challenges. Victoria’s ultimate challenge will be to decide whom to trust and how to conquer the fear that prevents her from forming lasting connections with people in her life. This is a very moving novel that reveals its secrets gradually. The book on CD is very well done. Whether you read it or listen to is you’re in an emotional ride as you become engrossed in this well-told story.
Recommended by: Sabine S. Want it? 




The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon: Simple and Inspired Whole Foods Recipes to Savor and Share
You know you need more fruit, vegetables, and whole grains in your life. Why not make them delicious? I love this cookbook so much I put it on hold twice. The illustrations are gorgeous, the recipes are easy, and I feel virtuous when I serve a simple bowl of healthy goodness to my family. Check it out!
Recommended by: Sabine S. Want it? 




Anna Karenina (audiobook)
This Tolstoy guy is pretty good. He's going places . . . Seriously, though - a very well done audiobook of one of the great books of all time.
Recommended by: Mark F. Want it? 




Mad Max Fury Road
If you prefer more action and less talking movie, “Mad Max – Fury Road” is for you. Max believed that he needed to be on his own in order to survive. However, he found himself fleeing with a group of women led by Furiosa. As to fully escape they had to fight a road war with the gang assembled by the Warlord.
Recommended by: Loida M. Want it? 




Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters
This is mostly just an extended Buzzfeed article or facebook meme, but it's a highly literate, highly amusing one. Recommended for well-read readers looking to kill an hour or so.
Recommended by: Mark F. Want it? 




Dashing Through the Snow: A Christmas Novel
Dashing Through the Snow is your typical Debbie Macomber holiday romance book. It's predictable - man and woman meet and really don't like each other, but the holiday throws them together and somehow - well you know what happens. For me though, it's just not the holidays without at least one holiday romance story. So if you can, read it after Halloween. With all the holiday decorations and cool weather (hopefully,) it will get you to believe that two people can be thrown together in the most awkward of circumstance and find true love...
Recommended by: Julie W. Want it? 




Breaking Creed
I have read this book as it was so entertaining and intense. I love Ryder Creed, the major character and his dogs. They were awesome in helping law enforcement in tracking Colombian drug cartels. Maggie O'Dell was such a great partner to the character with her FBI skills. The story also reflects on giving second chances as to find real purpose in life. It was worth reading.
Recommended by: Loida M. Want it? 




The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light
A powerful account of Carlos Santana’s journey from playing violin in the streets of Tijuana, Mexico, to Woodstalk, Africa and today. Spiritualism, culture, family and history come together to form an intimate account of music spanning generations and cultures.The book includes photographs and the audiobook is narrated by Carlos Santana himself; a recommended read any lover of music.
Recommended by: Vanessa C. Want it? 




Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife
There is never, ever a bad time to read a Mary Roach book, but if you like your thrills mingled with science, now is a great time to try "Spook."
Recommended by: Natasha N. Want it? 




Day Four
Just in time for Halloween, this sequel to "The Three" also stands on its own as an eerie tale of suspense. What begins as a fun-packed cruise with a renowned psychic aboard soon takes an unsettling turn as the ship becomes marooned at sea. Immobile on a freakishly static ocean with no outside contact and dwindling provisions, passengers panic. As sanitary conditions decline, spreading a mysterious virus, chaotic violence escalates. Meanwhile, the medium’s sinister influence over her cult-like flock grows; menacing apparitions are lurking on the lower decks; and when the ship is ultimately discovered, there is no one aboard. This kept me voraciously turning pages until its disturbing conclusion.
Recommended by: CS C. Want it? 




Fargo: The complete first season
The setting and humor are similar to the 90s Coen Brothers movie with the same name but the plot is completely different in this quirky miniseries. It is the story of a drifter (Billy Bob Thornton) who brings mayhem to a Minnesota town. The humor is dark, the plot suspenseful and the acting superb.
Recommended by: Jana C. Want it? 




Daughter's Keeper
This book is about a middle-aged woman named Elaine Goodman who owns her own pharmacy, lives with a man she loves, and is contently looking forward to a restful retirement. Elaine’s happiness would be complete were if not for her contentious daughter, Olivia. Olivia is a college dropout and a political activist. She was jailed briefly for participating in various protest and she works as a waitress to support herself and her boyfriend, Jorge, an illegal immigrant. The core question this book leaves in the reader’s mind is how much of your life should you sacrifice for your child when they make mistakes.
Recommended by: Linda B. Want it? 




Stella Brings the Family
What's a girl with two loving daddies and a whole passel of other amazing loved ones to do when school has a Mother's Day Celebration? Beautiful illustrations and an engaging story.
Recommended by: Natasha N. Want it? 




Picture a Tree
For some reason I love sharing stories about trees this time of year. Not that I don't appreciate trees in the spring with their beautiful flower blooms or the summer when the trees are full and green, but fall is special. The red, orange and yellow leaves in fall are just beautiful! "Picture a Tree" makes you appreciate trees through out the year with the bright and well done "Plasticine" illustrations and simple text. Preschools should have this book in their classroom library not only in the fall but in any season.
Recommended by: Julie W. Want it? 




Loving Frank
This book is a fictionalized account of Mamah Borthwick Cheney as she struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. Four years earlier, in 1903, Mamah and her husband, Edwin, had commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for them. During the construction of the house, a powerful attraction developed between Mamah and Frank, and in time the lovers, each married with children, embarked on a course that would shock Chicago society and that of the nation and forever change their lives. This affair was the scandal of its’ time period. If US or People Magazine existed at this time it would have been covered heavily.
Recommended by: Linda B. Want it? 




String Quartets: Ravel, Debussy, Fauré
Music includes Quatuor à cordes en sol mineur, op. 10 by Claude Debussy; Quatuor à cordes en mi mineur, op. 121 by Gabriel Fauré; and Quatuor à cordes en fa majeur by Maurice Ravel. Quatuor Ébène offers fresh interpretations of early modern music.
Recommended by: Serena E. Want it? 




Changing the Conversation: The 17 Principles of Conflict Resolution
Principles of conflict resolution can be applied to personal relationships, work situations, and any situation in which conflict exists. A very helpful, easy-to-read guide that supplements the classic, Getting to yes: negotiating agreement without giving in by Roger Fisher and William Ury.
Recommended by: Serena E. Want it? 







See the newsletter...


Non Fiction



See the newsletter...