Library Staff Recommended Reading January 2015

Recommended Reading Archive

One came home : A sister lost. A body found. The truth buried.

One Came Home by Amy Timberlake (middle grade – also available in audiobook format)

When an unrecognizable body is found – crowned with red hair and wearing a distinctive blue dress – it is believed to be Agatha Burkhardt, a beautiful, intelligent young woman who ran away from home the week prior.  The only family member who refuses to believe the body could be Agatha’s is her younger sister, Georgie.  Set in central Wisconsin in 1871 during a massive passenger pigeon migration, One Came Home tells the story of Georgie’s relentless quest to discover the truth about her sister’s disappearance.  Crafted by a Wisconsin author and incorporating fascinating state history, this thoroughly researched novel will appeal to readers who enjoy rollicking mysteries, strong female leads, and local history.

~ Abby Landers ~ 

The splendid things we planned : a family portrait

The Splendid Things We Planned by Blake Bailey

Award-winning literary biographer Blake Bailey turns the lens on his own family in this unrelenting portrait certain to raise a number of poignant questions. The younger of two children to a highly respected Oklahoma attorney and his free-spirited German immigrant wife, Blake’s own childhood experience was one of unorthodox privilege, giving way to bouts of alcoholism and aimlessness as a young man before his compass eventually corrects. This in itself makes for an interesting story. However, the real focus of The Splendid Things We Planned is Blake’s older brother Scott, whose cautionary tale is certain to leave an indelible impression on even the most unwavering readers. The story of Scott’s life, replete with significant mental and chemical issues, threatens to destroy the Bailey family at every turn, leaving scars that greatly affect the orbit of each of their lives. In the end, the reader is left with much to ponder regarding the limits of compassion and the value of a human life.                                                                                       

~ Noah Weckwerth ~

Don't give up, don't give in : lessons from an extraordinary life

Don't Give Up, Don't Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life by Louis Zamperini & David Rensin

Louis Zamperini's life is portrayed in the recent movie release titled, "Unbroken," which is based on the number one bestselling book by the same name. Louis passed away this summer at age 97, just two days after the manuscript of his book, Don't Give Up, Don't Give In, was sent to the publishers. The book is written in Louis' own voice, as he tells highlights of his distinctive outlook on life, with illustrations from his experiences. I appreciated reading the Afterward at the end of the book, with words from his memorial service, spoken by those who knew him best.                                   

~ Nancy Arevalo ~

Homeland. The complete first season

Homeland (TV series) with Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, & Damian Lewis

(Season 1)

Carrie Mathison, a brilliant but volatile CIA agent, suspects that a rescued American POW may not be what he seems. Is Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody a war hero or an Al Qaeda sleeper agent plotting a spectacular terrorist attack on U.S. soil? Following her instincts, Mathison will risk everything to uncover the truth - her reputation, her career, and even her sanity. Brilliant acting performances and edge of your seat suspense. Warning – you may stay up late watching this series. Seasons 2 and 3 available as well.


~ Paulette Brooks ~

Sharp objects : a novel

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

While perhaps being outshone this season by Gillian Flynn’s younger, more glamorous novel-turned-blockbuster hit Gone Girl, her 2006 thriller Sharp Objects is destined to gain widespread attention when it premiers on television in a one-hour special next year. Harnessing her talent as a suspense writer who analyzes the intricate minds of her female heroines, Gillian Flynn does not disappoint in her debut novel. Small town girl-turned-Windy City reporter Camille Preaker has everything to lose and very little to gain from a visit to her sleepy southern hometown where she reports the murder of two pre-teen girls. Camille must deal with a recurring cast of characters who she’s tried to escape from her entire life: a neurotic mother whose looks and charm fail to hide the darkness of her interior, the looming presence of a deceased sister whose ghost remains within the walls, and a beautiful step-sister on the cusp of adolescence who seems to have the tiny town in the palm of her hand. A week in her mother’s pristine Victorian mansion does not help Preaker’s unstable mental state, and soon the ghosts which she’s fought off since leaving a mental hospital months before slowly return. As clues remain hidden and questions unanswered, Preaker’s article merely grazes at the surface of the unsolved murders until the case hits closer to home than she ever expected.                                                             

~ Stefan Romero ~


Sam & Dave dig a hole

The youth librarians for the WCFLS libraries met recently to discuss outstanding books from 2014. These titles may not win national awards when they are presented at the end of January, but they are noteworthy. 

These are the categories:

Caldecott (Picture Books):

Draw by Raul Colon. Wordless book that shows how a young artist gets started.

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen. Another wordless  book.


Newbery (Books for youth):

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Stories about the author’s early years written in verse.

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin. A young autistic girl faces challenges with the help of a caring uncle and a loyal dog.

Printz (Books for teens):

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. Brother and sister each reveal their side of the story as they tell about some difficult years for their family and some miraculous coincidences that make everything all right.


We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. As Cadence tries to remember what happened to her two years ago she finds that nothing is as it seems.


~ Sue Daniels ~

Brown girl dreaming

Rain reign


I'll give you the sun

We were liars


“Staff Recommends” Compiled by Paulette Brooks


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