Tag Archives: staff picks

Our Favorite Books of 2016

books3In what has become a tradition here at Syosset R and R, we will be running a series of blog posts throughout the month of December telling you about our staff’s favorite reads for this year.  The books mentioned were read during 2016 but not necessarily published in 2016. Here goes:

Karen, Library Director:

orphan 8Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade 

When hospice nurse Rachel realizes that her new patient is the doctor that spent years subjecting her to tortuous medical experiments at a Jewish orphanage, she is forced to confront her memories of the time and their lasting effect.

Pam. M., Assistant Library Director:

behold-the-dreamersBehold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

An immigrant working class couple from Cameroon and the upper class American family for whom they work find their lives and marriages shaped by financial circumstances, infidelities, secrets, and the 2008 recession.

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

my-name-is-lucy-bartonLucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s lif

state_of_wonderState of Wonder by Ann Patchett

A researcher at a pharmaceutical company, Marina Singh must step out of her comfort zone when she is sent into the heart of the Amazonian delta to check on a field team that has been silent for two years–a dangerous assignment that forces Marina to confront the ghosts of her past.

Sharon, Head of Teen Services:

burn-baby-burnBurn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

During the summer of 1977 when New York City is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam, seventeen-year-old Nora must also face her family’s financial woes, her father’s absence, and her brother’s growing violence.

“This YA book is set in NYC during the summer of 1977, and reading about the terror of Son of Sam, the blackout and all the crime was really eye-opening for me.  I tend to forget how dangerous it was in the city back then because for as long as I can remember, it’s been cleaned up and Disney-fied, but 1977 was a crazy time to be a teenager!”

and-i-darkenAnd I Darken by Kiersten White

In this first book in a trilogy a girl child is born to Vlad Dracula, in Transylvania, in 1435–at first rejected by her father and always ignored by her mother, she will grow up to be Lada Dragwlya, a vicious and brutal princess, destined to rule and destroy her enemies.

“This was the Dracula story reimagined as a dark and brooding teenage girl. The settings and the story were magical.  Loved it!”

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

red-queenWhen her supernatural powers manifest in front of a noble court, Mare, a thief in a world divided between commoners and superhumans, is forced to assume the role of lost princess before risking everything to help a growing rebellion.

“This is a dystopian trilogy where the color of your blood (red or silver) determines your fate. Some similarities to the Hunger Games, but very well-written and has a fabulous female protagonist.”

(All summaries from the publishers.)

Keep checking in with Syosset R and R for more of our favorite reads of 2016!

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services


Audiobooks We Like

audio books picI recently asked my coworkers to tell me about some of their favorite audiobook experiences. Here’s what I heard about audiobooks:

echo“A favorite book on CD was Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan.  It is a children’s book that revolves around a harmonica that makes its way into different hands as three intertwined stories come together.  The best part of this audiobook was how it incorporated the harmonica music into the story!”

-Pam S., Reference Librarian


“I love audio books, but the three that stand out to me at the moment are:

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, The Tenth Justice by Brad Meltzer, & Coolidge by Amity Shales.

Unbroken is just such an amazing story, and the fact that Louie Zamperini found a way to forgive his Japanese captors is beyond amazing to me.  I came to listen to this because I always knew a little bit about his story, but I wanted to learn more.

The Tenth Justice is an exciting story that kept me involved throughout the entire audio book.  It’s a great, quick fiction that is great to listen to during a run (which is when I most often listen to audio books).  I came to listen to this audio book after learning watching his show TV “Decoded.”

Coolidge is a very in-depth book about our 30th President.  Calvin Coolidge has always interested me so I decided to listen to this while training for a marathon, and it did not disappoint.”

-Jason, Systems Librarian


Man Called Ove audioInvention of Wings audio“For me its a toss-up between  A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.  I loved a  A Man Called Ove for its charm and feel good message about the importance of being a good person.  The narrator has a great delivery too.  The Invention of Wings was a wonderful historical fiction novel about the friendship between a wealthy Southern girl and a young slave.  Having two different narrators for the characters of Handful and Sarah really add to the story and make the characters come alive.”

-Lisa J., Readers’ Services Librarian


Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese – The story grabbed me from the beginning… and the narrator’s voice was wonderful to listen to.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett – Another dimension was added to the book because of the dramatic readings of the actresses narrating it. I don’t think I would have noticed it had I just been reading it.

 A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson – I don’t think I would have had the patience to read this and probably would have skimmed over a lot of it but listening to it was a different experience in that you focus on each word and the rhythm of Bryson’s text.”

-Pam M., Assistant Library Director


nightingale audio“I have 2 audio books for you:

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.- I enjoyed listening to it because it was an emotional and intense read. I felt more connected to the characters listening to them.

world war z audiobookWorld War Z  by Max Brooks – There are multiple narrators, most of them well known actors (Carl Reiner, Rob Reiner, Jerry Ryan, Mark  Hamill to name a few). It’s interesting because so many people are involved in this audiobook – which is a narrative about the war against zombies.”

-Stacey, Readers’ Services Librarian


woman of independent means“I don’t get to listen to audiobooks very frequently, but I loved A Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Hailey Forsythe.  Since it is written in letter format, it is perfect as an audiobook.   I enjoyed it so much since it follows her life from childhood to the end.  It spans so much history (from the early 1900’s to the 1960’s) and her development from an innocent girl to a courageous, confident woman.”

-Sue Ann, Head of Children’s Services


americanah“Here are 2 audiobooks:

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:  This audiobook was beautifully narrated by Adjoa Andoh.  Her voice easily captured the language and culture of the main character’s home country, Nigeria, giving the listener an immersive experience.

me talk pretty one dayMe Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris:  This author/narrator is a humorist and comedian so I thought it would be better to listen to the book rather than read it.  I was right, with many laugh-out-loud scenes it made driving more enjoyable.”

-Rosemarie B, Children’s Services Librarian

“For me it’s two mystery series, both by the same author: M. C. Beaton‘s Agatha Raisin and Hamish MacBeth series.  I started by listening  to the first of each a few years ago and I’m still at it.  I have read some of them in print but I enjoy them very much more in audio. I like listening to British accents and these have had every kind you could imagine. Plus they are often laugh out loud funny. I’m also enjoying listening to Robert Galbraith‘s (J. K. Rowling’s pseudonym) Cormoran Strike mystery series.  The reader, Robert Glenister, makes all the characters distinctive and Rowling is proving she’s no fluke.”

-Sonia, Reference, Librarian


What are some of your favorite audiobooks?  Please tell us in the comments.

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services

Title Swap with Librarians

fireplace and chairs

Please join us on

Tuesday, September 1 at 1:30 PM for a

Title Swap with Librarians

Share tea, coffee and cookies, as well as your favorite titles with our Readers’ Services staff.  Join Lisa Caputo, Assistant Library Director, Lisa Jones, Stacey Levine and Ralph Guiteau, Readers’ Services Librarians for a fun hour of sharing the titles of our favorite books.

Looking for something particular?  Historical Fiction?  Romance?  Your next book club pick?   Ask the group … we promise you’ll leave with a list of great reads.  Not able to make the program?  No worries.  A list of the discussed titles will be left at each public service desk.  They will also be made available online on the Books and Reading section of our webpage.  We will be meeting on the 2nd floor right in front of our cozy fireplace.

We look forward to seeing you there!

This program is free and no registration is required.

– posted by Jackie, Readers’ Services

Our Favorite Books of 2014

2014Nearing the end of every year we are inundated by Best of the Year lists. Of course at a library we pay the most attention to the lists of best books.  We here at Syosset R and R would like to add to the mix and tell you what our reading favorites were for 2014.  Our staff was asked to tell us what books they enjoyed most during the year and the books did not have to be published during this year.

We start off with Pam M., our Head of Programming, these are her favorite books of 2014, in no particular order:

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Eggers, Dave –  The Circle

Henriquez, Cristina – The Book of Unknown Americans

Kallos, Stephanie – Broken for You

Kenney, John –  Truth in Advertising

Kidd, Sue Monk – The Invention of Wings

Massey, Sujita – The Sleeping Dictionary

Moyes, Jo Jo –  Me Before You

Quindlen, Anna –  Still Life with Bread Crumbs

Rakoff, David –  Half Empty

Silverman, Sarah –  Bedwetter

Semple, Maria –  Where’d You Go Bernadette

Thomas, Matthew – We are Not Ourselves

Zevin, Gabrielle – The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

We will be posting more of our favorites during the rest of December – stay tuned!

– posted by Sonia, Reference Services



Books to Film

Buzzfeed.com has an interesting article, 16 Books to Read Before They Hit Theaters This Year written by Arielle Caldron.   Check out the website to see what to read and what to see.  A good story is a good story, whether its read or seen.

Here’s my list of what to see in the theaters:

labor dayLabor Day by Joyce Maynard   On a Labor Day weekend shopping trip, Henry Wheeler and his  fragile mother show kindness to a stranger with a terrible secret. Now a major motion picture starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, Labor Day is a poignant story of love, sex, adolescence, and devastating treachery.

monuments men*The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter   The previously untold story of a little-known WWII Allied division whose mission was to track down European art and treasures that had been looted by the Nazis at Hitler’s command” The movie’s cast includes George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman and Cate Blanchett.

winters taleWinter’s Tale by Mark Helprin When master mechanic Peter Lake attempts to rob a mansion on the Upper West Side, he is caught by young Beverly Penn, the terminally ill daughter of the house, and their subsequent love sends Peter on a desperate personal journey.  This is a romantic fantasy starring Colin Farrell and Jesica Brown Findly.

gone girl*Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn  On the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick’s wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren’t his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife.. Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit with deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn. Due out in late 2014.

* Books, I have read.

To be continued…. A list of what I will read, what I will see on DVD and a list for YA readers.

– posted by Betty P., Reference Services

Haven’t read Agatha Christie yet?

Haven’t read Agatha Christie yet? 

Try one of these … as suggested by the Staff members of Syosset Public Library.

agatha christieThroughout the month of March, the Syosset Public Library Readers’ Services Department will be honoring Agatha Christie, Queen of the Mystery Fiction genre.  Along with programs and displays, staff members have been recommending their favorite Agatha Christie titles and we would like to share them with all of you as well.  Having published an extraordinary amount of titles in her lifetime, choosing the right book might prove a bit overwhelming.  We’re here to help by narrowing down your choices to our top picks. 

The Secret Adversary (1922)

The Secret Adversary“Investigating the case of a woman who has been missing for five years, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford uncover just enough information to solve the mystery and put their own lives in jeopardy.” (From the Publisher)

Recommended By: Brenda, Reference Librarian

Series: Tommy and Tuppence Beresford Mysteries, Book #1

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd  (1926)

Murder of Roger Ackroyd“A murder in a small English village leads Hercule Poirot into a strange mystery involving a determined, curious spinster, the local doctor, and a wide range of suspects with possible motives and mysterious relationships,” (From the Publisher)

Recommended By: Sonia, Readers’ Services Librarian & Sue Ann, Head of Children’s Services

Series: Hercule Poirot Mysteries, Book #3

Murder on the Orient Express (1933)

Murder on the Orient Express“On a three-day journey through the snowbound Balkan hills, Hercule Poirot must weed through an array of international suspects to find the passenger who murdered a gangster on the Orient Express.” (From the Publisher)

Recommended By: Karen, Library Director, Audrey, Library Clerk,  Rosemarie, Librarian Trainee, Brenda, Reference Librarian & Sonia, Readers’ Services Librarian

Series: Hercule Poirot Mysteries, Book #8

The ABC Murders (1936)

ABC Murders“Hercule Poirot’s mastery of detective skills is tested by a mysterious correspondent who predicts and then executes alphabetical murders.” (From the Publisher)

Recommended By: Sonia, Readers’ Services Librarian

Series: Hercule Poirot Mysteries, Book # 11

Death on the Nile (1937)

Death on the Nile“Linnet Doyle is young, beautiful, and rich. She’s the girl who has everything–including the man her best friend loves. When Linnet and her new husband take a cruise on the Nile, they meet brilliant detective Hercule Poirot. It should be an idyllic trip, yet Poirot feels that something is amiss.” (From the Publisher)

Recommended By: Lisa J., Readers’ Services Librarian

Series: Hercule Poirot Mysteries, Book # 15

And Then There Were None (1939)

then-there-were-non“A killer stalks ten strangers on an isolated island off the Devon coast, in a suspenseful story of murder and retribution set to a sinister nursery rhyme.” (From the Publisher)

Recommended By: Jackie, Head of Readers’ Services, Stacey, Readers’ Services Librarian Trainee & Sue Ann, Head of Children’s Services

*Alternate Title: Ten Little Indians

The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side (1962)

Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side“Famous film actress Marina Gregg witnesses a murder in her country home, and Miss Marple agrees to investigate.” (From the Publisher)

Recommended By: Sonia, Readers’ Services Librarian

Series: Jane Marple Murder Mysteries, Book #13

Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case (1975)

Curtain Poirot’s Last Case“Arthritic and immobilized, Hercule Poirot takes up his last case, relying on his old friend Captain Hastings to be his eyes and ears as he hunts down the slipperiest criminal of his career.” (From the Publisher)

Recommended By: Sue Ann, Head of Children’s Services & Brenda, Reference Librarian

Series: Hercule Poirot Mysteries, Book #34

Prefer to read her series in order? 

See a Readers’ Services Librarian for a printed list.  Enjoy …

– posted by Jackie, Readers’ Services

Title Swap with Librarians

Please join us on

Tuesday, September 4th at 1:30 PM.

Share tea, coffee and cookies, as well as your favorite titles with the Readers’ Services staff of the Syosset Public Library.  Join librarians Jackie Ranaldo, Evelyn Hershkowitz, Lisa Jones and Ralph Guiteau for a fun hour of sharing the titles of our favorite books.

Looking for something particular?  Mystery? Literary Fiction?  Your next book club pick?  Ask the group … we promise you’ll leave with a great fall reading list.  Not able to make the program?  No worries.  A list of the discussed titles will be left at each public service desk.  They will also be made available online on the Books and Reading section of our webpage.  We will be meeting on the 2nd floor right in front of our cozy fireplace.   Can’t wait until September for a recommendation?  Check out the past title swap lists on our website.

We look forward to seeing you there!  

This program is free and no registration is required.

Non-Syosset residents are welcome.

– posted by Jackie, Readers’ Services