Tag Archives: staff picks

Our Favorite Books of 2019, Pt. I

The New Year is here and you might want to start it off with a good book. Here are some titles that our staff read and found to be particularly good in 2019.

Jessikah, Head of Community Engagement:

Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz

A geologist desperate to change the past and a teen rebel who has witnessed a history-changing murder are swept up in a secret historical war in a parallel-world America where time travel is possible.*

 

The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Surviving a horrific multiple homicide, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks is unexpectedly offered a full scholarship to Yale, where her mysterious benefactors task her with monitoring the university’s secret societies.*

Janice, Teen Services Librarian

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

“What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?”

After an international incident affects U.S. and British relations, the president’s son Alex and Prince Henry must pretend to be best friends, but as they spend time together, the two begin a secret romance that could derail a presidential campaign.*

Meghan, Children’s Services Librarian:

From Scratch: a Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home by Tembi Locke

An actress and TEDx speaker describes how her professional chef husband’s Sicilian family didn’t initially approve of him marrying a black American woman and the three summers she spent with them after he succumbed to cancer.*

 

Sharon, Head of Teen Services:

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong

“Written as a series of ridiculous letters to her baby daughters, this is a collection of essays about dating in NYC, her travels abroad in Vietnam, being a female comedian, and how she “trapped” her husband.”

Collects the standup comedian’s humorous and heartfelt letters to her daughters, covering everything they need to know in life, like the unpleasant details of dating, how to be a working mom in a male-dominated profession and how she trapped their dad.*

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay.

“A provocative and very honest and open look at feminism, popular culture and how we as a society can do better.”

A cultural examination of the ways in which the media influences self-perception, and discusses how society still needs to do better.*

Evelyn, Readers’ Services Librarian:

This Tender Land by WIlliam Kent Krueger

Fleeing the Depression-era school for Native American children who have been taken from their parents, four orphans share a life-changing journey marked by struggling farmers, faith healers, and lost souls.*

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

A tale set over the course of five decades traces a young man’s rise from poverty to wealth and back again as his prospects center around his family’s lavish Philadelphia estate.*

*all summaries from the publishers

We’ll be back tomorrow with more staff favorites.

We wish all our readers a very happy and healthy New Year!

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services

November Book Displays

Don’t know what to read with so many great books in the library?  Try this month’s “Staff Picks” display. The display is a selection of favorites of the SPL staff. Our staff is made of avid readers so their picks will insure an enjoyable read. As usual, there is a lot to choose from.

The second display on the main floor is  “November – Memoir Month.” Truth can be stranger and more entertaining than fiction. Read someone’s life story. You can also listen to their stories on audio books. Some memoirs which have been made into movies are available on DVD for your viewing pleasure.

The two mini displays this month are:

* “The Great American Reads, The Top Fifteen Finalists”

* “Goodreads Awards, The Choice Awards for the Best Books of 2018”

*MIni-displays are subject to change during the month.

The third floor health librarian’s display is “November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month”. The books here help explain the disease and how to cope with it for both the patient and caregivers. Also on the display are Fact Sheet handouts which include information on legal and financial planning for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

One more theme for November is “Native American Heritage Month”. Learn the history of the first people to inhabit the Americas, it is a story of diverse groups of people. Books include information on their culture, art, music, jewelry, and languages.

Hope our displays help you to make your reading choices easier and more varied. Enjoy!

-posted by Betty, Reference Services

Our Favorite Reads – 2017 (Part II)

In today’s post we continue to look back at our reading during 2017 and sharing the books that were some of our favorites for the year.

Evelyn, Readers’ Services Librarian:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas Evelyn

After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.

 

Jackie, Head of Readers’ Services:

In the Sea There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda 

In a fictional retelling of a true story, ten-year-old Enaiat leaves his small Afghanistan village after the Taliban takes over in 2000, and when his mother is forced to leave him in Pakistan, he endures a five-year ordeal to make his way to Italy.

 

Brenda, Reference Services Librarian:

Dead Wake by Eric Larson 

A chronicle of the sinking of the Lusitania discusses the factors that led to the tragedy and the contributions of such figures as Woodrow Wilson, bookseller Charles Lauriat, and architect Theodate Pope Riddle.

 

Lisa H., Reference Services Librarian:

Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan

After moving to America, a shy and responsible older sister and a gregarious young sister who thrives in their new Boston home endure the long-term repercussions of a fateful decision when the younger sister becomes pregnant.

 

Megan, Systems Manager:

Generation V by M. L. Brennan

Fortitude Scott?s life is a mess. A degree in film theory has left him with zero marketable skills, his job revolves around pouring coffee, his roommate hasn?t paid rent in four months, and he?s also a vampire. Well, sort of. He?s still mostly human. But when a new vampire comes into his family?s territory and young girls start going missing, Fort can?t ignore his heritage anymore.

Sonia, Health Reference Librarian:

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

Young Reuben Land has little doubt that miracles happen all around us, suspecting that his own father is touched by God. When his older brother flees a controversial murder charge, Reuben, along with his older sister and father, set off on a journey that will take them to the Badlands and through a landscape more extraordinary than they could have anticipated.

Meghan, Reference Services Librarian:

Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

When the anonymous teen creator of a wildly popular webcomic is tempted by a school newcomer to pursue real-world relationships, everything she has worked so hard to build crumbles in the wake of their highly publicized romance.

Jean S.. Readers’ Services Librarian:

Sing, Unburied, Sing ​by Jesmyn Ward 

Living with his grandparents and toddler sister on a Gulf Coast farm, Jojo navigates the challenges of his tormented mother’s addictions and his grandmother’s terminal cancer before the release of his father from prison prompts a road trip of danger and hope.

If you would like to see some of our favorites of 2016, you can look here and here.

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services

Our Favorite Books – 2017 (Part I)

In today’s post we are looking back at our reading during 2017 and sharing the books that were some of our favorites for the year.

Pam M., Assistant Library Director:

The Nix by Nathan Hill

Astonished to see the mother who abandoned him in childhood throwing rocks at a presidential candidate, a bored college professor struggles to reconcile the media depictions of his mother with his memories and decides to draw her out by penning a tell-all biography.

 

Stacey, Readers’ Services Librarian:

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore

When electric light innovator Thomas Edison sues his only remaining rival for patent infringement, George Westinghouse hires untested Columbia Law School graduate Paul Ravath for a case fraught with lies, betrayals, and deception.

 

Jessikah, Children’s Services Librarian:

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Having heard tales of the beautiful but dangerous Goblin King all her life, Liesl infuses her musical compositions with her romantic dreams before the abduction of her sister forces her to journey to the Underground, where she faces an impossible choice.

 

Amy, Children’s Services Librarian:

Fever by Mary Beth Keane 

A story inspired by the life of the woman known as “Typhoid Mary” traces the efforts of a headstrong Irish immigrant whose tenacity and talent for cooking gains her entry into upper-class kitchens until the discovery of her status as a disease carrier forces her into an isolation that she eventually defies with horrific results.

 

Sue Ann, Head of Children’s Services:

Will’s Red Coat by Tom Ryan

The best-selling author of Following Atticus traces the author’s adoption of a traumatized, hearing-impaired elderly dog who throughout his remaining years transformed from a hostile and violent canine to a happy, puppy-like companion

 

Rosemarie B., Children’s Services Librarian:

Beartown by Fredrik Backman 

In the tiny forest community of Beartown, the possibility that the amateur hockey team might win a junior championship, bringing the hope of revitalization to the fading town, is shattered by the aftermath of a violent act that leaves a young girl traumatized.

(All summaries from the publishers.)

We will be sharing another batch of favorites in a day or two, so stay tuned.  If you would like to see some of our favorites of 2016, you can look here and here.

-posted by Sonia, Reference Services

 

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

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“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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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