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Staff Picks while Staying Home

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Reader Advisory champ librarian Jenny has some great staff picks for reading while you’re staying home.

The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett (available in OverDrive and Hoopla)

Ann Patchett is a beloved author and a household name now, but this is one of her earlier books, so you may have missed it. It’s worth going back to! It’s the story of Sabine (the titular magician’s assistant) who discovers, after the magician’s death, a secret personal history that he kept from her. She travels to meet the family she never knew about, and together with his mother and sister, she pieces together his missing past.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (available in OverDrive and Hoopla)

Imagine being in love with someone who can disappear at any time, for seconds or days. Henry and Clare’s love story, set in Chicago in the 1990s and 2000s, sets up this unique obstacle for its main characters, and is full of references to art, literature, and music. (If you’ve only seen the movie – please, please read the book!)

The Princess Bride by William Goldman (available in OverDrive)

Everyone has seen the movie The Princess Bride (right?), but did you know it was also a book? And the book is as good as the movie, and there’s more of it! Learn Fezzik and Inigo’s back stories, and enjoy a lot of parenthetical humor in this tongue-in-cheek fairy tale.

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell (available in OverDrive)

A suffocating heatwave blankets 1970s London, and a family’s patriarch disappears. His wife calls her three adult children home, but she may know more than she lets on about where he went. And each of the children – Michael, Monica, and Aoife – have their own problems and secrets.

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames (available in OverDrive and Hoopla)

If you want a big Italian family novel you can sink your teeth into for days, this is it. One of Stella’s granddaughters pieces together her story, focusing on several near-death experiences during her childhood in Italy, her immigration to the U.S., and her difficult adolescence and adult life.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow (available in OverDrive)

This debut fantasy novel features a love so strong it crosses between worlds; a house full of fascinating, valuable, and impossible artifacts; and a young woman who is about to learn who she truly is and what she can do. Absorbing, stunning, an absolute must-read, especially for fans of Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus, The Starless Sea).

Good Talk by Mira Jacob (available in OverDrive)

Inspired by questions from the author’s seven-year-old son, Jacob examines her place in American society and attempts to explain the way things are, and why, in a post-9/11 world. Thought-provoking, sometimes painful, sometimes funny.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster (available in OverDrive)

Milo is always bored – until he discovers a tollbooth in his room, drives through, and finds himself in a land full of nonsense and wordplay, where Rhyme and Reason are lost. If you haven’t read this since you were a kid, it’s worth revisiting! There are two excellent audiobook versions if you want to make it a family activity.

Staff Picks

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