Staff Picks

Picks and Comments From Our Readers

See what other library patrons are reading this Summer and what they thought about the books they chose.  You can tell us about what you read and enter to win prizes by filling out our Summer Reading entry form.

Paula G.
A Christmas Carol     A Christmas Carol    
Charles Dickens

Why did you read it? -- This is the first book I have read in English.  My mother tongue is French and, in 1947 I lived in Caen, Normandy where my father was the director of City Busses in Caen.  We had lived through WWII and the battle, and were just readjusting to our apartment above the bus company.  I had spent the last two years in boarding schools, from October 1944 at Saint Jeanne d'Arc in Bayeux, and from October 1945 at La Vierge Fidele in Douvres La Delivrande.  In October 1946 I would be  a boarder at FCJ Convent in Bruff, Limerick (in Ireland).  That year a large number of Irish boarding school were inviting French and German children for one year in their convents.

I was goin to turn 13 years old on December 22, 1946 and most of the girls were gone home already.  That day (a few days before my birthday), the Reverend Mother of the school had invited the few remaining girls to have tea with her in her private library.

"For the few remaining days before you leave for Christmas vacation in your host families, please choose a book to read from my library," she offered.

I had not a clue what to choose.  Besides The Wind in the Willows, I had no knowledge of English book titles.  Perusing along the shelves in the large library, I cam upon the word "Christmas" which, evidently meant something to me.  I picked up the book and showed it to Reverend Mother who said Charles Dickens was difficult to read.  But I hung on to my chosen book and id read it before my host family came to pick me up to go to Cobh (pronounce Cove) by train.

The edition I had taken from FCJ Convent library must have been editied for children.  I remember well that the first words of the text were "Marley was dead.  Dead as a door nail..."  The edition from MCPL seems longer.  But, all in all, this is why I read this book a t the age of almost 13.  I guess now that I did finish it at the time.  And I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in life in the XIXth century.  The particular edition from MCPL (Penguin Classics) is very interesting because of the added texts.  I did read most everything added in this edition and would recommend it to anyone who wished to know more about Dickens than one usually knows.

Note: I learned that STAVE (title for each chapter of A Christmas Carol) means STANZA which means to me that Dickens saw his story almost as a long poem.  Interesting, makes me think and gives a window into his way of locking at this text.  -- ML

Art geeks and prom queens     Art geeks and prom queens    
Alyson Noël

I read this because I recognized the author.  I did finish it...in a day!  It was awesome.  I recommend it to teens who are tired of cliques and bullying. -- AN

Buzz riff     Buzz riff    
Sam Hill

I got sucked in even though I disapprove of the characters and their behavior.  Very 'pop'. -- SC

Fly Away     Fly Away    
Kristin Hannah

It sounded interesting, as I read I smiled, cried and could not wait to finish.  Fly Away is a wonderful book.  I will recommend this book to my Aunt. -- TH

Gang leader for a day : a rogue sociologist takes to the streets     Gang leader for a day : a rogue sociologist takes to the streets    
Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh

I read this book b/c Freakonomics piqued my interest in the story.  I finished it b/c it was well written and interesting.  I recommend it to anyone interested in poverty, economics, or sociology. -- AB

High five     High five    
Janet Evanovich

If you feel compelled to hunt for your missing Jersey uncle, then you and Stephanie Plum have something in common -- read the book. -- JC

Hocus Pocus     Hocus Pocus    
Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut has been on my 'to-read' list for awhile, recommended by friends.  The book had a unique plot that allowed for lots of other small stories to be included. -- CW

Kabul Beauty School : An American woman goes behind the veil     Kabul Beauty School : An American woman goes behind the veil    
Deborah Rodriguez

I'm doing a reading series on feminism and wanted a light intro into feminism in the Middle East.  I finished it because I cared for the characters.  My friend Alina would love this. -- CM

Lean in : women, work, and the will to lead     Lean in : women, work, and the will to lead    
Sheryl Sandberg

I read this because I was interested to hear how the author tackled balancing work and family.  She had some great points.  I would recomment this to any working adult. -- AB

Life     Life    
Keith Richards

Heard it was worth reading -- compelling look at man beyond musician, drug addict, needn't be a Rolling Stones fan -- deep perfectionist about music, loyal, friend, uncomfortable with fame, family man, incredible constitution -- EG

Love, medicine & miracles : lessons learned about self-healing from a surgeon's experience with exceptional patients     Love, medicine & miracles : lessons learned about self-healing from a surgeon's experience with exceptional patients    
Bernie S. Siegel

Very interesting.  Wouldn't have choose it myself so I am loving the wrapped books.  Definately would recommend. -- JH

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower     Mr. Midshipman Hornblower    
C. S. Forester

I generally am not interested in historical fiction or bks about wars, but I chose this part. Opposite Day book because my girlfriend loves the series.  I was glad I stepped out of my comfort zone because these were great stories!  I am looking forward to reading some more of them. -- JP

Nights of rain and stars : a novel     Nights of rain and stars : a novel    
Maeve Binchy

Just curiousity to pick a wrapped up book.  It was actually good -- the characters were very interesting and so where their own personal stories and the way their lives entertwined. -- LD

Speaker for the Dead     Speaker for the Dead    
Orson Scott Card

I am hooked! -- AE

The Bill Cook story : ready, fire, aim!     The Bill Cook story : ready, fire, aim!    
Bob Hammel

Interested in the story and found it read like a novel.  It made me proud to be from Bloomington. -- JW

The cat, the quilt and the corpse : a cats in trouble mystery     The cat, the quilt and the corpse : a cats in trouble mystery    
Leann Sweeney

It was a wrapped book.  Didn't know what I was getting into.  Didn't even think I'd like it since it didn't sound like my kind of book but I'm glad I did.  It was funny & sweet at the same time.  Who would think someone's love for a cat would drive them to such lengths. -- VA

The continual condition : {poems}     The continual condition : {poems}    
Charles Bukowski

Bukowski's poetry is filled with raw emotion.  His struggle is relatable.  I provides comfort in knowing someone else is hurting in the same way you are. -- MG

The cowboy and the cossack     The cowboy and the cossack    
Clair Huffaker

This was my first western and I loved it!  The east meets west and relationship dynamics between the characters made an excellent read. -- HA

The friendly persuasion     The friendly persuasion    
Jessamyn West

I chose this because we have been going to Quaker meeting.  I finished it because it was delightful.  The characters and writing are beautiful and real.  I have already recommended it to my parents. -- JB

The girl with no name : the incredible story of a child raised by monkeys     The girl with no name : the incredible story of a child raised by monkeys    
Marina Chapman

I read it because my mom made me.  I finished it because it was interesting.  I would recommend it to anyone my age which means 11. -- AW

The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy     The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy    
Douglas Adams

I remember reading this when I was 10 or 11.  I thought I would re-read it to see if it was still funny.  I feel a little sacriligious saying this but I didn't find it nearly as funny as I hoped. -- HA

The last Chinese chef     The last Chinese chef    
Nicole Mones

Because she is coming in November.  Because it is a great book.  Because it open one's eyes to new people and cultures. -- TM

The light between oceans : a novel     The light between oceans : a novel    
M. L. Stedman

This caught my eye on the bestseller express.  The character development is phenomenal, but have a box of tissues ready!  I cried through the whole 2nd half. -- SG

The power of thinking big     The power of thinking big    
John C. Maxwell

I read it because I liked the author.  I would recommend this book to anyone, especially people who like positive thinking. -- KQ

The time between     The time between    
Karen (Karen S.) White

This book is like listening to a story and elderly relative is telling you -- you are not sure you want to listen, but the long held secret keeps you wanting more.  Good book! -- JC

When Montana and I were young : a frontier childhood     When Montana and I were young : a frontier childhood    
Margaret Bell

I chose a wrapped book and was thrilled.  I love Montana memoirs of home steaders etc.  To top it off, my late father-in-law was given recognition in the introduction.  Recommended.  Those who like wester memoirs will like this. -- VM