GPL Blog

St. Patrick’s Day Reads

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Some of you will be going out to enjoy some green beverages and others will eat corned beef for dinner. Either way, it’s the perfect time to enjoy some Irish-themed reads! Grab these titles for your St. Patty’s enjoyment!

Normal People by Sally Rooney is a favorite among GPL patrons, and for a good reason. It tells the story of Connell and Marianne, who pretend not to know each other at school. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenages—one they are determined to conceal.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

If you’re a nonfiction lover, Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe is a great read. It’s a mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath, using the case of Jean McConville as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a guerilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared by not only people like the McConville children, but also the I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders.

If you’ve read Say Nothing and want a little more Irish history, check out How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe. In this delightful and illuminating look into a crucial but little-known “hinge” of history, Thomas Cahill takes us to the “island of saints and scholars,” the Ireland of St. Patrick and the Book ofKells. Here, far from the barbarian despoliation of the continent, monks and scribes laboriously, lovingly, even playfully preserved the west’s written treasures. With the return of stability in Europe, these Irish scholars were instrumental in spreading learning. Thus the Irish not only were conservators of civilization, but became shapers of the medieval mind, putting their unique stamp on western culture.

If all that sounds a little heavy, maybe The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier is more up your alley. The young adult fantasy tells the story of eighteen-year-old Liobhan, a powerful singer and an expert whistle player. Her brother has a voice to melt the hardest heart, and a rare talent on the harp. But Liobhan’s burning ambition is to join the elite warrior band on Swan Island. She and her brother train there to compete for places, and find themselves joining a mission while still candidates. Their unusual blend of skills makes them ideal for this particular job, which requires going undercover as traveling minstrels. For Swan Island trains both warriors and spies.

Lily’s Book Recommendations for Autumn

Fall is descending on us, and even now the earliest leaves are starting to go. In fall, I like books full of introspection—books that I could read by the fire just as well as on the porch, depending on the weather. While very different from each other, in each of these books you’ll find great emotional depth and authors unafraid to ask the questions that make us who we are. 

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Staff Contest — Dip Day!

Five library staff members showcased their culinary talents for our very first Dip Day contest this September. Entries ran the gamut of tastes, from pickle chip dip to a sweet apple dip, and were thoroughly taste-tested by staff. The winning creation, as voted on by her peers, was by Carolyn Pierson, technical services clerk. Past competitions have included a chocolate bake-off and chili cook-off. Enjoy the dip recipes, just in time for fall tailgating!

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Staff Picks — Ali

Ali loves all kinds of books, some of her favorites include the masters of horror and science fiction. Check out her top five below!

Visit the library, give us a call or search the catalog to put one of these great books on hold today.

THE TALISMAN by Stephen King
This is my favorite book that I have ever read. If you are a fan of exciting adventures, two-headed birds, werewolves, and magic, then this book is for you! 13-year-old Jack Sawyer and his mom are on the run from Uncle Morgan, and Jack has no idea why. Jack also knows that his mom is very sick even though she tries…

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Staff Picks — Jane E.

I love a good series. If I find a series I love, I will reread it. Here are the first books in some of my favorite fantasy series. Jane, Assistant Director, Head of Adult Services

Visit the library, give us a call or search the catalog to put one of these great books on hold today.

If you like stories about schools for the magically gifted, I recommend A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik. The school has no teachers and terrible food, but it is full of monsters trying to kill the students. (Including monsters hiding in the food.) Lots of snark from the main character and really fascinating world

Staff Picks — Hillary

This week Hillary is sharing some of her favorite books of all time. Curious about some of these titles? Visit the library, give us a call or search the catalog to put one of these great books on hold today.

A CHILD OF BOOKS by Oliver Jeffers

In which two characters set sail in a sea of words as they travel through different stories like Alice in Wonderland or through a forest made up of fairy tales. I love this story largely because of the illustrations. Each panel has text that is incorporated into the illustrations themselves. On one page you will see a passage from Peter Pan in the shape of mountains and on the next snippets of Little Red Riding Hood…

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Staff Picks — Luke

Looking for some recent fiction? Luke has you covered. Check out some of his favorite titles below, and make sure to visit the library, give us a call or search the catalog to put one of these great books on hold today.

HOW HIGH WE GO IN THE DARK by Sequoia Nagamatsu
Beginning in 2030, a grieving archeologist arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue the work of his recently deceased daughter at the Batagaika crater, where researchers are studying long-buried secrets now revealed in melting permafrost, including the perfectly preserved remains of a girl who appears to have died of an ancient virus.

Once unleashed, the Arctic Plague will reshape life on earth for…

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Staff Picks — Emily

This week I’m bringing a little variety to the staff picks section, with five diverse titles showcasing my wide range of tastes. From poetry to drama to true crime, there’s something here for everyone! Visit the library, give us a call or search the catalog to put one of these great books on hold today.

Hanif’s second poetry collection, a follow-up to The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, is “a book of poems about how one rebuilds oneself after heartbreak, the kind that renders them a different version of themselves than the one they knew.” Known for both his poetry and his non-fiction writing, Hanif is one of my favorite writers of all time. His talent for pairing difficult, emotional internal struggles with cultural touchstones (like Michael Jordan, Nikola Tesla, and…

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Staff Picks — Eileen

Happy 2022! Looking for a good book to kick off your new year? Check out one of these recent favorites of Eileen, Reference Librarian and Grant Coordinator here at the library. If you like literary fiction with a hint of fantasy and history, you’ll find something to love on this list. Happy reading!

The Once and Future Witches follows the lives of three sisters trying to make their way in 1890’s New England, using witchcraft and sisterhood to further the cause of suffrage. Brought back together under mysterious circumstances after years of not speaking, the three sisters must come together to forge a better…

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Staff Picks — Meghan B.

Hi ho! Ms. Meghan the Children’s Assistant here to share with you some of the best books I’ve read recently. We’ve got two fantastic children’s books, one historical fiction novel, one murder mystery, and one YA fantasy novel. So let’s get to it! EXCEPT ANTARCTICA by Todd Sturgell An Attenborough-esque narrator begins by explaining that turtles are found on every continent except Antarctica. One turtle takes exception to this and begins the trek to the South Pole, joined along the way by other animals that are found everywhere ‘except Antarctica’. The flustered narrator (who is not getting paid enough for this) chronicles their journey. Additional back matter provides more learning opportunities. Childrens, Picture Books THE GODMOTHERS by Camille Aubray This novel follows four sisters and sisters-in-law in an Italian-American family in Greenwich Village through the decades surrounding WWII. The author deftly handles the shifting POVs as Filomena, Amie, Lucy, and Petrina handle Read more »

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