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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 by Alix E. Harrow

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 future not only for themselves but for all women. If you like fantasy and feminism, this book is probably for you. It’s a new and interesting take on the suffrage movement, and has plenty of witchy vibes. It also stresses the importance of female friendship, and includes a diverse cast of characters without the inclusion feeling forced. Clocking in at over 500 pages, it’s a great read if you’re looking for a long book to hunker down with during the chilly winter months.

Fiction, Fantasy


THE LAGER QUEEN OF MINNESOTA by J. Ryan Stradal

In small town Minnesota, two sisters become estranged when their father dies and leaves his entire inheritance to one of the sisters. As they grow older, Edith struggles to make ends meet while raising her granddaughter, and Helen is wealthy thanks to her mega-successful brewery. When Edith’s granddaughter becomes involved in the brewing business, she gets a chance to change their fortunes and reunite the family. This book combined my love of the Midwest, craft beer, and stories of strong, hardworking women making it in male-dominated fields. I loved learning the ins and outs of the craft brewing business and following the family through the generations. This book is perfect for anyone looking for a heartwarming, hopeful, intergenerational story.

Fiction, Contemporary


INTERIOR CHINATOWN by Charles Yu

Interior Chinatown tells the story of Willis Wu, a Taiwanese-American man who is a background actor in a police procedural show, constantly playing stereotypical Generic Asian Man roles. But he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy – the highest acting honor he can imagine for a child of immigrants living in Chinatown. When he finally achieves his dream, he discovers it isn’t everything he hoped it would be, and has to choose between his love of acting and his love of family. The book is written as a screenplay, which gives it a fun and unique twist. It manages to be funny and entertaining while still being moving and evoking feelings that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt overlooked, forgotten, or stereotyped.

Fiction, Contemporary


SEVEN DAYS OF US by Francesca Hornak

It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. But because their oldest daughter has just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, the whole family must quarantine for a week. The Birches are locked down and cut off from the rest of humanity, which leads to many long-held secrets being revealed. Christmas in quarantine? Sounds all too familiar. I first read this book in December 2019, when the idea of quarantine was foreign and unimaginable. After going through a quarantine Christmas, this story is relatable in all new ways. The characters are realistic in that they are annoying yet lovable, and the whole book just has a feel-good vibe to it. This is a perfect holiday read for the current times we’re living through.

Fiction, Contemporary


THE BEAUTY OF YOUR FACE by Sahar Mustafah

Afaf, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is the principal at a Muslim school for girls in the Chicago suburbs. One morning, a shooter attacks the school. As Afaf listens to his progress through the school, she thinks back on her childhood and her family and everything that brought her to this point. I had trouble putting this book down, I was so invested in the characters and finding out what was going to happen. I enjoyed learning a lot about a culture and religion I previously knew little about. Although it’s a story specifically about a Muslim woman searching for identity and trying to consolidate her religious values with the secular world around her, it will resonate with anyone who has struggled with faith, identity, or feeling out of place in the world.

Fiction, Contemporary


All of these books are available for checkout from the Galesburg Public Library!

Curious what the staff of GPL likes to read? Every month we’ll share five titles we’ve read recently. All titles are available for checkout at the library — give us a call or visit the catalog to put one on hold!

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