All posts by Julie Iatron

Celebrate Pride Display


Pride is a celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community and to bring awareness of our struggle for equal rights.  It is celebrated in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred early on the morning of Saturday, 28 June 1969, in response to a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender persons and drag queens rioted in anger at police harassment. This riot lasted for days and is the watershed moment for the LGBTQIA+ rights movement and the impetus for organizing pride events.  You can celebrate pride by reading one of these incredible books written by and representing LGBTQIA+ people:


Described as a foundational Pride text, “Rubyfruit Jungle” by Rita Mae Brown also launched Brown’s prolific literary career.  It tells the story of Molly Bolt, the adoptive daughter of a dirt-poor Southern couple who boldly forges her own path in America. With her startling beauty and crackling wit, Molly finds that women are drawn to her wherever she goes– and she refuses to apologize for loving them back.


Girls and Their Horses” by Eliza Jane Brazier is set in the glamorous, competitive world of showjumping.  It’s a novel about the girls who ride, their cutthroat mothers, and a suspicious death at a horse show.  These mothers will stop at nothing to give their daughters everything they think the daughters deserve.


We Could Be So Good” by Cat Sebastian is a favorite of mine–think Newsies as a romance novel.  In the late 1950s–a hostile time for gay men–reporter Nick Russo forms an unlikely friendship with Andy Fleming, the son of a newspaper-tycoon father, and as they work closely together, they fall in love and must decide if, for the first time, they’re willing to fight.  This is the first book in a series set in midcentury New York and it’s not to be missed.


All My Mother’s Lovers” by Ilana Masad is a classic road trip novel.  Intimacy has always eluded twenty-seven-year-old Maggie Krause–despite being brought up by married parents, models of domestic bliss–until, that is, Lucia came into her life. But when Maggie’s mom, Iris, dies in a car crash, Maggie returns home only to discover a withdrawn dad, an angry brother, and, along with Iris’s will, five sealed envelopes, each addressed to a mysterious man she’s never heard of.  In an effort to run from her own grief and discover the truth about Iris–who made no secret of her discomfort with her daughter’s sexuality–Maggie embarks on a road trip, determined to hand-deliver the letters and find out what these men meant to her mother.  Maggie quickly discovers Iris’s second, hidden life, which shatters everything Maggie thought she knew about her parents’ perfect relationship.  What is she supposed to tell her father and brother?  And how can she deal with her own relationship when her whole world is in freefall?


You’ll find these titles and lots more in our “Celebrate Pride” display.  We also have a nonfiction Pride display downstairs at the Reference desk.  For additional title suggestions, see the lists below:



Reading Road Trip Display



No summer vacation planned?  Looking for some great reads to take with you on vacation?  In either case, why not plan a reading road trip?  Our “Reading Road Trip” display features 51 books, one for each state in the country, plus Washington, D.C.  Some states have lots of books set in them, while others have very few–we need more stories from West Virginia!  Check out some of these state-specific titles:


Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel features a dystopian setting that hits a little harder post-pandemic.  “One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.”  This haunting novel is set in a post-pandemic Michigan.


Winter Counts” by David Heska Wanbli Weiden is a groundbreaking debut thriller set on a Native American reservation in South Dakota.  “Virgil Wounded Horse is the local enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. When justice is denied by the American legal system or the tribal council, Virgil is hired to deliver his own punishment, the kind that’s hard to forget. But when heroin makes its way into the reservation and finds Virgil’s nephew, his vigilantism suddenly becomes personal. He enlists the help of his ex-girlfriend and sets out to learn where the drugs are coming from, and how to make them stop. They follow a lead to Denver and find that drug cartels are rapidly expanding and forming new and terrifying alliances. And back on the reservation, a new tribal council initiative raises uncomfortable questions about money and power. As Virgil starts to link the pieces together, he must face his own demons and reclaim his Native identity. He realizes that being a Native American in the twenty-first century comes at an incredible cost. Winter Counts is a tour-de-force of crime fiction, a bracingly honest look at a long-ignored part of American life, and a twisting, turning story that’s as deeply rendered as it is thrilling.”


Olympus, Texas” by Stacey Swann is set in the state named in the title.  “The Briscoe family is once again the talk of their small town when March returns to East Texas two years after he was caught having an affair with his brother’s wife. His mother, June, hardly welcomes him back with open arms, and is no stranger to infidelity herself; she’s tired of being the long-suffering wife thanks to her husband’s many affairs. Within days of March’s arrival, someone is dead, marriages are upended, and even the strongest of allies are divided. In the end, the ties that hold them together might be exactly what drag them all down. The Briscoes must reckon with their choices, their capacity for forgiveness, and the confines of family. An expansive tour de force, Olympus, TX combines the archetypes of Greek and Roman mythology with the psychological complexity of a messy family. After all, at some point, we all wonder: What good is this destructive force we call love?”


You’ll find these titles and lots more in our “Reading Road Trip” display, along with printed copies of the complete 51 title list.  For additional title suggestions, see the lists below:




Epic Fantasy Debuts Display


Looking to be transported to a different realm?  These epic fantasy debuts are just the ticket.  Whether they’re the author’s first book or the first book in a series, these debuts will take you away to a whole new world.  Check out some of the titles we have on display:


The Poppy War” by R.F. Kuang was given the Reddit Fantasy Award for Best Debut 2018 and called ‘The best fantasy debut of 2018’ by Wired.  It is a brilliantly imaginative epic fantasy debut, inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic.  When Rin aced the Keju – the test to find the most talented students in the Empire – it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who had hoped to get rich by marrying her off; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free from a life of servitude. That she got into Sinegard – the most elite military school in Nikan – was even more surprising.  Fighting the prejudice of rival classmates, Rin discovers that she possesses a lethal, unearthly power – an aptitude for the nearly mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of psychoactive substances and a seemingly insane teacher, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive – and that mastering these powers could mean more than just surviving school.  This is the first book in a fantasy trilogy written by the author of last year’s highly publicized “Yellowface.”


In “The Sun and the Void” by Gabriela Romero Lacruz, Reina arrives at Aguila Manor, her heart stolen from her chest, on the verge of death–until her estranged grandmother, a dark sorceress in the Don’s employ, intervenes. Indebted to a woman she never knew and smitten with the upper-caste daughter of the house, Celeste, Reina will do anything to earn–and keep–the family’s favor. Even the bidding of the ancient god who speaks to her from the Manor’s foundations. To save the woman she loves, Reina will have to defy the gods themselves, and become something she never could have imagined.  This book would also make an excellent pic to read for Pride month.


One of my personal favorite fantasy debuts is “Legends and Lattes” by Travis Baldree.  Worn out after decades of packing steel and raising hell, Viv the orc barbarian cashes out of the warrior’s life with one final score. A forgotten legend, a fabled artifact, and an unreasonable amount of hope lead her to the streets of Thune, where she plans to open the first coffee shop the city has ever seen. However, her dreams of a fresh start pulling shots instead of swinging swords are hardly a sure bet. Old frenemies and Thune’s shady underbelly may just upset her plans. To finally build something that will last, Viv will need some new partners and a different kind of resolve.  This book falls into the “cozy fantasy” subgenre that some readers might enjoy as a first foray into the fantasy genre.


You’ll find these titles and more in our “Epic Fantasy Debuts” display in our display area.   For additional title suggestions, see the lists below:





Get Ready for Summer Reading!


Some people wait all year for summer because of the warm weather, the trips to the beach, and the outdoor barbeques.  Me?  I wait all year for summer READING.  It’s the best reading of the year.  Prior to joining the team here at the Chelmsford Library, I was really into allllll the summer reading lists.  Now, I’m pretty much out of control.  I traveled an hour to An Unlikely Story in Plainville for part 2 of “Eclectic Bookaloo!” with their bookseller, Bill.  (Side note: this independent bookstore is worth the drive.  You won’t regret a visit.)  I paid my own cash money to purchase tickets to summer reading reveals by independent bookstores and for PDF summer reading lists.  My library holds list is out of control, I have double-digit numbers of ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) for upcoming releases downloaded on my Kindle, and my husband informed me that the number of library books currently in our house necessitates an intervention.  (He’s wrong.)  I spied an ARC in the staff room that’s on one of my lists, and Jill told me I didn’t need another book.  I decided that she’s not the boss of me and took that book.  (She actually *is* the boss of me…)  There are so many amazing books releasing between May and August this year.  Join us at Book Brunch on Friday, May 17th and Friday, July 19th to hear more about some of these titles.


BUT–this post isn’t actually about any of these Summer Reading 2024 books, because new releases can also mean long hold waits.  THIS post is about Summer Reading Past–the amazing summer reading lists from 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023.  That’s because these still-amazing books are actually available on our shelves and on our “Get Ready for Summer” display.  The great thing about these books is that if you missed them the first time around, you can easily get them right now.  Who else plans to dedicate some time Memorial Day weekend to reading a good book?  If you need one, this is where you find them!  Here are some of my favorites:


The Road to Roswell” by Connie Willis was SUCH a delightful surprise for Summer Reading 2023.  Level-headed Francie can’t believe that her college roommate is getting married in Roswell, New Mexico–complete with a true believer groom and a UFO themed ceremony and reception.  Francie rolls her eyes at the whole spectacle–right up until she herself is kidnapped by an alien.  What follows is a funny, heartwarming alien road trip adventure that would be perfect reading for a day at the beach or the pool.  It’s a fast read that you could finish in a weekend.


If you’re looking for something darker and more dramatic, try the “The Midcoast” by Adam White.  It’s spring in the tiny town of Damariscotta, a tourist haven on the coast of Maine known for its oysters and antiques.  Andrew, a high school English teacher recently returned to the area, has brought his family to Ed and Steph Thatch’s sprawling riverside estate to attend a reception for the Amherst women’s lacrosse team.  Back when they were all teenagers, Andrew never could have predicted that Ed, descended from a long line of lobstermen, or Steph, a decent student until she dropped out to start a family, would ever send a daughter to a place like Amherst.  As Andrew wanders through the Thatches’ house, he stumbles upon a file he’s not supposed to see: photos of a torched body in a burned-out sedan.   And when a line of state police cruisers crashes the Thatches’ reception an hour later, Andrew and his neighbors finally begin to see the truth behind Ed and Steph’s remarkable rise.  “The Midcoast” explores the concept of privilege, the dark side of the American dream, and the lies we tell to protect our loved ones.


Camp Zero” by Michelle Min Sterling is set in remote northern Canada, where a team led by a visionary American architect is breaking ground on a building project called Camp Zero, intended to be the beginning of a new way of life.  A clever and determined young woman, code-named Rose, is offered a chance to join the Blooms, a group hired to entertain the men in camp – but her real mission is to secretly monitor the mercurial architect in charge.  In return, she’ll receive a home for her climate-displaced Korean immigrant mother and herself. Rose quickly secures the trust of her target, only to discover that everyone has a hidden agenda, and nothing is as it seems.  Perfect for sci fi fans and those interested in climate change themed novels, this one feels like an ideal rainy day read.


You’ll find these titles and more in our “Get Ready For Summer” display in our display area.   For additional title suggestions, see the lists below:





Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Display



In the month of May we take time to reflect and celebrate the important role that Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) have played in our shared history.  Expand your reading horizons with one of these titles written by Asian American and Pacific Islanders and featuring AANHPI characters.  Here are some suggestions:


Sharks In the Time of Saviors” by Kawai Strong Washburn is a groundbreaking debut novel that folds the legends of Hawaiian gods into an engrossing family saga.  In 1995 Hawaii, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores falls overboard from a cruise ship.  When sharks appear in the water, everyone fears the worst.  But instead, Noa is gingerly delivered to his mother in the jaws of a shark, marking his story as the stuff of legends.  Nainoa’s family hails his rescue as a sign of favor from ancient Hawaiian gods–one that appears validated after he exhibits new abilities.  But as time passes, this supposed divine favor begins to drive the family apart.  When supernatural events revisit the Flores family, they are forced to reckon with the bonds of family, the meaning of heritage, and the cost of survival.


According to Jean Kwok, “The Family Chao” by Lan Samantha Chang is “a gorgeous and gripping literary mystery” that explores “family, betrayal, passion, race, culture and the American Dream.”  The residents of Haven, Wisconsin have dined on the Fine Chao restaurant’s delicious Americanized Chinese food for thirty-five years, happy to ignore any unsavory whispers about the family owners.  But when brash, charismatic, and tyrannical patriarch Leo Chao is found dead-presumed murdered-his sons find they’ve drawn the exacting gaze of the entire town.  The ensuing trial brings to light potential motives for all three brothers: Dagou, the restaurant’s reckless head chef; Ming, financially successful but personally tortured; and the youngest, gentle but lost college student James.  Brimming with heartbreak, comedy, and suspense, The Family Chao offers a kaleidoscopic, highly entertaining portrait of a Chinese American family grappling with the dark undercurrents of a seemingly pleasant small town.


Natural Beauty” by Ling Ling Huang is a sly and sharp debut novel that eviscerates the beauty and wellness industry, exploring questions of consumerism, self-worth, race, and identity.  Our main character is a virtuoso pianist who gives up her future as a musician to work at a high-end wellness store in New York City where the pursuit of beauty comes at a staggering cost.  Our narrator’s new job is a coveted one among New York’s beauty-obsessed, and it affords her entry into a new world of privilege.  But beneath these fancy creams and tinctures lies a terrible truth that threatens to consume her.  After all, beauty is nothing without ugliness.


You’ll find these titles and more in our “Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month” display in our display area.  You can also find a nonfiction AAPI display down in our Reference area.  For additional title suggestions, see the lists below:



“There Goes the Neighborhood” Display



Looking for a fun thriller to read?  Check out our “There Goes the Neighborhood” display filled with domestic thrillers.  This a subgenre of thrillers that feature everyday settings and characters with a twist.  You’ll be side eyeing your neighbors and questioning your spouse’s motives when you start reading these books!  Here are some suggestions from the subgenre:


Sarah Langan has won the Bram Stoker award for horror writing three times, and her literary suburban noir “Good Neighbors” is described as “Celeste Ng’s enthralling dissection of suburbia” meets “Shirley Jackson’s creeping dread.”  Set in a near-future America during a hot summer, a terrible secret creates a rift between two misfit moms who were once best friends.  When an innocent woman falls into a sinkhole, it’s one mom’s word against the other’s, and the neighborly cul-de-sac of Maple Street tries its residents in the court of public opinion.  Think Big Little Lies reimagined by Shirley Jackson.


Another summer, another cul-de-sac: the residents of Jamie Day’s novel “Block Party” are entangled in a web of secrets and scandal that they’re hiding from outsiders–and each other.  On the night of their annual summer block party, someone is murdered, and in order to solve the murder, we go back in time one year to unravel the rivalries and betrayals that end us back in the present.  Elin Hilderbrand describes the book as being “like a firecracker on a hot summer night.”


New York Times bestselling author Kristin Miller’s “The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives” introduces us to the trophy wives of Presidio Terrace, San Francisco’s most exclusive–and most deadly–neighborhood.  Brooke Davies, Erin King, and Georgia St. Claire all maintain the veneer of perfect marriages, but those beautiful fronts hide cracks in each relationship.  Georgia is rumored to have murdered both of her husbands, and when she claims to have found true love in her third marriage, everyone questions her motives.  A tragic accident forces the residents of Presidio Terrace to wonder if Georgia has killed again and what she might be capable of doing to protect her secrets.  “The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives” is described as a “shrewd, darkly compelling novel.”


You’ll find these titles and more in our “There Goes the Neighborhood” display.  For additional title suggestions, see the lists below:



“This Ain’t Texas” Display


Have you ever read a Western novel?  Do you know what makes a Western a Western?  These novels primarily take place in the Western United States, with some books extending into Canada and Mexico, and are usually set somewhere between the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the 20th century.  In Western novels, tension within the story results from external conflict: small towns threatened by outlaws, cowboys herding cattle, and gunslingers facing off against sheriffs could all be settings for a Western novel.  The protagonists or heroes of these books may not be fully developed, allowing readers to imagine themselves within the story and setting.  Real-life Western stars like Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday might make an appearance, characters battle the elements, and betrayal is a common theme.  These action-packed adventures use details and tone to capture the reader’s attention, and they stay for the satisfying ending where good triumphs over evil and justice is served.


If you’re new to the Western scene, there are a few key authors to note.  Johnny D. Boggs is a prolific, award-winning author of the genre.  His books are full of adventure and rich details, with well-drawn characters.  Reading “Mojave” is a good place to start.


William W. Johnstone often writes with his nephew, J.A. Johnstone.  Check out “Sidewinders” as an introduction to his work.  His books feature fast-paced, plot-driven stories filled with relentless action and plenty of violence. Johnstone’s period detail is exceptional, and his works can be set anywhere from central Nebraska to Scotland and any time in the past, present, or future.


Larry McMurty is best known for de-romanticizing the American West, both past and present. His leisurely paced, long novels allow for the development of unforgettable, vivid characters. Start with Lonesome Dove.


Cormac McCarthy is known for literary fiction and modern westerns with disturbing stories, evocative Southwest settings, and incomparable prose.  Because events in these stories unfold erratically, your attention is captured with each individual sentence.  Start with “All the Pretty Horses“.


Key novels in the genre include Wolves of Eden by Kevin McCarthy and Outlawed by Anna North.  In Wolves of Eden, set in post-Civil War Montana, two Irish brothers reenlist in the Army after struggling to adjust to life as farm laborers and find themselves in the middle of violent fights with an alliance of tribes.  At the same time, a Lieutenant and his aide receive orders to find the killers responsible for the murder of a prominent Washington D.C. couple. Their search leads to a military fort in Montana where they deal with two dangerous forces — the Sioux and the men inside the Fort, who do not support their investigation.  In Outlawed, the protagonist, Ada, is driven from her home after failing to become pregnant and being accused of witchcraft.  She ends up finding the Hole in the Wall gang, a group of outlaws made up of LGBTQIA women, barren women, and other outcasts. Using the skills she learned from her midwife mother, she becomes the doctor for the group, who want to build a proper community for other queer or gender-nonconforming people.  Ada joins the gang on their many, sometimes violent, adventures as they strive to transform the Wild West.


One of the top themes in western is “novels of place,” in which the stories are as much about the setting as they are about the characters.  “Centennial” by James A. Michener celebrates the rich history of the American West, with characters such as Lame Beaver, Levi Zendt, and other assorted trappers and traders.  In the “rural police” theme, crime is not absent, just more spread out.  The police here are going to close their cases without fancy forensic labs.  Check out “Next To Last Stand” or “Daughter of the Morning Star” by Craig Johnson.  There’s nothing quite like a character scorned in a “vengeance is mine” novel.  In “The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu,” the main character fights his way across the West to rescue his wife and exact revenge on the men who destroyed him.  Ming Tsu is aided by a blind clairvoyant and a troupe of magic-show performers as he settles old scores along his journey.  In “weird Westerns,” the West is infused with fantasy and supernatural elements.  Charlaine Harris’s “An Easy Death” reimagines an alternate history where the US collapsed during WWII and was split into five different countries, including the southwestern territory of Texoma.  Alma Katsu’s “The Hunger” retells the Donner party story with a Walking Dead style twist.


You’ll find these titles and more in our “This Ain’t Texas” display.  You’ll also find a few cowboy-themed romance novels for those of you who love a good romance!  For additional title suggestions, see the lists below:



“It Came From the Library” Display


Do you love to read horror but don’t really know why you love it so much?  Are you interested in reading horror but don’t know what themes you might like?  Check out our “It Came From the Library” display for a selection of some of the genre’s biggest titles and stories that represent the top themes of the genre.


Horror stories can scare, repulse, or haunt us, since they often play upon our personal fears.  The setting is often crucial to the story (hello, creepy old house in the woods!), along with other elements that create an unsettling atmosphere.  The characters in these books aren’t always likeable, they can encounter literal or imagined threats, and we don’t always know whether or not they’ll survive.  The ending is often unexpected or ambiguous–that’s the nature of horror itself.


Within the horror genre, there are some key authors to note.  First, there are the horror legends: classic authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and modern greats like Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Shirley Jackson.  King’s newest novel “You Like It Darker: Stories” is scheduled to release later this year, so place your library hold now!


Next are the recently published books receiving rave reviews, such as Mariana Enriquez’s “Our Share of Night.”  This horror novel features complicated family dynamics, road trips, and secret cults.   Told throughout multiple decades and by various characters, Mariana Enriquez creates a multilayered, sweeping, and unconventional horror story that examines family legacies and occult mythology against a backdrop of Argentine history.   Victor LaValle’s “Lone Women” is a personal favorite of mine, combining historical horror and “Weird Westerns.”  Set in 1915, the novel stars Adelaide Henry, who, feeling responsible for the murder of her parents, decides to travel to Montana, where unmarried Black women are allowed to take advantage of a government offer of free land. The death of her parents was so horrifying that she set them and her family home on fire, leaving her to travel with one bag and a massive, always-locked steamer trunk filled with secrets. Her arrival in Montana starts promisingly, with residents who are friendly enough. Still, as winter descends and the trunk opens, Adelaide begins a battle for self-preservation as the lone Black woman in an isolated locale. Driven by the strength of its female protagonist, this moody, suspenseful novel works well for readers who enjoy historical horror or Westerns with a twist.


Then we have the themes found within the horror genre.  First up: “band of survivors,” where groups of people team up, willingly and unwillingly, for survival.  Examples of this theme include Justin Cronin’s “The Passage” and Robert Kirkman’s “The Walking Dead: A Continuing Story of Survival Horror.”


“Cosmic Horror” features insane gods and the cults who worship them.  Try Sam J. Miller’s “The Blade Between” for a story of three friends who plan to expose the corrupt motives of invasive corporate gentrifiers.


“Possessed” books like Paul Tremblay’s “A Head Full of Ghosts” feature characters grappling with demonic possession.  In this novel, the lives of the Barrett family are torn apart when their 14-year-old daughter begins to display signs of what is believed to be demonic possession.  And what happens to the Barretts?  Well, they get themselves a reality TV show, of course…


Books set in small towns populated by people who routinely face monsters, horror, or evil fall into the “small town horror” theme.  Sometimes, the people in these towns ARE the horror and evil.  Check out Stephen King’s “Under the Dome” and “Home Before Dark” by Riley Sager to experience some small-town horror.


“Vampire menace” books feature–you guessed it, vampires.  Publishing trends indicate that vampire stories are all the rage this year, so keep your eyes peeled for lots of vampire books.  Not all of them will fall into the horror genre, but “The Fall” by Guillermo del Toro absolutely does.


Finally, “zombie apocalypse” books feature characters that face the outbreak and/or the impact of a zombie epidemic.  “Warm Bodies” by Isaac Marion is a zombie apocalypse story with a twist: the zombie protagonist of the book dislikes having to kill humans, enjoys Frank Sinatra’s music, and meets a living girl who resolves to protect–despite how delicious she looks.


You’ll find these titles and more in our “It Came From the Library” display, including a recent title I read and loved called “A Haunting in the Arctic” by C.J. Cooke.  I’ve been describing it as “mermaid horror” to anyone who will listen–absolutely worth a read!  For additional title suggestions, see the lists below:



Women’s History Month Display



Celebrate Women’s History Month with some books written by incredible female authors and featuring strong female protagonists!  Here are some possible titles to consider:


One of my favorite reads of 2022 was When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill.  Set in a 1950s America that looks similar to ours, but with one key difference: The Mass Dragoning of 1955, in which hundreds of thousands of women sprouted wings, became dragons, and disappeared into the sky.   Our main character Alex is a young girl whose aunt transformed while her mother did not and who is forbidden from ever talking about her beloved aunt.  “In this timely and timeless speculative novel, award-winning author Kelly Barnhill boldly explores rage, memory, and the forced limitations of girlhood.”


In An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, newlyweds Celestial and Roy are just beginning their life together when Roy is arrested for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit.  Emmett is sentenced to 12 years in prison, and Celestial, alone and struggling, seeks comfort from her childhood friend Andre.  After five years, Roy’s conviction is overturned, and he returns home, thinking that their life will pick up where they left off.


In Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead, Marian and James Graves are raised by their uncle in Missoula, Montana, and a chance encounter with two pilots passing through town sparks Marian’s love of flight.  She drops out of school at 15 and finds a patron who will help her achieve her dream: circumnavigating the globe and flying her plane over the Arctic Circle.  A century later, actress Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film about Marian’s disappearance over the South Pacific.  “Her immersion into the character of Marian unfolds, thrillingly, alongside Marian’s own story, as the two womens’ fates–and their hunger for self-determination in vastly different geographies and times– collide.”


You’ll find these titles and many more in our display area.  For additional titles: see lists below:




“Tortured Poets Department” Display


Are you anxiously awaiting Taylor’s new album drop?  Looking for something to do pass the time until you can listen?  Check out our “Tortured Poets Department” display featuring dark academia titles and books about poets and writers!

What exactly IS dark academia?  There are varying definitions, but generally speaking, it refers to a book that features an academic setting AND a dark undertone or dark twist.  It’s not necessarily linked to a specific genre of books: Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth falls into the horror category, Portrait of a Thief by Grace Li is a crime heist, and Babel by R. F. Kuang is considered an “alternative fantasy history.”  The creation of the dark academia subgenre is attributed to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, the 1992 novel that tells the story of a murder that takes place among a group of Classics students.  Dark academia has also seen a rise in popularity thanks to Internet culture and aesthetic—and new album releases.


If you’re looking for some recommendations from the display, check out Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo.  This is the first book in the Alex Sterns series set at a Yale University in a world that looks similar to our own–except that magic exists, and that magic is controlled by secret societies.


The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern features a graduate student named Zachary who discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his Vermont school—which includes a story from his own childhood.  This magical tale is filled with secret societies (notice the theme), ancient libraries, and book guardians.


If you like books in the newly minted “romantasy” genre–a combination of romance and fantasy–check out the first book in The Scholomance series by Naomi Novik.  A Deadly Education follows El, a young sorceress who fights monsters and is repeatedly saved by another student named Orion.  Surviving until graduation is the goal…


You’ll find all these books and more in our “Tortured Poets Department” display.  Click on the images below for some additional suggestions!