Felicitous February Staff Picks
Foraging for fantastic fiction? How Felicitous! We've got our staff's favorite books for this February edition of Staff Picks!
In May, 1940, Winston Churchill accepted his King’s invitation to form a government, assuming the role of Prime Minister. Within days, Germany invaded Belgium and France, routing the French and British armies, beginning what was to be the most dangerous year to the British Empire in modern times.Erik Larson, in what I think is his best work (remember, The Devil in the White City, In the Garden of the Beasts, Dead Wake), tells the story of that year through Churchill’s eyes. He follows Churchill as he navigates the politics of negotiation, the Blitz, the fear of invasion, and an alliance with the United States, defiantly refusing surrender, steeling the British heart with his oratory. Because Larson draws from the diaries of Churchill’s teenage daughter, Mary, and some of his closest advisors, the story we read is uniquely personal.Winston Churchill was a remarkable leader. Larson paints his imperfections, eccentricities, and gift into a beautiful portrait.-Ron
Wow! What a beautifully written book. Historical Fiction with a touch of magical realism this book takes you into the heart of the underground railroad with a special appearance by Harriett Tubman. This is Coates’ first foray into fiction and has a real talent for it. Though slavery is a difficult topic this book is not a difficult read. Young Hiram Walker is the main character that we follow through bondage and beyond to liberator. Mythology of powers brought back over the water from Africa along with realistic historical references of the deep south during slavery intertwine to give a beautiful narrative.
A summer weekend has so much potential and Brandon Taylor explores that potential to the fullest. Wallace is an introverted scientist working his way through a graduate degree in the midwest. He is an outsider in so many ways, he’s black, gay, and quite in a group of mostly white folks. As the weekend progresses, tensions between Wallace and his environments grow and some things break.This is a truly beautiful and touching book. It’s not pretentious in the way so much literary fiction can be, but honest and raw. Please read this book.-Izzy
Kiley Reid has written a brilliant debut novel. Such a Fun Age covers the topics of race, class, and intrinsic privilege with humor and eloquence, all while the characters involved experience the social awkwardness and misunderstandings that so often accompany conversations about those topics. Emira is a young black woman who works as a babysitter for the well-off (white) Chamberlain family while she puzzles out who she wants to be, and how to make ends meet. Alix Chamberlain is a driven social influencer and mother, teetering on the edge of total discontent with her life. One night, while walking her young charge through an upscale grocery store, Emira finds herself the target of a racially charged police encounter, which is videotaped by a passerby, and eventually broken up by her employer. The encounter changes the dynamic between Emira, who is humiliated and would rather move on, and Alix Chamberlain, who is shocked the encounter happened within the confines of her manicured life and increasingly desperate for Emira’s approval and friendship. While these who women circle each other, they find that there are fewer degrees of separation between them than they believed, and one chance encounter will bring everything to a head. I can't recommend this book enough. I’d like to read if for the first time all over again.
My friend got me this book as a joke because, come on, just look at the cover. Hope Never Dies is not just a joke, however, it is a crime thriller through and through. The book is fast-paced and the dialogue between Biden and Obama is hilarious; in fact, the hardest part about reading this book is remembering that these are characters, not the real men. The characters are lovable and relatable even when talking about such unrelatable problems as a friendship after a presidency. I can’t wait to read Hope Rides Again.
American Dirt is the same story I watch on the nightly news; Migrants crossing the US/Mexican border, fleeing violence, poverty, and gangs more powerful than their own government. Lydia and her young son attempt to find their way out of Mexico after her husband and 16 members of her family were violently killed by a drug cartel. They ride the dangerous La Bestia, then finalize their treacherous journey with a coyote. Cummins paints a gruesome situation where loyal citizens (neither rapists nor murderers) leave their country, risking their very lives, to arrive at a country that doesn’t want them. This powerful story allows the reader to better understand the dilemma currently occurring at our southern border crossing. I believe this is a must-read story, which can’t help but instill personal empathy.
Twelve-year-old Edward is the sole survivor of a plane crash, losing his parents and brother. How does one move on and survive in a world that has been torn apart? This story of Edward’s survival is tender and unique, not what you would quite expect! Dear Edward is a somber story with a powerful message; don’t wait for tomorrow to follow your dreams, live out loud NOW!
This is a wonderful, super sweet, funny, touching romance that everyone should read. It is about communication between two people. Romance novels, especially historical, are lessons in how to share your feelings and brutal honesty. The Bromance Book Club is the essence of this. Do not put this down just because there is a sports theme. This is SO worth the read.
Lillian hasn’t seen her best friend (or worst enemy?) Madison since they were teenagers, when Lillian involuntarily took a fall for Madison and got kicked out of private school. Now, Madison needs Lillian’s help; her high-powered political husband Jasper has two kids - unusual kids - from a previous marriage, and they need someone to look after them. Lillian figures the money can’t be worse than what she’s making at the grocery store, so she agrees to come be their governess. Nanny? Oh who cares what they call her, as long as she can keep these kids alive through the rest of the summer. Funny, heartfelt, and wholly unexpected!
This is not only the best book I've read on numerology, but it may be the most comprehensive book on letters and numbers and their secret and sacred origin ever written. The author goes into detail about Pythagoras and the original school of thought that conceived of this powerful tool to understanding the Tree of Life, human behavior and spiritual knowledge. Reading this book led me to discover so many connections between science and biblical wisdom. Very interesting. Even if numerology, astrology and the like, are not your thing, I think everyone could get something valuable from this book
If you are a fan of Hardknock Wife and Baby Cobra, then you’ll want to read this book! Ali wished she knew more about her father before he passed away and decided to write this book for her daughters. She has a strong sense of self-awareness and wants to be sure her daughters do not feel the same way. She tells all the intimate details of her life and gives advice from dating men to working in the male-dominated industry of comedy. She also explains how she trapped their father into marrying her. Needless to say, this book is riddled with hilariousness!
This is a sweet little book and a great Valentine's Day gift. Words matter. They have the power to cheer us up or make us sad or confused. A great book for discussing with children (and adults) how language can shape our reality.
Looking for an entertaining, hilarious, after dinner book? The Name Game is the perfect book for folks who love riddles and jokes. Nelson’s pun game is on point and will have you chuckling heartily.
“The great illusion is that life should be perfect.” This tender story of kindness, friendship, vulnerability, and acceptance, asks simple questions but provides deep answers. The characters remind us of what is important in life. It’s that kind of book, packed with inspiration, that can be read over and over, and be enjoyed by readers of any age. I can’t wait to share this book with my grandkids. I am confident it will encourage deep conversation!
Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda writes so beautifully. The poems in this book are powerful, moving and inspiring. I have always found his poetry to be amazing. His passion and sensuality are apparent in both Spanish and in the lovely English translation.
Absence is one of my favorites.
If you like this, you’ll like: Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass, Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale
Cassandra Cain is a lethal teenage assassin. That is, until she can’t bring herself to kill one of her marks. As she tries to rebuild a life with the help of a gadget-savvy librarian and the quirky owner of a noodle restaurant, she begins to learn what it means to live and be a hero. When the crime ring she worked for rears its head in Gotham, she is forced to consider what her true nature is.
I love the new take on female superheroes and villains, they come into being in a world of their own making instead of the overly masculine worlds of so many comic books. Goux’s fluid art style is a perfect fit for this action-packed graphic novel.
Prodigies, folks with superpowers, are split in two in Renegades. There are Heroes or Villains. Nova is a villain, raised by the Anarchists after her family was murdered. She never needs to sleep and can send others to sleep. When an assassination attempt on the Renegades’ (the Hero’s) top counsel people fails, she decides to infiltrate the organization as a recruit. Will she succeed in taking down the whole institution the Renegades have built? Will she bring about Anarchy once again?
Meyer’s uses this book to stage conversations about political systems, justice, and our responsibilities to ourselves and our society. It’s a great adventure.
If you like this you would also like Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid
From the creator of Captain Underpants comes yet another hero for our generation. This time he isn’t an underpants wearing, hypnotized principal, he is a half-man, half-dog, police officer! Follow Dogman and his band of friends and foes as they fight for the very existence of the city. In this, the 8th installment in the series, Dogman must fight his greatest foe yet, a fairy with a twisted sense of what is right and wrong. Join him as he and his friends learn the best way to defeat evil, compassion.
This is Avi’s second book in his cherished Dimwood Forest Series. Poppy’s growth, struggles, and relationships make up the backbone of the series, and this action-packed beginning is a must-read. Though she is a mouse Poppy’s struggles with self-confidence and fear are a uniquely human experience that any age can connect with. Keep an eye out for Ragweed and Poppy the newest entry in the Dimwood series by Avi.
I really like Healy’s writing style. I read all of his last series Hero’s Guide to Saving the Kingdom. This first book the Perilous Journey of Danger Mayhem is just as fun, but with a factual twist. Many of the characters in this book were real scientists and political figures of the time 1883.
Molly wants nothing more than to have her mother succeed in becoming a well-known inventor. And have a chance at the World’s Fair. But things keep getting in their way.
This is a fun action-packed adventure that you just have to know how it ends.
This is a beautifully written piece of art. Each word is uplifting and inspirational. In a world where young girls might feel unappreciated, this book helps them to realize they can be strong. Not only is it empowering, but the illustrations in it are stunning. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
If you like this, you’ll like his Instagram! Check out wolfgang2242 for more adorable photos and videos!
Who would’ve thought that a ragtag bunch of animals, ranging from a leggy wolfhound to a portly pig to a teacup-sized pup, would all find a home together? The author, Steve Greig, decided years ago to open his home to animals others might consider “undesirable,” leading to a slew of elderly dogs with funny names like Edna and Wilhemena! This book is a wonderful story of compassion, whimsy, and love. Be sure to check Steve’s Instagram page, wolfgang2242, for more quality pig, dog, rabbit, and/or chicken content!
While Wilf is an arctic wolf, this book holds true to this area and with all the talk about having the wolves reintroduced to Colorado.
Wilf is so cute and has to learn how to accept help from others to find his way. The illustrations and the characters in this book are wonderful!!
This is a perfect book for any child who asks endless questions, and for any adult who answers them! The questions are common. But the creative answers and beautiful artwork make this such a fun book. This is a perfect bedtime storybook!
I read this book to my children when they were little. It's such a simple story but delightful. Little Bear has birthday soup with his friends, imagines going to the moon, and makes wishes. Just like all children, he wants to learn and have adventures. Read it again and again. A perfect bedtime or naptime story.