Magnificent March Staff Picks
Maybe you're marching maniacally towards magnificent myths, here are some staff picks to give you direction
Iceland becomes a character in this beautifully written mystery novel. In this haunting story, a nun is summoned to investigate allegations of abuse by a priest. Justice and redemption take unexpected turns in this story. Morality can be as complex as the diverse rugged terrain of Iceland. This book is a page-turner that will keep you guessing until the end and thinking about long after you put it down.
- Kim B
Lapena had a breakout success with her first novel The Couple Next Door. It is a bestseller and now opted for a streaming series. Someone We Know ratchets up the tension and suspense because it takes place in a typical neighborhood, but asks the reader; How well do you really know your neighbors? When a murder takes place the suspects and secrets start to mount. Can you predict the twisty end? A fun fast-paced murder mystery.
- Kim B.
Midwifery and magic tie Rue to her little community in the civil war south. Alternating between slaverytime and freedomtime, Atakora weaves a beautiful story centering around survival and community within a black community as the political landscape shifts.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The bits of practical magic that cement the plot together are well crafted and guarantee a superb reading experience.
This novel, based on a true occurrence in American history, is about a pack-horse traveling library, “manned” by five headstrong women, who are not favorable to the 1937 Kentucky moral code; “A woman’s place is in the home. Wives, submit to your husbands for the husband is the head of the wife.” When these women disobey their rules a ruckus ensues! This is an interesting story of strong women, and believe it or not, two tender love stories.
Israel is a complex country, which author McCann compares to an Aperiogan, a shape with a countable but infinite number of sides. The ongoing disputes between the Israelis and Palestinians is certainly not a black and white situation. This story is told through two men, Rami (an Israeli) and Bassam (a Palestinian) who find that they have more in common that not. Both men lost daughters to political violence, and came together to promote peace, using their force of grief as a weapon. Together they travel to discreet meetings to tell the stories of their daughters, which was their duty, and their curse. Their only revenge for the death of their daughters was peace. This historical fiction is deeply insightful, describing the mental and physical hell that the Israeli Occupation has plagued both the Israelis and Palestinians for so many years.
Patrick Rothfuss’s introduction into the world of the Kingkiller Chronicles is magnificent. He flawlessly switches between the past and present of his main character, Kvothe, to establish a full and intriguing world without relying on pesky exposition. Rothfuss creates a world with magic ruled by intricate rules like Paolini while combining the politics, love, and poetry of Tolkien all in a well rounded lead character like Goodkind. Truly a must-read for any fan of high fantasy.
If you like this you would also like Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind
This is the story of what happens when a solid, integrated neighborhood becomes overrun by wealthy tear-downs turned into mansions, while the divisions of race and class appear and grow! The author’s writing style is so personable that I felt like my best friend was relating a disaster of a story to me about my own neighborhood, full of drama and actions resulting from spite. I won’t give away the powerful plot, but it will shine a light on the unfairness and complications that race plays on the judicial system. The characters in this complex, heartbreaking novel will stay with you long after you are finished, and you’ll begin to understand how power could destroy any neighborhood.
This true story reads like a fast-paced novel propelling you toward the crazy conclusion. In most fiction and in much of life villains are men, however, when a woman decides to aggress she takes it to a whole new level. Sisters Nikki, Sami and Tori share their horrific tale with best selling author Gregg Olsen. Shelly, the mother in this true story, is evil incarnate. She commits murder, and coerces a murder more than once and forces her three daughters into silent compliance. A true horror story that surprisingly ends on a positive note of resilience and the ability to survive.
- Kim B
Its been around for decades now: The Pill, that tiny miracle of science that has granted untold legions of women the freedom to make their own reproductive decisions. It has led to the advance of women getting college degrees, branching into fields of science, medicine, and technology, greater female participation in the workforce, and allowed women to plan for the future on their terms. But how much do we really know about the pill? Dr. Hill explores the hidden effects of this seemingly harmless drug, from its influence on how women choose their partners to the declining rates of men attending college. It’s rather incredible how little the long-term effects of hormone tampering have been studied, and even less so broadcasted to the general public. A must-read for every woman (and man, for that matter!)
Boys in the Boat is an epicly well written historical narrative about the 9 man olympic crew team that won a symbolic victory against the Nazi German team in 1936. Not only was this the only crew event the Germans lost, but the story is made even more amazing by the story of Joe Rantz, a boy growing up in the depression, deserted by his parents and fighting every day to make a living. Rantz’s upbeat attitude in the face of hardship makes this book inspirational, and Daniel Brown’s weaving of Rantz and his teammates’ stories with the progression of fascism in Germany and the propaganda machine that created the 36’ Olympics is flawless.
Cameron Esposito is one of my favorite standup comics and writers. In her memoir, she is brutally honest about how her childhood environment shaped her into the person she is today, flaws and strengths included. This is a funny and moving book that deals with how some of our most fundamental relationships grow and change as we do, and how painful or beautiful that can be.
Tala lives in a world very similar to ours, except Wonderland, Avalon, Canada, and other such magical countries exist and magic is interwoven into everyday life. When Tala’s family, all distinguished military leaders, take in a prince, she finds a new friend and some new adventure. As evil ICE agents and the Snow Queen threaten their peaceful existence, Tala, Prince Alexei, and an elite team of magical bodyguards make their way back to Alexie’s kingdom of Avalon.
Wicked as You Wish is a fantastic adventure story with a great sense of humor. Chupeco has created a wonderful world and doesn’t shy away from tackling some of today’s most pressing questions about immigration, war, and people.
This is about a group of four friends just trying to make it through the often tumultuous high school experience. Their story starts when Sasha bleeds through her shorts and is whisked to a bathroom by Christine, Abby, and Brit. The bathroom tampon and pad dispenser is out of everything. This sparks outrage in their souls and starts a year of period activism.
This book encapsulates the tiny and big things that make it hard to walk through this world in a femme body while also highlighting what’s great about it. This is a really beautiful book, definitely one to read if you are interested in activism.
Winner of the 2020 Newbery Award, New Kid is a story that I believe will appeal to any middle school student who is trying to “fit in.” Jordan Banks is a new student at a prestigious middle school, whose students appear to have nothing in common with him. Focusing on racism, socioeconomic disparity and white privilege, the reader will encounter tenderness, humor and heartbreak, all within the pages of this graphic novel.
This story is for young readers who are bold enough to envision a better world - and determined to work to change it!
Through the course of a summer vacation, three children become friends within the confines of an abandoned church lot. Each child sees the world from a different perspective; Ware is an introverted dreamer, fixated on the Code of Knights. Jolene is a practical realist and Ashley is an environmental activist. The passions and creativity of each child unites to solve a problem that at first seems insurmountable. The characters are spunky and strong. The story is tender and unforgettable. The message is powerful; Young minds with strong passions CAN make a difference in our world!
Dog Man is back in his fourth book with more friends, more villains, and more adventure! Join Dogman and his friend Lil’ Petey as they navigate a world full of good and evil and try to find their place in it. Are we destined to be heroes or villains, or is the choice up to us? Which path with Lil’ Petey Choose? Why are there so many questions to answer? Find out in Dog Man and Cat Kid!
P.S. The author has been very open with his ADHD as a child and he uses this book well to show that ADHD can be a great tool when used correctly. I would highly recommend this for kids struggling with ADHD.
Here it is, Dog Man #5, Join Petey and Lil’ Petey while they deal with a dark reminder of Petey’s past come to seek revenge. This book has intrigue, betrayal, sacrifice, and of course action! The theme of this book is doing what is right, even when others tell you it’s wrong. Petey has always struggled with his evil nature, but with the help of Lil’ Petey maybe he’ll discover being evil isn’t so natural after all. This is the first Dog Man I’ve read with honestly touching moments, and I would highly recommend it for any kid struggling with pressure from others.
If you like this, you’ll like: Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre, Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman
The Mortmains are an eccentric family, to say the least - Mr. Mortmain is a writer (or ex-writer, rather) whose great literary achievement Jacob Wrestling it seems will be his sole legacy; Topaz, his second wife, who spent her former life as a nude model; Rose, the eldest daughter; Timothy, the youngest son; and Cassandra, the narrator of their odd lives, the middle child. The Mortmains live in a crumbling old castle in the English countryside, quaintly poor and only getting by due to their rent-free (and rather drafty) housing. Everything changes when the Cottons come into possession of the castle - they’re Americans, come to shake up the sleepy 1930’s countryside where our narrator resides. Though this book was written in the 1940’s, it’s full of cheeky modern humor and wry observations. Thoroughly enjoyable if, like me, you are looking for something to whisk away your worries and take you to a simpler, more elegant time.
Whether you idolize Ada Lovelace or haven’t the faintest idea who she is, this book will capture your imagination and your heart. The story begins with Ada’s mother and her doomed marriage with Lord Byron. Though Lady Byron was undoubtedly viciously maligned by her husband, both in person and in poetry, her bitter marriage hardened her heart to her daughter Ada, and convinced her that in order to save her daughter from the bad Byron blood that coursed through her veins, Ada would be raised without imagination. Instead of poetry and stories, math and science were Ada’s companions. Though she lived a troubled life, Ada would grow up to thrive on intellectual stimulation and is now regarded by some to be history’s first computer programmer, working on a prototype of the first computer with her friend, Charles Babbage. Chiaverini masterfully reconstructs Countess Lovelace’s life, breathing new life into the story of a remarkable woman.
I really like books by Paul Greci. He writes action-adventure very well.
This is the adventure of 4 teenagers who have to hike out of the Alaskan wilderness with only the small pack they each have and the skills that they were learning at Simon Lake Camp, after there is a huge earthquake that shakes the state of Alaska. There are many trials and obstacles that each person has to overcome and learn to work as a group to keep going.
If you liked this, you should read:
Wild Lands by Paul Graci
Camp Valor by Scott McEwan
Every girl looks to the Grace Year, every woman remembers the Grace Year, yet no one talks about what happens in the Grace Year.
This is dark and gritty, and very Mean Girls with a twist of Hunger Games and a hint of Handmaid’s Tale thrown in. No one knows why the girls that survived did and why the others died.
Liggett writes a very fast-paced thriller that will keep you on the edge and reading to find out what happens in the end.
This is a nonfiction picture book your youngster will love. Why? Because it includes many cool animals AND explains which ones fart, and the distinctive quality of each fart. You’ll even discover which animal has a distinctive secret fart code. Just think! Your child can become the resident expert on farts! Hilarious, but also factual, book!
This is a super cute book about persistence and determination and thinking outside the box (or egg as it may be). I really love the illustrations. Make sure you take the time to look for Ducks little friend in all the pictures.
Annalise Devin McFleece won’t take a nap! She won’t even consider it, but her dad takes her on a walk to try to change her mind. While she’s throwing a fit, all the grown-ups they pass offer to take the naps that Devin doesn’t want, start to fall asleep all around her, until no one else is awake at all! When Devin is suddenly all alone and wants to take a nap, an unexpected hero comes along to help. This book is cute, funny, and hyper-relatable to any parent. Along with the awesome illustrations, its jaunty rhymes and quick pace make it the perfect read-aloud for bedtime, or anytime!
Frank is a quiet, reserved, well … hotdog. He likes his routine-writing in his secret notebook, living in his tent. He likes to do things in a particular way. And he likes to be alone. Then he meets Bean. Bean is messy and loud and uses Frank’s stuff. He gets on Frank’s nerves! But Bean wants to be Frank’s friend and persists until Frank comes around. Delightful and silly.
This is a cute book that illuminates the idea of feelings and perspectives. Little Lawrence the bunny is so very loved by his mother. She makes sure he has the biggest, brightest, most interesting outfits that exist. However, Lawrence just wishes he could run around naked just like all the other animals, even his mother does not wear clothes! If only mother could understand! He then comes up with a grand idea to sew his mother some lovely outfits for very special days. She comes to the realization that maybe it’s not so fun for her baby bunny to wear these outfits. Mother comes up with a great, fun solution to her bunny’s concerns about his clothes.
- Kim T.