Molly’s pick: “Amari and the Night Brothers” by B. B. Alston.
It had been a while since I’d felt that Harry Potter spark before “Amari and the Night Brothers.” Reminiscent of the wizarding world, this book is delightfully original. A secret realm is revealed to 12-year-old Amari when she’s recruited for the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs–think magical Men in Black. Amari’s determination to find her missing brother propels the story forward as she masters previously undiscovered abilities and encounters all-too-familiar bullies. Anyone who loves Harry Potter and Rick Riordan should read this book. It deserves scores of enthusiastic readers and many sequels to come.
Amy D’s pick: If I could be friends with one poet, I choose Natalie Shapero.
Her two recent collections, “Popular Longing” and “Hard Child,” made me laugh hysterically and obsessively text my favorite parts to everyone I knew. She skewers commercialism, sentimentality, and basically any platitude that humans offer each other. Just take this line: “I underwent my yearly performance assessment/and was prompted to name a task at which/ I excelled. I responded TRULY KNOWING/ THAT DEATH IS A PART OF LIFE.” Reading her is like sitting down with a sardonic therapist. Nothing is comforting, and everything feels true, and that itself is kind of comforting.
James’ pick: “The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam” by Jonathan Riley-Smith.
The author takes you back to days of riveting, professorial lectures with his short, but very deep dive into the history of crusading. With thoughtful commentary and detailed accounts, he identifies the ideology and pathology behind those medieval holy wars and also more recent iterations. This, in turn, helps the reader unravel crusading’s impact on modern society!
Tina’s pick: “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Alfred Lansing.
Available as both a book and an audio-book, this is a timely and relevant read. I was in the middle of this book when the news broke that Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, had been found at the bottom of the Weddell Sea. This book is a fascinating retelling of the dangerous and arduous expedition
Shackleton and his men underwent, and one they met with sheer determination and tenacity.
Tina also recommends our Overdrive emagazine, “The Simple Things.”
This is an Overdrive emagazine you can check out through the Libby app. It is the type of magazine to sit with a cup of tea and enjoy articles about all sorts of topics–from gardening to winding walks in the countryside. It is chock full of beautiful photography and cozy illustrations of an uncomplicated lifestyle and a slower pace.