City Library Staff Recommendations

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For many of us, this time of social distancing has been a big adjustment in our lives. But it can also be a great time to discover new books and other media.

City Library staff have been sharing some of their favorite eBooks and audiobooks, and other SLCPL materials. Recommendations that can help you get away from it all, spark your imagination, stay informed, or learn something new.

5/26

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Becoming by Michelle Obama
Genre: Memoir

“I read this book every night before I go to sleep. Her pace is soothing and it reads more like a novel, rather than an autobiography. I’ve loved learning more about her upbringing and life, she is such a smart, caring woman! It’s also been interesting to get a sneak peak into the non-public side of politics. I have been drawing it out because I have savored this story so much!” — Quinn, Main Library

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Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
Genre: Adult Fiction

“I could not put this book down. I read it in one sitting. This book transports you to 1970’s Brooklyn, in a raw and sorrowful mural of growing up black in urban America. Woodson explores the ties of friendship between young girls as they survive loss and strife.” — Erinn, Main Library

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Ask the Passengers by A. S. King
Genre: Young Adult Fiction

“Astrid Jones is a mixture of awkwardness, nerves, and confusion. She wants to define herself but is stuck in a small town community where everyone else defines you. A.S. King builds this story of independence with such levity and skill. She writes with such a distinct voice that mixes magical realism with honesty and humor. Uniquely this story is not just about identity, but what that act of definition means on a philosophical level. This take on the “coming out” genre is a beyond the usual angst and drama. This is brilliant and will have you cheering by the end.” — Rachel, Main Library

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Ask the Passengers by A. S. King
Genre: Autobiography

“This immersive read provides a great escapes from the house!” — Mackenzie, Main Library

5/19

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Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali
Genre: Young Adult Fiction

“Who Are You? Who Do You Think You Should Be? This is a well-written epistolary novel that touches upon universal identity issues that stretch across age and culture. A sweet romance that I highly recommend escaping into on a day where you might want to shut out the world.” — Rachel, Main Library

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Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
Genre: Historical Fiction

“This is a wonderful read especially if you like historical settings and strong women characters. I felt truly transported to a time and place in history and found that I could still relate to the characters and their stories. I work at a library, how could I not love a story about pack horse librarians?… So unbelievably cool.” — Jeri, Main Library

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Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller
Genre: Biography

“Like Anne Frank’s diary, this work captures the tone of a very young person caught up in her own small world as she witnesses a far larger historical event. It will appeal to those looking for a good story as well as anyone seeking firsthand reportage of white southern Africa.” —Lisa, Anderson-Foothill Branch

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Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
Genre: Manga

“Before there was The Hunger Games, there was Battle Royale. Kinji Fukasaku’s film adaptation of Koushun Takami’s landmark novel brilliantly condenses and focuses this story of students forced by the authoritarian state to kill each other until only one student remains. It skillfully balances poignant action melodrama with pulp exploitation, that is by turns deeply sincere, harrowing, and darkly funny. A brilliant dystopic commentary on the connections between sociopathic capitalism, school-to-military/-prison pipeline(s), pop culture and the collapse of communalism in favor of extreme individualism within modern Japan. In addition to its brilliant sci-fi allegory, the film is deeply inspired by Fukasaku’s own horrific experience as a 15-year-old forced into the Japanese army during World War II. Thus the brutal action, displayed as sensational spectacle to the viewer, implicates us all and our penchant for action and violence as entertainment. A masterpiece.” — Jon, Main Library

5/12

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Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Genre: Fiction

“People like you must create. If you don’t create, Bernadette, you will become a menace to society.” This is a sharp, witty, and entertaining story about what happens when a creative genius disappears and her daughter must solve a puzzle to find her. Written in a unique style this book is a Wes Anderson-esque character study of what happens when you re-discover yourself. Find another book that features re-usable architecture, marriage, identity fraud, landscaping, and Antartica.” — Rachel, Main Library

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Good Omens by Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman
Genre: Humor, Horror fiction

“It’s just so funny!!! An angel and a demon join forces to stop the end of the world (because they like the world). And doesn’t it feel a bit like the end of the world right now?” — Heather, Sprague Branch

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Genre: Novel, Parody, Satire

“An inspiration and constant influence on pop culture from Tom Jones to Monty Python and the Holy Grail to Nacho Libre, Don Quixote is a masterpiece by any measure. The first novel in Western literature is also one of the funniest. Cervantes’s brilliant satirical comedy is a compulsively readable, delightfully humorous, sprawling romp of a tale, recounting the delusional exploits of mad knight errant Don Quixote. Known best for Quixote’s battle against the windmills, that hilarious tale is but a small taste of the vast, delightful and profound offerings within Cervantes’s masterwork. Clocking in at over 900 pages, this novel is the ideal literary classic and fun read for staying home during Covid-19 — the classic long read you always meant to read, and for which you now finally have time.” — Jon, Main Library

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The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr
Genre: Non-Fiction

“This book , like his previous title, reads like a fiction thriller and begs to be set on the screen. It is a story of individual persistence, dedication, and, perhaps, obsession; of rank and politics in the art world; and of a troubled 16th-century master who died at age 39.” — Linda, Anderson-Foothill Branch

5/5

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Pumpkin Heads by Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Graphic Novel

“Friends don’t let friends live small lives.” Pumpkinheads is pure magic and joy. On their last shift at the Pumpkin Patch, best friends Josiah and Deja help each other to end the season without regrets. There is so much humor in this book! Rainbow Rowell (Landlines, Carry On) excels here with witty banter and inclusivity of all groups. She is perfectly paired with illustrator Faith Erin Hicks who presents this story with autumnal comfort and solid graphic art story-telling. This super duo is the perfect combination of humor, charm, and heart-tugging tenderness. Good for all ages.” — Rachel, Main Library

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Be Frank with Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson
Genre: Humorous Fiction

“Johnson’s magnificently poignant, funny, and wholly original debut goes beyond page-turner status. Readers will race to the next sentence. And the next. Her charming, flawed, quietly courageous characters, each wonderfully different, demand a second reading while we impatiently await the author’s second work.” — Linda, Anderson-Foothill Branch

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Chances Are… by Richard Russo
Genre: Thriller

“It’s an enjoyable trip taken by three friends as they reflect back on their college years together and the subsequent paths their lives have taken, shrouded by the mysterious disappearance of a fourth friend.” — Andy, Sprague Branch

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The Sentence is Death, The Word is Murder, and Magpie Murders all by Anthony Horowitz
Genre: Mystery

“These are three different mystery books available as ebooks on Overdrive, written by Anthony Horowitz. While they are traditional mysteries at their heart, each blur the line between the author’s world, and the world of the story. This lends an interesting new aspect to these thrilling tales!” — Tania, Anderson-Foothill Branch

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The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Richardson
Genre: Historical Fiction

“The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek beautifully combines the history of the United States Packhorse Librarian Project with the personal story of a young Librarian living in rural Kentucky. From the first paragraph the entire book is an adventure. Richardson’s writing is heart warming, dramatic and informative. The Book Woman is a great novel if you enjoy historical fiction with strong female characters.” — Sarah, Day-Riverside Branch

4/28

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The Unwinding Of The Miracle: A Memoir Of Life, Death, and Everything That Happens After by Julie Yip-Williams
Genre: Autobiography

“This is a powerful life story . The author, who is of Chinese descent, was born blind in Vietnam in 1976. In her very early years she survived an attempt at infanticide and a perilous journey to America with her family where they rebuilt their lives in California. A graduate of Williams College and Harvard Law School, she became a lawyer in New York City, married and had two daughters. She had achieved a life beyond her wildest dreams until its undoing with a diagnosis of Stage IV colon cancer at age 37. Her telling of the next years is filled with courage, sadness, anger, pain and love and is not without humor. I find that a kind of wisdom and resilience of spirit can emerge from one’s experience of facing death that is not morbid but powerful and inspirational. Once again Yip-Williams succeeds. This memoir is extremely moving.” — Cathy, Anderson-Foothill Branch

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Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
Genre: Young Adult Fiction

“Everyone needs to read this engrossing tale about discovering who you are and being okay with that. Even if it’s not the easiest path or makes everyone happy. Darius is a young man who has a heap of issues on his shoulders. He is sent to Iran to meet his grandparents and to take a break from clinical depression, a disapproving dad and an inability to make friends. The magic of the tale lies within the relationship he develops with a neighbor and their conversations about their different, yet similiar, lives. Khorram captures the voices of these characters so well and opens our eyes to Iranian culture. This is all so important right now!” — Rachel, Main Library

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Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
Genre: Psychological Fiction

“Let the Great World Spin is a wonderful novel filled with several intriguing characters (including a tight rope walker). McCann does an incredible job intertwining all of these characters unique stories. By the end of the book you will be tracing the lines between each character realizing that one has a connection to all.” — Sarah, Day-Riverside Branch

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The Crimson Lake Series by Candice Fox
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

“I accidentally ran into this eAudiobook series and it does not disappoint! This thriller is fast paced, engaging, and has some of the best laugh out loud dialogue I have listened to in a long time. The Australian narration by Euan Morton is fantastic and location descriptions transport you to the outbacks of Australia! Enjoy!” — Cherie, Sprague Branch

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The Discworld novels, by Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fantasy Comedy

“Mr. Pratchett, or Sir Terry (dude got a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth), is responsible for some of the finest fantasy novels of living memory. His use of clever humor and intricate world-building allows for insightful commentary on a broad range of topics… Any Discworld novel is a good first Discworld novel, because Sir Terry was a cool and smart enough guy to trust that his audience wouldn’t need fifty pages of background spoonfed to them before they could enjoy the story. And if you are one of those emotionally invested nerds who likes to find points of connection (guilty as charged), well, there’s that, too. Some of my favorite fictional characters come from Discworld!” — Robert, Sweet Branch

4/21

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Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Genre: Historical Fiction

“I got to see Madeline Miller speak at the King’s English bookshop a couple of months ago. I’m not traditionally a reader of classics or a student of mythology, but I’d heard several friends rave about Miller’s books. She did not disappoint! She was brilliant and funny, and I could tell that her version of the greek myths would capture my attention. I was excited to find the audiobook Song of Achilles on Libby.” — Stephanie, Main Library

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Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra
Genre: Contemporary Romance

“A modern take on Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic, Little Women. The 21st century March sisters are as endearing as ever. Meg & Jo follows the original tale but with a cleverly created contemporary twist. I didn’t want the story to end, and gratefully found out that a sequel, Beth & Amy, will be released this December.” — Melanie, Anderson-Foothill Branch

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The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
Genre: Spirituality/Buddhism

“This book changed my life. When things get stressful and/or turned upside-down, I’ve always come back to the wisdom in this book to help me live a more enjoyable, care-free life.” — Matt, Main Library

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The Diviners Series By Libba Bray
Genre: YA Paranormal Historical Fiction

“1920’s New York City partying, with ghost, serial killers and monsters (human and supernatural) with a group of teens finding their power (both natural and supernatural) to save everyone. Sign me up!” — Claire, Anderson-Foothill Branch

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Bruno Series by Martin Walker
Genre: Crime Fiction

“The Bruno series mixes murder and terrorism in the delightful setting of the French countryside. You’ll enjoy all the food and wine being consumed during the pursuit of justice” — Andy, Sprague Branch

4/14

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Hunger by Roxane Gay
Genre: Memoir

“This audiobook is read by the author, so it feels like Roxane Gay is sitting down with you, telling you her story in person. HUNGER is a searingly honest look not just as the author’s own experiences, but how we as a society treat women’s bodies. It’s about food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.” — McKelle, Day-Riverside Branch

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The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroudger
Genre: YA Paranormal Fiction

“In this story set in an alternate historical London there are ghosts everywhere! And only kids and teens can see them. So many Psychic Detection Agencies are set up to take care of the Problem. Just so fun! And a bit spooky.” — Heather, Sprague Branch

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A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Genre: Historical Fiction

“This charming story of a man who is sentenced to live his life inside a grand hotel was a fun read when I started it a week ago, but it has taken on a slightly different tone considering the current situation we all find ourselves in — It is available as an Audio eBook and an eBook.” — DeAnna, Marmalade Branch

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Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
Genre: Children’s Novel

“A magical fable with eccentric characters and beautiful illustrations by Yoko Tanaka. A story of the power of hope. Something we could all use after the unsettling events of the last few weeks.” —Mari, Main Library

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The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fantasy

“Last summer, I spent my free time listening to the audiobook versions of The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. It’s going to be a 10-part series, with three books released so far. Epic fantasy, with some really cool magical concepts, thrilling action, and a surprisingly introspective look at loss, grief, and memory. The audiobooks will keep you busy for a while, since they’re each 45+ hours long, and the narrators are top notch. Available on Libby and RBdigital!” — Bryton, Main Library

Written by

The Salt Lake City Public Library System

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