Books & Authors

A great database for finding your next favorite book.  Browse the suggested selections or search by genre, character, subject, location, and time period. Read-a-like suggestions also available.  To begin your search click here.

 

 

Below are suggestions we have compiled based on what our patrons enjoy, books we currently have in our collection, as well as links to additional resources for each genre listed.

Fiction

About Little Fires Everywhere, Kirkus says, “This incandescent portrait of suburbia and family, creativity, and consumerism burns bright.”  You’ll find this book on “Best of” lists everywhere this year, with acclaim abounding for its clever narrator, appealing characters, and illuminating take on life and culture in America.

 

 

If you’re looking for historical fiction and strong female characters, look no further than Girl Waits with Gun, the first in the series featuring the Kopp Sisters, which tells the story of three real sisters who lived in early 1900’s New England and, through a series of events pulled from and written about via rigorous research on the part of the author, became the first female deputy sheriffs in the United States.  Fast-paced and engaging, readers will by turns laugh and despair at the adventures of these heroines, pulling for each likeable but thoroughly unique sister right through to the final page.

 

 

 

When you’ve read all the usual books and you’re looking for something different, Fredrik Backman might just fit the bill.  His book A Man Called Ove climbed the US best-seller charts in 2015, and his related books, Britt-Marie Was Here, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer, and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry take place in that same world of likeable characters, dry, Nordic wit, and relatable dysfunction.   Beartown is Backman’s offering for 2017, and with the overwhelmingly positive response between critics and readers alike, this author has firmly established himself as a world-wide favorite.

 

 

Find more great suggestions and possibly your new favorite book as voted upon by fellow readers through the Goodreads Choice Awards:  https://www.goodreads.com/choiceawards/best-books-2016.

 

Mystery

 

If you prefer your mysteries to have a western flavor, try the locally popular author C.J. Box.  His Joe Pickett series is set in Wyoming and features a protagonist who somehow manages to balance being a family man, game warden, and back country Sherlock.

 

 

 

Looking for something a little darker?  Set in Ireland, perhaps?  Look no further than author Tana French, whose work is layered, gritty, and features beautiful prose wrapped around each startling mystery.  Good luck figuring out whodunit before Ms. French wants you to.

 

 

 

If it’s a new author you’re after, may we suggest Gilly MacMillan and her debut work What She Knew. You’ll sympathize and despair with a mother after her son goes missing… until you start to suspect her.  Or what is the father?  The aunt?  The friend?  What did happen to this boy, anyway?  Fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will find a new way to lose sleep with this thrilling mystery.

 

 

For more great mysteries, check out the database at theedgars.com   to see all the nominees and winners of the mystery genre’s most coveted award.

 

Science Fiction and Fantasy

 

One of the most lauded names in the world of modern science fiction is Patrick Rothfuss, author of the Kingkiller Chronicles.  First, you’re going to read The Name of the Wind.  Next, you’re going to rush out to get your hands on The Wise Man’s Fear, the second book in the series.  Then you’re going to have to wait impatiently for the third book to come out with the rest of us.

 

 

 

If you prefer your sci fi laced heavily with dystopian fiction, look no further than the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown, featuring all the kinds of things we love within this subgenre:  An oppressed class!  A hero rising among them!  Symbolism galore!

 

 

 

 

If you’re looking for science fiction that’s a little less dark and a little more fun, look no further than the prolific Terry Pratchett, whose books have been entertaining readers for over four decades.  Get hooked on his irreverent Discworld series, or grab your middle schooler and read the Tiffany Aching series together.

 

 

If you’re looking for more science fiction, don’t forget to check out the website for The Hugo Awards, where each year the top books in Sci Fi and Fantasy are recognized.  You can look at winners all the way back to 1939!

 

Romance

 

Lovers of contemporary romance need look no further than Susan Mallery, who brings readers back time and again with characters that always manage to find love, no matter the obstacle, be it hippie biological parents that come crashing into your life (Already Home), a surgeon who prefers the sterility of the operation theater to real life (Only Yours), or fertility treatments that threaten your health (The Friends We Keep).

 

 

If you prefer your romances to contain yes, a good love story, but also strong female characters (and maybe a little magical realism) then look to author Sarah Addison Allen for your next book.  Quirky, unexpected, and utterly lovely, you’ll fall in love with her characters and their stories.

 

 

 

For more romance titles and authors, peruse the website of the RITA awards, where the Romance Writers of America select the genre’s best works each year, helpfully organized into categories like “Best  First Book,” “Historical Romance:  Short,” and “Romantic Suspense,” to name just a few.  Go to https://www.rwa.org/page/2017winners to start browsing now.

 

Inspirational Fiction

 

The best of Christian fiction isn’t sugar-coated, and the characters go through trials and hard times just as we do in real life, but there’s a message of hope throughout and good things that come from the bad.  Such is the case with Karen Kingsbury, one of our most popular authors of Inspirational Fiction, who knows how to weave an entertaining tale grounded by a faith-based message.

 

 

 

If you’re looking for modern romance within a Christian context, the books of Denise Hunter are a great choice.  She describes her own work as “heartwarming, small-town love stories. My readers enjoy the experience of falling in love vicariously through characters and can expect a happily-ever-after sigh as they close the pages of my books,” and we can testify that they enjoy steady popularity at our own library.

 

 

 

Suspenseful and action-packed, Terri Blackstock puts her characters into one sticky situation after another, where they not only face danger and mystery, but carry their faith as they wade into the fray, too.  A New York Times best-selling author with multiple awards to boot, we have a number of Ms. Blackstock’s books, including several in Large Print.

 

 

 

Can’t get enough Amish fiction?  Between Beverly Lewis, Beth Wiseman, and Wanda E. Brunstetter, just to name a few, we have enough to keep you immersed in Amish country.  With a variety of characters and situations but your favorite cultural setting, these authors will keep you entertained.

 

 

For more great ideas and recommendations for Christian fiction, check out the website for the Christy awards, where you can peruse current and past winners and find your next favorite book.

 

Non-Fiction

Read it Before You See the Movie- Hidden Figures:  The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly.  If you’re like us, you had no idea there was a group of African American women “human computers” squirreled away in Virginia, solving the kind of problems that arise when you’re trying to win the Space Race over the Soviet Union in the 1960’s.  It sounds like the plot for a great if fantastic novel, but this one is nothing but truth: a group of women, math whizzes originally relegated to teaching math in the segregated south before they were called upon to work out of Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory and help launch our astronauts to space.

 

 

 

Can’t-Put-It-Down-Story- Susannah Cahalan was a driven, responsible young professional when the unthinkable happens:  she somehow loses her mind.  Misdiagnoses time after time by doctor after doctor, Cahalan draws from memory, her mother’s journal, and doctor’s notes to write this memoir, Brain on Fire:  My Month of Madness.  Hailed as “captivating,” “unforgettable,” and “a miracle,” this is narrative nonfiction that will keep you up and engrossed within its pages.  Perfect for fans of biography, medical mystery, or merely those of us who are a sucker for (spoiler alert) a happy ending.

 

 

Cookbooks- While we have a number of delightful cookbooks to choose from, a clear favorite is Ms. American Pie:  Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bold Tales from the American Gothic House by Beth M. Howard.  Not only can you find recipes for classics like Shaker Lemon and Chicken Pot Pie, you can test your pie-making skills with new offerings like Toffee Pecan, Chai-Spiced Pumpkin, and Strawberry Margarita.  In our humble opinion, the best chapter is “Pies to Win at the Iowa State Fair,” but you may prefer “Pies to Comfort” or perhaps “Pies to Keep an Open Mind.”  Check it out and let us know!

 

 

 

Lost Iowa series by Linda Betsinger McCann- We were fortunate enough to have Ms. McCann visit our library to speak about her books and process of investigating the lost histories of Iowa.  We stock a number of her books, including Lost Cedar County:  Vanished Towns of the Cedar Valley and Prohibition in Eastern Iowa, among many others.  The author explores different communities and areas of the state that once enjoyed thriving populations, but which have now vanished. A number of patrons have already enjoyed reading about their native Iowa counties, recognizing once-familiar names and places.