December Staff Picks

Staff-recommended reading from the Alexandria Library Catalog. Check back at the beginning of every month for a new list. Look through our archives on the left for past Staff Picks.

The PassageThe Passage

By Justin Cronin

Post-apocalyptic and literary, Cronin weaves a tale that is absolutely fascinating. There is a discovery in the jungle, a secret government experiment, and then a devastating security breach; As civilization begins to break down, the story follows two people as they fight to survive in a terrifying world, and tells the story of a distant future when the few survivors struggle to live in a wasteland. The sequel "The Twelve" is due out in October. Also available as an audiobook and eAudiobook

Recommended by Heather M.


Emily of New Moon

Emily of New Moon

By L. M. Montgomery

The author of Anne of Green Gables loved her Emily more than Anne. Although also a lively Canadian farm girl, Emily has a personality and adventures all of her own. A perfect series to give to literary, smart girls. Ages 10-14.

Recommended by Beverly S.

The Last UnicornThe Last Unicorn

By Peter S. Beagle

The animated film adaptation of this novel has been one of my favourite movies since I was a child, and when I finally read the novel, it became one of my favourite books. The tone is in turns whimsical and melancholy, and the story and characters will stay with you long after you've read the last page.

Recommended by C. Reynolds



Close to Shore: a True Story of Terror in an Age of InnocenceClose to Shore: a True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence

By Michael Capuzzo

Forget "Shark Week!" This is the true story of a series of shark attacks at the Jersey Shore in the summer of 1916. Even in the days before cable television, this great white shark threw the East Coast into terror with its unpredictable movements. Capuzzo brings the panic of beach-goers and the determination of the scientists studying the shark to life.

Recommended by Elizabeth S.



From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil FrankweilerFrom the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

By E.L. Konigsburg

To this day, this book remains one of my all time favorites. I love putting myself in the shoes of Claudia and her brother as they live this great adventure.

Recommended by Samantha P. 





The Bean TreesThe Bean Trees

By Barbara Kingsolver

Kingsolver's first novel. Taylor Greer leaves Kentucky to head West. When her car breaks down in Cherokee country she's given a Native American infant to care for by a distressed mother. She and "Turtle" settle in Tucson, Arizona and are supported by their colorful neighbors, who are keeping a big secret. "Pigs in Heaven" is the sequel.

Recommended by A. Williams  



City of ThievesCity of Thieves

By David Benioff

During the Nazi's siege of Leningrad, two young men get a chance to save their lives by finding eggs for a Soviet colonel's daughter's wedding cake. At times funny, heartbreaking and terrifying, this is one you won't want to miss.

Recommended by Jessica S.




The Glass Castle: a MemoirThe Glass Castle: a Memoir

By Jeannette Walls

A story so riveting of a childhood lived in poverty and neglect that it begs the question, Why?

Recommended by Margo C.


The Hot ZoneThe Hot Zone

By Richard Preston

A very detailed look at the history of the ebola virus including an outbreak in Reston, VA. This book reads like a novel rather than a work of nonfiction and is enjoyable for high school age and up.

Recommended by James C.



The Professor and the MadmanThe Professor and the Madman: a Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary

By Simon Winchester

Did you know that an important contributor to the development of the Oxford English Dictionary was locked up in a mental institution? I didn't until I read this fascinating book about the people who helped with the development of this renowned dictionary.

Recommended by Rebecca L.