December Staff Picks

Staff-recommended reading from the Alexandria Library Catalog. Check back next month for a new list.


Difficult men : behind the scenes of a creative revolution : from the Sopranos and the Wire to Mad men and Breaking bad





Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad 

By Brett Martin

I came to Brett Martin’s new book on our third golden age of television while deep in mourning over the final episode of the series Breaking Bad. Looking for dishy production tidbits, I discovered a fascinating look into the personalities that shaped some of the most memorable programing from the late 1990s and early 2000s, when narrative television became more open-ended and featured complex, flawed protagonists. It turns out that the producers, writers, and showrunners of this era (David Chase of The Sopranos; David Simon of The Wire) were often times as interesting as the programs they created. Written in energetic prose and filled with juicy anecdotes from the sets, this book should satisfy both the pop culture historian and the gossip-monger.

Recommended by S. Brown

The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food



The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food

By Judith Jones

Judith Jones is most known for her work with famed cookbook publisher Knopf, most notably as Julia Child's editor. This memoir traces Jones' life as a young adult in Paris after World War II and into her life as renowned editor and friend to Julia Child, M.F.K. Fisher, and James Beard, among others. If you enjoy Ernest Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast", or the writings of those whom she edited, you will enjoy this exploration of self and French culture, cuisine, and changing American tastes.

Recommended by Sarah R. S.

God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire, Book I)



God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire, Book I)

By Kate Locke

Set in an alternate England where the black plague turned some folks, mostly aristocracy, immortal with an edge -- vampires, werewolves, goblins. Queen Victoria continues to rule Britannia, keeping her teeth on the pulse of the land. A class of half-aristocrat/half-humans has been bred to protect the aristocrats in daylight hours. Among Queen Vic's Royal Guard is Xandra Vardan, and this is her story. Great characters, interesting premise, good world-building, a fair amount of action and a mystery: not just another paranormal romance. Also available as eBook on OverDrive.

Recommended by Julie D.

The historian : a novel




The Historian : a Novel 

By Elizabeth Kostova

Elizabeth Kostova’s fast-paced novel takes you into the world of a young woman’s old family secrets connecting to the reign of Vlad the Impaler and the legend of Dracula. This vampire novel toggles between myth and history, while fusing them with the contemporary. A shocking page-turner! Also available as eBook and eAudiobook on OverDrive.

Recommended by Tina M.

The coroner's lunch





The Coroner's Lunch 

By Colin Cotterill

If you need a break from Scandinavian mysteries, try this story set somewhere warm for a change of pace. The first book in a 9 book series, this title introduces you to Dr. Siri Paiboun, a European-trained medical doctor with revolutionary credentials who is pressed into service as coroner in 1970's Laos. He has a charmingly bad attitude toward what Laos has become after that political revolution is over, and this novel painlessly shares solid information about what life was like in southeast Asia with both humor and candor. If you like your mysteries to come with some snark and a bit of cultural commentary, you'll enjoy watching Dr. Siri reluctantly at work.

Recommended by Kym R.

Balancing act



Balancing Act 

By Anita R. Bunkley

The story's real issue is the environmental abuse suffered by the small town of Flatwoods, Texas. It is a gripping thriller, as compelling as the story of "Erin Brokovich"!

Recommended by HiRuth H.

A Wrongful Death



A Wrongful Death -- eAudiobook on Overdrive

By Kate Wilhelm

(Note: this is based a lot on the narrator's approach to a compelling story.) One of the BEST in the Barbara Holloway Series that I have read! The story about the sinister deeds of a prominent family and the lengths they will go to ensure their legacy and to hide secrets. A+ thriller! Also available as book and audiobook (CD).

Recommended by L. Rudd

Is everyone hanging out without me? (and other concerns)



Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns) -- Audiobook

By Mindy Kaling

Looking for a good audiobook to listen to while exercising or going on a trip? Look no farther. Read by the author, this book is fun and lighthearted. Check it out to find out how the star of "The Mindy Project" got her start. Also available as eBook on OverDrive and book.

Recommended by Samantha P.