January Staff Picks

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

The Night CircusThe Night Circus

By Erin Morgenstern

Beautiful book about a magical circus that comes to town without warning. Just like all those who attend, I found this book enchanting. While some might get bogged down with all of the details, this author writes like a cinematographer… painting sweeping scenes that have stayed with this reader long after the dramatic conclusion of the book. Also available as an audiobook, eAudiobook, and eBook.

Recommended by Samantha P.



The Night CircusLet the Great World Spin

By Colum McCann

In the late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at a tightrope walker, running, dancing and leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. This is a fiction - dazzling rich vision of the pain, loveliness and mystery of New York City in the 1970's.

Recommended by R. Hailu



Still LifeStill Life

By Louise Penny

The first book introducing Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, this mystery takes place in the small Quebec village of Three Pines, where a popular resident has been found dead in the woods. Gamache needs to learn about the history of this community in order to solve the murder. An enchanting series with interesting characters and a unique setting. Also available as an audiobook.

Recommended by Elizabeth S.



Neither Here Nor ThereNeither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe

By Bill Bryson

In this hilarious travelogue, Bryson recounts his backpacking adventures through Europe in the 1970s. Several decades later he retraces his steps and revisits the countries and sites from his original journey. Also available as an audiobook.

Recommended by Renee D.




By James A. Michener

A handy shorthand overview of the broad history of the famous waterbody to the north, from indigenous settlement to the 1976 bicentennial.

Recommended by S. Fox 






LongitudeLongitude: the True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time

By Dava Sobel

John Harrison invented a clock that could tell precise time at sea. This seemingly simple invention revolutionized sea travel and is at the heart of this interesting story about the age of ocean exploration. Also available as an audiobook.

Recommended by Rebecca L. 



The Constant PrincessThe Constant Princess

By Philippa Gregory

Historical fiction offering an interesting and argumentative view of Catherine of Aragon's position in Tudor England. From the moment Catherine and Arthur, umm...unite in union, you gasp and realize this is no tale of a "hard suffering, unjustly persecuted, devout Queen being destroyed by a despot king." No need to re-fight the War of the Roses but Gregory's "revisionist interpretation", my kindest description, makes you doubt if her ambitious, arrogant, Spanish "princess" did not deserve the horrible treatment Henry Tudor inflicted upon her. Also available as an eBook and audiobook.

Recommended by Lynda R.



Mother's MilkMother's Milk

By Edward St. Aubyn

St. Aubyn explores the dark nonsensical side of childhood, parenthood, and marriage. The pacing of the story is punctuated with wonderful wit making it an absolute page-turner.

Recommended by Tina M.



Altered CarbonAltered Carbon

By Richard K. Morgan

If you're into sci-fi, especially the cyberpunk genre, I would definitely recommend "Altered Carbon." Morgan's writing makes you feel like you're watching a movie, and as you imagine the world he's built unfold before you, it pulls you in, and takes you along for a ride you'll never forget!

Recommended by C. Reynolds



The Amen SolutionThe Amen Solution: the Brain Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Keep It Off

By Daniel G. Amen

Thought provoking book written by a physician-neurologist that gives a fresh perspective on how your brain works and what you can do to keep a happy, healthy brain. The book gives step by step guidelines for permanent weight loss that can be achieved by taking better care of a very important vital organ--the brain. Also available as an audiobook.

Recommended by Suzanne A.