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Staff Picks

Staff-recommended reading from the Alexandria Library Catalog.

Half MagicHalf Magic

By Edward Eager

Four siblings discover a magic coin that gives them half of whatever they wish for. At first, they just make their cat half talk, but they promptly wish to go to half a desert island -- a desert -- and get kidnapped by an Arab. None of their later magic adventures are what they expect either, when divided by half! A funny magic story for ages 8 - 12. Also available as audiobook.

Recommended by Beverly S.


Sister: a NovelSister: a Novel

By Rosamund Lupton

Returning to London after her sister's apparent suicide, Bee searches for the truth about what has happened. A page turner with a surprising ending, this novel explores the strong bond between siblings through a thrilling storyline. Also available as eBook.

Recommended by Elizabeth S.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going HomeMennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home

By Rhoda Janzen

Rhoda Janzen suffered a car accident and a divorce, and headed back into the arms of her Mennonite family to help heal her physical and emotional wounds. Her homecoming is a hilarious and heartwarming culture clash, one that will have you laughing from start to finish.

Recommended by Heather M.



Jonathan Strange and Mr. NorrellJonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

By Susanna Clarke

A modern fantasy epic involving an alternate history of the Napoleonic Wars, the return of magic to the world, and the two English magicians who make it all happen. Witty, enthralling, and an utter joy to read! Also available as eBook and audiobook.

Recommended by C. Reynolds



A Walk in the WoodsA Walk in the Woods

By Bill Bryson

A hilarious book about two friends attempting to walk the Appalachian Trail. The audiobook is narrated by a reader with a terrific voice for the setting along the trail.

Recommended by James C. 


The Things They CarriedThe Things They Carried

By Timothy O'Brien

This is a beautiful book about the things that soldiers carry, both literally and metaphorically, that get them through war.

Recommended by Samantha P.  



Six Days of CondorSix Days of the Condor

By James Grady

If you've seen the movie you know the gist of the story...fiction may be more real than fact, however, unlike the film the book is set in DC and contains descriptions of places you know or remember that are worth the read alone! The newly reissued eBook version includes a forward by Grady about the origins of the book and the effect it had on international intelligence gathering agencies after publication. A piece of imagination from the mind of a kid with no knowledge of US intelligence created mass fear in international intelligence agencies to the point they made real what was faked!

Recommended by Lynda R.




By Scott Westerfeld

Steampunk and World War I collide in this fun, action/adventure book, the first of a three-book series. The series centers on the conflict between the mechanized Clankers and the genetically-enhanced animals of the Darwinists. The story itself is great, but the fantastic illustrations and the cliffhangers at the end of each chapter made this series a must-read for me. Also available as audiobook and eAudiobook. Behemoth is the sequel to Leviathan.

Recommended by Rebecca L.


A Tree Grows in BrooklynA Tree Grows in Brooklyn

By Betty Smith

This is a poignant story of childhood and family relationships. The characters are unforgetable and the scenes are beautiful. Also available as audiobook.

Recommended by Ruth H.



A Stillness at AppomattoxA Stillness at Appomattox

By Bruce Catton

The last of the Army of the Potomac trilogy and the book Catton is most remembered for. Written at the time of the Centennial the book is perhaps not as detailed as the modern reader would like but Catton's facility with descriptive language sweeps the reader up. A good read for non specialists.

Recommended by George C.

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