November Staff Picks

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

 

Clay

 

 

 

 

Clay (eBook on OverDrive)

By David Almond

A fantasy that weaves horror, religion, and creationism into a tale of innocence lost. Altar boy, Davie, is encouraged by the local priest to befriend the lonely new kid in town, Stephen Rose, a brilliant and talented orphan who has a talent of making beautiful clay miniatures. Seems innocent enough until we realize that Stephen can "breathe life into" his statues and that he came to the town because Davie has the same gift which he needs to make "something really big", a living man. How this all comes about and Stephen’s "purpose" makes the story thought provoking and intriguing as the reader must wrestle with good versus evil, if all is as it appears, and wherein lives strength of faith. Frankenstein meets Damien! Also available in print.

Recommended by L. Rudd

Flight behavior: a novel

 

 

Flight behavior: a novel

By Barbara Kingsolver

A small Tennessee mountain town experiences an astounding natural event that brings it to world-wide attention. Young mother Dellarobia Turnbow experiences her own transformation as well. A thought-provoking novel on the repercussions of climate change. Also available as an audiobook (MP3), and eBook.

Recommended by A. Williams

Soulless: an Alexia Tarabotti novel

 

 

Soulless: an Alexia Tarabotti novel

By Gail Carriger

This was a great introduction to the world of Steampunk. Coming from the fantasy genre this book gave me everything I was looking for while not taking itself very seriously. I smiled the whole way through. Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. This is the first book in the Parasol Protectorate series. Also available as an eBook.

Recommended by Katie D.

I hunt killers

 

 

 

I hunt killers

By Barry Lyga

Jasper Dent, known as Jazz, is the son of Billy Dent, a notorious and brutal serial killer who raised his son to follow in his footsteps. At 17 Jazz hasn't seen his father since his capture and imprisonment four years earlier, but the emergence of a copycat killer motivates him to use his special knowledge to help the police find the murderer. As well as being an exciting thriller, this look into the warped mind of a serial killer and Jazz's struggle to confront his fears of turning into his father, provide a psychological component which heightens the tension of this chilling tale.

Recommended by Ginny R.

A girl and five brave horses

 

 

 

 

 

A girl and five brave horses 

By Sonora Carver

Finally back in print after many years, this wonderful memoir of Carver’s career as one of the first female horse divers was also the basis for the excellent Disney film "Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken." In 1923, Sonora Carver answered an ad for a diving girl and thus began her career, mounting a running horse and riding it to the top of a 40 foot tower, where they both plunged into a pool of water below. She describes training the horses, and traveling around the country to different amusement parks where they would perform. Despite losing her sight in a riding accident several years later, Carver continued to ride until the 1940s. "A Girl and Five Brave Horses" is a truly fascinating book about a long gone part of American history, and the story of a remarkable woman.

Recommended by Jessica S.

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

 

 

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

By Karen Armstrong

Armstrong presents an approachable and thoughtful treatise on living more compassionately in this book. It is clear and accessible to folks from all faith backgrounds. Informative to both the heart and mind, this book is recommended to all folks interested in making the world a more kind and gracious place. Also available as an audiobook.

Recommended by Sarah R.S.

Parlor politics : in which the ladies of Washington help build a city and a government

 

 

Parlor politics : in which the ladies of Washington help build a city and a government 

By Catherine Allgor

Before there were women in politics there were political women in Washington. "Parlor Politics" examines the early nineteenth century through the glass of women's correspondence, social gossip, and "etiquette wars", coming to the conclusion that Washington women built a social machine that influenced the course of history.

Recommended by Julie D.

Lee's army during the Overland Campaign : a numerical study

 

 

Lee's army during the Overland Campaign : a numerical study

By Alfred C. Young, III

While not a book for beginners, this work is a must for any student of the war. Mr. Young has done researchers a great benefit by rooting out sources, many obscure, in order to produce this significant and useful study. Subject, sources and methodology produce some new insights on old topics.

Recommended by George KC

Virginia slave births index : 1853-1865

 

 

Virginia slave births index : 1853-1865 

By Leslie Anderson Morales (editor)

Staff and volunteers with the Special Collections branch transcribed a Works Project Administration document -- "The Birth Index of Slaves, 1853-1865" -- entered data into spreadsheets, and sorted the information by informant's name. Entries include single births, multiple births, and stillbirths. Independent city and county names are spelled out. Researchers pursuing African American genealogy will find these five volumes useful.

Recommended by Leslie A.