Staff Picks

Staff-recommended reading from the Alexandria Library Catalog.


The Windup GirlThe Windup Girl

By Paolo Bacigalupi

In near-future Thailand, food scarcity has become the driving economic force, and mutant plagues kill crops and humans alike. Anderson Lake is an undercover agent, searching for new food items his company can engineer. Emiko is a windup, a genetically engineered being, who exists as a slave and fugitive. When Emiko and Anderson meet, it puts in motion a series of events that have a huge impact on them and the world. Also available as digital audiobook

Recommended by Heather M.


The PendericksThe Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

By Jeanne Birdsall

Winner of the 2005 National Book Award! If you like the stories you read as a child, this retro one is for you. Four sisters -- responsible Rosalind, sharp Skye, dreamy Jane, and little Batty -- spend the summer on the little cottage of an estate. They meet lonely Jeffrey, from the mansion, and play together all over the grounds. References to other children's books abound! Ages 8-13. Also available as an audiobook and digital book.

Recommended by Beverly S.


The Little Stranger: a NovelThe Little Stranger: a Novel

by Sarah Waters

Strange things are happening at Hundreds Hall, the crumbling ancestral home of the Ayres family. But can the cause be supernatural? The local doctor becomes entwined with the family and the reader follows him through the twists and turns in the plot of this historical novel. Thrilling, spooky, and beautifully written.

Recommended by Elizabeth S.



I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts On Being a WomanI Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts On Being a Woman

By Nora Ephron

The late author of the much loved "When Harry Met Sally," offers humorous musings on aging and life in general. Also available as an audiobook and digital audiobook, read by Ephron in her distinctive, self-deprecating voice.

Recommended by Jessica S.



I Capture the CastleI Capture the Castle

By Dodie Smith

An utterly charming, eccentric, funny, coming-of-age tale of a young girl living in a run-down English castle. This book will capture your heart! Also available as a movie.

Recommended by Caroline P. 




Code Name VerityCode Name Verity

By Elizabeth Wein

In a powerful, exciting tale of bravery, survival, and friendship, two women tell the story of their experiences as pilots and spies during World War II. Also available as an audiobook.

Recommended by Ginny R.  

The Mysterious HowlingThe Mysterious Howling

By Maryrose Wood

A wickedly funny book for middle elementary school. Miss Penelope Lumley, just graduated from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, is hired as a governess to three young children. She quickly learns that they were raised by wolves until they were found by the gentleman of the estate. Many mysteries plague Penelope (and the reader). First in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series.

Recommended by Christian R.



My AntoniaMy Antonia

By Willa Cather

Cather's writings represent the closing of the American Frontier. Her ideas are beautifully expressed.

Recommended by Mary H.

Little Bee: a NovelLittle Bee: a Novel

By Chris Cleave

A British couple's vacation in Africa goes horribly wrong. Back in England, they are sought out by a young girl they had met on their trip. "Little Bee" is trying to escape the violence in her country and enlists the couple to help her. Also available as an audiobook.

Recommended by A. Williams



After ThisAfter This

By Alice McDermott

An American family life is influenced by Vietnam, marriage, religion and the generation gap. The demands imposed by society leaves limited choices to the members of the family. The author crafts a relatively simple plot filled with great moments of tension and memorable scenes. Also available as an audiobook.

Recommended by Ruth H.