July Staff Picks

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

Garden spells




Garden Spells

By Sarah Addison Allen

The Waverleys have a reputation in their small North Carolina home town but is it for eccentricity or for magic? Of the most recent generation, Claire accepts her unusual gift and her place in the family while avoiding the outside world. Sydney rejected family and legend and fled from home at 18 only to return after an abusive relationship. With the help of a sentient apple tree, the sisters must overcome the hurts and abandonment of the past, and the fears and dangers of the present. Also available as eAudiobook on OverDrive.

Recommended by Julie D.

 Gutshot : stories


Gutshot: stories

By Amelia Gray

A disturbing study of people on the cusp of reality is presented in this collection of short stories by Amelia Gray. Gutshot will leave you confounded, but pondering.

Recommended by Megan Z.

The name of the star




The name of the star

By Maureen Johnson

Louisiana-bred 17-year-old Rory expects that it will take her some time to adjust to her new boarding school in London – she’ll have to get used to the gloomy weather, foods with weird names, sports that make no sense, and so on. What Rory isn’t expecting, however, is to get mixed up in the murder case of the century, a grisly recreation of the Victorian-era Ripper murders. Spooky and thrilling, this first book in the Shades of London series will have you clamoring to read the rest of the story! Also available as an audiobook (CD) or eBook on OverDrive.

Recommended by Maddy W.

Y : the last man. Book one




Y: The Last Man

By Brian K. Vaughan

Imagine a world where everyone with a Y chromosome dies, save one man and his pet male monkey. This novel uses the graphic format to drive home how the world, and the life of this one man, are impacted by this devastating change. Fans of "Lost" and "Under the Dome" will like this series, created by comic book and television writer, Brian K. Vaughan.

Recommended by Rebecca L.

Doctor Sleep : a novel



Doctor Sleep

By Stephen King

If you loved The Shining, this book is a must read. Doctor Sleep revisits Dan Torrance, who is now middle-aged. The book brilliantly continues the much loved The Shining and adds a new layer to the haunting thriller. Also available as audiobook (CD) and eBook on OverDrive.

Recommended by Samantha P.





By Naomi Novik

You have to be intrigued by a book with the opening line: "Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley." Naomi Novik is a really great world builder and this book is no exception. The amazing descriptions and the fantastic real characters combine to make a really great read. Also available as eBook on OverDrive.

Recommended by Katie D.

Pharsalia : an environmental biography of a southern plantation, 1780-1880



Pharsalia : An Environmental Biography of a Southern Plantation 1780-1880

By Lynn A. Nelson

A captivating story about a Virginia piedmont plantation and the struggles of the Massie family. The book is an excellent example of the "New Environmental History" genre. Well sourced and cleverly written, the author documents the changes that changing agricultural patterns (the switch from tobacco to grain production) and what that meant to Virginia and Virginians.

Recommended by George C.