January Staff Picks

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


Bully nation : why America's approach to childhood aggression is bad for everyone





Bully Nation : why America's approach to childhood aggression is bad for everyone 

By Susan Eva Porter

This level-headed analysis of our nation’s bullying epidemic finds fault in our tendency to label children as the bully and/or victim in the first place, making the self-esteem necessary for growth and change nearly impossible. Sharing stories from her 20 years’ experience in schools, author Susan Eva Porter provides a commonsense, detailed plan for how to counsel both sides of the equation and reduce aggression without resorting to the knee-jerk, zero tolerance policies of the modern anti-bullying movement.

Recommended by S. Brown

The whisperer : a novel



The Whisperer : a novel

By Donato Carrisi

"The Whisperer" is an international bestseller as dark and compelling as Steig Larsson's trilogy. The characters were fascinating and the plot was full of twists and turns to the very last page. I could not stop reading once I started.

Recommended by Virginia G.

Until I say good-bye : my year of living with joy



Until I say good-bye : my year of living with joy

By Susan Spencer-Wendel

What would you do to say goodbye to those you love most if you knew you only had a year or two to live? This book explores how Susan both coped with her diagnosis of ALS and how she went about leaving a lasting legacy for her family. This book is as much about living as it is saying goodbye and is a beautiful love to a remarkable family.

Recommended by Samantha P.

Is Your Mama a Llama?




Is Your Mama a Llama?

By Deborah Guarina

A little llama asks his friends whether their 'mama is a llama?' Silly rhymes and delightful illustrations by Steven Kellogg make this a winner to be enjoyed over and over. Also available as a DVD and audiobook with picture book.

Recommended by Jessica S.

Murder is Binding






Murder is Binding (eAudiobook on OverDrive)

By Lorna Barrett

This cozy mystery series is a guilty pleasure of mine. I love mysteries that involve books. When she moved to Stoneham, city slicker Tricia Miles met nothing but friendly faces. And when she opened her mystery bookstore, she met friendly competition. But when she finds Doris Gleason dead in her own cookbook store, killed by a carving knife, the atmosphere seems more cutthroat than cordial. Someone wanted to get their hands on the rare cookbook that Doris had recently purchased--and the locals think that someone is Tricia. To clear her name, Tricia will have to take a page out of one of her own mysteries--and hunt down someone who isn't killing by the book. 

Recommended by Katie D.

Liar's Poker



Liar's Poker

By Michael Lewis

The strongest memory I have of business school is Liar's Poker. Before The Blind Side and Moneyball, Michael Lewis wrote this wild account of the heyday of bond trading in the 1980s where junk bonds were born, greed was king, and a naive young man can become successful in a powerful investment bank.

Recommended by Rebecca L.





By Tsugumi Ohba

Moritaka Mashiro likes to draw. His classmate Akito Takagi wants to write manga and drags Mashiro into the world of manga publishing under the pseudonym Ashirogi. Over the course of the series (now 20 volumes) we watch the boys' roller-coaster career as they compete, face defeat, and take chances. Will they reach the top and get an anime? Will Mashiro find love with Miho Azuki, his crush from middle school? If he does, will it ruin both their careers?

Recommended by Julie D.

Dear girls above me: inspired by a true story



Dear girls above me: inspired by a true story  eAudiobook on OverDrive

By Charlie McDowell

A fun listen which had me wary in the beginning, but chuckling and rooting for surprising characters in the end. Not only has author Charlie McDowell been recently dumped he's also living in an apartment with thin walls and two noisy upstairs neighbors. This book is inspired by true events that started McDowell's popular twitter feed. 

Recommended by April D.

Ota Benga : the pygmy in the zoo



Ota Benga : the pygmy in the zoo

By Phillips Verner Bradford

Bradford takes you on the journey of Ota Benga, a Congolese man and pygmy, who was brought to the United States, caged and displayed in public spaces. This true story follows Ota from the Congo to Lynchburg, Virginia. Exploitation, isolation, cruelty, and homesickness are common-threads throughout this sensitive biography. 

Recommended by Tina M.

Survivors: The empty city



Survivors: The empty city

By Erin Hunter

After a natural disaster leads to the disappearance of most of the Earth's "longpaws", domesticated dogs of all breeds must learn to relearn their natural animal instincts in order to survive in a changed world. Very enlightning about various dog breeds and their original purposes. A little different from Hunter's cat "Warriors" and "Seekers" series about cats and bears. Some scary and intense scenes for younger children. Also available as an eBook on OverDrive.

Recommended by L. Rudd