With so many books published every year, how do you know what to read? Maybe you rely on bestseller lists, read reviews, or tend to stick to your favorite authors. Or more likely, you read books that have recommended to you. While recommendations can be a hit or miss since people's reading tastes vary widely, they are a great way to learn about books not on your radar.
In this post, you’ll find recommendations from a librarian and an avid reader of most genres (although I do love a good mystery). I hope you’ll find something that peaks your interest in this list of some of my personal favorites.
Burial Rites is the fictionalized account of Agnes, the last woman to be executed in Iceland in 1830 for the murder for two men. While awaiting her fate, she is sent to live on the farm of District Officer Jon and his family where she is largely ignored by everyone. The descriptions of Iceland during this time period and the detail Kent provides makes this a fascinating and moving novel.
Kim Lim and Sang Ly live in a waste dump in Cambodia and survive from scavenging recyclables from the trash. They have all but lost hope for their chronically ill child, Nisay, when Sang Ly learns a secret about the rent collector that will change the course of their lives forever. This book illustrates how strong hope is even in the darkest of circumstances.
A historical fiction novel based on true events, Orphan #8 tells the story of Rachel, a four-year-old who is sent to an orphanage in New York City where she becomes the subject of a doctor’s controversial medical research. As an adult, Rachel becomes a nurse and is confronted with her dark past when the doctor becomes her patient. This book will make you think about how the choices we make can shape our destines.
Cassie Danvers returns to her family’s mansion in Ohio after the loss for her grandmother, June. When a knock on the door brings her unexpected news about an inheritance of the idol Jack Montgomery, she digs into her family’s past to find out why she was named in his will. This book alternates between time periods to build suspense and gradually reveal the story that will keep your attention until the end.
Malka Treynovsky flees Russia with her family in 1913 and she tricks them into buying tickets to the United States. Shortly after their arrival in Manhattan, Malka ends up seriously injured and abandoned in the street. She gets taken in by an ice peddler, where she learns the secrets of the business. She eventually marries and takes off across the country in an ice cream truck, becoming famous and earning the nickname of “The Ice Cream Queen.” Yet just when things seems to be going great, her past begins to catch up with her, risking everything she has worked hard for.
Two couples meet at a restaurant for dinner to discuss how to handle the horrific act their sons have committed. As the dinner progresses, the conversation turns from polite to insulting as each couple is determined to protect those they love. This novel will stay with you long after you've finished.
When Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party, she is given a drug to erase her memory of the attack. As time passes, Jenny struggles with her emotional memory and her parents have differing opinions on how to handle the event.
In 1935, Emily Evans vanishes from her family’s vacation home on a remote lake. Her mother spends the rest of her life in the lake house, hoping Emily will one day return. Sixty years later, Lucy, Emily’s middle sister, lives alone in the lake house and writes the story of what happened that summer in a notebook in hopes that her grandniece, Justine, will find it. Justine heads to the lake house trying to escape but when her oldest daughter becomes obsessed with what happened to Emily, the whole story begins to come out and the tragic legacy left behind falls to Justine to overcome.
As the first female state’s attorney in Howard County, Maryland, Lu Brant has a lot to prove. She decides to take on the case of a drifter accused of killing a woman in her home. As she prepares for the case, painful memories about her past come up and when she begins to question whether the events took place as she remembers, she digs deeper to find out the truth.
Two men detail their account of risking everything in order to locate the Golden Fleece, the ship of infamous pirate Joseph Bannister. This non-fiction book reads like fiction and is great for fans of Erik Larson.
Layne Mosler's lifelong dream of opening a restaurant was put on hold when she moved to Buenos Aires to write about food. After a long day, she asks a taxi driver to take her to his favorite restaurant. After having the best meal she's had in a long time, she makes this a habit. Inspired by her experiences, she becomes a taxi driver herself. This funny memoir is a great lighthearted read.
Bryan Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those in need. This book details one of the first cases he takes on, that of Walter McMillian, a young man sentenced to die for a murder he insists he did not commit. Through his work on the case, Stevenson was transformed and his understanding of mercy and justice were changed forever.
Looking for more recommendations? Check out our Personalized Reading List, the library's GoodReads page, or stop in any library and ask!
If you want to read any of the above titles, click the cover to place a hold on the title to be delivered to your preferred branch.