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Home > For Book Lovers... > Staff Picks

Staff Picks

Staff members of the Boca Raton Public Library share some of their favorite books...
(click on a book cover or title for a link to the online catalog)

Recommended by Lydia, Collection Services:

The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff

The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach is a superb WW2 drama with plenty of history, romance and enough twists to keep you reading and intrigued. I enjoyed the book and would recommend it for a quick summer read.

Recommended by Jennifer, Account Services:

Last Words by Michael Koryta

In Michael Koryta's latest psychological thriller, private investigator Markus Novak must investigate a murder committed in a cave. It was full of suspense and really gave me the chills because there were so many twists that make you guessing. Some of the read was a little difficult for me because I know what a cave is, but to really imagine how big one is and the details he puts into it as to what happened in the cave was overwhelming. The story was great and I really enjoyed it.

Recommended by Sally, Instructional Services:

A Beginner's Guide to Paradise: 9 Steps to Giving Up Everything So You Too Can: Move to the South Pacific, Wear a Loincloth, Read a Hundred Books, Diaper a Baby Monkey, Build a Bungalow and Maybe, Just Maybe Fall In Love by Alex Sheshunoff

Who hasn't at one time or another dreamed of walking away from the day to day responsibilities of modern life and run off to a remote island? No responsibilities except to sit in the sand and sip a drink decorated with one of those funny little umbrellas hanging onto the edge of the glass. The author, a Yale graduate and entrepreneur, did just that. He packed one hundred books that he never read along with a few articles of clothing and took off in search of paradise.

The hilariously long title of this book should give you a clue that this is not the run of the mill novel. This is a well written, humorous (mostly) accounting of one person's search for a more meaningful and fulfilling life. There is sadness in paradise but overall this reader is almost tempted to search for her own version of paradise. This is an enjoyable book to escape the late summer doldrums but it would be equally enjoyable any time one needs to slip away from reality.

Recommended by Sally, Instructional Services:

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

This book, authored by the same writer of Eat Pray Love, is an inspirational guide to self identifying your creative side. Part self help champion and part cheerleader, the author encourages the internal self talk that may help some readers to let go of any self doubts and to take action to realize their dreams. Don't be fooled by the title into thinking that creative living is only for the "gifted" like artists, composers or inventors. The author's approach towards the creative process applies to everyone. However, the reader needs to be in the right frame of mind to accept the message to let go of your fears in order to be your most creative self.

Recommended by Clara, Collection Services:

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands

This story is set in England in 1665 and is about a 13 year old boy Christopher Rowe. Christopher is an orphan and has been apprenticed to Master Benedict Blackthorn, an apothecary. Very strange murders have happened among the community of pharmacists and Christopher and his best friend Tom decide to discover why.

Recommended by Deborah, Youth Services:

Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

Suzanne LaFleur tells a touching tale of loss, friendships, family love and loyalty, showing us Elise's interior life while she navigates the transition from childhood to adolescence, from elementary to middle school. LaFleur's gentle words, and absorbing story elicit more than a few tears, but they are exquisite tears.

Recommended by Deborah, Youth Services:

The League of Unexceptional Children by Gitty Daneshvari

Daneshvari starts telling her story, using irony and whimsy in a most light and delightful way. Right away you are intrigued with her characters and increasingly caught up in her plot lines, as they become more and more convoluted and improbable. The author develops her characters with tongue planted firmly in cheek. We meet Arthur Pelton, the hapless security guard whose humorous ineptitude leads directly to a security breach at the White House resulting in the kidnapping of the vice president. Then Jonathan Murray and Shelley Brown appear on the scene, introduced as two very forgettable and average children, who soon take center stage. Strange and shadowy figures recruit them into The League of Unexceptional Children and task them with saving the vice president and consequently retrieving the sensitive codes crucial to the security and well being of our country, if not the whole world. All this results in an amusing and compellingly interesting tale. Even the ending comes as a bit of a surprise.

Recommended by Tina, Youth Services:

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman

This book is unlike any other! It is exciting from the moment you pick it up and is impossible to put down. It is as though you have plucked a sci-fi movie right off of the screen and are holding it in your hands and reading. Told mainly from two different perspectives, Katy and Ezra, who just so happened to be exes, this book is exciting through and through! So visually descriptive that you feel as though you are aboard one of the ships alongside the characters. Recommended for anyone who loves sci-fi, romance, and adventure!!!

Recommended by Nancy, Collection Services:

Down Among the Dead Men by Peter Lovesey

For Peter Lovesey fans, you will not be disappointed. Superintendent Diamond is sent to Sussex on the coast of England to investigate the grounds for suspending a Sussex detective for failing to follow up DNA evidence which just happens to belong to the Sussex detective's niece (not to mention being an old friend of the Superintentdant). To make matters worse, Peter Diamond is working on this internal investigation at the insistence of Assistance Chief Constable Georgina Dallymore, who has a way of obfuscating even the clearest of truths. The internal investigation itself involves a seven-year-old murder and Superintentdent Diamond believes the suspended detective is only now facing the breach of ethics charge because she is determined uncover a web of disappearances of semi-underworld people that have gone unnoticed and uninvestigated which would bring up the number of unsolved crimes for the areas statistics. Author Lovesey, of course, opens his book with a totally unrelated instance of why an art teacher at an expensive girls school leaves suddenly without any explanation, and still manages to make these mysteries all fall together with his usual humor and pathos. A book to be enjoyed by his fans and new readers alike.

Recommended by Nancy, Collection Services:

The Drowning by Camilla Läckberg

This is a new book by yet another wonderful Scandinavian author. It involves four men and their families, one of whom has gone missing for several months. Another has just written his debut novel but is frightened to appear on television for publicity interviews because he has been receiving anonymous threatening notes for the past year and a half. When the body of the missing man is found in a frozen pond, and the others begin receiving similar notes as well, the police have their hands full investigating the backgrounds of all four and their families. The author's talent comes from reeling the reader in slowly as to their past histories. While we can eventually discern the "who" as to the actual murderer, it is the "why" that is the real shocker. The author has her own style and unlike a Nesbø or a Larssen, family life, but not necessarily violence, is the matrix of much of the book. A great read.

Recommended by Marcella, Collection Services:

The Daughters by Adrienne Celt

Polish ancestral tales shaped by tragedy and curses underscore the themes of motherhood and music in this debut novel. On the day of her beloved grandmother's death, world class opera soprano Luscia gives birth to her daughter and begins a journey into the past to make peace with the present. A masterful tale with masterful pacing, Celt explores the fragility and strength of being both daughter and mother. The Daughters is an unforgettable story.

Recommended by Marcella, Collection Services:

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

A fast-paced, fun psychological suspense novel told from the alternating views of the main characters, a husband and wife and the homeless teenaged mother and infant they take in. The girl's chapters reveal her tragic backstory. Meanwhile, the wife who takes her in becomes increasingly obsessed with the baby while her resentful and suspicious husband seeks to reveal the teen's secrets.

Recommended by Marcella, Collection Services:

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Popular blogger Jenny Lawson captures what her daily life with mental illness and decision to make the good moments in her life "furiously happy." This poignant and hilarious anecdotal memoir also offers other insightful tips, such as why snow globes are banned at airports but could be useful for the zombie apocalypse and the joys of midnight raccoon rodeos. Perfect for those who like inspiration and insight delivered with a quirky sense of humor.

Recommended by Robin, Collection Services:

The Tale of the Rose: the Passion that Inspired The Little Prince by Consuelo de Saint-Exupéry

I grabbed Consuelo de Saint-Exupéry's The Tale of the Rose: The Passion That Inspired The Little Prince when I saw it as I had just seen a gorgeous pop-up book of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry at Anthropologie, and then read that an animated film based on the book received a fairly warm reception in Cannes. The widow Consuelo Suncín Sandoval de Gómez met Saint-Exupéry in 1930 while on a visit to Argentina from France. Saint-Exupéry, an aviation pioneer and writer, was working as a commercial pilot in South America. He proposed to her the night they met. After setting up house together, he wrote the novel Night Flight, which was based on letters he had written for her about the beauty of flight. (Guerlain created a perfume after the book was published - Vol de Nuit!) They were married in 1931. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry abandons her from the get-go, according to her chronicle of their 13-year marriage. His work, his writing, his family, his friends, his mistresses, and then World War II interfere. They lived apart many of their nomadic, married years. Saint-Exupéry fled to the U.S. after France fell to Germany. While living in the U.S., he wrote The Little Prince. Saint-Exupéry disappeared while flying a reconnaissance mission over France in July 1944. Madame de Saint-Exupéry died in 1979. Her book was published in France in 2000.

Recommended by Robin, Collection Services:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

When my sister Nancy won the role of Mrs. Alexander in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, I borrowed the novel by Mark Haddon, which is about Christopher Banks, a brilliant, special-needs teen who uncovers unsettling family truths after he decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog. He bravely goes way out of his comfort zone to talk to Mrs. Alexander and others in his pursuit of justice.

If all goes well, the curtain rises mid-September for Nancy and other new cast members. Broadway - at last!!!

Recommended by Helen, Collection Services:

The Storm of the Century by Al Roker

Combining a little bit of history, a little bit of science, and lots of personal narratives, Roker gives us a gripping, fascinating, heartbreaking, yet persevering account of the devastating Galveston hurricane of 1900. My staff pick of the century!

Recommended by Ann, Library Manager:

Kitchens of the Great Midwest / J. Ryan Stradal

A great summer read! If you enjoy a story with a big heart, well written characters, and quirky humor this is a terrific read. I found myself flying through the pages trying to guess what would happen next. I never guessed correctly! And ultimately I think that’s why I enjoyed the book so much!