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Staff Picks - Adult Department 2021

Check out this list of books that librarians in the adult department have been enjoying recently.

Maid : hard work, low pay, and a mother's will to survive by Stephanie Land

While the gap between upper middle-class Americans and the working poor widens, grueling low-wage domestic and service work-primarily done by women; fuels the economic success of the wealthy. Stephanie Land worked for years as a maid, pulling long hours while struggling as a single mom to keep a roof over her daughter's head. She reveals the dark truth of what it takes to survive and thrive in today's inequitable society

The gilded wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Set in a darkly glamorous world The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence and dangerous but thrilling adventure. Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can't yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much. Together, they'll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

My heart is a chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

"In her quickly gentrifying rural lake town Jade sees recent events only her encyclopedic knowledge of horror films could have prepared her for in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones. "Some girls just don't know how to die..." Shirley Jackson meets Friday the 13th in My Heart Is a Chainsaw, written by the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Good Indians Stephen Graham Jones, called "a literary master" by National Book Award winner Tananarive Due and"one of our most talented living writers" by Tommy Orange. Alma Katsu calls My Heart Is a Chainsaw "a homage to slasher films that also manages to defy and transcend genre." On the surface is a story of murder in small-town America. But beneath is its beating heart: a biting critique of American colonialism, Indigenous displacement, and gentrification, and a heartbreaking portrait of a broken young girl who uses horror movies to cope with the horror of her own life. Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indianoutcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies...especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood andmasked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold. Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges...a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the Jason Voorhees mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body. My Heart Is a Chainsaw is her story, her homage to horror and revenge and triumph"--

Spoiler alert : a novel by Olivia Dade

"Marcus Caster-Rupp has a secret. The world may know him as Aeneas, star of the biggest show on television, but fanfiction readers call him something else: Book!AeneasWouldNever. Marcus gets out his frustrations with the show through anonymous stories about the internet's favorite couple, Aeneas and Lavinia. But if anyone discovered his online persona, he'd be finished in Hollywood. April Whittier has secrets of her own. A hardcore Lavinia fan, she's long hidden her fanfic and cosplay hobbies from her "real life"--but not anymore. When she dares to post her latest costume creation on Twitter, her plus-size take goes viral. And when Marcus asks her out to spite her internet critics, truth officially becomes stranger than fanfiction. On their date, Marcus quickly realizes he wants more from April than a one-time publicity stunt. But when he discovers she's Unapologetic Lavinia Stan, his closest fandom friend, he has one more huge secret to keep from her. With love and Marcus's career on the line, can the two of them stop hiding once and for all, or will a match made in fandom end up prematurely cancelled?"--Amazon

More myself : a journey by Alicia Keys

"An intimate, revealing look at one artist's journey from self-censorship to full expression As one of the most celebrated musicians of our time, Alicia Keys has enraptured the nation with her heartfelt lyrics, extraordinary vocal range, and soul-stirringpiano compositions. Yet away from the spotlight, Alicia has grappled with private heartache-over the challenging and complex relationship with her father, the people-pleasing nature that characterized her early career, the loss of privacy surrounding herromantic relationships, and the oppressive expectations of female perfection. Since her rise to fame, Alicia's public persona has belied a deep personal truth: she has spent years not fully recognizing or honoring her own worth. After withholding parts of herself for so long, she is at last exploring the questions that live at the heart of her story: Who am I, really? And once I discover that truth, how can I become brave enough to embrace it? More Myself is part autobiography, part narrative documentary. Alicia's journey is revealed not only through her own candid recounting, but also through vivid recollections from those who have walked alongside her. The result is a 360-degree perspective on Alicia's path-from her girlhood in Hell's Kitchen and Harlem, to the process of self-discovery she's still navigating. In More Myself, Alicia shares her quest for truth-about herself, her past, and her shift from sacrificing her spirit to celebrating her worth. With the raw honesty that epitomizes Alicia's artistry, More Myself is at once a riveting account and a clarion call to readers: to define themselves in a world that rarely encourages a true and unique identity"--

Just as I am : a memoir by Cicely Tyson

The Academy, Tony, and Emmy Award-winning actor and trailblazer tells her stunning story, looking back at her life and six-decade career.

The personal librarian : a novel by Marie Benedict

"The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan's personal librarian-who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true. In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. Pierpont Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection. But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and well-known advocate for equality. Belle's complexion isn't dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white-her complexion is dark because she is African American.

That can be arranged : a Muslim love story by Huda Fahmy

Chaperones, suitors, and arranged marriages aren't only reserved for the heroines of a Jane Austen novel. They're just another walk in the park for this leading lady, who is on a mission to find her leading lad. From the brilliant comics Yes, I'm Hot in This, Huda Fahmy tells the hilarious story of how she met and married her husband. Navigating mismatched suitors, gossiping aunties, and societal expectations for Muslim women, That Can Be Arranged deftly and hilariously reveals to readers what it can be like to find a husband as an observant Muslim woman in the twenty-first century. So relevant in today's evolving cultural climate, Fahmy's story offers a perceptive and personal glimpse into the sometimes sticky but ultimately rewarding balance of independent choice and tradition. --Back cover

The adoption by author Zidrou

"When aging Gabriel's son and daughter adopts an orphaned girl from Peru, Gabriel doesn't know what to think of this foreign child who isn't of his own blood. Besides, he was barely much of a father to his own son...how is he going to take to being a grandfather? The story is made up of moments of sharing between the grandfather and the granddaughter, as well as various interactions around this dilemma with his wife, his lifelong friends, and his own son himself. But when surprise twists complicate matters, true feelings blossom and Life takes on a whole new palette"--

The snow killings : inside the Oakland County child killer investigation by Marney Rich Keenan

""Over 13 months in 1976-1977, four children were abducted in the Detroit suburbs, each of them held for days before their still-warm bodies were dumped in the snow near public roadsides. The Oakland County Child Murders spawned panic across southeast Michigan, triggering the most extensive manhunt in U.S. history. Yet after less than two years, the task force created to find the killer was shut down without naming a suspect. The case "went cold" for more than 30 years, until a chance discovery by one victim's family pointed to the son of a wealthy General Motors executive: Christopher Brian Busch, a four-time convicted pedophile, was freed weeks before the fourth child disappeared. Veteran Detroit News reporter Marney Rich Keenan takes the reader inside the investigation of the still-unsolved murders-seen through the eyes of the lead detective in the case and the family who cracked it open-revealing evidence of a decades-long coverup of misfeasance and obstruction that averted justice for the victims."-Provided by publisher"--

Easy crafts for the insane : a mostly funny memoir of mental illness and making things by Kelly Williams Brown

"From the New York Times bestselling author of Adulting comes a story about how to make something when you're capable of nothing"--

The icepick surgeon : murder, fraud, sabotage, piracy, and other dastardly deeds perpetrated in the name of science by Sam Kean

"Science is a force for good in the world--at least usually. But sometimes, when obsession gets the better of scientists, they twist a noble pursuit into something sinister. Under this spell, knowledge isn't everything, it's the only thing--no matter the cost. Bestselling author Sam Kean tells the true story of what happens when unfettered ambition pushes otherwise rational men and women to cross the line in the name of science, trampling ethical boundaries and often committing crimes in the process. The Icepick Surgeon masterfully guides the reader across two thousand years of history, beginning with Cleopatra’s dark deeds in ancient Egypt. The book reveals the origins of much of modern science in the transatlantic slave trade of the 1700s, as well as Thomas Edison’s mercenary support of the electric chair and the warped logic of the spies who infiltrated the Manhattan Project. But the sins of science aren’t all safely buried in the past. Many of them, Kean reminds us, still affect us today. We can draw direct lines from the medical abuses of Tuskegee and Nazi Germany to current vaccine hesitancy, and connect icepick lobotomies from the 1950s to the contemporary failings of mental-health care. Kean even takes us into the future, when advanced computers and genetic engineering could unleash whole new ways to do one another wrong. Unflinching, and exhilarating to the last page, The Icepick Surgeon fuses the drama of scientific discovery with the illicit thrill of a true-crime tale. With his trademark wit and precision, Kean shows that, while science has done more good than harm in the world, rogue scientists do exist, and when we sacrifice morals for progress, we often end up with neither."--book jacket

The Quinn legacy by Nora Roberts

The children's blizzard : a novel by Melanie Benjamin

Draws on oral histories of the Great Plains blizzard of 1888 to depict the experiences of two teachers, a servant, and a reporter who risk everything to protect the children of immigrant homesteaders.

Black Bottom saints : a novel by Alice Randall

"From the Great Depression through the post-World War II years, Joseph "Ziggy" Johnson, has been the pulse of Detroit's famous Black Bottom. A celebrated gossip columnist for the city's African-American newspaper, the Michigan Chronicle, he is also the emcee of one of the hottest night clubs, where he's rubbed elbows with the legendary black artists of the era, including Ethel Waters, Billy Eckstein, and Count Basie. Ziggy is also the founder and dean of the Ziggy Johnson School of Theater. But now the doyen of Black Bottom is ready to hang up his many dapper hats. As he lays dying in the black-owned-and-operated Kirkwood Hospital, Ziggy reflects on his life, the community that was the center of his world, and the remarkable people who helped shape it."--Amazon

Florence Adler swims forever by Rachel Beanland

Every summer, Esther and Joseph Adler rent their house out to vacationers escaping to "America's Playground" and move into the apartment above their bakery. The apartment is where they raised their two daughters, Fannie and Florence,and, despite the cramped quarters, it still feels like home. Now Florence has returned from college, determined to spend the summer training to swim the English Channel, and Fannie, pregnant again after recently losing a baby, is on bedrest, leaving heryoung daughter Gussie in Esther's care. After Joseph insists they take in a mysterious young woman whom he recently helped emigrate from Nazi Germany, the apartment is bursting at the seams. Esther wants nothing more than to keep her daughters close and safe but some matters are beyond her control: there's Fannie's risky pregnancy-not to mention her always-scheming husband, Isaac-and the fact that Stuart Williams, the heir of a hotel notorious for its anti-Semitic policies, seems to be in love with Florence. When tragedy strikes during one of Florence's practice swims, Esther makes the shocking decision to keep the truth about Florence's death from Fannie-at least until the baby is born. She pulls the rest of the family into an elaborate web of secret-keeping and lies, forcing to the surface long-buried tensions that show us just how quickly the act of protecting those we love can turn into betrayal. Told with humor and tenderness and based on a true story, Beanland's debut is a breathtaking meditation onthe lengths we go to in order to keep our families together. At its heart, it is an uplifting portrayal of how the human spirit can endure-and even thrive-after tragedy"--

The last green valley : a novel by Mark T Sullivan

"In late March 1944, as Stalin's forces push into Ukraine, young Emil and Adeline Martel must make a terrible decision: Do they wait for the Soviet bear's intrusion and risk being sent to Siberia? Or do they reluctantly follow the wolves--murderous Nazi officers who have pledged to protect 'pure-blood' Germans? The Martels are one of many families of German heritage whose ancestors have farmed in Ukraine for more than a century. But after already living under Stalin's horrifying regime, Emil and Adeline decide they must run in retreat from their land and go in search of freedom. Caught between two warring forces and overcoming horrific trials to pursue their hope of immigrating to the West, the Martels' story is a brutal, complex, and ultimately triumphant tale that illuminates the extraordinary power of love, faith, and one family's incredible will to survive and see their dreams realized"--Back cover

Katharine Parr, the sixth wife : a novel by Alison Weir

"Having sent his much-beloved but deceitful young wife Katheryn Howard to her beheading, King Henry fixes his lonely eyes on a more mature woman, thirty-year-old, twice-widowed Katharine Parr. She, however, is in love with Sir Thomas Seymour, brother to the late Queen Jane. Aware of his rival, Henry sends him abroad, leaving Katharine no choice but to become Henry's sixth queen in 1543. The king is no longer in any condition to father a child, but Katharine is content to mother his three children, Mary, Elizabeth, and the longed-for male heir, Edward. Four years into the marriage, Henry dies, leaving England's throne to nine-year-old Edward--a puppet in the hands of ruthlessly ambitious royal courtiers--and Katharine's life takes a more complicated turn. Thrilled at this renewed opportunity to wed her first love, Katharine doesn't realize that Sir Thomas now sees her as a mere stepping stone to the throne, his eye actually set on bedding and wedding fourteen-year-old Elizabeth. The princess is innocently flattered by his attentions, allowing him into her bedroom, to the shock of her household. The result is a tangled tale of love and a struggle for power, bringing to a close the dramatic and violent reign of Henry VIII"--

All in : an autobiography by Billie Jean King

"In this spirited account, Billie Jean King details her life's journey to find her true self. She recounts her groundbreaking tennis career--six years as the top-ranked woman in the world, twenty Wimbledon championships, thirty-nine grand-slam titles, and her watershed defeat of Bobby Riggs in the famous "Battle of the Sexes." She poignantly recalls the cultural backdrop of those years and the profound impact on her worldview from the women's movement, the assassinations and anti-war protests of the 1960s, the civil rights movement, and, eventually, the LGBTQ+ rights movement"--

Blind tiger : a novel by Sandra Brown

"Thatcher Hutton, a war-weary soldier on the way back to his cowboy life, jumps from a moving freight train to avoid trouble...and lands in more than he bargained for. On the day he arrives in Foley, Texas, a local woman goes missing. Thatcher, the only stranger in town, is suspected of her abduction, and worse. Standing between him and exoneration are a corrupt mayor, a crooked sheriff, a notorious cathouse madam, a sly bootlegger, feuding moonshiners...and a young widow whose soft features conceal an iron will. What was supposed to be a fresh start for Laurel Plummer turns to tragedy. Left destitute but determined to dictate her own future, Laurel plunges into the lucrative regional industry, much to the dislike of the good ol’ boys, who have ruled supreme. Her success quickly makes her a target for cutthroat competitors, whose only code of law is reprisal. As violence erupts, Laurel and—now deputy—Thatcher find themselves on opposite sides of a moonshine war, where blood flows as freely as whiskey."--Dust jacket

Defending Britta Stein : a novel by Ronald H Balson

"Chicago, 2018: Ole Henryks, a popular restauranteur, is set to be honored by the Danish/American Association for his many civic and charitable contributions. Frequently appearing on local TV, he is well known for his actions in Nazi-occupied Denmark during World War II-most consider him a hero. Britta Stein, however, does not. The ninety-year-old Chicago woman levels public accusations against Henryks by spray-painting 'Coward,' 'Traitor,' 'Collaborator,' and 'War Criminal' on the walls of his restaurant. Mrs. Stein is ultimately taken into custody and charged with criminal defacement of property. She also becomes the target of a bitter lawsuit filed by Henryks and his son, accusing her of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Attorney Catherine Lockhart, though hesitant at first, agrees to take up Mrs. Stein's defense. With the help of her investigator husband, Liam Taggart, Lockhart must reach back into wartime Denmark and locate evidence that proves Mrs. Stein's innocence." --book jacket

The Lincoln highway by Amor Towles

In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served fifteen months for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett's intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother, Billy, and head to California where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden's car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett's future, one that will take them all on a fateful journey in the opposite direction-to the City of New York.
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