Staff Picks: Aurora’s Anticipated Non-Fiction

Each month Reference Librarian Aurora highlights a few of her most anticipated non-fiction new releases.

Northeaster: A Story of Courage and Survival in the Blizzard of 1952 by Cathie Pelletier

Remember when it used to snow in Maine? Reading Cathie Pelletier’s bracing account of the calamities that befell Mainers during the infamous Blizzard of 1952 ought to jog your memory. Pelletier, a novelist born and raised in Allagash, lays out the story of the storm through the lives of the ordinary people who survived it, including a young mother and a firefighter from Bath. Both a fascinating window into local history and a riveting adventure tale of human resilience in the face of extreme weather, Northeaster is this winter’s Maine must-read, preferably paired with a cup of hot cocoa. Author Cathie Pelletier will be at PFL Friday, February 17 at 3 p.m.

For local history buffs, armchair storm chasers, and fans of action-packed narrative nonfiction.

 

The Vegan Baking Bible by Karolina Tegelaar

I spend more time than I’d like to turning down baked goods, watching other people eat baked goods whilst I sit alongside maybe nibbling a carrot (nothing against carrots), and generally not eating all of the cakes, cookies, brownies, and extravagant pastries that I would very much like to eat. What possible reason could there be for such abstinence? The fact is that an alarming proportion of the world’s baked goods are not vegan. Shocking, I know, especially when Karolina Tegelaar has proven the joys of vegan baking by “veganizing” over 300 treats in this hefty compendium of cruelty-free deliciousness. And since The Vegan Baking Bible was named Sweden’s Best Baking Cookbook of 2020, you can trust that it’s first-rate—as my mother would tell you, Swedes don’t mess around when it comes to baking.

For fans of cinnamon buns, gingerbread, snickerdoodles, and Princess Cake.

 

Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains by Bethany Brookshire

Squirrels, pigeons, and bears—oh my! Humans have a complicated, often strained relationship with the furry and feathered creatures who have learned to live with us. And I don’t mean the critters with whom we share our homes, affectionately called “pets,” but the ones who reside in our backyards, back alleys, and creepy basements. These animals we deem “pests,” with no affection implied. But what is it about rats, coyotes, snakes, squirrels, and sparrows that gets people so pestered? Brookshire’s book promises to answer that question, and with any luck, show the way to a truce between the species.

For fans of popular science, animal-human relations, and urban wildlife.

Staff Picks: Other Terrors: An Inclusive Anthology Edited by Vince A. Liaguno and Rena Mason

This anthology features twenty-four contemporary horror stories that center on marginalized or othered characters. Themes include, but are not limited to: generational trauma, xenophobia, gender identity, and the objectification of women. Standouts for me involved an unusual form of peer pressure coming from a water aerobics class and a grocery delivery driver with an extremely loyal customer base. A creepy and provocative book!

Sarah, Reference and Children’s Room

Staff Pick: They’re Going to Love You by Meg Howrey

A beautiful story that centers around the ballet scene in New York City in the 80’s and up to 2016. Carlisle’s mother was a Balanchine ballerina and her father taught at a dance school. 

This is a story of acceptance and forgiveness that beautifully intertwines issues of the AIDS epidemic and how we reckon with our parents choices when we grow up and become adults ourselves. The writing was absolutely gorgeous and the story was perfectly paced. It was the first novel of 2023 and it was already five stars for me!

Gia, Children’s Room

Staff Picks: Favorite Reads of 2022 (Adults)

Fiction:

The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell by Brian Evenson

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Ice by Anna Kavan

What Moves The Dead by T. Kingfisher

Shit Cassandra Saw by Gwen Kirby

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

The Night Eaters Book 1: She Eats the Night by Marjorie Liu

Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Nobody Gets Out Alive by Leigh Newman

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

Liberation Day by George Saunders

Lucy By the Sea Elizabeth Strout

Gast by Carol Swain

Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty

The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke

The Black Maybe by Attila Veres

 

Non-Fiction:

Islands of Abandonment: Nature Rebounding in the Post-Human Landscape by Cal Flynn

Bringing Back the Beaver by Derek Gow

Beasts at Bedtime: Revealing the Environmental Wisdom in Children’s Literature by Liam Heneghan

House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films by Kier-La Janisse

Still Points North by Leigh Newman

Sigh, Gone by Phuc Tran

Staff Picks: Favorite Reads of 2022 (Children and YA)

Picture Books:

Coffee, Rabbit, Snowdrop, Lost by Betina Birkjær; illustrated by Anna Margrethe Kjærgaard

Dear Mr. Dickens by Nancy Churnin;  illustrated by Bethany Stancliffe

Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse by Jane Godwin; illustrated by Blanca Gómez

Noodle and the No Bones Day by Jonathan Graziano; illustrated by Dan Tavis

Ten Owies by Tony Johnston; illustrated by Annabel Tempest

Bathe the Cat by Alice McGinty; illustrated by David Roberts

 

Middle Grade and Chapter Books:

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

Show Us Who You Are by Elle McNicoll

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

 

YA:

Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

Bluebird by Sharon Cameron

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

They Went Left by Monica Hesse

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

I Must Betray You by Ruta

The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

Staff Picks: She Eats the Night: The Night Eaters Book 1 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

From the writer/illustrator team that has given us Monstress comes the first book in the new trilogy, The Night Eaters.

Unreachable, chain-smoking, and all-around unpleasant Ipo is living for a few months in Hawaii with her laid-back husband, Keon. They are staying with their twins, Milly and Billy, who are both in their early twenties and are running a restaurant. Ipo has a way with plants and has grown an incredible lawn that stands in stark contrast to the creepy, empty house that sits across the street.

The character dynamics are frustrating at first but as we learn more about each member of the family, and Ipo’s connection to the house across the street, we start to see how complicated and nuanced family life can be, particularly if it involves demons.

She Eats the Night is intriguing, gory, and surprisingly funny. I can’t wait for Book 2 and I’m excited that I’ll be able to alternate these books with Monstress while I wait for the next volume in each series!

Staff Pick: The Wild Hunt by Emma Seckel

Set on a small Scottish island during and after World War II, this debut by Emma Seckel is wise and eerie at the same time. The sluagh are the blackbirds of Gaelic legend that hold the souls of the unforgiven. They mass on the island when the heroine, Leigh, arrives home after her father’s fall from the cliffs. Reminiscent of Hitchcock’s The Birds with the aura of Tim Burton in the writing, the book has much to recommend it.

-Mary Ellen, Interlibrary Loan

Staff Pick: Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White

Benji has a lot going on in his life. The trans teen has just escaped from a destructive cult and is hiding out so that they can’t get him, or the weapon they planted within him, back. Can his new friends from a local LGBTQ+ group help keep him safe while he learns to control his weaponized body?

-Sarah, Reference and Children’s Room

What We’re Reading: Thanksgiving Weekend 2022

PFL staff love to read, and holiday weekends are no exception! Read on for a list of what we have on our shelves for Thanksgiving and beyond.

 

Sirens and Muses by Antonia Angress

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit

The Husbands by Chandler Baker

Stolen Tongues by Felix Blackwell

The Gathering Dark: An Anthology of Folk Horror edited by Toni Bovalino

A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers

Mother Brain by Chelsea Conaboy

Goldilocks and the Three Engineers by Sue Fliess

The Revivalists by Christopher M. Hood

all about love by bell hooks

The Mammoth Book of Werewolves by Stephen Jones

Mastering Genealogical Proof by Dr. Thomas Jones

All the Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami

As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow by Zoulfa Katouh, about a teenager in Syria who is torn between staying in her homeland and fleeing the borders to safety.

Lessons by Ian McEwan

The Black Slide by J.W. Ocker

Liberation Day by George Saunders

Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz

Love In The Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Murder in the Smithsonian by Margaret Truman

Now is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson

 

Staff Pick: Small Game by Blair Braverman

When Mara joins the cast of Civilization, she thinks she is well prepared.  On this new survival reality show contestants must work together to last six weeks in the wilderness.  Anyone who makes it to the end will win a cash prize, and Mara, a Wilderness Survival Instructor, really needs the money.  Sure, her companions and fellow contestants have varying levels of outdoor experience and being on camera does not come naturally, but she is sure she has all the skills needed to make it out in the wild.  But something goes wrong, and halfway through the challenge the survivors are left on their own, wondering what happened and forced to use their skills for real.

Written by real life adventurer and dogsled racer Blair Braverman (who has also been a contestant on a survival reality show), the world of Small Game felt so real I could hardly bear to leave it for a minute, and thought about it constantly over the three days it took me to finish the book.  Small Game is a tautly plotted thriller, a fascinating adventure, an education in wilderness skills, and a thoughtful examination on the true meaning of survival.

Hannah, Programs and Outreach

News & Updates

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