February 2022 Staff Picks

Feb 1, 2022 | Book Lists, Staff Picks

Stuck inside with the cold weather this month? Warm up with a good book.


History of Wild Places by Shea Earnshaw

As the blurb on the book’s cover reads: “What a wonderful rabbit hole to fall down.” – Erika Swyler

Travis Wren is a shell of a man with a talent for finding missing people. He’s hired by the parents of Maggie St. James, a writer of children’s books, as a last hope of finding the daughter who went missing years ago.

Instead, deep in the woods, he stumbles upon an old, abandoned truck and not long after, a community of people who live in a utopia of their own making.

And then Travis goes missing.

With plot twists right up until the end, this is a tale about getting lost, getting found, and finding home. 


Deer wakes up to discover a tennis racket where his antler used to be! One by one, Deer’s friends realize they are missing something important too. They’ve all been hornswoggled! This hilarious mystery explores a variety of wacky words, offering all who read it a delightful opportunity to broaden their vocabulary. 


The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follet is the prequel to his masterpiece, The Pillars of the Earth Trilogy. This book takes the reader to the turn of the late nine hundreds and into the lives of a monk, a builder and a noble woman. Seemingly unrelated, their paths intersect and entwine as higher powers thwart their shared desire to create a better, most just and humane world. The time in which they live in is tormented by Viking raids, slavery, brutality, a corrupt government and power hungry church officials but despite all this – love still flourishes even in the darkest of times. An absolute must read for Follet fans who will love seeing how Kingsbridge began and anyone interested in early English history.


Little Faith  by Nickolas Butler

I don’t think anybody captures the midwest like Nickoloas Butler does. He paints the setting beautifully and authentically, without the idolation or desolation that plagues novels of that region. This work is inspired by a true story of a child who died of juvenile diabetes after her family chose prayer-healing over medical intervention. Where the work truly shines, though, is the relationship between the family members. What compromises can and will we make to stay close to our children and grandchildren? 


No Cure For Being Human by Kate Bowler

A brilliant and honest look at life as seen by the author after she has been diagnosed with stage-four cancer at the age of thirty five. She puts the current self-help culture in perspective and reexamines the way we live our lives. It sounds depressing but that’s why it’s brilliant, it’s both breathtakingly honest and surprisingly lighthearted. 


The Button Book by Sally Nicholls

An interactive picture book that will make you laugh, learn shapes, colors and funny sounds. I dare you to check this out and press all the buttons. 


A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

While this book does contain quite a lot of violence and difficult topics, Hosseini is an excellent storyteller and handles these topics with care and treats his characters with dignity. While this is not a through and through uplifting or warm-hearted story, it does end optimistically.


Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

I know this book has been recommended by staff before, however, I cannot help but recommend the audio book. The voice actor, Nicholas Guy Smith, was phenomenal and I would liken listening to this audiobook as enjoying a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup on a cold day. The story was heartwarming, a little adventurous, and just an overall delightful read.


XOXO by Axie Oh

Meet Jenny, a classically trained cellist who works part-time at her Uncle’s karaoke bar. She meets Jaewoo at work and they hang out seeing the sights in Los Angeles before he vanishes. Fast forward three months when Jenny goes to South Korea to visit her Grandmother and is accepted into a prestigious arts academy.  At school Jenny runs into Jaewoo but she quickly learns that he is a member of a K-Pop band.  As the story unfolds Jenny struggles with a difficult roommate, her future in music, and her feelings for Jaewoo.  A light hearted tale of dreams, hard work, expectations, and love.


The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan

Jennifer chronicles a cooking contest with rations during WWII, and delves into the archives of a few of England’s Universities and Libraries which makes for a real time period snapshot of eating sardine rolls and whale.  She interspersed the novel with actual recipes of the time.


The Magical Imperfect by Chris Baron

I loved The Magical Imperfect, a middle grade novel in verse about Etan and Malia. Normally Etan would be just as excited as his dad about the upcoming 1989 World Series, but he and Malia have even bigger things on their minds. Frequent small earthquakes set the scene for mounting tension in their community as Etan and Malia figure out how to deal with their problems together.


Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart