March 2024 Staff Picks

Mar 8, 2024 | Book Lists, News, Staff Picks

The days are getting longer, and that means more light to read with! Try one of our favorites. 


Shark Heart by Emily Habeck

There has been a lot of great press about this debut novel, but it didn’t seem like something I would like. Then I saw a blurb on the front cover from Anthony Doerr (ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE), a writer I love, and that convinced me to give it a try. And I am so very glad I did! Lewis and Wren, a young, newly married couple, are faced with an awful diagnosis. Lewis has been diagnosed with a genetic mutation: over the course of the next 9 months, he will be turning into a great white shark. A literal great white shark. Again – not something up my alley – but Doerr was spot on in his praise. A “beautifully written” novel about transitions and transformations; metaphor, marriage and motherhood; love and letting go. This is a novel that will stay with you. 



The Fire, The Water, and Maudie McGinn by Sally J. Pla

I didn’t actually intend to read this book, but then I picked it up and all of a sudden I had finished it. Oopsie! Written in an effective blend of verse and prose, it follows thirteen-year-old Maudie, who has been told by her mother to keep a terrible secret. Spending the summer with her father in California, Maudie struggles with keeping the secret and with her fear of the damage she could inflict if she lets the secret out. Maudie is autistic, which is of course an integral part of her life experience, and I appreciate how author Sally J. Pla never argues that if Maudie ‘fixed’ her autism, she could finally please her mother. This book comfortably holds the truth that a neurodivergent brain is not a broken brain.



The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon

This biographical fiction is partially based on the life of Martha Ballard, a midwife in Maine during the 18th century.  While the tale of death and scandal is fictional, Martha Ballard did indeed exist.  She is even a direct ancestor of Clara Barton  (founder of the Red Cross), and Mary Hobart (the first female physician in the U.S.)!  When Martha is called to examine the body of a man found frozen in the Kennebec River- one of two accused rapists- her judgment on cause of death is undermined by the local physician and she is forced to investigate the murder on her own.  Martha battles several injustices of the day including the infant court system of the newly founded United States, as well as prejudices against women.  Don’t be deterred by the waitlist for this one!  I experienced the book as an audiobook and the narrator does an amazing job.  



Emily Wilde’s Encylopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

I am really enjoying the cozy fantasy book trend. Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett is the first in a series about a slightly grumpy, introverted young professor, her steadfast dog, and her journeys into magical worlds in the name of research. The story is more about relationships and interesting characters than magic, so don’t be put off if you aren’t usually a fan of fantasy. Anyone who enjoyed The House in the Cerulean Sea or Legends & Lattes should give this a try.


Starling House by Alix Harrow



Educated by Tara Westover



American Mermaid by Julia Langbein