Staff Picks

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maryafrom Marya Johnston (owner)

My reading is very eclectic. I read everything! My favorite book is always the last one I read. (I have come up with a couple for you, though):

Running with Sherman

Running with Sherman

by Christopher McDougall

It’s about donkey racing…..   OK, I can hear the yawn from here, but bear with me.  Christopher McDougall is well known for his book, Born to Run.   When he adopted a donkey from an animal hoarder, he thought maybe the best way to rehab this little Eeyore would be to teach him to run.  It seems like a decent idea, right?   As Christopher decides that the best way to rehab “Sherman” is to train him for the Burro Races in Leadville (they also have them in Buena Vista and Fairplay), he finds that there is a reason donkeys are known to be stubborn.  It’s a story about life.  It’s a story about a rescue.  It’s a story about an animal doing more for humans than humans for the animal.  My favorite book this year!


This Tender Land

This Tender Land

by William Kent Krueger

I have not read William Kent Krueger before.  I thought you had to be from Minnesota to enjoy his books (joke!).  After reading several disjointed award-winning books, I picked this up on a whim.  I’m so glad I did!  Narrated by 12-year-old Odysseus “Odie” O’Banion, and reminiscent of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer stories of the Mississippi river, this story captures your heart from the first page. Odie and his older brother Albert are sent to the Lincoln Indian School when their widowed father dies.  There they are subjected to the lives of racism, neglect, and abuse.  When circumstances force them to leave the school in a hurry, they take along their Sioux friend Mose and a little girl recently orphaned, Emmy. The four children travel the Mississippi in a canoe in search of a home and along the way learn the realities of good and evil without losing hope for a better future and better life.  A wonderful story.



by Christina Dalcher

It’s rare that I find a book that’s as timely or as gripping as Vox. Christina Dalcher has created a story that is utterly horrifying, not because it’s packed with monsters or a looming apocalypse, but because the events of the story clearly echo our current political climate. Dalcher takes us deep into an immediate future where women are limited to 100 spoken words a day, regardless of age or occupation. Vox raises important questions that are on the minds of many people, both within the United States and on a global scale. How did the world come to this? Is there a way for women to be silent and remain free? (Nope.) How do we fight against a tyrannical government that insists on silencing us? Dalcher’s story is haunting, terrifying in a way that even Stephen King hasn’t managed. In a heartfelt plea to reject complacency, Christina Dalcher has reminded us why our voice is important, and what can happen when it’s taken from us.
– Holly


Black Out and All Clear

by Connie Willis

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to go back in time and live a particular historical period? Award-winning author Connie Willis takes 3 historians from 2060 by time machine back to WWII England. There are rules for the time travelers to prevent them from altering the past, but the time machine develops glitches and fails to respond. The rules may have to go if the 3 are to survive the bombing of London and Dunkirk. Willis will leave you breathless and with a desire to know more as a club of thieves, illegal traffickers, and obsessionists. This is no longer a gentleman’s sport.
– Constance

Legion by Brandon Sanderson.

A genius cannot hold all of his knowledge in his head, so he imagines many separate experts to help him. Super fun! A thriller that will make you question reality.

– Cameron


Whiskey When We’re Dry by John Larison.

It is the right time in our collective conversation for this amazing heroine and the themes in this book of self-awareness, belonging, discrimination, exploitation, and loyalty. A resonating story for our time and collective conversation.



The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White. This is a modern story entwined with history and a bit of 1915 mystery (the Lusitania’s sinking) and how it impacted a family, generations later. A fun romance and a mix of voices from the authors who collaborated to make this book a terrific read….or a great gift!

– Victoria