Sunday, September 3, 2023

Staff Recommendations, Week of September 5, 2023

Happy September. How about some book recommendations? 
Here are our favorite books that kick off the month's new releases.

We begin with three recommendations from Daniel Goldin. The first is While You Were Out: An Intimate Family Portrait of Mental Illness in an Era of Silence by Meg Kissinger. Daniel says: "In this engrossing memoir, long-time journalist Kissinger chronicles life in an old-school Catholic family in the Chicago and Milwaukee suburbs. Kissinger grew up with seven siblings, about four or five more than her mom could handle. With both parents self-medicating, it’s no wonder mental illness manifested in many of the next generation, to sometimes heartbreaking effect. If you loved Hidden Valley Road but wondered what it would have been like to hear the story from one of the children, While You Were Out is the book for you."

And if you are reading this on or before release day, guess what - you can see Kissinger celebrate the release of the book at Milwaukee Public Library's Centennial Hall. This event is Tuesday, September 5, 6:30 pm, Centennial Hall is at 733 N Eighth St, and you can register for this event right here until an hour before the event.

Next, Daniel recommends The Cursed Moon, a middle grade novel by Angela Cervantes. Daniel says: "Rafael loves to tell scary stories, but when his eccentric neighbor tells him to avoid doing this on the night of the blood moon, it’s hard to pay attention. For one thing, his mom’s coming home from prison, plus one of his classmates got him bumped from a school camp-out at the local park, and he’s not happy about that. So, he does make up a story, one about a ghost girl who lures kids into the pond at that very park, and wouldn’t you know it, all signs point to the story coming true.  Another plus - while the story was focused on Rafa and his family issues, the story was set in a vibrant Midwestern Hispanic community with characters of many different socio-economic backgrounds. But the big selling point is the scary stories - The Cursed Moon surely is one, perfect for kids who are just a little too young for Stephen King."

Daniel's last recommendation is Maid for It, a middle grade novel by Jamie Sumner. Daniel says: "After her mother is in a car accident, Franny decides to keep her mother’s house cleaning jobs, blackmailing her one-time bully to help out. Her fear is that her mom might lose the gigs, especially because she’s been struggling with addiction issues for so long and might well relapse. I really enjoyed this book, said to be inspired by Stephanie Land’s Maid. The book’s ten-and-up recommendation is for some of the tough subjects covered." 

Rachel Copeland steps in with a cozy mystery recommendations, the first book in a new series by Maggie Baily called Seams Deadly (A Measure Twice Sewing Mystery). Rachel says: "Recently divorced Lydia Barnes is making a new start in a small town, working at a quilting shop by day and sewing her own clothing by night. After an awkward first date with her neighbor ends in a fist bump, she brings him some brownies, only to find him dead at his desk, fabric shears sticking out of his neck. With police suspicion on her, it's up to Lydia to find the culprit amongst her new neighbors before she's the next victim. What a fun, cozy read, and a promising start to a fabric arts-themed series! The story is peppered with names of indie pattern companies and patterns they produce, as well as descriptions of sewing techniques and supplies, which made me extremely happy as a fellow sewist. By the end of this book, I was ready to start solving murders, but only after I finished sewing a murder-solving dress."

And Kay Wosewick recommends The Future, a paperback original book in translation by Catherine LeRoux, translated by Susan Ouriou. Kay says: "The Future is set in an alternative ‘French’ Détroit, a city with few jobs and businesses, almost no government or social services, and destroyed or damaged infrastructure. Remaining residents skew old, young, or criminal. After learning of her daughter’s death, Gloria comes to Parc Détroit to find her two granddaughters. Via her daughter’s neighbor and other acquaintances, Gloria obtains useful information; of particular hope is the large group of abandoned and troubled kids who live together in Parc Rouge. The Parc kids function as a weakly cohesive group. Some individuals behave with reckless abandon, but most are solid, intelligent kids. Gloria’s search, of course, doesn’t end at the Parc. This dystopian setting is fascinating, and as dark as Parc Détroit sounds, the novel closes with signs of environmental revival and with genuine hope for the city’s inhabitants - both young and old, and sometimes together!"

Speaking of paperbacks, we have one book getting its paperback release this week to recommend. That would be the novel How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz, and it comes recommended by Jen Steele, who says: "Cara Romero wants to work. After being laid off at the factory, Cara meets with a job counselor to help her find a new job. Told through 12 counseling sessions, Cara shares her life's story: from the Dominican Republic to Washington Heights, through marriage and motherhood, family, friends, lovers, and faith. Insightful, heartwarming, and laugh-out-loud funny, How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water is a new favorite! Grab your favorite café and settle in, Cara Romero is a character you will not forget."

We'll be back next week with more recommendations for you. Until then, read on.

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