The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer, recommended by Leah

This book is an exciting tale! It gives the vibes of a children’s book with all the excitement and adventure. But with the seriousness of adult topics. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. I gave this book 5 stars because of how it made me feel. It’s a book that I often find myself thinking about long after I’ve read it. I would recommend this book to just about anyone.

Normal Rules Don’t Apply by Kate Atkinson, recommended by Meg R.

This is a delightful literary gem that captivates from start to finish. Atkinson’s unique storytelling weaves a tapestry of relatable characters, intricate plot twists, and a touch of magic that keeps readers engaged and enchanted. This collection of short stories challenges conventional norms and invites us to explore the extraordinary in the everyday.

Some Hoopla Music recommendations from Tracie

I’m enjoying:

  • The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac – two hours and 21 minutes of 36 memorable songs.
  • Janis Joplin’s The Legendary Typewriter Tape of 6/25/64 – 23 minutes of eight vintage recordings.
  • The Best of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – three hours and 46 minutes of 51 songs from Chuck Berry, The Doors, ZZ Top and many more favorites of rock and roll

Canary Girls by Jennifer Chiaverini, recommended by Trish

It is World War I and the women in Great Britain answer the call to do their part by taking jobs in the arsenal factories as “munitionettes.”  It is dangerous and unhealthy work, but the “munitionettes” feel it their duty to help win the war no matter the cost.  They come from all walks of life and form tight bonds.  To help with morale and relieve some stress, these women form their own football club and meet with other arsenals.  The games become very popular and even have their own Cup series.  These women work hard, play hard, face the loss of their loved ones, and find new love.

Payback in Death by J.D. Robb, recommended by Dennis

A retired police officer, a former Internal Affairs Captain, is found dead in his home.  At first glance, his death looks like a suicide.  Lt. Eve Dallas is called in to investigate the death and becomes suspicious. To her, his death looks staged. Her investigation makes her think his death was “payback” for an investigation he conducted during his career. This book is a typical police investigation story, with enough mystery to make you want to know who did it. This was a good read.

It. Goes. So. Fast. by Mary Louise Kelly, recommended by Louise

Imagine reporting for work as a writer and being given lessons in applying a tourniquet, being issued a flak jacket, and instructed in the finer points of escaping from a locked room by rappelling out a window. Readers may know Mary Louise Kelly from her work as anchor of All Things Considered, the NPR evening news show. Before becoming anchor she was a reporter, and was given just this instruction. While the book is interspersed with heart-stopping tales of reporting from ‘the field’ – by which she means war zones – the main thrust of her writing is to document her son’s last year in high school. After spending much time away from her family and missing many of the milestones of her children’s youth, she decides to step back from some aspects of her job and focus on her kids for at least this one year. The outcome, as written in this book, is a deeply felt look at what it means to be a mother, the tug between work and home, and how it feels to contemplate the empty nest. There are several surprising revelations in the book – but I can say no more about them.  You’ll just have to read the book.

All He Knew by Helen Frost, recommended by Megan S.

This book is a prime example of why readers shouldn’t sleep on children’s fiction. The story, told in beautiful verse and set during World War II, is about a young deaf boy deemed “unteachable” and sent to an institution. He faces hardship, hunger, and loss, but ultimately finds his way to hope and friendship. Books don’t normally make me cry, but this one did. I adored each character and found myself invested in what was going to happen next. This is a wonderful story of human kindness.

Staff Book Club Pick – Dracula by Bram Stoker

For October, our Staff Book Club took on one of the most venerable of horror novels, Dracula. Since Dracula and vampires in general are such a fixture of pop culture, we found it interesting to read the original. Our staff members enjoyed that the book doesn’t spoon-feed answers, but makes the reader draw links and conclusions themselves. We identified themes of transformation, shifting identity, found family, loss of innocence, and fear of the unknown over the course of our reading. Overall, we enjoyed the book, especially for the Halloween season, but was heavy on dialogue and repetition.