Staff Picks – February 2021

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini, recommended by Dennis
Kira Navarez has had a lifelong desire is to make contact with and study another intelligent species. While exploring an ancient relic on an uncolonized planet, the dust around her begins to move. The story moves quickly to an all-out assault on humanity’s very existence.

NFL Football: A History of America’s New National Pastime by Richard C. Crepeau, recommended by Louise
This book gives a complete, concise history of the sport from its early days through the so-called “new NFL,” focusing not so much on individual players as on management styles and development as a mega-bucks industry. Plus, at the end there’s an NFL 100 All-Time team compiled by coaches, executives, players and the media.

Is This Anything by Jerry Seinfeld, recommended by Karen
This is a collection of favorite jokes that Jerry Seinfeld has collected since 1975. If you like his standup comedy, you’ll love this book. Check out the audio from the Greater Phoenix Digital Library; it’s Seinfeld himself reading his jokes and worth the listen!

Outlawed by Anna North, recommended by Megan
This alternate-history Western follows one young woman branded a witch and her life as an outlaw with a gang of women and their gender-nonconforming leader known only as “the Kid.” It’s a fascinating demonstration that no matter how oppressive society’s expectations can be, those on the outside can still seize their own destinies and forge their own dreams.

Librarian Tales by William Ottens, recommended by Leah
In this book you will get a behind the scenes look into library life. You’ll see the ups, the downs, and all the glory of a library. William Ottens tells his story of how he became a librarian and also shares stories of others who have had experience in this field: the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you love your local library, then you just might enjoy this tale of wonders.

Botanical Art Techniques: A Comprehensive Guide by the American Society of Botanical Artists, recommended by Louise
There is a certain sick fascination for those of us who can’t draw with books like this. They make it look so easy! Just get the right tools and follow these techniques, and voila! You’ve painted a perfect peony. Can that really be all it takes? After studying the book, I believe that anyone who is willing to invest the time can, in fact, learn to make botanical drawings and paintings. The book’s secrets are its detailed description of tools and its practical tutorials. For those who want to hone their skills, this book is a must. For the rest of us, it is a mouth-watering catalog of what others can do with the tools we use to make our marketing lists. It also helps explain why artists’ studios are so crowded, and what some of the puzzling equipment is.

Grief Is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter, recommended by Megan and Vicki
A combination of Faust meets Neil Gaiman, this slim novel captures grief’s many emotions as told through the voices of Dad, the Boys and Crow following the death of the boys’ Mum. Crow is a scavenger and philosopher who vocalizes in the bathroom because “he likes the acoustics” and “find[s] humans dull except in grief.” Vicki listened to the audiobook twice before reading the book; she says “the written form is much more tender than the audio, dominated by Crow – the snarky, salacious trickster brilliantly portrayed by narrator Jot Davies.”