Staff Picks of 2018, Part 2

The 2018 Staff Picks continue. This week Dave, Cyndi, Liz and Lynne share their favorites from 2018.


Dave’s 2018 Top Picks:

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian is a thriller about a flight attendant that wakes up in the wrong hotel room with a dead man beside her in bed – and she has no idea what happened.


Sally Field, Academy Award winning actress shares her story in In Pieces. From her hard childhood, to the ways in which she found her voice, to her role as a daughter and a mother, Field is honest and vulnerable.

Lethal White is the next installment in the detective series by Robert Galbraith, a.k.a J.K. Rowling. In this mystery, Cormoran Strike is asked to look into a decades old crime that leads to the halls of Parliament and a country-side manor.

Force of Nature by Jane Harper is the sequel to The Dry. In this installment, five co-workers are forced to go on a corporate retreat. What is supposed to be an exercise in team building quickly turns ugly when one of the women doesn’t come out alive.

Desolation Mountain by William Kent Krueger is #17 in the Cork O’Connor mysteries. A senator’s plane goes down on Desolation Mountain, but the mystery doesn’t stop there: some of the first responders go missing, too. O’Connor and his son work together to stop the forces behind the disappearances.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean plunges into the unsolved mystery of the 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire. At the same time that Orlean investigates the circumstances around the fire, she presents a case exploring the crucial role libraries have in our American society. For Dave’s more in-depth thoughts The Library Book, check out his past blog post.

The much anticipated Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny was released in November, 2018 and it still has over 300 holds on it in the Minerva system. In this mystery, Inspector Gamache discovers he has been named the executor of a will for a complete stranger.

Does Becoming by Michelle Obama need any explanation?



Cyndi’s 2018 Top Picks:

In The Nowhere Girls, by Amy Reed, three girls team up to avenge the rape of a girl they don’t even know with far reaching effects that none foresaw.


Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson with illustrations by Emily Carroll, is based on the Young Adult novel Speak by Anderson. High school can be brutal especially if you call the cops on an underage party. Now Melinda is friendless and no one will speak to her, but what she has to say, if she can find the strength to say it, is the beginning of healing.


Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is the third installmant of the Illuminae Files series. A science fiction story that follows Kady, Ezra, Hanna and Nik who left their home after it was invaded, and now find themselves refugees on a container ship because the station in which they had found shelter was attacked.

Another graphic novel, Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka tells the story of Krosoczka’s early life raised by his grandparents because his mother is an addict and he doesn’t even know who is father is.

Words We Don’t Say by K.J. Reilly is about a young man who, after a tragic event in his past, finds it difficult to speak to certain people. He writes numerous text messages but never sends them. But through volunteering at a soup kitchen he develops some friendships with other volunteers, and with those he serves as well.

What do you do when the death of a student in a school massacre, turns into legend, but there’s an eyewitness that knows the legend isn’t based on fact. Do you tell the truth of what happened that day? That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger explores the ideas of martyrdom and how and when to tell the truth about someone’s death.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds is an elevator ride Will will never forget. Told in verse, Will sets out to avenge the death of his brother. While on the elevator down, Will is visited by ghosts all who knew his brother. Revealing truths about his brother’s death, have the ghosts done enough to steer Will off his present course?


Liz’s 2018 Top Picks:

Pet Sounds — The Beach Boys

I listened to this album for the first time during the first moments of springtime, right around late April when the air starts to feel warm and you can carry your coat when you walk around. It’s poppy, to be sure, but features orchestral arrangements, train sounds, and complex structures. Wear headphones!

Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself, by Sabrina Ward Harrison

One part sketchbook and one part intimate diary, this book shows the vulnerability of youth and creativity. This is a great read for anyone who feels unsure about themselves or their path in life, especially those interested in pursuing a career in the arts.

Just Kids: the Illustrated Version by Patti Smith

This new edition of Patti’s Smith’s elegiac autobiography about her life and relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe features full-color drawings, sketches, notes, and images that were not reproduced in the first edition. Essential for superfans and helpful for those who prefer a more multimedia approach to memoir.

The Harrow & the Harvest — Gillian Welch

I took my dad to see Gillian Welch and her partner Dave Rawlings this summer in Portland. They played a lot of tracks from this album, which is one that I hadn’t explored too deeply before. Rootsy, clean guitar tones with rich and soulful vocals. For fans of: Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Joan Baez, the Punch Brothers, etc.

Maniac (2018, Netflix)

This limited TV series for Netflix stars Jonah Hill (The Hangover, Superbad) and Emma Stone (La La Land, Easy A) in an 80s-tech inspired dystopian future. Gripping, snarky, nuanced, and quite a bit of a thinker, this show tells the story of Annie and Owen as they participate in a risky new pharmaceutical trial that promises to cure them of all emotional and psychological damage. Based off a 2015 Norwegian production, this version stays true to the gritty, darker vibes of Scandinavian drama.


Lynne’s 2018 Top Picks:

Every Heart a Doorway is the first book in The Wayward Children Series by Seanan McGuire. In the first book readers are introduced to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children where children who disappeared through wardrobes, or down rabbit holes, or into shadows return eventually, and they’re not the same as when they left. They all want to return to their own fantasy land, but there is a darkness lurking and it is up to them to figure out what is going on, but what will it cost them?


There, There by Tommy Orange is a Native American coming home tale, but not everyone has returned with good intentions. Big Oakland Powwow is fast approaching and people are returning for the ritual and celebration. Some have overcome hardship and personal shame and seek forgiveness. Others come to be with family or to find family they never knew. Some come to perform in the powwow whether with instrument or to dance. But one returns who has the power to destroy the lives of everyone who gets in his way.


In Tangerine by Christine Mangan something happens to cause a rift between once inseparable roommates. Set in Tangier, these once best friends bump into each other, and all seems forgiven, but one of them may have sinister motives. This thriller explores the depths of female friendship and betrayal.


While serving as President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln’s son Willie died at age 11. In Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, Willie’s soul has gone to the bardo – a type of in-between place – where ghosts get together and hang out and perform acts of penance. During this time, a battle is waged over Willie’s soul.


Michelle McNamara, a freelance writer and crime blogger, passed away in 2016, and her book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, was released posthumously in 2018. The book is a true crime account about the serial killer, rapist and burglar in California in the mid-70s through the mid-80s who came to be known as the Golden State Killer. A bestseller when it was released in February, 2018, HBO has since bought the rights to develop into a documentary series.


In The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed, three girls team up to avenge the rape of a girl they don’t even know with far reaching effects that none foresaw.


Sally Field, Academy Award winning actress, shares her story in In Pieces. From her hard childhood, to the ways in which she found her voice, to her role as a daughter and a mother, Field is honest and vulnerable.