Staff Picks Top 15 Part 1: Dave, Cyndi, and Monique

As part of Topsham Public Library’s 15th anniversary on Foreside Road, the staff has chosen their Top 15 picks of all time. The staff was allowed to choose the Top 15 over all or the Top 15 in up to three categories. Have fun with the lists!

Dave’s Top 15 Books in no particular order:


Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner



The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy



To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee



Barrel Fever by David Sedaris



And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie



Stuart Little by E.B. White



Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney



The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough



All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr



Empire Falls by Richard Russo



The Shipping News by Annie Proulx



The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk



A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley




No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin



Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling



Dave’s Top 15 Movies in no particular order:


Driving Miss Daisy



The Shawshank Redemption



The Lion in Winter



To Kill a Mockingbird



The Hunt for Red October



Schindler’s List 



The Bridge on the River Kwai



The African Queen



The Sound of Music



The Silence of the Lambs



A Place in the Sun









All About Eve






Cyndi’s Top 15 Books in no particular order:


The Stand by Stephen King – I loved this epic adventure first reading the original 823 page novel as a teenager and even more so as an adult reading the 90’s uncut version with an additional 400+ pages.



Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – This book is a blend of genres with something for almost everyone. Hard to describe and hard to put down.



Chocolate War by Robert Cormier – First story I read where the good guy loses at the end. This was so unexpected, I loved it!



Watership Down by Richard Adams – The lesson of fattened rabbits for the price of a snare was embedded. Too good to be true often is.



Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds – Harshly realistic look at the human toll of a cycle of violence. Is Will brave enough to break it? Would you be?



We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – I was totally surprised by the ending of this book. This novel also produced the strongest reaction of any book our teen book group has read. They still talk about this book years later!


A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – This blend of prose and dark illustrations presents a compelling narrative of life’s monsters as seen through the eyes of a 13 year old boy.


Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of The Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer – This haunting narrative of the 1996 disaster kicked off my “mountaineering” reading phase specifically and my appetite for nonfiction that has continued to grow over the years.


Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs and Communications of the Dying by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley – How to have conversations in an honest, empathetic and caring manner when someone is approaching the end of their life. Learn to validate the process of dying and give the final gift of compassion.



Close to Shore by Michael Capuzzo – History and horror. A book that started and still stands out from my “shark attack” reading period.



Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande – I think everyone would benefit from reading this book. I am on team Quality, Not Quantity!



Speak: the Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson



Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka



Stitches: a Memoir by David Small


Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem and Other Things that Happened by Allie Brosh – I can’t tell you why I love this book, I just do!



Monique’s Top 15 Picks in no particular order:

I can remember the anticipation I felt every time my mother (who acted out Grover’s part perfectly) read The Monster At the End of This Book by Jon Stone. I could empathize with Grover’s anxiety and I admired his efforts to prevent the reader from turning the pages. Silly Grover! Such a fun book for reader and listener.

Changes, Changes by Pat Hutchins is the first wordless book I remember reading and I loved every second. I felt that I was right in the middle of the action with the little wooden characters. Who knew such a simple book could impart important life lessons – handle what comes your way in life with flexibility and ingenuity.


The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry



The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf



How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott Sampson



Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver


My mother was a vampire enthusiast, an interest I didn’t share or understand. Several years after her death I read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova in her honor, knowing she would have bought it immediately. To my surprise I loved it and have read it several times since.



The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson




Ferris Bueller’s Day Off 






Life is Beautiful



Little Miss Sunshine



anything by Beck


Glory of Gershwin


jazz (Coltrane, Davis, Brubeck, Fitzgerald, Ellington, Gillespie, Miller, Goodman, Simone, etc.)