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All Friends Are Necessary: June Staff Picks

The days are just starting to warm up, and we’re stocking up on great library picks!
We hope you have a chance to answer June’s call to slow down and pick up a book or listen to an album. Here’s a few Staff Picks for June: music we’ve listened to and loved, books we’ve enjoyed, about-to-be-published titles that we’re looking forward to reading this summer.
 


Cindy’s Picks 

The Probability of Everything by Sarah Everett is a middle grade title about a young girl named Kemi, who is enamored with statistics and facts and wants to be a scientist when she grows up.  For some reason, I didn’t read the description of the book before downloading it, and I was under the assumption that it was a science fiction title, until. . .  it wasn’t. I cannot think of many occasions I have come across an unreliable narrator in middle grade fiction, but this was one of those and it was very well done. Themes related to the Black Lives Matter movement and grief are explored in this beautifully-written surprise of a novel.  

 Lightfall: The Dark Times (Book 3 of Tim Probert’s beautiful and compelling graphic novel fantasy series) has JUST come out, and I couldn’t be more excited to read it. The lights have gone out in the land of Irpa! Young heroine Bea and her Galdurian friend Cad must help the Pig Wizard to save their world from doom. It’s an epic journey that began two books ago with The Girl and the Galdurian.  This series is comparable to Kazuo Kibuishi‘s very popular and wondrous Amulet series, both in story AND incredible art. 


Emily’s Picks

Anne Ursu’s Not Quite A Ghost is a recent favorite, a ghost story inspired by The Yellow Wall-paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Violet’s family just moved into a new home, and her attic bedroom has ugly floral yellow wallpaper that seems to move when she’s not looking—it even creeps out her cat. Is her new house haunted? Plus, why are her best friends being so weird? And why is she suddenly finding herself so exhausted, hardly able to make it through her days in sixth grade? I haven’t read many books set in the COVID pandemic that ring quite as true as this one, and I highly recommend it.  

Other scary stories I’m looking forward to reading this summer and fall are Chuck Tingle’s Hollywood horror story, Bury Your Gays; Colby Wilkens’s ghostly romance set in a Scottish Castle, If I Stopped Haunting You (out in October); and Alyssa Cole’s newest trapped-on-an-island thriller, One Of Us Knows. 


Raminta’s Pick 

Inuktitut is the language of the central and eastern Canadian Inuit. Elisapie Isaac blends her Inuit culture with popular music, creating a beautiful and ethereal sound. Songs like Heart of Glass, Wish You Were Here, and I Want to Break Free from one of my favorite movie soundtracks (Queen for The Highlander movie), become almost haunting when translated into Inuktitut. I honestly can’t recommend this album enough. The Inuit language is so beautifully layered over horns, guitar, and more showcasing not only Isaac’s love for classic rock, but for her Inuit language. I truly loved listening to this album straight through. I hope you get a chance to listen too. 


Brendon’s Pick 

My June Staff Pick is October: the story of the Russian Revolution by China Miéville. 

 I don’t have much to blurb about it because I’m still actively reading it (I got the audiobook through ILL), but I’m really enjoying how seamlessly it balances its time among all these competing interests, the rich and the poor, the grifters and the true believers, the workers and the aristocrats. It feels like a very timely read in 2024. I’m a new fan of Mieville—my book club read The City & The City a couple months ago—but I’m fast becoming a devotee. From hardboiled, fantastical detective stories to elegant, occasionally gritty nonfiction, I find myself asking, what can’t this writer do? 


Una’s Picks 

“Why did I tell you so many stories? Because I wanted the world to make sense to you. I wanted to make sense of the world, for you. I wanted the world to make sense.” 
―Celeste Ng,
Our Missing Hearts 

 


Linda’s Pick 

“Instantly I was thinking about those Post-it notes stuck all over my house. How had I allowed myself to become so busy? How long had it been since I’d spent a day in the sun, eating sandwiches from a cooler and watching water ripple across the surface of a lake? Why do I so often behave as though there will be unlimited days to sit quietly with my own beloveds, listening to birdsong and wind in the pines?” Margaret Renkl, The Comfort of Crows


Becca’s Pick 

Graphic novel author Chris Sebela knows how to craft a great premise. Crowded, a three-part series about an app like Uber—but for assassination—was incredibly funny and well-plotted. When I came across Godfell, I was immediately intrigued. The basic plot is this: While a long war ravages a planet, a godlike creature falls from the sky and dies. Zanzi, a talented career soldier, defects from the army to make her way home. She soon discovers the shortest route is through the god’s body, among the many groups who have taken up residence inside. Who can claim the god to be theirs? What is the purpose of existence when basic needs are met? Is it really God? The story is quite violent, but the shocking ending is worth it.  


Vicky’s Picks 

Last fall, my nephew asked me what I thought of The Three-Body Problem. I’d never heard of the landmark science-fiction saga by Chinese author Liu Cixin, but my nephew has good taste, so I checked out the audiobook on cloudLibrary and was transfixed. As I told my nephew, I couldn’t say much about the physics, but the storytelling was amazing. Liu has a deliberate, matter-of-fact style, and Luke Daniels’ narration matched it to a T. The story of a physicist who is so wounded by first the Cultural Revolution and then humanity’s general disregard for the Earth that she invites an alien invasion is wound with the decades-later experiences of a nanomaterials researcher who begins to suffer from hallucinations that involve him in both an immersive VR game and a murder investigation. Even as characters and readers remain embedded in the Chinese setting, the scope expands far beyond our solar system, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.  

I was hooked, but by the time I finished, the news of the Netflix adaptation had spread, so I needed to wait for the audiobooks of the sequels: The Dark Forest and Death’s End. At 22.5 hours and 29 hours respectively, they are no small commitment, but wow, are they worth the investment in time. P.J. Ochlan takes over the narrating duties, and his delivery is just as well matched to the texts as Daniels’. The books continue to expand the setting: both physically into ever farther reaches of space, and temporally (such that The Three-Body Problem begins to feel intimate by comparison). In both volumes, Liu centers characters readers first meet in the early 21st century who then enter extended hibernation for decades, then centuries, then millennia, ensuring psychological and cultural continuity. 

I still haven’t seen the Netflix series—frankly, I’m a little leery—but I can’t stop talking about the books. (Just ask my coworkers.) If you like science fiction and want a totally immersive experience, add yourself to the holds queues. You won’t regret it. 


 Elizabeth’s Picks

I’m already notorious for sharing approximately 10-20 picks instead of one or two, so I’ll just double down by sharing a pile of picks and some great booklists our staff have created! There’s a lot of books to be excited about this summer. 


Thanks for reading! You can find all of these books in our booklist All Friends Are Necessary: June Staff Picks.

For more reading ideas in June, try books from our booklists, search our new books, or try our Your Next Great Read reading service for a personalized booklist of reading ideas from our staff.

 

posted: , by Elizabeth
tags: Library Collections | Recommended Reads | Adults | Seniors | Art & Culture | Readers Writers
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