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Home > For Book Lovers... > Staff Picks

Staff Picks

Staff members of the Boca Raton Public Library share some of their favorite books...
(click on a book cover or title for a link to the online catalog)

Recommended by Ann, Library Manager:

Kitchens of the Great Midwest / J. Ryan Stradal

A great summer read! If you enjoy a story with a big heart, well written characters, and quirky humor this is a terrific read. I found myself flying through the pages trying to guess what would happen next. I never guessed correctly! And ultimately I think that’s why I enjoyed the book so much!

Recommended by Ann, Library Manager:

Deep Down Dark: the Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle that Set Them Free / Héctor Tobar

A Pulitzer Prize winning journalist relates the experiences of the thirty-three men who endured entrapment beneath thousands of feet of rock for a record-breaking sixty-nine days during the San José mine collapse outside of Copiapó, Chile, in August 2010.

I'm reading Deep Down Dark. It's excellent. Very well written and it's an NPR book pick.

Recommended by Deborah, Youth Services:

A Lucky Life Interrupted : a Memoir of Hope / Tom Brokaw.

Tom Brokaw had led a lucky life--marrying his childhood sweetheart (they have been married for 51 years), rising to fame in the journalism world on the Today Show and as the NBC Nightly News anchor for 22 years, publishing the world-renowned book The Greatest Generation--when suddenly he took two inexplicable falls. Nagging back pain led him to the doctors at Mayo, who had shocking news: he had multiple myeloma, the treatable but incurable blood cancer. Brokaw leads the readers through his decision to keep a journal of experiences, during a year of denial, acceptance, struggle, and his courageous battle to get the cancer under control and to go on with his life, even as he reflects on the things he thought about, during a year in a life interrupted: news stories of special significance to him, lessons learned about family and friendship, a man coming to terms with aging and his own mortality. A memoir of understanding and empowerment, of the importance of a patient taking charge of his or her condition, of understanding aging, the importance of family and relationships, the role of caretakers and coordinated care, of gratitude for a good life.

Recommended by Christopher, Instructional Services:

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

During her treatment for cancer, Mary Anne Schwalbe and her son Will spent many hours sitting in waiting rooms together. To pass the time, they would talk about the books they were reading. Once, by chance, they read the same book at the same time—and an informal book club of two was born.

Recommended by Christopher, Instructional Services:

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Twenty-four years after her first novel, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America's heart.

Recommended by Christopher, Instructional Services:

Nothing that Meets the Eye: the Uncollected Stories of Patricia Highsmith

The Patricia Highsmith renaissance continues with Nothing that Meets the Eye, a brilliant collection of twenty-eight psychologically penetrating stories, a great majority of which are published for the first time in this collection.

Recommended by Mandy, Youth Services:

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley

Youthful chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce takes her sleuthing prowess to the unexpectedly unsavory world of Canadian boarding schools.

Recommended by Shilo, Youth Services:

Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow

One of the best quarterbacks in the history of college football traces his path to success, discussing his childhood as the son of Christian missionaries and how his faith combined with his drive to succeed have made him the person he is today.

Recommended by Shilo, Youth Services:

Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices & Priorities of a Winning Life by Tony Dungy

A biography of the coach of the Indianapolis Colts and the first African American football coach to lead his team to a Superbowl victory concentrates on his religious life as well as his career in football.

Recommended by Shilo, Youth Services:

When it's Fourth and Long: Keeping the Faith, Overcoming the Odds, and Life in the NFL by Josh Bidwell

At 23 years old, Josh Bidwell felt as if he were on the top of the world. A stellar college kicking career at the University of Oregon earned him a fourth-round NFL draft pick. But everything seemed to fall apart at the Packers' training camp when he received a diagnosis of aggressive testicular cancer. Now Josh shares his gripping story of overcoming adversity and eventually becoming one of the NFL's leading punters.

Recommended by Patricia, Instructional Services:

Edge of Tomorrow [DVD]

From start to finish this is a captivating action packed film, which could be described as Bill Murray’s "Groundhog Day" meets Japanese dystopian science fiction. This is a film starring Tom Cruise and it is based on the graphic novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. The story is about a military officer fighting aliens, who finds that each time that he is killed on the battlefield, he wakes up and repeats the same daily events over and over again.

Recommended by Patricia, Instructional Services:

Guardians of the Galaxy [DVD]

A movie for the little kid residing in any adult. This is a total popcorn movie, with a lot of action, funny and emotional moments, and it's the type of film that makes you refer to it, long after it is over. Guardians of the Galaxy is based on the Marvel Comics volumes of the same name, and focuses on the galactic adventures of a slacker, who was kidnapped from earth by space pirates when he was eight years old. The story is full of memorable characters like "Rocket Raccoon," "Drax the Destroyer," and "Groot."

Recommended by Patricia, Instructional Services:

Endeavour [DVD]
The Field of Blood [DVD]

The Library recently acquired two British crime solving series—Endeavour and The Field of Blood. Endeavour takes place in 1960s Oxford, England and is based on the life of homicide Detective Morse—a delicate, middle class, Oxford drop-out turned copper, who investigates seemingly easy-to-solve crimes, which turn out to be "more than meet the eye." The Library owns series 1 and 2.

The Field of Blood couldn’t be more different from Endeavour. The Field of Blood takes place in 1982 Scotland and focuses on a twenty-something Irish girl, Paddy Meehan, who wants to become a journalist, but works as a "copyboy" at a Glasgow newspaper. Paddy is trying to fulfill her career dreams but lacks mentors. The series follows the homicide beat, but exposes the audience to gritty 1980s Scottish life, rife with sexism, workplace competition, union strife, and family repression.

Recommended by Lynne, Collection Services:

Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay

A mentally ill man, who has the ability and compulsion to memorize maps, sees what he thinks is a crime being committed. Sending his reluctant brother to investigate wraps both of them in a more complex, deadly web of events than they ever thought possible. Fast action and modern technology rule this mystery.

Recommended by Lynne, Collection Services:

Close Your Eyes Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

In the quiet Vermont countryside, normal life is massively disrupted by the meltdown of the local nuclear reactor. Emily's parents, who both worked at the site, are dead. Where and how she survives on her own is the crux of the story.

Recommended by Lynne, Collection Services:

The Map of Betrayal by Ha Jin

Can you imagine becoming a spy for your country that would be a lifelong commitment? A young woman thinks that she knows the story of her father, a man convicted of spying on the United States for Communist China, until she receives his diary after his death. Going back and forth between her investigation of his life and her own, she finds his life has been full of betrayals.

Recommended by Neil, Program Services:

My Sister's Hand in Mine : the collected works of Jane Bowles

Fragments of unfinished works from the author's notebooks of the 1940s and 1950s accompany three long stories and three short pieces.

Recommended by Neil, Program Services:

Die Bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant [DVD]

Petra von Kant is a successful fashion designer who carries on a melodrama of erotic attractions with two other women in her claustrophobic apartment.

Recommended by Neil, Program Services:

Miles Davis: The Complete On the Corner Sessions [CD]

Recommended by Helen, Collection Services:

Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter

Traces the chaotic breakdown of a friendship that shapes and unravels the identities of two rebellious girls in the wake of a stalker's predations.

Recommended by Helen, Collection Services:

The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood

Everyone who lives at 23 Beulah Grove has a secret. If they didn't, they wouldn't be renting rooms in a dodgy old building for cash-no credit check, no lease. It's the kind of place you end up when you you've run out of other options. The six residents mostly keep to themselves, but one unbearably hot summer night, a terrible accident pushes them into an uneasy alliance. What they don't know is that one of them is a killer. He's already chosen his next victim, and he'll do anything to protect his secret.

Recommended by Helen, Collection Services:

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

After discovering that his identity has been stolen and used to create various social media accounts, a man with a troubled past begins to wonder if his virtual alter ego is actually a better version of himself.

Recommended by Camille, Collection Services:

Drunk Tank Pink by Adam Alter

The book discusses how our everyday surroundings impact and affect our lives without us even knowing. It describes through numerous studies how little things, such as a change in the color of a light bulb, can completely change your outlook on life and how subconsciously little things you were taught as a child can alter the way you think about things, people and the places you choose to visit. If you've ever wondered what makes a person act a certain way, how the color of a room can change your mood almost instantly or how something as simple as putting money on the corner of a student's desk can improve their test scores then this is the book you're looking for. It's an easy yet mindful read and after you finish reading it you may find yourself going about your day just a little bit differently.

Recommended by Camille, Collection Services:

Saga, Volume 4 by Brian Vaughan

If you enjoy crude humor, witty comebacks and inter-galactic travels with pink ghosts, cats that can tell when you're lying and people with TVs for faces then this is the series for you. Aside from being an award winning series the stories alone will have you reading this title from cover to cover without ever putting it down, unless of course you need a cold drink to cool down from all the action.

Recommended by Camille, Collection Services:

Justified, Season 5 [DVD]

If you have started this series you know where all the action is at and that answer is Harlan County. The Crowes are at it again this time bringing in help from some anti law abiding cousins from Florida, while The Crowders have their own family troubles with Ava in jail and Boyd trying everything to get her out. This season is action packed, as relentless as the last and a most see for Justified fans.

Recommended by Julie, Circulation Services:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon [audiobook]

The book is better than the TV series, but the TV series is pretty good also. The audio book has a wonderful reader. Hurtled back through time more than two hundred years to Scotland in 1743, Claire Randall finds herself caught in the midst of an unfamiliar world torn apart by violence, pestilence, and revolution and haunted by her growing feelings for James Fraser, a young soldier.

Recommended by Julie, Circulation Services:

The Art of Knitting & Crochet 2 [DVD]

For beginners or advanced knitters. Packed full of video presentations with clear, concise visual demonstrations that make learning to knit and crochet easy.

Recommended by Amanda, Youth Services:

The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious.'s how the book works. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say...BLORK or BLUURF. Even if the words are a preposterous song about eating ants for breakfast, or just a list of astonishingly goofy sounds like BLAGGITY BLAGGITY and GLIBBITY GLOBBITY. Cleverly irreverent and irresistibly silly, The Book with No Pictures is one that kids will beg to hear again and again, and parents will be happy to oblige.

Recommended by Brittney, Instructional Services:

Thug Kitchen : eat like you give a f*ck : the official cookbook

Thug Kitchen started their wildly popular web site to inspire people to eat some Goddamn vegetables and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Beloved by Gwyneth Paltrow ("This might be my favorite thing ever") and named Saveur's Best New Food blog of 2013--with half a million Facebook fans and counting--Thug Kitchen wants to show everyone how to take charge of their plates and cook up some real f*cking food.

Recommended by Brittney, Instructional Services:

Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern

The author of PS, I Love You chronicles the ups and downs in the romantic relationship between Rosie and Alex, best friends since childhood whose feelings gradually evolve into something more, but separation, an unexpected pregnancy, dashed dreams, and other romances turn their lives upside down.

Recommended by Brittney, Instructional Services:

Begin Again [DVD]

British songwriter Gretta is adrift in Manhattan after getting dumped by her philandering rock star boyfriend. While playing at an open mic night at a local bar, she is discovered by struggling music producer Dan. Sensing her songwriting potential, Dan pushes Gretta to sign with him and record an ambitious outdoors album all across the city.

Recommended by Iris, Collection Services:

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

In a fantastical illustrated short novel, three people imprisoned in a nightmarish library plot their escape.

Recommended by Iris, Collection Services:

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks

Drawing on the individual experiences of patients, musicians, composers, and everyday people, the author of Awakenings explores the complex human response to music, detailing the full range of human reactions to music, what goes on and can go wrong when we listen to music, and how music can affect those suffering from a variety of ailments.

Recommended by Iris, Collection Services:

Haim: Days are Gone [CD]

Recommended by Marcella, Collection Services:

Empire of Sin : a Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans by Gary Krist

From bestselling author Gary Krist, a vibrant and immersive account of New Orleans' other civil war, at a time when commercialized vice, jazz culture, and endemic crime defined the battlegrounds of the Crescent City. Empire of Sin re-creates the remarkable story of New Orleans' thirty-years war against itself, pitting the city's elite "better half" against its powerful and long-entrenched underworld of vice, perversity, and crime.