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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 Helen, Collection Services:

The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard

A daughter tries to piece together her estranged, deceased mother's life in search of her true self through a suitcase full of clothes, letters and photographs that combine to depict a reckless but fascinating history.

Recommended by Helen, Collection Services:

Community by Graham Masterton

Michael is involved in a car crash which kills his girlfriend, Tasha. He wakes to find himself in the hospital of a small town in California. There he convalesces and gradually becomes acquainted with the local community. But as he recovers his mobility, he begins to notice odd things happening. People disappearing. Strangers being ignored by the locals, as if they weren't even there. Then his new girlfriend vanishes, and he begins to think the unthinkable -- could he actually be dead?

Recommended by Helen, Collection Services:

The Radleys by Matt Haig

Struggling with overwork and parenting angst, English village doctor Peter Radley endeavors to hide his family's vampire nature until their daughter's oddly satisfying act of violence reveals the truth, an event that is complicated by the arrival of a practicing vampire family member.

Recommended by Helen, Collection Services:

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

A gritty, psychological thriller that asks the question: How well can you know anyone? On a fateful summer morning in 1986, two eleven-year-old girls meet for the first time. By the end of the day, they will both be charged with murder. Gripping and fast-paced, with an ending that will stay with you long after you've read it, The Wicked Girls will appeal to fans of the Academy Award-nominated film Heavenly Creatures and the novels of Rosamund Lupton and Chevy Stevens.

Recommended by Helen, Collection Services:

Death at SeaWorld : Shamu and the dark side of killer whales in captivity by David Kirby

A scientific thriller that exposes the dark side of America's most beloved marine mammal park.

Recommended by Helen, Collection Services:

Blackfish [videorecording]

A discussion on the keeping of intelligent creatures in captivity. Employs the story of Tilikum, the notorious performing whale who, unlike orcas in the wild, has taken the lives of several people while in captivity.

Recommended by Margit, Administration:

Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George

Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and her partner, Inspector Thomas Lynley, investigate the kidnapping of a friend's little girl from an Italian marketplace. With both her job and the life of a little girl on the line, Barbara must decide what matters most, and how far she's willing to go to protect it.

Recommended by Vicky, Reference Services:

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

When the strongest earthquake in U.S. history occurs just north of their St. Louis home, Kate and Jeremy find the disaster further complicated by Kate's self-proclaimed-medium twin's prediction about a more powerful earthquake, a situation that places Kate under public scrutiny and reveals her own psychic abilities.

Recommended by Rhonda, Reference Services:

Hannah Arendt [videorecording]

A brilliant biopic of the influential German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist. Arendt's reporting on the 1961 trial of ex-Nazi Adolf Eichmann in The New Yorker, controversial both for her portrayal of Eichmann and the Jewish councils, introduced her now-famous concept of the "Banality of Evil". Using footage from the actual Eichmann trial and weaving a narrative that spans three countries, von Trotta beautifully turns the often invisible passion for thought into dramatic cinema.

Recommended by Rhonda, Reference Services:

House of cards. The complete first season [videorecording]

Season one of the Netflix original series House of Cards. Frank Underwood is a cunning career politician. Zoe Barnes is an ambitious young journalist. Together they forge a partnership that trades powerful secrets for political access, and so much more.

Recommended by Ann, Program Services:

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman, a profesor of genetics, sets up a project designed to find him the perfect wife, starting with a questionnaire that has to be adjusted a little as he goes along. Then he meets Rosie, who is everything he's not looking for in a wife, but she ends up his friend as he helps her try and find her biological father.

Recommended by Ann, Program Services:

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder, Run, and Bel Canto, examines her deepest commitments -- to writing, family, friends, dogs, books, and her husband -- creating a resonant portrait of her life.

Recommended by Iris, Library Page:

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

Eleven-year-old asthmatic Reuben Land chronicles the Land family's odyssey in search of Reuben's older brother, Davy, who has escaped from jail before he can stand trial for the killing of two marauders who came to their Minnesota farm to harm the family.

Recommended by Iris, Library Page:

Howl's Moving Castle [videorecording]

Sophie, a quiet girl working in a hat shop, finds her life thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome but mysterious wizard named Howl. The vain and vengeful Witch of the Waste, jealous of their friendship, puts a spell on Sophie. In a life-changing adventure, Sophie climbs aboard Howl's magnificent flying castle and enters a magical world on a quest to break the spell.

Recommended by Iris, Library Page:

Big Fish [videorecording]

William Bloom has always been a man of big appetites, enormous passion and tall tales. In his later years, he remains a huge mystery to his son, William. Now, to get to know the real man, Will begins piecing together a true picture of his father from flashbacks of his amazing adventures.

Recommended by Jean, Circulation Services:

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani

Exiled to an equestrian boarding school in the South at the height of the Great Depression for her role in a family tragedy, strong-willed teen Thea Atwell grapples with painful memories while acclimating to the school's strict environment.

Recommended by Jean, Circulation Services:

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend's family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld. Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America, and a drama of almost unbearable acuity and power. It is a story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the enormous power of art.

Recommended by Patricia, Reference Services:

Augustine [videorecording]

This is a gothic industrial era film, which takes place in Paris. Augustine is a 19-year-old housemaid that suffers from epileptic seizures at a time when medicine would diagnose this condition as "hysteria". The film highlights the restrictions of an elitist male dominated world. The main character is played by Soko, an up-and-coming French singer/actor, who lives in Los Angeles, and already has a big following in Europe for her very personal acoustic stories.

Recommended by Patricia, Reference Services:

Mozart's Sister [videorecording]

A story, which does not focus on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but on the life of his sister Maria Anna. It is an unrequited love story, and follows the life of Maria Anna at a time when it was improper for women to pursue careers in music.

Recommended by Patricia, Reference Services:

Farewell, My Queen [videorecording]

This film captures the last days of the French monarchy during 1789. The French nobility's future at Versailles is uncertain and Queen Marie Antoinette continues to focus on what to wear, instead of the anger of the masses, which are starting to close-in on the Palace. The film's perspective is based on one of Marie Antoinette's maids. This film should be watched in contrast to Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, which the Library also owns.

Recommended by Patricia, Reference Services:

Angela [videorecording]

It's not your typical mobster flick and it is based on true events. It's a love story in 1980s Sicily. The music is beautiful, and so is this Italian love affair between the young wife of a mob-boss and one of his lieutenants, Masino.

Recommended by Patricia, Reference Services:

L'amour fou [videorecording]

While focusing on the evolution of Yves Saint Laurent's fashion career, this documentary details the love between the designer and his partner Pierre Berge.

Recommended by Patricia, Reference Services:

No [videorecording]

This film is based on a true story. Though serious, it is a fun film, and it creatively delves into Chile's democratization process. The story focuses on the life of a young ad executive played by Gael Garcia Bernal, who is asked by a coalition of political parties to create an ad campaign for a referendum. The problem he faces is convincing people that a "No" vote for democracy is better than a "Yes" vote in favor of Dictator General Augusto Pinochet's rule. Bernal also stars in Amores Perros (2000) and Motorcycle Diaries (2005), which won at the Cannes Film festival and an Oscar for best song. Also if interested in Chilean political history another film the Library owns is Machuca (2004) a story of three kids in Santiago right before the 1973 military coup against democratically elected Salvador Allende.

Recommended by Kim, Circulation Services:

The Witness Wore Red : the 19th wife, who brought polygamous cult leaders to justice by Rebecca Musser

A gripping account of Rebecca Musser's struggle to escape the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints led by Rulon Jeffs and his son, Warren, and her subsequent decision to take the witness stand against the new prophet of the FLDS in order to protect her little sisters and other young girls from being forced to marry at shockingly young ages.

Recommended by Kim, Circulation Services:

The Vatican : all the paintings : the complete collection of old masters plus more than 300 sculptures, maps, tapestries, and other artifacts by Anja Grebe

In the same style, manner, and format as The Louvre: All the Paintings, every Old Master painting that is on display in The Vatican is included in this deluxe, slip-cased volume with companion DVD, as well as hundreds of additional masterpieces and treasures in the Papal collection.

Recommended by Kim, Circulation Services:

Secrets of Scotland Yard [videorecording]

No police institution in the world captures the public imagination in quite the same way as Scotland Yard. Today, the name is synonymous with London's Metropolitan Police, one of the oldest detective forces in the world. From the world's most famous serial killer to the biggest jewelry heist in history, we reopen classified files to reveal how a century and more of crime detection has sown the seeds of modern-day policing.

Recommended by Kim, Circulation Services:

Sherlock. Season three [videorecording]

The question on everyone's lips is finally answered as the hugely popular Sherlock returns in three brand new action-packed adventures. With the demise of Moriarty, Sherlock finds himself locked in another mind battle with the powerful Charles Augustus Magnussen, who is holding the secrets of the world at his fingertips.

Recommended by Kim, Circulation Services:

Psych: the musical [videorecording]

Watch and sing-a-long as Shawn and Gus gallivant and clear their pipes around Santa Barbara as they solve the murder mystery centered around the troubled Jack the Ripper musical.

Recommended by Kim, Circulation Services:

Pies : Sweet and Savory by Caroline Bretherton

From traditional apple and cherry pies to trendy mini-meat creations, Pies: Sweet and Savory provides everything needed to produce tasty creations. Broken down by key ingredients, Pies: Sweet and Savory helps choose the "pie of the day" according to what's in season and what's lurking in the fridge and then shares a wealth of step-by-step instructions for producing the best results.

Recommended by Ester, Circulation Services:

David and Goliath : underdogs, misfits, and the art of battling giants by Malcolm Gladwell

This book uncovers the hidden rules that shape the balance between the weak and the mighty and the powerful and the dispossessed. In it the author challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks.

Recommended by Ester, Circulation Services:

Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

Moving to a small country cabin, a once world-famous photographer bonds with a local man and begins to see the world around her in new, deeper dimensions while evaluating second chances at love, career, and self-understanding.

Recommended by Kay, Reference Services:

The Counterfeit Agent by Alex Berenson

A suspense novel featuring former CIA agent John Wells, by the author of The Shadow Patrol and The Night Ranger.

Recommended by Neil, Program Services:

When the World Spoke French by Marc Fumaroli

During the eighteenth century, from the death of Louis XIV until the Revolution, French culture set the standard for all of Europe. In Sweden, Austria, Italy, Spain, England, Russia, and Germany, among kings and queens, diplomats, military leaders, writers, aristocrats, and artists, French was the universal language of politics and intellectual life. In When the World Spoke French, Marc Fumaroli presents a gallery of portraits of Europeans and Americans who conversed and corresponded in French, along with excerpts from their letters or other writings.

Recommended by Neil, Program Services:

The Virgin in the Garden by A.S. Byatt

A new play, the highlight of a magnificent local festival celebrating the coronation of Elizabeth II, brings together the young playwright and a brilliant but eccentric family whose personal dramas soon eclipse the entire production.

Recommended by Neil, Program Services:

The Good Apprentice by Iris Murdoch

Young Edward Baltram's prank of giving his friend Mark Wilsden a drug-infused sandwich and his stepbrother Stuart's decision to forsake a promising academic career for social work bring consternation to their parents and elders.

Recommended by Neil, Program Services:

Berlin [sound recording] / Lou Reed

Recommended by Neil, Program Services:

The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions [sound recording] / Miles Davis

Recommended by Neil, Program Services:

If You're Feeling Sinister [sound recording] / Belle and Sebastian

Recommended by Neil, Program Services:

The Quiet Family [videorecording]

When the Kang family opens a mountain lodge and the guests start dying one by one, the Kangs scramble madly to hide the bodies to avoid damaging the hotel's reputation.

Recommended by Neil, Program Services:

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie [videorecording]

A small-time Los Angeles night club owner falls for a lavish invitation to gamble at a private club.

Recommended by Neil, Program Services:

Thirst [videorecording]

A blood transfusion saves the life of a priest but also transforms him into a vampire.

Recommended by Shilo, Youth Services:

You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle

Five teens starring in a documentary film series about their ordinary lives must grapple with questions of change and identity under the scrutiny of the camera.

Recommended by Shilo, Youth Services:

Surviving High School by M. Doty

Emily Kessler thinks she has it all figured out. She eats, sleeps and trains for competitive swimming. All she has to do is keep her grades high and swim times short - short enough to live up to her sister Sara's. But walking the crowded maze of unfamiliar high school hallways is like diving headfirst into shark-infested waters. When the pressure builds to the point where Emily isn't sure she can stay afloat, she begins to question the strict path her life has always followed.

Recommended by Shilo, Youth Services:

The Big Field by Mick Lupica

When fourteen-year-old baseball player Hutch feels threatened by the arrival of a new teammate named Darryl, he tries to work through his insecurities about both Darryl and his remote and silent father, who was once a great ballplayer too.

Recommended by Shilo, Youth Services:

The List by Siobhan Vivian

Every year at Mount Washington High School somebody posts a list of the prettiest and ugliest girls from each grade--this is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, and how they are affected by the list.

Recommended by Paris, Library Page:

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

At age eight, David watched as his father was killed by an Epic, a human with superhuman powers, and now, ten years later, he joins the Reckoners--the only people who are trying to kill the Epics and end their tyranny.

Recommended by Paris, Library Page:

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

Greek and Roman demigods from the Prophecy of Seven must work together to seal the Doors of Death--and help Percy and Annabeth escape the Underworld in the process.

Recommended by Paris, Library Page:

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

After she has served a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, Crown Prince Dorian offers eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien her freedom on the condition that she act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.