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Librarian Recommended

____________________________________________________________________ Need more suggestions? Check out the book recommendations from the Maryland Library Association Readers' Advisory Interest Group.

  • The Returned by Jason Mott
  • Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
  • The World’s Strongest Librarian by Joshua Hanagarne
  • Warrior Girl by Pauline Chandler
  • The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
  • Focus on the Good Stuffby Mike Robbins
  • The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
  • The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
  • The Best Man by Kristan Higgins
  • Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
  • Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz
  • The Forgotten 500 by Gregory Freeman
  • The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin
  • The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen
  • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown
  • Austenland & Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale
  • A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate by Susanna Calkins
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich
  • In Boonsboro trilogy by Nora Roberts
  • A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout
  • How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg
  • Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
  • He’s Gone by Deb Caletti
  • The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Barker
  • Donnybrook by Bill Frank
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
  • The March by John Lewis





Fall/Winter 2011

book cover State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Fiction. Dr. Marina Singh, a middle-aged research scientist, is sent to the depths of the Amazon jungle to search for a colleague who had dissappeared while working on fertility research. While there, she meets an Amazonian tribe of women who are fertile into their 70s, an ecclectic group of expatriots, and an Indiana Jones array of flora, fauna and anacondas.
book cover The Hearse You Came in On by Tim Cockey
Mystery (#1 of the Hitchcock Sewell mysteries). Fans of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich might also enjoy this series, in which  Hitchcock, a mortician in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore, frequently finds himself in the middle of murder and mystery.  Snappy dialogue and quirky characters will remind you of Stephanie’s exploits and the charming and likeable Hitchcock will keep you coming back.  Anyone familiar with Baltimore gets the added bonus of plenty of local color.
book cover Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons
Fiction. Lilly returns to her vacation home in Maine to scatter her husband's ashes and to make peace with her past and her future. Anyone who's ever loved and lost will not read this book - they will absorb it. Find it in the catalog.
book cover Snuff by Terry Pratchett
Fantasy. The newest novel in the Discworld series continues the story of Commander Sam Vimes as he's off to the country for a nice quiet holiday with his wife and son. Until, that is, a body turns up. Pratchett's characteristic wit and humor shine in this fantastical tale of mystery, crime and justice.
book cover The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
Supernatural Fiction. One day a rapture-like event suddenly snatches away a part of the world's population, forcing those that are left behind to question everything they thought they knew about life and how to live it. Find it in the catalog.
book cover 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
YA Fiction. 17-year old Ginny finds herself in posession of thirteen letters, written to her as a last act of her favorite aunt. Each letter instructs her on what to do and where to go before she can open the next envelope. Her adventure across Europe opens up her aunt's world to her as she discovers her own as well.
book cover The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
YA Fantasy Series. These five books (see below) will enchant any fan of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. The books follow the secret lives of famous alchemist Nicolas Flamel and his companions as they use magic and mythological folklore to hunt evil and restore order. Each book introduces real-world characters like Joan of Arc, Billy the Kid and Shakespeare as the heros travel through time. Find them in the catalog: #1 The Alchemyst
#2 The Magician
#3 The Sorceress
#4 The Necromancer
#5 The Warlock
book cover Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
Factual Historical Fiction. In this true-life novel, Lily Casey Smith (the author's grandmother) learns to break horses by the age of 6, but yearns for more from life. At fifteen, she travels over 500 miles on horseback to teach school at a small frontier town. This is an engaging story of a strong, resourceful young woman.
book cover The Twelfth Enchantment by David Liss
Historical Fantasy. Lucy Derrick quickly discovers that she has a knack for witchery, which she must use to influence the course of industry in early nineteenth century England. Featuring literary characters such as Lord Byron and Jane Austen's Mary Crawford, this novel is a fast-paced adventure for lovers of Romantic Period literature, suspense and the supernatural.
book cover Unbroken by Laurie Hillenbrand
Historical Non-fiction. Instead of realizing his dream of running in the 1940 Olympics, Louie Zamperini was drafted into the Army Air Corps as a bombadier during WWII. After his plane crashed into the Pacific, Louie survived sharks, starvation and Japanese bullets only to be captured and sent to a series of Japanese POW camps. This is the story of how Louie overcame unspeakable brutality, starvation, illness, and PTSD, and led a long, productive life.
book cover Room by Emma Donoghue
Fiction. Five-year-old Jack has spent his entire life in the 11x11 room where he and his mother are held prisoner by the man who kidnapped his mother seven years ago. As Jack narrates the story of their life in the room, their daring escape, and their journey of adjusting to life outside the room, he tells a story that stays on your mind long after you finish. 
book cover Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
Suspense. 39 passengers are killed when a flock of geese hits the engines of Chip Linton's plane over Lake Champlain. Still haunted by their deaths, Chip moves to an old house in New Hampshire to escape publicity and memories. He and his family are soon spooked by stories of the eccentric previous owners, a circle of local herbalists and by the discovery of a door in the basement that is sealed with 39 bolts.
book cover Leaving Van Gogh by Carol Wallace
Historical Fiction. Dr. Paul Gachet treated mental illness in late 19th century Paris and happened to be a friend to many great painters of the era. One day, Vincent van Gogh - a man confined to an asylum for a year, consumed by demons, and in terrible anguish - put down his easel and paint box, walked into Dr. Gachet's office, and started to talk.
book cover A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny
Mystery (#7 of Chief Inspector Gamache series). Chief Inspector Gamache and his team of homocide detectives are still dealing with the emotional and physical scars of the terrorist attack six months ago when they are once again called to investigate a murder in Three Pines. During the investigation, he strips back the lies and lives of the villagers.
book cover The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
Historical Fiction. During the Vietnam war, soliders carry with them the tangible and intangible things they can't live without. It might be extra food, brass knuckles, or the memory of the loves they left behind. O'Brien explores the essence of each of the soliders in the story by examining the things they carried.
book cover The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett
Non-Fiction. What drives people to steal? John Charles Gilkey, a con artist who's made off with a fortune of stolen rare books from around the United States, is motivated not by profit, but by a deeply intense love of books and reading. This unique true crime story follows his exploits and the network of booksellers who worked to track him down. Snappy, wry and perfect for book lovers.
book cover Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Political Fiction. Great book for those interested in understanding the motivation behind the Tea Party movement and other libertarian ideals.  It’s even a good story albeit a long read.
book cover Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
YA Science Fiction. It's 2044 and the 80s are back! Everyone on Earth is immersed in Pac Man culture as the world tries to decipher the clues left by Bill Gates-esque pioneer and 80s geek Halliday, who has left his fortune (and the virtual world OASIS) to the one who can crack his codes. 80s enthusiasts, video game nerds, and everyone in between will get a kick out of this fast-paced adventure.
book cover Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer
Non-fiction. As Foer accutely states, we are the sum of our memories. Yes, Foer tracks memory champions and reveals the secrets of building mental worlds in order to remember massively long lists, but even better - he reminds us to make new connections every day, for that is how we forge new memories and make the most of the life we have.

Summer 2011

book cover Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson
Historical Fiction. Would you risk everything to be free? When his Master signs him up to fight during the Revolutionary War, Curzon believes he is to be freed. After he discovers the lie that was going to keep him enslaved, he escapes to Valley Forge, where he fights for his freedom.  (280 p.)
book cover Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Historical Fiction. The novel is actually sixteen interwoven stories about conflicts between Chinese immigrant mothers and their American-raised daughters. Great read for teens who want to read heartbreaking stories where parents misunderstand their children. (337 p.)
book cover Plain Kate by Erin Bow
Fantasy. What do you do when you’re so skilled at carving wood that you’re known as Witchblade? What happens when you live in a village that’s so suspicious that witches are burned at the stake? You sell your shadow in order to start over – but how long can you live shadowless? Kate will soon found out whether it’s better to risk dying than to live a half life. (314 p.)
book cover Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Fiction. Gossip Girl meets Groundhog’s Day. Self-absorbed high school senior Samantha goes through her day being a self-absorbed high schooler, then she dies. She reawakes to that morning once again, able to make subtle changes to perhaps become a better person. Perhaps. (470 p.)
book cover The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Supernatural Fiction. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, Mackie comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement - left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world. Strange but true: it's a great read for music lovers. (343 p.)
book cover Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson
Nonfiction. Detailed account of John Wilkes Boothe’s original plan to kidnap Lincoln, then his subsequent change of plan to assassination. A graphic minute-by-minute account of what stage actor Boothe describe as his greatest performance, his escape, and his eventual discovery. This is the YA version of Manhunt by the same author, which is a bit longer and includes the source citations. An engaging and very fast read. (194 p.)
book cover Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland by Sally Walker
Nonfiction. Through several cases of forensic anthropology, gravesites in colonial burial grounds are dug up and analyzed, discovering what the lives of the people were really like. Cool pictures of skeletons and facial reconstructions. (134 p. with lots of pictures)
book cover Funny How Things Change by Melissa Wyatt
Fiction. YALSA Best Books List. Coming of age story where Renny lives in a poor coal mining West Virginia town. The summer after graduation, his girlfriend asks him to move with her to Pennsylvania where she’ll be going to college just as art-major Dana comes to town to paint the water tower. Does he go with the love of his life, or does he explore new possibilities in his hometown? Sweet story with a lot of depth. (196 p.)
book cover The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Suspense Fiction (with mystery and romance). Violet has the instinctive ability to find all sorts of bodies – human and animal – by tracking their echoes. When she’s a junior in high school, she senses in the woods something beyond what she had ever found before – a child’s body. Now she has to track a dangerous murderer before he can strike again. She’s also in love with some guy. (327 p.)
book cover Fire by Kristin Cashore
Fantasy. In a world where monsters look like beautiful creatures. Fire is the last monster – perhaps the most beautiful - and the daughter of a wicked tyrant. She has to break away from her family and try to become the kind of leader her father should have been. (461 p.)
book cover Stitches by David Small
Graphic Novel. Small’s memoir details his troubled youth with his abusive mother and irresponsible father, finally running away from home when he was sixteen. This is a quick, but haunting read. (324 p.)
book cover Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson
Fantasy. Beautiful classic tale where two sisters live in a country with two religions, were given two different gifts and who took two different paths in life. (276 p.)
book cover The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Historical Fiction. Lucia, a 14-year old girl living on the brink of a revolution in 1961 Cuba, is not prepared for what her country is about to go through. Her family does not partake in the Revolution, which ostracizes them from the rest of the town. She and her brother were eventually sent to safety… in Nebraska? She struggles to understand English, American customs, and American teenagers. She eventually discovers that the Cuba she knew and loved as a child no longer exists. (284 p.)
book cover When I Was Joe by Keren David
Fiction. Joe was Ty. Now Ty is Joe because Ty witnessed a murder. And Joe is trying to figure out how to lie about everything. City boy Ty witnesses a murder, and must become “Joe” in a witness protection program in the suburbs where he finds that his alter ego has become everything he never was: popular, charismatic, and generally happy. A thrilling, sometimes romantic book, but has a crazy twist ending that will remind you of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. (364 p.)
book cover Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Horror - Zombies. The Zombies are coming. Ok, not really. BUT IF THEY DO, then you must read this book to prepare yourself. Benny was just a baby on First Night – the Zombie uprising. His first memory was being handed over to his brother, Tom, as his zombie father snatched his mother and drug her back into the house. Years later, Tom is the foremost Bounty Hunter in the encampment. Benny, now 15, must get a job in order to maintain his food rations, and decides to join his brother to hunt out in zombie territory, the Rot and Ruin. Intense and thoughtful read. (458 p.)
book cover The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt
Fiction. How do you respond when your brother asks you “What do you do when you’re lying 3 feet from your legs?” When his brother sets off on a solitary hiking trip, he follows him and discovers for himself how a loved one deals with the ravages of war. (245 p.)
book cover Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan
Fiction. Blake’s dad accidently leaves autopsy photos on the breakfast table. He takes some photos maybe and is in a grownup relationship even though he’s in Ninth Grade. (329 p.)
book cover Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Science Fiction. Global warming has caused New Orleans to sink twice. From its third reincarnation comes Nailor, who lives hand-to-mouth with his band of friends while trying to avoid his abusive father. He dreams of a better life out in the sea, but discovers that his dreams are just that when he rescues a crewman from a shipwrecked vessel. Bleak and violent, but compelling read. (326 p.)

Fall/Winter 2010

book cover The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. Rose has an extra sense: when she tastes food, she not only senses the taste, but also the emotions of the person who made the food.  Rose’s brother also has an extra sense—one that only Rose believes.  Despite the strange abilities of its’ two main characters, this is not a fantasy.  It is a novel of emotions, secrets, and sadness.  For people who enjoy quirky, character driven stories.  It has an element of mystery that is not necessarily totally solved.
book cover Reckless by Cornelia Funke. The CLASS team will be talking this book up to the 8th graders on their visits.  By the author of the Inkheart series.  The hero travels to another world, “Mirror World” like his missing father before him.  His younger brother follows him into this twisted world and falls under a fairy’s spell, turning him slowly into stone.  Our hero must save him before the change is complete.  For those who enjoy myths, legends, and fairy tales.
book cover The Air Between Us by Deborah Johnson. For people who enjoyed The Help, this is a novel that takes place in Mississippi in 1966 during the time of integration.  It describes the interactions between people and perceptions of people.  Well written.
book cover Little Bee by Chris Cleave. 16 year old Nigerian girl sees atrocities in her country and wants to escape.  It is about freedom.  Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it makes you laugh.  Excellent read.
book cover Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer. First in the series.  This is about a young orphaned girl in the 19th century who dresses up as a boy and goes to the docks to become a ship’s boy.  She engages in battles with the French and is an admirable ship “boy” but she always fears discovery of her gender.  Written by a former naval officer, this book has won awards for its’ audio recording.
book cover Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. Oprah’s latest pick.  The book is full of angst, turmoil, and flawed characters and their interactions with family and friends.  Lots of skeletons in the closet and no characters that are really sympathetic.
book cover Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim. Daughter of a scholar/calligrapher, Najin is not given a name at birth because she is female.  Her mother wants an education for her and her parents get her a position as companion to the princess.  She loses her job when the dynasty falls.  Against her father’s wishes, she is educated to become a teacher.    Najin falls in love with a student minister who must continue his education in the US.  She is denied a visa and left to live with his family who treats her as a servant.  Will they ever be together again?  Highly recommended.
book cover Broken Jewel by David Robbins. A WWII story that takes place in the Philippines.  2000 civilians are held captive in the Los Baños camp near Manila.  Carmen, a “comfort woman” made to do what the soldiers tell her (some  of this is described in great detail) and prisoner Tal fall in love from a distance, across barbed wire.  It captures the hardships of life in the camp.  Recommended.
book cover The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. The story of a woman who returns to her native town in Salem, Massachusetts after staying away for an extended period.  She reluctantly returns after the disappearance of her dear aunt.  Lace reading is a (fictional) method of telling the future.  It is a novel of suspense and startling realizations.  Highly recommended.
book cover Ape House by Sara Gruen. This book is for animal lovers and people who feel strongly about the importance of native habitat.  Ape House is a reality show that features apes communicating with each other.  It’s by the same author as Water for Elephants but written more clumsily.  There is some “adult” content.  We would really like to recommend Water for Elephants.
book cover Powers by Brian Michael Bendis. A graphic novel for young adults and adults, this is CSI for superheroes: superhero homicide.  It contains mystery, twists, and turns.  The illustrations are dark and gloomy.  Highly recommended!
book cover Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. Like a reference guide to surviving a zombie apocalypse!
book cover This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer. The third in the Life as We Knew It series about the global disaster that occurs when the moon is hit by a meteor.  The five characters from the first book are back but they must now support 5 additional people on their meager supplies.  A young adult book, adults will enjoy as well.
book cover Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. This is a novel of suspense and the tricks our minds can play on us while under extreme stress.  The heroine is running from an abusive husband.  She knows that he’ll kill her if he finds her.  Nicholas Sparks fans will enjoy, as will other readers of realistic fiction and suspense.  This contains more violence than other Nicholas Sparks books.
book cover Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. Fiction and non-fiction readers will want to read this book about a man who tries to help victims of hurricane Katrina and is arrested after he is (falsely) accused of being a terrorist.  Highly recommended.
book cover Case of the Fire Alarm (from the Buddy Files) by Dori Butler. This book is part of a great new series for 2nd – 4th graders featuring a dog detective.
book cover Whiter Than Snow by Sandra Dallas. A 1920 Colorado avalanche has trapped 9 children in a snow drift and the community is turned upside-down.  Many back stories of members of the community are explored.  It’s told rather disjointedly—somewhat of a disappointment.  There are some vivid and interesting characters, however.

More Calvert Library staff picks:


A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
Cane River by Lalita Tademy (Historical Fiction—African Americans)
The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
The Color Purple by Alice Walker (African American lit, classic)
The Dakota Cipher by William Dietrich
Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
Emma by Jane Austen (anything by Austen)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Gone to Soldiers by Marge Piercy (Historical fiction, WWII)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan (Asian American lit)
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (Historical Fiction—Civil War)
Kindred by Octavia Butler
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Life All Around Me by Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Maintenance Man by Michael Baisden
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (Multicultural)
Napoleon’s Pyramids by William Dietrich
The Penny by Joyce Meyer (Inspirational)
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Prodigal Summer: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver
Sugar by Bernice McFadden
The Rosetta Key by William Dietrich
The Saffron Kitchen by Yasmin Crowther (Realistic Fiction/Multicultural)
Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Year That Follows by Scott Lasser


Eat This, Not That by David Zinczenko
Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen
Three Cups of Tea: One man's mission to fight terrorism and build nations-- one school at a time by Greg Mortenson
Trail of Feathers : In Search of the Birdmen of Peru by Tahir Shah
In search of King Solomon's Mines by Tahir Shah


In an Instant by Lee and Bob Woodruff
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller (Autobiography)


Any series by Jack Higgins
Big Stone Gap series by Adriana Trigiani (Gentle Reads)
Bubbles series by Sarah Strohmeyer
Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean Auel
Cliff Janeway mystery series by John Dunning
Dave Robicheaux mystery series
by James Lee Burke
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (Children’s/Young Adult Series)
Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich
Southern Sisters series by Anne George, funny amateur detectives
Walt Longwire mystery series by Craig Johnson
Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson (Christian Fiction)

Young Adult (YA)

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Eldest series by Christopher Paolini
Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (YA contemporary fiction)
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
There’s A Girl in My Hammerlock by Jerry Spinelli
The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer


Juvenile Fiction (JF)

Children of the Red King series by Jenny Nimmo
Crash by Jerry Spinelli
Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
The Golden Hour by Maiya Williams
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
Puddlejumpers by Jean Monk
Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage
Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel
The Tallest Tree by Sandra Belton
Witch Catcher by Mary Downing Hahn

Picture Books

Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems
Poor Puppy by Nick Bruel
Micawber by John Lithgow
Scribbleville by Peter Holwitz
Any Children’s books by Roald Dahl
Any Children’s books by David Shannon