Gordon Avenue Library Staff Recommends
Article in Personal Picks category.
Recommended by Cathie
- Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund
"I fell in love with Captain Ahab. This book made me want to read Moby Dick."
- The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer
"The 1st book in a series of 6 that get better with each book. About Enola Holmes, the much younger sister of Sherlock Holmes. She solves mysteries by cracking codes and using logic and wit."
- The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
"Callie would prefer to spend her time in the woods with her grandfather studying nature rather than prepare for the life her parents have planned for her. A sweet story written with humor."
- Father Joe: the man who saved my soul by Tony Hendra
"Tony Hendra writes about his life with humor recounting the part Father Joe played. Candid and inspirational."
- The Land of the Blue Flower by Frances Hodgson Burnett
"A story of beauty and hope by the author of the Secret Garden."
- The Night and the Music (The Matthew Scudder Stories) by Lawrence Block
"Matthew Scudder is a real, flawed character. Lawrence Block is a master. I recommend all the Matthew Scudder books."
- Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry
"Dave Barry brings his humor to this prequel to Peter Pan that is filled with adventure and magic."
- Scorched Earth by David Robbins
Recommended by Donna
"Historic pictures of Charlottesville."
- Manchild in the Promised Land by Claud Brown
"Old Urban Drama"
Recommended by Glynis
- Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
"The letter Z falls out of the pangram on the town's memorial statue. The town coucil sees it as a sign to ban "z". As more letters fall from it, trouble ensues. It is up to plucky Ella to fight for words."
- How the Ladies Stopped the Wind by Bruce McMillan
"A delightful tale of resourceful singing ladies, helpful chickens and hungry sheep."
- Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo
"A porcine romp with a pig with personality. All adventures end with wonderful helpings of hot buttered toast."
- Nation by Terry Pratchett
"Two sole survivors from different worlds are brought together and must build a new world. A rich and unique read."
- Once I Ate a Pie by Patricia MacLachlan
"Wonderful free-verse poems bring out the personalities of a motley crew of canines."
- The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
"When Rose turns 9, she discovers that she can taste the emotions of the preparer in the food she eats. She also discovers that knowing too much about someone can be painful."
- Sabriel by Garth Nix
"A fantastic fantasy adventure of a young girl who must step into her father's shoes to defeat the undead. An ancient spirit embodied in the surly cat Mogget is a most memorable character."
- The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt
When the king and queen argue about what is delicious, it is up to a young boy to cross the kingdom asking people what they think and falling into adventure."
- The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
"A magical tale swirls around a rare and mysterious book. Made me want to visit Barcelona!"
- Sophie's Masterpiece: A Spider's Story by Eileen Spinelli
"A lovely, warm story of kindness in unexpected places. Jane Dyer's illustrations are magical."
- The Tower the Zoo and the Tortoise by Julia Stewart
"A quirky cast of characters bring to life this tale of a Beefeater in the tower of London who is reluctantly but in charge of the Queen's exotic animals."
- Wildwood by Colin Meloy
"Meloy, lead singer and songwriter for the Decemberists, has taken on children's fantasy and created a charming tale."
Recommended by Hayley
- Bury the Dead by Christopher Sloan
"Awesome book about how people bury their dead, and why different cultures have different customs."
- The Food of Love by Anthony Capella
"Lets you experience Italy through food, love, language, and a delightful comedy of errors."
- Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre
"Hilarious graphic novel about a girl who wants to prove herself by slaying a giant, and tricks her friends into joining her on her adventure."
- I, Coriander by Sally Gardner
"Beautiful tale of mystery and magic - set in 17th. c. London - and bits of the fiary world shine through."
- Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation by Matt Myklusch
"Great fantasy involving comic book worlds that come to life, robozombies and floating islands. Need I say more?"
- My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares
"Riveting and interesting - this love story spans the centuries. And the story is partially set in Charlottesville!"
- Queen of Kings by Marie Dahvana Headley
"A fantastic alternative history and tale of possession that will have you on the edge of your seat."
- Rowan Hood by Nancy Springer
"The daughter of Robin Hood stars in her own tale, and has her own abilities to boot! Fantastic and SO MUCH FUN!"
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
"An adventurous ride - with man-eating horses from the sea and a girl racing for her livelihood, this beautiful tale is not to be missed! Also great on audiobook from Overdrive!"
Recommended by Meredith
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
"Lots of threads come together. Great writing, entertaining."
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman
"Gaiman is a fantastic storyteller. Just go along for the ride."
- Anathem by Neal Stephenson
"A thrilling challenge."
- Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
"Eloquent criminals, an alternate world, steampunky spies and tones of Indiana Jones meets Neil gaiman. Well-constructed language, dry British humor, and a bit of the weird - fabulous!"
- Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto
"Artful simplicity, atmospheric."
- Beginner's Greek by James Collins
"A charming romance but also a satirical comedy."
- Blood, Bones, and Butter: the Inadvertant Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
"A good honest memoir with a strong voice and an interesting life. Something for foodies and also for those interested in domestic balance."
- The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai
"Lots of literary allusions, compelling central character - and enough whimsy to keep you going on a wandering journey."
- The City and the City by China Mieville
"Thrilling, sharp, unique."
- Citrus County by John Brandon
"Atmospheric, emotional, character driven. Well-written."
- Cleaning Nabakov's House by Leslie Daniels
"Funnier than I thought it would be, with great touching passages as well. A wonderful main character portrayal."
- The Clothes They Stood up In by Alan Bennett
"Charming little gem. Read anything by him."
- Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
"Epistolary style; great fun. Clever wordplay, thoughtful, lightly satirical."
- The End of the Alphabet by C. S. Richardson
"Darling. Someone else called it 'lovably odd'. A gem."
- The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
"An endearing portrait of a bizarre family. Wonderfully crafted."
- The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
""A Secret Garden" for adults - a touch of magical realism, literary mystery and romance - all in this engrossing tale of several generations of women."
- Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
"Romantic magical realism. Follow it up with "Sugar Queen"."
- Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward
"Lots of fun. From the creator of the Spellman Files (and a friend)."
- Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
"A tremendous amount of emotion without being cloying. Supernatural elements, interesting relationships."
- Homer & Langley by E. L. Doctorow
"A compassionate, fascinating portrayal of two lives against the decades."
- I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
"Emotionally nuanced; clever language. And funny!"
- I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
"Poignant, funny coming-of-age. Prepare to be charmed."
- The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
"A series of linked vignettes, character-driven humor and pathos."
- Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch
"Excellent writing and a unique tale...heartbreaking in many moments, harrowing in others."
- Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
"Truly human characters with great stories to tell...just the right mix of pathos and humor. Read anything by him!"
- Love Walked In by Marisa De los Santos
"Great story about relationships, family. Wonderful use of language. Follow up with "Belong to Me"."
- The Magicians by Lev Grossman
"Harry Potter/Narnia but for adults."
- The Maytrees by Annie Dillard
"Fiction - moving, elegant."
- Mouse Guard, Fall 1152 by David Petersen
"All the action and intrigue of the best swashbuckler, with amazing artwork."
- Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum
"Charming portrayal of human foibles, pitch-perfect pacing and diction."
- Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
"Three stories intertwined; sensual; Virginia"
- Rant: an oral biography of Buster Casey by Chuck Palahniuk
"Not for everyone: Palahnuik is rough around the edges. But I liked the unique structure. Great storytelling. It's not boring."
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
"Fun virtual reality adventure and real-world intrigue, with lots of fun pop-culture references that make it great for nostalgia if you were young in the 80s."
- The Replacement by Brenda Yovanoff
"An original take on the classic changeling tale. Eerie, imaginative, and thrilling."
- Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
"Slightly darker than the series of Thursday Next, but with the same smart wordplay, allusions, banter, satire. Speculative fiction at its most fun."
- Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
"Compelling, exciting, thought-provoking."
- Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
"Pick this up if you liked Donna Tartt's A Secret History- Literate intrigue."
- The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
"1st in series. Madcap. Has the snappy dialogue and fast pace of a screen play."
- Stitches by David Small
"A unique story told by an amazing illustrator."
- The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
"Precious protagonist, funny, endearing."
- The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
"A convincing recreation of a historical time and place - cultural conflicts in a colonial outpost, with all its inherent eccentricities. Romance, intrigue, humor."
- Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis
"Personable non-fiction. You will want to play Scrabble. Great characters."
Recommended by Yvonne
- At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
" The first book in the Mitford series. Mitford will feel like your hometown after you learn the characters."
- Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
"A little boy's astounding story of his trip to heaven and back."
- The Homeplace by Gilbert Morris
"Depression-era series follows one family through tragedy and trials, yet shows how God meets their needs."
- Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross
"First book of the Miss Julia series. Each one is a light, delightful read."
- One Summer by David Baldacci
- Redemption by Karen Kingsbury
"This series follows a family's tragedies and triumphs and shows God at work in each."
- Roar of the Heavens by Stefan Betchel
"Excellent book on Hurricane Camille."
- Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury
"Moving; Could provide hope for parents of autistic children."
- Wish You Well by David Baldacci
"A warm coming-of-age story of a girl who was transplanted from NYC to the mountains of Virginia in 1940."
Recommended by Former Staff Members
Recommended by Benji
- An American Childhood by Annie Dillard
"What does 'growing up' mean? Annie Dillard attempts to answer this question as she traces her life from early childhood to adolescence. Rich in language. Wonderfully descriptive."
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
"This classic is one of my favorite books, ever. Every time I read it, I'm delighted All over again."
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
"This may be my favorite YA novel, ever. It will make you laugh, cry and want to read it all over again as soon as you finish the last page."
- The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
"A masterpiece, from the Golden Age of Russian Literature"
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck
"Steinbeck at his best. A 20th Century retelling of the Cain and Abel story."
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
"My absolute favorite Newbery winner. Great for all ages."
- Ireland by Frank Delaney
"A history of Ireland told through many different stories, all framed around a central novel. Epic. Wonderful."
- Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
"Find out what happens when Charlie Bucktin, bookworm and ideal student, gets mixed up with Jasper Jones, the local outcast. A great read."
- Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
"This book is everything a Newbery winner should be."
- The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
"A great debut fantasy novel. Harry Potter for adults."
- The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie pope
"A great read for kids, teens or adults. This Newbery Honor book will leave you feeling enchanted."
- The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
"I loved this book as a child. As an adult, I appreciate it even more."
- The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
"This is the first book in one of my favorite children's series. Great for kids and gown-ups alike."
- Till We have Facesby C.S. Lewis
"A profound retelling of a classic myth. C.S. Lewis thought this was his best book, and I agree."
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
"Harper Lee's masterpiece will be around forever. If you haven't, you might as well read it. You'll be glad you did."
- When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
"A wonderful story of time-travel and growing up in New York City."
- White Cat by Holly Black
"This book is perfect for someone looking for a new Young Adult series. Magic and mafia collide, leaving you hungry for Red Glove, the next in the series."
- The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean
"A wonderful story of Moby Dick-like obsession for teens."