Check It Out Category: Books

Historical Fiction about Real Women

Celebrate Women’s History Month by reading a novel about an innovator who made her mark! Whether your interest is in world leaders, trailblazers, or those who persevered, you’ll find a tale in which biographical fact is presented with an emphasis on story. Visit our new display on the second floor or choose from this sampling:

Leading the Way

Hild book coverHild
Nicola Griffith
Black Rose book coverThe Black Rose
Tananarive Due
Jami Attenberg


Art of Inspiration

Georgia book coverGeorgia
Dawn Tripp
Velveteen Daughter book coverThe Velveteen Daughter
Laurel Davis Huber
Jennifer Cody Epstein


Women Who Rule

Nefertiti book coverNefertiti
Michelle Moran
Warrior Woman book coverWarrior Woman
Dark Rain and James Alexander Thom
Elizabeth Chadwick


Nancy’s Pick: The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman

Nancy Staff Pick photoIn The View from Penthouse B, recently widowed Gwen-Laura moves in with her sister, recently divorced Margot. They take in a newly unemployed young gay man to help with the rent, and it’s fun to see the roommates support each another as they navigate New York City following their personal setbacks. Elinor Lipman’s novel is a charming, light read brimming with optimism, even as it explores themes of grief, forgiveness, and financial challenges.

Fiction: If You Like Red Sparrow

Red Sparrow book coverWith thrilling spycraft, shocking double- and triple-crosses, and a chameleon-like femme fatale, Red Sparrow is poised to be one of the season’s more memorable movie adaptations. The first of a series by ex-CIA operative Jason Matthews, the novel tells the story of intelligence agent Dominika Egorova, a former ballerina trained in the arts of seduction and intrigue, who is determined to expose a Russian mole. Her fixation, her unique skills, and her gift for sensing when someone is lying all lead to a sultry cat-and-mouse with an American agent.

Want more like this? Try one of these smart, sexy spy thrillers:


Tightope book coverTightrope
by Simon Mawer
Marian Sutro has survived Ravensbruck and is now back in dreary 1950s London trying to pick up the pieces of her pre-war life. De-briefed by the same shadowy branch of the secret service that sent her to Paris to extract a French atomic scientist, Marian is now plunged into the Cold War.
Cutout book coverThe Cutout
by Francine Mathews
When videotape of the Vice President’s abduction reveals that CIA analyst Caroline Carmichael’s husband–presumed dead for two years–may be still alive, Caroline investigates, hoping to discover his motives and loyalties.
Castros Daughter book coverCastro’s Daughter
by David Hagberg
Forced by Cuban Intelligence Service colonel Maria Leon–who is also the illegitimate daughter of the dying Fidel Castro–to help her find the fabled seven cities of gold, former CIA director Kirk McGarvey tackles the deadliest and most bizarre mission of his career.


Fall of Moscow StationThe Fall of Moscow Station
by Mark Henshaw
When the Moscow Station is left in ruins after a major intelligence breach, CIA analyst Jonathan Burke and agent Kyra Stryker are fast on the trail of Alden Maines, an upper-level CIA officer whose defection coincides with the murder of the director of Russia’s Foundation for Advanced Nuclear Research.
Walking Back the Cat book coverWalking Back the Cat
by Robert Littell
When Parsifal, a Soviet-era KGB agent who has been living quietly in the United States, is given orders to assassinate someone working in an Apache-run casino, Finn, a disillusioned Gulf War vet, is drawn into the plot.
Our Game book coverOur Game
by John le Carré
A romantic triangle on a retired British intelligence officer, his girl, and the spy who stole her. It is told against the backdrop of the rebellion in Chechnya and the international intrigues surrounding it. A tale of the moral wastes of post-Cold War Europe in both East and West, written by a master of the genre.

Reading, Watching, or Listening in February? Tell Us for Chance to Win!

Have you stopped in to tell us what you have been reading, watching, or listening to during the month of February? Seven days remain, and you don’t want to miss out! Visit the Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk on the second floor and fill out a drawing slip for every book, audiobook, DVD, and CD enjoyed this month. No registration required, and each entry increases your chances to win a prize just for doing what you already love. Claim a bit of sweet for playing, and let us cheer you on!

Andrea’s Pick: City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

Andrea's staff pick photoNahri knows better than anyone that there’s no such thing as magic. She uses sleight-of-hand and misdirection, not real magic, to con her customers.

What Nahri knows, however, is called into question when she accidentally summons an ancient djinn warrior. The djinn tells her of Daevabad, the legendary city of brass that holds the key to Nahri’s past. City of Brass will sweep you away with Nahri and her djinn companion, across scorching deserts and dangerous mountains, to the mystical city and the secrets within its walls.

Black History Month Spotlight: Alyssa Cole

One of the inspiring opportunities of Black History Month is thepicture of author alyssa cole chance to be introduced to talents we might otherwise miss without intention. In this third spotlight (see the first here and second here), our gaze turns to author Alyssa Cole.

Award-winning author Alyssa Cole’s portfolio is diverse, ranging from contributing to RT Book Reviews, Shondaland, and The Toast, to writing sci-fi to working as a science editor. Her latest venture is into historical romance with The Loyal League. Starting with The Extraordinary Union (2017), forbidden love and spies set during the American Civil War make for a steamy compelling read. Cole continues her tradition of writing strong, intellectual woman in A Hope Divided (2017), which follows a healer secretly working for the Union and protecting an escaped prisoner.


an extraordinary union book coverAn Extraordinary Union
by Alyssa Cole
Book 1
A Hope Divided book coverA Hope Divided
by Alyssa Cole
Book 2

Cathleen’s Pick: Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn

Cathleen staff picks photoIt’s a hard fall from corporate mogul to sanitorium resident, but Henry Dunbar brought this on himself. In a play for adoration, he gave up control of his company, and now those he rewarded have left him with nothing. Both clever re-imagining of King Lear and contemporary morality tale, Edward St. Aubyn’s Dunbar exposes the heart of a once-heartless man.

Black History Month Spotlight: Kyle Baker

Kyle Baker author photoOne of the inspiring opportunities of Black History Month is the chance to be introduced to talents we might otherwise miss without intention. In this second spotlight (see the first here), our gaze turns to artist and graphic novelist Kyle Baker.

Baker’s creations play with different styles and tones, which makes sampling his stories an exploration of the unexpected.  Blending computer-generated art with hand-drawn work, the illustrations often appear animated movie-ready, reminiscent of storyboards, and the unusual touch of captioning below the image rather than having text integrated into the panel emphasizes the power of the art on its own. That impact is heightened by his use of highly saturated colors which make the characters and action pop from the page.

Experience one or more of Baker’s celebrated works for yourself.  Whether you are primed to learn, to laugh, to escape, or to think, you’ll find a match in the Library’s collection. Start with one of these:

Nat Turner book coverNat Turner

The story of Nat Turner’s historic slave rebellion is powerfully realized in this award-winning graphic novel. Dramatic images do most of the talking, only sparingly supplemented with outbursts of text. Intentionally breaking from his reputation for bold colors, Baker depicts the action in muted sepia tones that are no less eye-catching, allowing the haunting images to etch the lives and lessons of history into our understanding.



Birth of a Nation book coverBirth of a Nation: A Comic Novel
by Aaron McGruder and Reginald Hudlin
illustrated by Kyle Baker

When hundreds of its black citizens are turned away from national polls for suspicious reasons, what is the town of East St. Louis, Illinois to do? Secede and start a separate country, of course!  Baker’s lively illustrations enhance the satire of McGruder and Hudlin’s tale, making us smile even as their social and political points hit the mark.



King David book coverKing David

David of Israel, this is your life! From precocious lad to powerful but flawed monarch, his story is infused with both action and attitude. Baker effectively holds attention captive even during well-traveled episodes, most especially during the shepherd boy’s confrontation with gargantuan soldier Goliath.



You Are Here book coverYou Are Here

Billed as “a spectacular, full-color urban romantic comedy about what happens when the things we hide come back to haunt us,” this wisecracking romp illustrates the story of a former criminal, his unaware New Age girlfriend, and a serial killer with a grudge.  Buckle in for an outrageous combination of noir, action, and humor sure to offer the escapism you might need.