Check It Out Category: Lists

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


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.

DVD: Everything Old Is New Again

These television series have all recently come back for a reboot, but did you know you can check out the original seasons here at the library in our DVD “television show” section? If you’re looking to see how it all began, visit us on the second floor!

It was in 1993 that fans first met FBI special agents Mulder and Scully, and were quickly caught up in their pursuit of the paranormal and extraterrestrial on the sci-fi series, The X-Files. In the first season we see the origins of their relationship and reason why they grow to trust only each other and a select few more. The truth is out there, and the prior seasons are in here, at the library.





With its lofty influence on the cultural zeitgeist of the late 20th century, it’s hard to believe Twin Peaks only lasted two seasons, from 1990 to 1991, with the feature film Fire Walk with Me  released in 1992. The dark and mysterious happenings in the small town of Twin Peaks, Washington, were introduced through the finding of a corpse belonging to Homecoming Queen Laura Palmer. Her disoriented and amnesic friend is found wounded nearby. What happened to the girls and what is going on in the town? Start to piece together the clues by checking out season one.




The turn of the 21st century brought the mother-daughter drama The Gilmore Girls to the small screen. The debut of mother Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter Rory, came in October 2000 and lasted seven seasons. The show explores the relationship between the precocious and academic Rory and the easygoing Lorelai, who became Rory’s mom when she was just 16 years old. This closeness in age adds an element of sisterhood to their relationship, with Rory sometimes assuming a more grown-up role in their close dynamic.




Although not exactly following up where the previous series ended, these current editions to long running series aim for much of the same charm and allure of their predecessors. How do they match up to these originals?

Dr. Who started nearly fifty-five years ago. The first Doctor, played by William Hartnell, introduced the TARDIS, the spaceship that can transport through time and looks like a British police phone booth. This passport to other times and other worlds takes Dr. Who and his companions through many engaging and sometimes dangerous adventures. Unfortunately not all of the episodes have survived, but most have, including the very first episodes that premiered in 1963, They are at the library titled Doctor Who: The Beginning.


Star Trek: The Original Series was first broadcast on television in 1966. It was viewers first chance to meet the crew of the starship Enterprise, with Captain Kirk, First Officer Spock, and Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy at the helm. This crew charted exciting inter-space courses and led its watchers to new planets, new beings and new societies throughout the Milky Way, (all while predicting a tremendous number of advancements that wouldn’t become reality for several decades.) Many subsequent series have come forth from this show, with no limit to the episodes’ plots, save human imagination.



Fiction: Mysteries with Indian Detectives

In addition to their love for the whodunit, mystery fans appreciate both a fascinating investigator and a strong sense of place. Most often this may manifest in stories of British detectives or in Scandinavian thrillers, but crime narratives set in all parts of the globe deserve attention. One quieter trend to discover is that of mysteries set in the complex lands of contemporary Southeast Asia. If you have yet to explore the delights of puzzling through a case set in India, use your deductive skills to identify the most likely suspect to spark new curiosity.

Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra book coverThe Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra
     by Vaseem Khan
Baby Ganesh Agency Investigations series

A young man found drowned in a puddle of water, an eight-month-old elephant, and the last day before forced retirement all compete for full attention of a longtime police officer. With offbeat charm and obvious affection for Mumbai, this first in a series establishes a winning premise to engage mystery fans.



Case of the Missing Servant book coverThe Case of the Missing Servant
     by Tarquin Hall
Vish Puri Mysteries series

If Agatha Christie’s iconic Hercule Poirot were Indian rather than Belgian, he would look a lot like Vish Puri, a careful investigator with amazing deductive skills and keen powers of observation. The search for a missing woman, a suspected victim of foul play, provides introduction both to the vibrancy of Delhi and to a celebrated series.



Six Suspects book coverSix Suspects
     by Vikas Swarup

When playboy Vicky Rai was acquitted of a senseless murder committed in front of 50 witnesses, riots broke out. So it is no surprise that he himself is murdered at the very party he throws to celebrate his release. However, when six different guests are found to have guns in their possession, stories need to be heard. Presented in alternating points of view, this satirical yet tightly constructed mystery invites the reader to play the role of detective against the backdrop of modern India.


Perfect Murder book coverThe Perfect Murder
     by H.R.F. Keating
Inspector Ghote Mysteries series

Not quite as contemporary but with the time-tested credibility of a long-running series, the first case in the classic Inspector Ghote series presents a perplexing death in Bombay complicated by misinformation, incompetence, and corruption.



DVD: Love The Good Place?

There is a lot to love about NBC’s popular television series The Good Place, which premiered in September of 2016. Set in the next world, the show follows the experiences of Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) as she adjusts to a utopian eternity designed by an after-life architect named Michael (Ted Danson), but soon discovers she may be there under false pretenses. If this show is your cup of next-world tea, you may enjoy the following DVDs from our collection.

Defending Your Life is the story of a successful businessman, Daniel Miller (Albert Brooks) who crashes his car on his 39th birthday and finds himself in an Earth-like afterlife, where he learns his life will be judged. If he can make a successful defense for himself he will be upgraded to a better afterlife, but the deliberations with his lawyer only serve to confound him and make him worry he won’t move up. To top it off he finds himself falling in love with Julia (Meryl Streep) who appears to have lived such a spectacular life that she will certain move up, perhaps leaving him behind.




When the quarterback for the L.A. Rams, Joe Pendelton (Warren Beatty) dies in a bike accident, he goes directly to Heaven, guided along by a helpful guardian angel. The only problem is that he was never supposed to have died in the first place, and the angel made a mistake in bringing him to Heaven. In Heaven Can Wait, (based on the play of the same name by Sidney Buchman and Seton I. Miller,) Joe returns to Earth, but since he cannot go back to his current body he has to assume the body and life of a person who is just about to die. It turns out the body he returns to inhabit is that of a greedy businessman. Joe must figure out how to proceed in life, love and sports. The 1948 movie Here Comes Mr. Jordan is also based on the same play by Buchman and Miller.




Heart and Souls starts on a San Francisco bus ride at night. Four passengers are on their way to various engagements, but are killed when the bus on which they are riding crashes off an overpass. In a car that nearly collided with the bus before the crash, a woman gives birth to a baby boy, Thomas (played as an adult by Robert Downey, Jr.). The four bus passengers become the boy’s guardian angels and attempt to help him navigate life. When Thomas grows up to become a cunning and unkind businessman, the guardian angels must work together to help him and gain peace for themselves.




In a slightly different tone with a hint of melancholy, the Japanese film After Life (written by Hirokazu Kore-Eda) is set in a processing station for the recently departed. Here, the newly arrived will pick one favorite memory from their life on earth, and will be able to bring that, and nothing more, with them into eternity. There are counselors in this way station who help the new arrivals examine their memories to find the one they love most, and then recreate it for them to take with. Tangles of love and wistfulness add a sober and poetic feel to this film.

Books: If You Like The Crown

Season Two of Netflix series The Crown drops today, and you may be inspired to choose your next read based on the drama played out through these fascinating characters and their situations:

Becoming Elizabeth II

Lillibet book coverLilibet
Carolly Erickson
Young Elizabeth book coverThe Young Elizabeth
Kate Williams
Brian Barker


Regal Relationships

Elizabeth and Philip book coverElizabeth and Philip
Geoffrey Bocca
Royal Sisters book coverRoyal Sisters
Anne Edwards
Sonia Purnell


Fiction about Women of Influence

Victoria book coverVictoria
Daisy Goodwin
Royal Nanny book coverThe Royal Nanny
Karen Harper
Elizabeth Loupas


Spotlight on Major Players

Churchill book coverChurchill
Martin Gilbert
Philip book coverPhilip
Tim Heald
Christopher Warwick


What Books Do Authors Recommend?

It’s been said that readers make the best writers, so it’s no surprise that many authors are themselves voracious readers. We have gathered some solid recommendations from a variety of writers, sourced from articles on the following sites The Guardian, The New York Times, Bookbub and Bookish.

Hanif Kureishi recommends To Sir, With Love by E. R. Braithwaite. Kureishi says, “(It’s) the moving story of an educated, ex-air force Guyanese man unable to find work because of racism. He ends up teaching in a new-style “free” school in the East End. There he is racially insulted continually, and we soon understand how abuse works to keep a man in his place for fear he will become a human being who might demand the same pleasures and rights as his white masters. We see the everyday violence that conservatism requires to preserve itself, as well as his struggle to remain sane and decent in horrific conditions.”




John Green says he is “loving Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Maybe my favorite novel I’ve read this year.” The story “intertwines stories of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the mother and daughter who upend their lives. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.”



Matt Bellassai recommends Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello. Publisher Simon and Shuster calls this a “memoir reminiscent of Rob Sheffield’s Love Is a Mixtape and George Hodgman’s Bettyville, Michael Ausiello—a respected TV columnist and founder and editor-in-chief of—remembers his late husband, and the lessons, love, and laughter that they shared throughout their fourteen years together.” Matt Bellassai says he, “just finished crying through all of @MichaelAusiello’s book and if I have to suffer then so should you.”




Kamila Shamsie recommends Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient. She says (it) is a great novel: great in its structure, its language, its characters, its intelligence, its engagement with history, its evocation of place, its sensuality, its humanity. How much of this is connected to the Asianness of its Sri Lankan-Canadian writer? Well, you could answer that question by pointing to the character of Kirpal “Kip” Singh, the Indian sapper who has defused bombs for the allied forces through the war only to feel betrayed, broken-hearted, by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – this is the crescendo of the novel, its moral core.”



Ann Patchett recommends Tom Hanks‘ collection of short stories Uncommon Type. She says “Reading Tom Hanks’s Uncommon Type is like finding out that Alice Munro is also the greatest actress of our time.” Publisher Penguin Random House describes it as, “A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game–and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales…”



Paula Hawkins recommends Hannah Kent’s The Good People, saying it is, “a literary novel with the pace and tension of a thriller that takes us on a frightening journey towards an unspeakable tragedy.” Taking place in Ireland, the story follows Nóra, bereft after the death of her husband, finds herself alone and caring for her grandson Micheál, who can neither speak nor walk. A handmaid, Mary, arrives to help Nóra just as rumors begin to spread that Micheál is a changeling child who is bringing bad luck to the valley. Nóra and Mary enlist the help of Nance, an elderly wanderer who understands the magic of the old ways.

This Is Us: Fiction about Families

Holidays often mean time spent with family, and that can be joyous or…complicated.  The oft-quoted Tolstoy, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” might apply, but even the happiest have their moments. If you are looking for solidarity or reassurance through other family dynamics, your options run from the hilarious to the heartbreaking. Choose from one of these groupings, or contact us for your own personalized flavor.

Squabbling Siblings

Bread and Butter book coverBread and Butter
Michelle Wildgen
Ellen Meister


Home for the Holidays

Winter Street book coverWinter Street
Elin Hilderbrand
Green Road book coverThe Green Road
Anne Enright
Mary Carter


Modern Family

Color of Family book coverThe Color of Family
Patricia Jones
Run book coverRun
Ann Patchett
Zadie Smith


Delightfully Dysfunctional

Family Fang book coverThe Family Fang
Kevin Wilson
One Plus One book coverOne Plus One
Jojo Moyes
Jade Chang


We Are Our Past

Wally Lamb

Like Stranger Things? Try These!

stranger things headerObsessed with Stranger Things? While you wait for season 3, try some of the….

… movies that inspired the show


…music from the TV series

Billboard Top Hits of 1984 album coverBillboard Top Hits, 1984
Songs: “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.
“Talking in Your Sleep” by The Romantics
Moby album coverEverything is Wrong by Moby
Song: “When It’s Called I’d Like to Die”
The Essential Clash album coverThe Essential Clash by The Clash
Song: “Should I Stay or Should I Go”


… books that will give you similar “feels”

Meddling Kids book coverMeddling Kids
by Edgar Cantero
Paper Girls Volume 1
Brian K. Vaughn (writer), Cliff Chiang (artist), Matt Wilson (colors) & Jared K. Fletcher (letters)
Firestarter book coverFirestarter
by Stephen King


Spooky Stories – Reader Beware

We’ve sourced some staff favorites to get you in the mood for Halloween.

If it’s a ghostly, ghoulish or spine-tingling read you’re after, look no further than these creepy gems…if you dare!

Forests of the Heart by Charles de Lint

In the Old Country, they called them the Gentry: ancient spirits of the land, magical, amoral, and dangerous. When the Irish emigrated to North America, some of the Gentry followed… only to find that the New World already had spirits of its own, called manitou and other such names by the Native tribes. Now generations have passed, and the Irish have made homes in the new land, but the Gentry still wander homeless on the city streets. Gathering in the city shadows, they bide their time and dream of power. As their dreams grow harder, darker, fiercer, so do the Gentry themselves.



Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Days before a massive exhibition at the New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being murdered. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human. The museum’s directors decide to go ahead with the bash in spite of the murders. Now museum researcher Margo Green must find out who or what is doing the killing.






Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion.





The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson


The story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.






And for those of you who want to sink your fangs into yet more great choices, here are more wicked good books…

Salem’s Lot
Stephen King
13th Tale
Diane Setterfield
William Peter Blatty


Lincoln in the Bardo
George Saunders
The Monster’s Corner
Christopher Golden


The Troop
Nick Cutter
F. Paul Wilson