Gordon Avenue Library Staff Recommends
Article in Personal Picks category.
Recommended by Donna
"Historic pictures of Charlottesville."
- Manchild in the Promised Land by Claud Brown
"Old Urban Drama"
Recommended by Glynis
- Bird in a Box by Andrea Davis Pinkney
"It is 1937 and the upcoming Joe Louis fight has captured the nation's attention. For three young people it also gievs them something they need - hope."
- Driver's Ed by Caroline Cooney
"A seemingly harmless prank has deadly consequences when a group of high school students steal a stop sign."
- 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."
- The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente
"An 'Alice in Wonderland'-like trip to a magical world. September, a girl who wants life to be more magical, gets her wish when Green Wind transports her to Fairyland. But all is not easy when she meets up with the Evil Marquess."
- How the Ladies Stopped the Wind by Bruce McMillan
"A delightful tale of resourceful singing ladies, helpful chickens and hungry sheep."
- Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
"Told in three parts from points of view of three young slaves, this book imagines what life would have been like as a child of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. The descriptions of life at Monticello make you feel like you are there."
- 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."
- The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
"A book for adults and children alike who ask 'How does it do that?' when talking on the phone, driving a car, listening to a CD, using a scanner, or operating a robot. Terrific illustrations show the nuts and bolts!"
- 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."
- Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer
"Jenna just got her driver's license and feels like she would like to drive away from all her problems. So when the elderly and eccentric president of Gladstone Shoes hires her to drive her cross-country, she jumps at it not knowing what she is getting into."
- 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."
- Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins
"'You're not a grown-up until you're at least eight. When you're eight you can drive a limousine.' Look at the world through the eyes of three friends, who happen to be toys."
- 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
- The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch
"This book is a mystery/adventure/thrill ride with time travel. I hope you have a good chunk of time because it's HARD to put down!"
- Across The Universe by Beth Revis
"Sci-fi, adventure, dystopian societies, & space colonization. Hooked yet?."
- Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
"A laugh-out-loud satire that pokes fun of consumerism, advertising, perceptions of beauty, and current events. Great for older teens and adults alike! -- Also it's a FANTASTIC audiobook - Check it out on CD or Overdrive!"
- Bury the Dead by Christopher Sloan
"Awesome book about how people bury their dead, and why different cultures have different customs."
- The Case of the Deadly Desperados by Caroline Lawrence
"Great Western adventure for older children/young adults. Main character is great at finding TROUBLE and hilarity ensues."
- Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
"Gilbert's follow-up to 'Eat, Pray, Love' is an insightful approach to marriage and is both thoughtful and hilarious as she mulls over making the commitment she swore she'd never make again."
- The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart
"Smart boarding school mischief ensues when Frankie infiltrates a secret society."
- Fables: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham
"Fairy tales - all grown up. This hilarious graphic novel series brings fairy tales into the real world with a lot of fun and adult humor."
- 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."
- The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
"A fun way of thinking about how to cultivate happiness in your life every day!"
- How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg
"A collective biography that describes the deaths of famous people in history, rather than their lives."
- I, Coriander by Sally Gardner
"Beautiful tale of mystery and magic - set in 17th. c. London - and bits of the fairy world shine through."
- If You Lived Here by Giles LaRoche
"Young armchair travelers will love seeing different types of houses from around the world and from varying time periods."
- 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?"
- Little Dog Lost by Marion Dane Bauer
"Told in free verse, this sweet short read follows several characters in a small town and how they are brought together."
- Mangaman by Barry Lyga
"Mangaman Ryoko falls through a 'rip' into the real world and finds he's definitely the odd man out. Hilarious blend of manga and 'realistic' graphic novel styles."
- My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares
"Riveting and interesting - this love story spans the centuries. And the story is partially set in Charlottesville!"
- The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski
"By the end of this you might want to write your own list! A great book about testing new waters & coming into your own."
- Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt
"The smart aleck Doug Swieteck is one of my all-time favorite characters. This story is all at once funny, sad, and compelling - and you'll be rooting Doug on the whole time."
- Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
"High action-adventure of how Peter becomes Peter Pan. Great audio for all ages - read by the remarkable Jim Dale! CAR TRIP!"
- Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman
"Fun and creepy nonfiction! Can a man live after a railroad spike goes through his brain?! YES. But his personality might be a little bit off afterwards..."
- 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!"
- The Secret Tree by Natalie Standiford
"A wonderful story of secrets, friendship, and summertime fun."
- Sweet Love by Sarah Strohmeyer
"A great light read - with desserts! Food, flirtation, & fun."
- The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild Wild West by Sid Fleischman
"A hilarious biography of a truly inspiring & adventurous man. Great pictures & illustrations round it out."
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."
- The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
"A British mystery starring Ruth Galloway, an archaeology professor, and Harry Nelson, a dedicated detective - and the Norfolk coast of England, since the bleak, grey coastal setting is a character in itself."
- 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!"
- Killer Stuff and Tons of Money: Seeking History and Hidden Gems in Flea-Market America by Maureen Stanton
"Likable characters and lots of fun tidbits of information - if you like watching "Antiques Roadshow", like history or design, or picking at flea markets - you'll like this book!"
- 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."
- Rump: the True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff
"How much do we really know about the character Rumpelstiltskin? This great retold fairy tale gives us the story from his side - it's funny and charmingly magical."
- 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 Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek
"Two very different sisters share a cottage in the Hamptons during a season of parties, eccentric characters, and discovery. This light-hearted story is a great summer read!"
- 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."
- Wedding Ring by Emilie Richards
"This is the first in this series, set in the Shenendoah Valley. I recommend the audio version because the narrator really makes the characters come alive."
- 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."
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