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a few of our favorit e things


Introduction Wake County Public Libraries wishes you a joyous holiday season and Happy New Year. Our Adult Services Librarians have created our annual gift to you, this booklet featuring some of our favorite recent books. From novels of all genres to nonfiction and biographies, you are sure to find some books to love among these librarian favorites!

Reading tools, services& programs for adult s WCPL has great tools for finding books on our Reading page: Our librarians offer individualized professional services, such as downloading eBooks/eAudio books, scheduling and selecting Book Club Kits, advice on cover letters, resumes, and job searches, and custom book lists just for you! For information and registration see We offer a variety of adult programs and book discussions at our regional libraries. From live music to monthly crafts, from small business expertise to author visits – we have programs to suit your interests! For information and registration see



13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

Fiction AWAD

A 2017 honorable mention in the fiction category for the Arab American Book Awards, Mona Awad’s collection of linked short stories gives us a sharp and striking portrait of a woman searching for an identity in a world that sees only her body. Refusing to settle on a tone of either triumph or misery, Awad grants her protagonist endearing, infuriating, and full humanity in this deftly observed debut.

All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

Daniel S.

Fiction WALKER

At a high school party, Jenny Kramer was a victim of a brutally violent attack. Immediately afterwards, her parents opt for a risky treatment that will wipe her memory of the entire event, but this leaves her feeling less than whole and searching for answers. This dark psychological thriller mixes an unreliable narrator with deep questions of power and ethics in psychiatry, and you’ll be guessing what happened on every page.

All the Little Liars by Charlaine Harris

Joy J.

Mystery HARRIS

Spunky, small-town librarian Aurora Teagarden isn’t letting pregnancy slow her down in the 9th installment of this endearing and engaging cozy mystery series by acclaimed author, Charlaine Harris. When her younger brother and his friends go missing, the daring amateur sleuth and her pragmatic crime-writing husband will need all of their wits and investigative skills to find them. But, in this small Southern town, is anyone what they seem?

Morgan P.


Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard Biography IZZARD Best known for his hilariously intelligent stand-up comedy, Izzard gets serious and personal in this moving memoir, yet still manages to employ his trademark wit. He talks about the lasting effect of his mother’s death as well as being an “executive transvestite,” and how both have informed his comedic rise. Believe Me is introspective, clever, and just plain silly in parts, which is to say, it is Eddie Izzard.

Erin D.

Born a Crime: Stories of a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah Biography NOAH Author and narrator Trevor Noah, host of “The Daily Show,” tells the story of his birth and childhood in South Africa. The book strikes the perfect balance of poignant and funny, while Noah’s impressive storytelling skills, along with his ability to speak multiple languages, bring the South African culture to life.

Melanie S.

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Fiction PARIS

Newlywed teacher Cass is devastated and guiltridden following the murder of a new friend. Soon afterward, she starts getting creepy silent phone calls, but only when she’s alone in the house, leaving her convinced she’s being watched. To make matters worse, she’s forgetting things. The memory lapses start small, but rapidly intensify until Cass, her husband, and her best friend are all questioning her grip on reality. Who can she trust, when she barely even trusts her own mind?

Carrie L.


Dancing with the Tiger by Lili Wright

Fiction WRIGHT

A tweaked-out looter, a drug lord, and American art collectors are all searching for the Montezuma Death Mask worth millions of dollars. They all have their hands on it at various times, but is the mask the real thing or a fake? Are they willing to kill or die for money or art? A fun, but dark story enriched with Mexican culture and told from various viewpoints, this book is an adventurous read.

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy

Lisa L.

Fiction MELOY

“The sun is shining, the sea is blue, the children have disappeared.” Two families on a luxury Christmas cruise to Central America experience a vacation gone wrong due to circumstance and bad behavior. A twisty plot, well-crafted characters, and a zippy pace make this 2017 thriller a solid read. The novel is a bit outside the mold of other bestselling suspense novels, with the storyline exploring privilege, innocence, security, and control. A perfect read for a winter vacation.

Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton

Heidi R.


This unusual novel, part thriller, part historical fiction, was released after Crichton’s death. Set in the Badlands of 1870’s Montana and newly settled Wyoming, it features a brash young Yale scholar searching for fossils and academic bragging rights. His find sets in motion a race to protect the site from warring professors in the old west. You have not read a story quite like this. Readers of westerns, thrillers, and new Crichton fans will love this combination of U.S. history and adventure. Melissa K.


Dreaming the Beatles by Rob Sheffield

782.24 SHEFF

You tell me that you’ve heard every sound there is about the lovable lads from Liverpool, but veteran Rolling Stone critic Rob Sheffield has created a new and delightful look at the act you’ve known for all these years. Whether you’re coming fresh to the Fab Four or you’ve always known that the Walrus was Paul, there’s a lot to love about Dreaming the Beatles.

Robert C.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman


Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. She goes to work every day, wears the same clothes every day, eats the same meals every day. She goes home to an empty apartment (except for her plant, Polly). She calls her mother every Wednesday. She has pizza and vodka every Friday. She doesn’t mind that her co-workers make fun of her. She lives a solitary life, and she’s okay with that. Until she sees him–the man of her dreams–then everything changes.

Elizabeth D.

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

Fiction WALKER

One night three years earlier, sisters, Cass and Emma Tanner disappeared. Three years after that fateful night, the youngest sister, Emma returns alone. Forensic psychologist Dr. Winter begins to investigate Emma’s story of kidnapping and being held on an island, her dysfunctional family and her narcissistic parent’s connection to the crime. What happened to the sisters and where is Cass?

Crystal M.


Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror MCGUIRE Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children serves a distinct clientele – teenagers who have traveled to other realms. Nancy and her fellow pupils are desperate to return to their alternate worlds, but a series of murders sidetracks their plans. McGuire’s prose is haunting and lyrical, weaving an atmospheric piece that is as vivid and alluring as it is macabre. Readers and protagonists alike will find themselves torn between horror and fantasy in this brief but enduring tale.

Exit West by Moshin Hamid

Kate B.

Fiction HAMID

In an unnamed country suffering from an increasingly brutal civil war, two young people become lovers: Saeed, sentimental and traditional, and Nadia, daring and subversive. Soon, mysterious portals spring up, allowing Saeed and Nadia to escape to a temporary migrant camp, where they become stranded and steadily more desperate. Fleeing again and again in search of safety takes an inevitable toll on their relationship. In this bleak tale that reads as if taken from the nightly news, no utopia awaits.

A Few of the Girls by Maeve Binchy

Deborah H.

Fiction BINCHY

Published after her death, this is a heartwarming collection of some of Maeve Binchy’s very best short stories. Dealing with human relationships from different walks of life and circumstances, each story is unique and very real. Written with understanding and sensibility, they are full of humor, wit, insightful wisdom, and human spirit, a classic Binchy style.

Celia G.


A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Fiction TOWLES

Count Alexander Rostov has been sentenced to house arrest by a Bolshevik tribunal to the Metropol Hotel in Moscow. Despite his reduced circumstance, his Excellency manages to live life to the fullest while remaining the consummate gentleman. This book is elegantly wrought with all the cleverness of a classic. Towles’ skill as an author brings the Count and his friends to life for an unforgettable view of the world from within the Metropol Hotel.

Amy W.

The Girl Before by Rena Olsen

Fiction OLSEN

Clara Lawson is kidnapped at the beginning of this suspenseful psychological thriller. As the story alternates between past and present, Clara starts to wonder if she was really rescued. Is she a victim, a victimizer, or both? Does what happened in the past excuse her actions? This book will have you questioning the limits of human responsibility for our actions.

Cathy P.

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson


Following a harrowing encounter with her deranged ex-boyfriend, London artist Kate impulsively agrees to a 6 month apartment swap with her distant cousin in Boston. To Kate’s horror, her next door neighbor is murdered shortly after her arrival. Secret relationships and unsettling revelations surround Kate as she struggles not only to solve the mystery, but to survive. This is one creepy psychological thriller! You might check your closets and underneath the bed after reading this one!

Janet M.


The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen Flynn

Fiction FLYNN

Two time travelers, Rachel and Liam, are sent back to 1815 England to insinuate themselves into Jane Austen’s family circle. Their mission is to obtain copies of Austen’s letters, and to diagnose the illness that killed her at age 41. Problems arise as they find themselves becoming emotionally entangled with the Austens and with each other. Meticulous research and a compelling narrative make this a must read for Janeites, and for fans of historical fiction and time travel stories.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Sue S.


Bardo (Tibetan Buddhism) is the state of existence between death and rebirth. Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie Lincoln, dies at the onset of the civil war. Distraught by the loss of his son, Lincoln visits his tomb to mourn his death and contemplate the lives lost already in the war. Using historical truths, Saunders creates a world where the dead refuse to believe they are no longer living. They must confront their lives and embrace their futures beyond the bardo.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

Cris E.


Librarians love a good book about books, and this one does not disappoint! At closing time, Bright Ideas Bookstore employee Lydia finds a patron dead, a childhood photo of her in his pocket. That is confusing enough, but the questions multiply when she finds out he left her his few possessions. Who was he? How and why did he get her picture? And why has he defaced his books?! This is a clever, twisty, satisfying mystery. Amy F.


Onslaught: The War with China—The Opening Battle by David Poyer Fiction POYER When China launches all out war in the Pacific against the US and our allies, the USS Savo Island, skippered by medal of honor winner Dan Lenson, must stop the onslaught nearly single-handedly. Tensions are high with someone assaulting female crew members aboard and ammunition running low. Will the Savo Island do it or will our freedom sink with the Savo island’s shattered hull? Exciting naval fiction that resonates with today’s headlines.

Edward W.

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

Fiction KLINE

Christina Olsen seemed destined to live a small life on a rural farm in coastal Maine. Her daily activities were limited by an incapacitating illness which kept her close to home, and life seemed empty until the day artist Andrew Wyeth appeared. For more than twenty years Christina was the inspiration for his paintings, including one of his most famous. Christina Baker Kline weaves fact and fiction in this epic about the blessings and burdens of family.

Dayna S.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore 363.17 MOORE This is the story of hundreds of young, vibrant women who were sentenced to death by their employers. The well-paid “Radium Girls” painted luminescent numbers on clock and watch faces using radium-infused paint. To give their brushes a fine point, they would tip them in their mouths, ingesting the “luminous element of the future” as they did. A classic cautionary tale of the dangers of radiation poisoning brought into better light through the individual stories of these shining women.

Gordon J.


A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee


Escaping troubled memories of the Great War, Captain Sam Wyndham arrives in Calcutta in 1919 to join the Imperial Police Force. He is soon investigating the murder of a senior government official, a man known as a “fixer” for the powerful in the British Raj, but he is uncovering more than a few inconvenient facts. A Rising Man is cleverly plotted and rich in atmospheric detail, with thought provoking insights into the lives of both the rulers and the ruled.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Lisa W.


In this debut novel, Schmidt provides a new fictional tale on the famous Lizzie Borden murder case in the 1890s. Told from the viewpoints of Lizzie’s sister, their housemaid, an enigmatic stranger, and Lizzie herself, the reader is taken back to that infamous day where Lizzie’s father and stepmother were brutally murdered. While history provides us with the answer to Lizzie’s trial, many dark secrets are uncovered from the Borden family and raises the question: did Lizzie do it?

Thad M.

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin Biography JACKSON Shirley Jackson’s personal haunting began at a young age. Growing up, she was constantly criticized by Geraldine, her cruel mother, who held unreasonably high expectations for Jackson. In adulthood, even though her husband Stanley was often her advocate, he was also controlling and arrogant. Through it all, Jackson became a masterful writer of psychological suspense. Franklin’s comprehensive biography details the troubles and persevering triumphs of Jackson’s all too short life.

Ashlyn B.


Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult


Ruth Jefferson, an experienced black neonatal nurse, finds herself in a life-changing situation when a white supremacist’s baby goes into cardiac arrest during her shift. She defies the orders of the father and her supervisors not to touch the baby, and tries to rescue the child but she is unsuccessful. Ruth is charged with murder, and faces the toughest battle of her life. A gripping story and great for book discussions.

Mary A.

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel Biography KNIGHT Could you live alone in the woods for 27 years? Could you steal from other people to survive? What skills would you need to survive like this? Would you have the patience and fortitude to never get caught even though you live close to other people? What kind of person does this? Find out the answers in The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel.

Tara B.

The Thing About Love by Julie James

Romance JAMES

All FBI Special Agent Jessica Harlow remembers about Special Agent John Shepard is how much she hated him at Quantico. Years later, they have to work together on an undercover operation to bring down a corrupt mayor. Jessica and John are positive they’ll still hate each other, but will their hearts have other plans?

Amy R.


The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

Fiction DALY

Karen Bloom is strictly controlling her daughter’s life ... down to the minute. Dr. Neal Bloom is her hapless husband with an appetite for women and alcohol. The tragedy that begins when their daughter, Bronte, takes a forbidden trip causes Karen to fall apart. A hidden connection between Dr. Bloom and Joanne Aspinall, the detective handling the investigations, lends intrigue in the journey to the truth. This is a tale of secrecy, control, and the depths of a mother’s love.

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Tess A.


This story follows Cora, a runaway slave. Cora and Caesar escape from their plantation in Georgia with hopes of the Underground Railroad getting them to freedom in South Carolina. In South Carolina, Cora is working, taking classes, and finally living and enjoying a normal life. Unfortunately, a ruthless slave catcher is hot on Cora’s trail, and he will stop at nothing to capture her. Whitehead’s unique spin on the Underground Railroad will quickly pull you into this captivating story.

Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker

Carla P.

Fiction TUCKER

In this modern day Cinderella story, Cath, a waitress and single mom, just wants to raise her daughter and be left alone. One night, after pulling someone from a burning car, Cath finds she saved the life of notorious hockey player Brett Madden. Brett and Cath are instantly drawn to one another, but she fears their relationship will put her in the spotlight and dredge up a past she fought so desperately to hide.

Jen B.


The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman 824 GAIMA Love Neil Gaiman’s books? Interested in trying out his eclectic writing style? This is a fantastic choice for you. Spanning decades, this is a collection of observations on such diverse topics as comics, musicians, books, and Syrian refugees. Most are two or three pages long, the longest being his 2012 commencement speech “Make Good Art.” Accessible, spirited, and beautifully filled with his refreshing and creative word mastery.

Astrid H.

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie Biography ALEXIE Sherman Alexie’s memoir of his mercurial, beautiful, brilliant, but damaged mother is a love letter, an outpouring of rage, and a cry of lingering grief, all at once. In poetry and prose, with heartbreak and humor, Alexie explores how a legacy of loss, betrayal, and violence has shaped the lives of Native Americans.

Kristina G.

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Fiction ZEVIN

When Aviva Grossman lands her dream job as an aid to a popular congressman, she can hardly believe her luck! Until he starts flirting with her. Suddenly, she is in the middle of an affair with a married man with no one to talk to. So, like any millennial, she starts blogging. Soon, people start figuring out who the blog is about and there is nothing Aviva can do to stop it. Told from multiple viewpoints, this laugh-outloud story will keep you engaged until the end.

Rita B.


Reading Resolutions What will you resolve to read this year? Read ____ books. Ask a librarian about requesting a Custom Book List. Try a book from a different genre. Learn how to download an e-book or e-audio with Device Advice. Read a book by a North Carolina author or set in North Carolina. Attend an author program at one of our regional libraries. Vote for your favorite characters in our Literary March Mayhem game. Check out a compelling biography or memoir. Read a book by a debut author. See how Libraries Rock! in our Summer Reading Program in June and July. Create a few reading resolutions of your own:



Happy Holidays & Happy Reading! 16

Looking for more good books? Fill out a short form online and we’ll create a custom book list just for you, grab you three books in a ready to go bag, or teach you how to download eBooks and eAudio from the library!


wake county public libraries wcplonline

A Few of Our Favorite Things 2017  
A Few of Our Favorite Things 2017  

Wake County Public Libraries wishes you a joyous holiday season and Happy New Year. Our Adult Services Librarians have created our annual gi...