Nonfiction Roundup: October 2023

Posted on Monday, October 2, 2023 by Liz

Below I’m highlighting some nonfiction books coming out in October. All of the mentioned titles are available to put on hold in our catalog and will also be made available via the library’s Overdrive website on the day of publication in eBook and downloadable audiobook format (as available). For a more extensive list of new nonfiction books coming out this month, check our online catalog.

Top Picks

The Sisterhood by Liza Mundy book coverThe Sisterhood: The Secret History of Women at the CIA” by Liza Mundy (Oct 17)
Created in the aftermath of World War II, the Central Intelligence Agency relied on women even as it attempted to channel their talents and keep them down. Women sent cables, made dead drops, and maintained the agency’s secrets. Despite discrimination — even because of it — women who started as clerks, secretaries or unpaid spouses rose to become some of the CIA’s shrewdest operatives. They were unlikely spies — and that’s exactly what made them perfect for the role. Because women were seen as unimportant, pioneering female intelligence officers moved unnoticed around Bonn, Geneva and Moscow, stealing secrets from under the noses of their KGB adversaries. Back at headquarters, women built the CIA’s critical archives — first by hand, then by computer. And they noticed things that the men at the top didn’t see. As the CIA faced an identity crisis after the Cold War, it was a close-knit network of female analysts who spotted the rising threat of al-Qaeda — though their warnings were repeatedly brushed aside. After the 9/11 attacks, more women joined the agency as a new job, targeter, came to prominence. They showed that data analysis would be crucial to the post-9/11 national security landscape — an effort that culminated spectacularly in the CIA’s successful effort to track down bin Laden in his Pakistani compound. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: October 2023”

Staff Review: The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham

Posted on Friday, September 29, 2023 by Karena

“Love, it seems, arrives not only unannounced, but so accidentally, so randomly, as to make you wonder why you, why anyone, believes even fleetingly in laws of cause and effect.”

So writes Michael Cunningham in his 2014 novel “The Snow Queen. It is a gentle novel, the kind that builds slowly, in waves, rather than the kind that whisks you away. But there are moments like this one, observations about love and life that induce a powerful feeling of clarity and reflection, that give the story real weight.

We meet Barrett first, in his own moment of observation. To be more precise, what Barrett observes is a giant light in the sky hovering above Central Park one winter night. The light arrives at a good time — Barrett is recovering from the sudden termination of another relationship, and coping with a general feeling of floundering as an adult human living in the new millennium. The light seems to promise something, though he’s not sure what. At the very least, just bearing witness to such a thing makes him feel like there might be something special, something worth examining about his earthly experience after all. Continue reading “Staff Review: The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham”

Read the Recipe! Gordon Ramsay: A Story of Excellence

Posted on Wednesday, September 27, 2023 by Jason Delpire

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay book cover A few weeks ago, I started watching the old uncensored versions of Kitchen Nightmares. This led me to finally watch the short BBC series, Boiling Point. The Boiling Point mini-series followed Chef Gordon Ramsay in his quest to be the youngest chef to be awarded three Michelin Stars. And finally, I then became interested in some Gordon Ramsay cookbooks. I knew he had written a few (lol), but they were more mainstream, home-cook fare. Though, while writing this, I did find that he wrote a book about The Aubergine (the restaurant he left before opening Restaurant Gordon Ramsay), but we don’t have it in the collection. Coincidentally, he has a new effort devoted to his first (and best) location, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay; “Restaurant Gordon Ramsay: A Story of Excellence.” (Typical Gordon Ramsay modesty.) Continue reading “Read the Recipe! Gordon Ramsay: A Story of Excellence”

Let Freedom Read!

Posted on Monday, September 25, 2023 by Reading Addict

Banned Books Week“If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.” ― Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe book coverAll Boys Aren't Blue by George Johnson book coverBanned Books Week is upon us once again: October 1-7. The theme chosen this year by the American Library Association (ALA) is “Let Freedom Read” with the slogan “Free People Read Freely.” I love this theme. I love freedom. And really, who doesn’t? Some of our greatest leaders have supported the idea of the freedom to read. President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave a commencement address at Dartmouth University on June 14, 1953 in which he said “Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you’re going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in [sic] your library and read every book…” And from across the aisle, upon signing the amendment to the Library Services Act February 11, 1964, Lyndon B Johnson said “The central fact of our times is this: Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance.” Continue reading “Let Freedom Read!”

Reader Review: How to Sell a Haunted House

Posted on Friday, September 22, 2023 by patron reviewer

How to Sell and Haunted House by Grady Hendrix book coverAfter her parents’ deaths, Louise goes back to her home where she must sort out selling their house with her estranged brother, Mark. However, when they ask a real estate agent to come take a look at the house, she refuses to list it because she has a personal policy against selling haunted houses. In order to un-haunt the house, Louise and Mark need to face up to the ghosts of their family’s past, the most vicious of which is Pupkin, their ventriloquist mom’s favorite puppet.

I love how well “How to Sell a Haunted House” dealt with complex family dynamics, and the way family secrets come back to haunt us.

Three words that describe this book: Quirky, complex, emotional

You might want to pick this book up if: You want to read about a post 9/11 radical puppet collective.



This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading. We will continue to share reviews throughout the year. 

Reader Review: The Supernatural Enhancements

Posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 by patron reviewer

Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar CanteroWhen A. unexpectedly inherits a ton of money and Axton House, a mysterious mansion in Virginia, from a dead relative he’s never met, it quickly becomes apparent that the house comes with its share of secrets and supernatural occurrences. The house is definitely haunted, but that pales in comparison to the mystery surrounding the secret society that meets there every Winter Solstice. Through a series of clues left by the house’s former owner, A. and his friend Niamh need to uncover what the secret society is chasing. Though the atmosphere is that of a horror novel, the plot of the book is much more mystery-driven.

I read “The Supernatural Enhancements” because it was recommended by the Book Oracle, and it is one of the best book recommendations I have ever gotten. I loved the pace at which the mystery unfolded, which was steady without ever feeling slow. I stayed up well past my bedtime because I could not go to sleep without finishing it (which was always my favorite summer reading feeling as a kid).

Three words that describe this book: Atmospheric, Puzzling, Strange

You might want to pick this book up if: you are looking for something similar to “House of Leaves,” or you like solving puzzles.


This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading. We will continue to share reviews throughout the year. 

Reader Review: Symphony of Secrets

Posted on Monday, September 18, 2023 by patron reviewer

Symphony of Secrets by Brendan Slocumb book coverEarlier this year, I read Brendan Slocumb’s first novel, “The Violin Conspiracy,” and was blown away by its authenticity and power. Slocumb himself is a POC and classical musician, and the book was very much inspired by his own experiences and coming-of-age. He excels at writing about music in a way that makes it come alive even for the non-musical like me.

I eagerly awaited his recently released second book, “Symphony of Secrets.” It is similar in theme (exploring race and the classical music world) but seems less directly personal to Slocumb. I was still drawn in by the mystery, characters, and tension and would certainly recommend it. I’ll be excited to see where Slocumb’s talents take us next.

Three words that describe this book: Mystery, music, race

You might want to pick this book up if: You want something a bit different from your standard mystery/thriller that challenges and inspires but still entertains.


This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading. We will continue to share reviews throughout the year. 

National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month

Posted on Friday, September 15, 2023 by Sew Happy

During  National Recovery Month  we celebrate the achievements of people who are overcoming issues with substances and mental health. Recovery Month helps spread the word about better ways to treat and recover based on evidence. It encourages the growth of a strong and proud community of people who are in recovery. We also give credit to the professionals and community members all over the country who play a big role in supporting recovery in its different forms.

While each of our buildings and our digital library has local and national resources and information for you, I want to remind you that we are also a repository of stories. People telling their experiences with the hopes of inspiring you. In recognition of Recovery Month, let’s take a look at memoirs that represent recovery, treatment, family and community. Continue reading “National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month”

Reader Review: Home Fires

Posted on Wednesday, September 13, 2023 by patron reviewer

Home Fires by Julie Summers book coverThe book “Home Fires,” the inspiration for the BBC television series of the same title, explores the activities of Britain’s National Federation of Women’s Institutes during World War II. It begins by touching on the founding and purpose of the Institutes before going on to describe how members worked with evacuees, grew and preserved incredible amounts of food, made and mended clothing, and took over jobs usually done by men. All while dealing with rationing, widespread lack of running water or electricity, and the wondering about or grieving the loved ones more directly involved in the war.

This nonfiction book combines facts and figures with notes from organization records and anecdotes from wartime members and their children. While quite organized, there were a few places that I felt like it rambled a bit or revisited topics that I thought had been covered already. Note that it’s not a short book; the audiobook is about 12 hours long, but overall I found it a fascinating look at a group of remarkable “normal” rural women. It certainly put my own efforts in some of these areas into perspective!

Three words that describe this book: historical, stories, WWII

You might want to pick this book up if: you’re interested in the domestic side of WWII.


This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading. We will continue to share reviews throughout the year. 

Reader Review: Exiles

Posted on Monday, September 11, 2023 by patron reviewer

Exiles by Jane Harper book coverI am not a fan of the thriller/mystery genre, per se, but a fan of good writing, good characters, complex relationships and a good story line. Jane Harper does all of these good things in her Aaron Falk Series. All the stories are set in rural Australia and center on Federal Agent Falk.

When I read “The Dry,” I was captured by the landscape (dry), a compelling storyline, and a complex main character. It was quickly turned into a movie of the same name, which was a top-grossing film in Australia. The second book, “Force of Nature,” was set in an entirely different part of Australia, a thickly-forested mountainous area, which was as much an element of this story, as was the outback in the previous novel. The story was entirely different and yet hugely compelling. It is set to be released as a movie this fall.

I just finished the third (and supposedly last) novel in the series, “Exiles,” which is set in a rural area north of Melbourne. It is my favorite of all three novels. Again, the setting is hugely important to the feel and plot of the novel; Agent Falk is still complex, developing even more in this novel, and the plot is a thrilling build-up to several unexpected conclusions.

Three words that describe this book: compelling, beautifully-written, complexly-charactered.

You might want to pick this book up if: you want to go to a setting you’ve never experienced, learn about complex family and small-town relationships, feel carried away by a well-developed plot.


This reader review was submitted as part of Adult Summer Reading. We will continue to share reviews throughout the year.