Looking for Something to Read? Try These Titles!

Undecided on what to read next? Stuck in a reading slump? We can help! Here are some recommendations you can find in the library catalog:

Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

book cover: a woman in a vintage red dress stands in front of a green background

Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Click for catalog link.


If you’re looking for a book to keep you up at night, Mexican Gothic is the perfect choice. When Noemí receives a worrying letter from her cousin, she travels to High Place, where Catalina lives with her husband and his strange family, the Doyles. When strange dreams and happenings begin to plague her, Noemí suspects there is more to High Place than meets the eye. Mexican Gothic is an eerie, gothic tale of horror that will leave you thoroughly spooked.




Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

cover art for dear edward. click for catalog link

Dear Edward, by Ann Napolitano. Click for catalog link.


When Edward boards a plane to Los Angeles with his family, the last thing he expects is for it to crash–and to leave him as the only survivor. He goes to live with his aunt and uncle, where, over the course of many years, he tries to find his place and purpose in the world. A haunting coming-of-age story, Dear Edward is a breathtaking tale that will leave you thinking about it for days to come.




The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

cover art for the stationery shop. click for catalog link

The Stationery Shop, by Marjan Kamali. Click for catalog link.

The year is 1953. Roya loves the stationery shop owned by Mr. Fakhri. It’s her oasis in Tehran, a place she can feel safe. When she’s set up by self-proclaimed matchmaker Mr. Fakhri, a beautiful romance blooms between her and another customer, Bahman. On the day before they’re to be married, they agree to meet in the town square, though due to a coup, they are unable to meet. After attempts to contact Bahman fail, Roya moves on with her life, but years later, fate brings Roya and Bahman together again. And this time, Roya is determined to know what happened all those years ago. If you like literary fiction with a slice of romance, The Stationery Shop is a perfect choice.


The Secret History by Donna Tartt

cover art for the secret history

The Secret History, by Donna Tartt. Click for catalog link.


Maybe you’re interested in the dark side of academia. If so, The Secret History is a great choice. When Richard leaves his hometown to attend Hampden College, he finds himself introduced to an elite group of Classics scholars, led by the enigmatic Julian Morrow. Soon, though, he finds himself embroiled in a plot to murder one of their own: a fellow student, Bunny. Told through flashbacks leading up to Bunny’s death, The Secret History is a chilling work of fiction deserving of its bestseller status.



Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara

cover art of djinn patrol on the purple line. click for catalog link

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, by Deepa Anappara. Click for catalog link.


Nine-year-old Jai considers himself to be one of the smartest kids at his school. So when one of his classmates goes missing, he’s determined to find him, believing the crime-solving skills he’s picked up from watching too much television will help solve the case. But when more children begin to go missing and the police force remains indifferent, Jai and his friends must confront a terrifying reality. Based on real disappearances occurring in metropolitan India, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is an emotional thriller sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

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Spooky Reads for Halloween

Happy Halloween! Whether you’re in the mood for haunted houses or cosmic horror, the library has all sorts of recommendations to get you into the Halloween spirit. To find the books in the library catalog, click the book title.

Happy reading!

Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia

book cover featuring woman in red dress in front of a green patterned background


If Gothic horror is what you’re looking for, then Mexican Gothic is the right book for you! When Noemí Taboada receives a worrisome message from her cousin, she journeys to High Place, where her cousin lives with her new husband and his eccentric family. The longer she spends there, though, the more the walls seem to talk, as if the massive mansion itself is alive…



The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson


Wanting a classic tale within a Haunted House? Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House features unexplained phenomena, spooky happenings, and a house that just may claim one of its visitors as its own.





Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe 


Edgar Allan Poe is the king of eerie, bone-chilling tales. Looking for classic horror? Try The Fall of the House of Usher, a story of an odd family within an even creepier home. Maybe you’re looking for something even more bone-chilling; if that’s the case, try The Tell-Tale Heart, or The Masque of the Red Death. Whatever story you choose, it’s sure to be perfect for a dark, Halloween night.



Carmilla, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu



Maybe this year, you want to read a vampire classic. Look no further than Carmilla, a story that predates Bram Stoker’s Dracula. If you want an eerie, romantic vampire story, Le Fanu’s novella is a perfect choice.




Lovecraft Country, Matt Ruff


Maybe you want some cosmic horror to read on this Halloween night. If so, Lovecraft Country is the perfect choice. Blending Lovecraft’s monsters with fantasy and historical fiction, while also exploring terrors of life in Jim Crow America, Ruff’s acclaimed novel will keep you on the edge of your seat with every new chapter.

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The Finalists for the National Book Awards Have Been Announced!

Congratulations to the finalists selected for the National Book Awards!

Divided into five categories–fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature, and young people’s literature–the National Book Awards seek to celebrate the best literature in America. Five finalists each are selected from ten longlisted books per category, with the winners of the prize being announced on November 18th.

Below are the finalists for the Fiction, Poetry, and Translated Literature prizes. To find them in the library’s collection, click the image of the cover.

Finalists for the Fiction Award: 













Finalists for the Poetry Award:











Finalists for the Translated Literature Award:







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Congratulations to Nobel Prize Recipient Louise Glück!

On October 8th, American poet Louise Glück was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature. Congratulations!

portrait of poet louise glück

Louise Glück, recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature

Glück was awarded the prize “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.” In addition to the Nobel, she has been awarded numerous prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, and was the 2003-2004 poet laureate of the United States.

The Nobel Prize in Literature was first awarded in 1901 and is given out annually. The Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes created by Alfred Nobel; recipients are selected by the Swedish Academy based upon their body of work.

Interested in reading Louise Glück’s poetry? Many of her titles are available to check out at the library:

cover featuring plant life next to book title, the wild iris

The Wild Iris, by Louise Glück. Click for catalog link.

cover art of a road/highway on dark background

Faithful and Virtuous Night, by Louise Glück. Click for catalog link.









cover art of flowers and plants on a salmon background

The House on Marshland, by Louise Glück. Click for catalog link.

If you’d like to read other works by Louise Glück, you can find them here.

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Congratulations to Shortlisted Authors for the Booker Prize!

On September 15th, the Booker Prize announced its shortlisted works and authors, all finalists for the prestigious award. Of the thirteen longlisted novels, six were chosen as finalists for the prize. Congratulations to all authors!

The winner, selected from the six finalists, will be chosen on November 19th. If you’d like to read any of the shortlisted works, we’ve got you covered! The library has just about every novel listed.

The shortlisted novels include:

cover art featuring pink birds on a blue background

Though the library doesn’t have Diane Cook’s newest book quite yet, for more information on the novel, click the image above, which will take you to the author’s webpage.

cover art of a green succulent on a purple background

Burnt Sugar, by Avni Doshi. Click image for catalog link.




cover art of legs in ballet flats on a black background

This Mournable Body, by Tsitsi Dangarembga. Click image for catalog link.

cover art of a person in shadow with a multicolored background

The Shadow King, by Maaza Mengiste. Click image for catalog link.

black and white cover of parent and child facing each other

Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stuart. Click image for catalog link.






cover art of bird on a black and red background

Real Life, by Brandon Taylor. Click image for catalog link.

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Congratulations to the Winner of the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction!

Recently, the winner of the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction was announced. Congratulations to Maggie O’Farrell, who won for her novel, Hamnet!

cover art for hamnet, with a giant letter h covered in leaves and flowers

This year was the 25th anniversary for the award, which was first given out in 1996 under the title of the Orange Prize for Fiction. The creation of Women’s Prize began back in 1991, after not a single woman was on the Booker Prize shortlist, despite the fact that a great number of novels published that year (around 60%) were written by women. After further research showed that only 10% of all writers shortlisted for the Booker Prize were women, the eventual founding committee sought to create a prize that celebrated these neglected authors. Thus, the Women’s Prize for Fiction was born.

Previous winners of the award include Tayari Jones, Kamila Shamsie, and Naomi Alderman.

Even though Hamnet isn’t available through the library just yet, you can read Maggie O’Farrell’s other works, as well as those of former winners of the prize! Here are a few you can get through the library:

cover art for i am, i am, i am.

I am, I am, I am, by Maggie O’Farrell. Click for catalog link.

cover art for an american marriage.

An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones. Click for catalog link.









cover art for home fire

Home Fire, by Kamila Shamsie. Click for catalog link.

cover art for the power

The Power, by Naomi Alderman. Click for catalog link.



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The 2020 Premio Campiello Prize!

Every year, Italy awards the Premio Campiello to an outstanding Italian-language work.

This year, the award went to Remo Rapino, for his book Vita, Morte, e Miracoli di Buonfiglio Liborio!

remo rapino

Remo Rapino, winner of the 2020 Premio Campiello.

The Premio Campiello began in 1962, with the first award being given in 1963 to Primo Levi. It was created as a way to celebrate Italian literature and has been expanded in recent years, namely with the Opera Prima and Il Campiello Giovane. These are awarded for the best debut work and best work by a young author (15-22 years old), respectively.

To narrow down which literary works will be considered for the award, a panel of experts will gather the titles of books published during the year and from there, choose five finalists. The finalists for the 2020 Premio Campiello included:

cover art for con passi giapponesi

Con Passi Giapponesi, by Patrizia Cavalli. Click image for catalog link.

cover art for tralummescuro: ballata per un paese all tramonto

Tralummescuro. Ballata per un Paese al Tramonto, by Francesco Guccini









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Sommersione, by Sandro Frizziero

cover art for l'incanto del pesce luna

L’incanto del Pesce Luna, by Ade Zeno

cover art for vita, morte e miracoli di bonfiglio liborio

Vita, Morte e Miracoli di Bonfiglio Liborio, by Remo Rapino









After the finalists are selected, a jury of 300 individuals from all across Italy vote to determine which finalist will be given the award. This year, it went to Remo Rapino for Vita, Morte e Miracoli di Bonfiglio Libero. Additionally, Veronica Galletta’s novel, Le Isole di Norman was awarded the Premio Campiello–Opera Prima, for best debut work.

Previous winners of the Premio Campiello include Andrea Tarabbia’s novel, Madrigale Senza Suono, Rosella Postorino’s Le assaggiatrici, and Donatella Di Pietrantonio’s L’Arminuta. 

For more information on the Premio Campiello, click here (note: website is in Italian).

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And the Winner of the 2020 International Booker Prize is…

Congratulations to The Discomfort of Evening, the 2020 winner of the International Booker Prize!

The International Booker Prize is awarded annually to the best international novel that has been translated and published in English within the UK or Ireland. Past winners include Jokha Alharthi, Olga Tokarczuk, and David Grossman.

Written by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld and translated by Michele Hutchison, the novel follows the story of Jas, a member of a religious family, who one day wishes ill upon her brother. When tragedy strikes and her brother disappears on a ski trip, Jas descends into madness, imagining disturbing scenarios that threaten her family ties.

the discomfort of evening cover art

The Discomfort of Evening, by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld. Click for further information on the author and title.

Rijneveld’s debut novel was originally published in Dutch and was translated by Hutchison, who captures the striking and moving story with incredible detail. In addition to The Discomfort of Evening, which won the Booker International Prize and the ANV Debutantenprijs–a Dutch prize awarded yearly to the best debut novel– Rijneveld won awards for their poetry, including the C. Buddingh’-prijs (C. Buddingh’ Prize, in English) for the best Dutch language debut poetry collection.


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Celebrate Mary Shelley this August 30th!

August 30th is Mary Shelley’s birthday! There’s no better way to celebrate than to discuss her life, her accomplishments, and her lasting legacy.

painted portrait of mary shelley

Born to Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin in 1797, Shelley was practically destined for greatness. Her parents were renowned philosophers, though her mother died soon after her daughter’s birth. Godwin took to educating Shelley, albeit unconventionally. Instead of traditional schooling, Godwin tutored her, taking her on educational adventures and exposing her to intellectuals through his connections as well as through their library.

Eventually–after her father remarried–Shelley was sent to Scotland. It was between trips to Scotland that she met the man she would ultimately marry: Percy Bysshe Shelley. The couple eloped in 1814.

painted portrait of percy shelley

In 1816, the couple traveled to Geneva with several other notable literary figures, including Lord Byron. While there, the group found themselves interested in German ghost stories, eventually challenging themselves to write spooky stories of their own.

This led to Shelley’s most famous work, Frankenstein, but its creation proved a bit of a challenge. When repeatedly asked what she’d be writing about, she frequently became frustrated, being “forced to reply with a mortifying negative.”

Soon enough an idea sprang to mind. Shelley recounts this moment–as well as her own account of Frankenstein’s creation–in the preface to the 1831 edition:

“My imagination, unbidden, possessed and guided me, gifting the successive images that arose in my mind with a vividness far beyond the usual bounds of reverie. I saw—with shut eyes, but acute mental vision,—I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world. His success would terrify the artist; he would rush away from his odious handywork, horror-stricken. He would hope that, left to itself, the slight spark of life which he had communicated would fade; that this thing, which had received such imperfect animation, would subside into dead matter; and he might sleep in the belief that the silence of the grave would quench for ever the transient existence of the hideous corpse which he had looked upon as the cradle of life. He sleeps; but he is awakened; he opens his eyes; behold the horrid thing stands at his bedside, opening his curtains, and looking on him with yellow, watery, but speculative eyes.”

–Preface to Frankenstein

With an idea in mind, Shelley set out to write the short story that, when finished, would be the basis for Frankenstein. By 1817, she had finished writing the novel. It was published on New Year’s Day of 1818.

cover for mary shelley's frankenstein

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. Click image for catalog link.

Frankenstein’s legacy endures today, and is Shelley’s most famous work. The literary and film world are filled with adaptations and retellings, and frequent references to the story–whether that be a legendary movie monster of the same name or a small, off-hand reference–can be found throughout the world. It’s a staple of Gothic literature and is, arguably, one of the first science-fiction novels ever written.

So, this August 30th, celebrate Mary Shelley by taking a peek at Frankenstein. If you’ve already read Frankenstein or are looking for something a little less spooky, you may also want to check out her other works, provided below.

For more information on Mary Shelley, click here.

the last man cover

The Last Man, by Mary Shelley. Click for catalog link.

Prosperine & Midas, by Mary Shelley. Click for catalog link.

valperga cover

Valperga, by Mary Shelley. Click for catalog link.

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Marcel Proust & His Madeleines

Marcel Proust is famous for many things, one of which is his inclusion of madeleines in his infamous work, In Search of Lost Time. But where did madeleines originate, and why would Proust choose include this specific dessert in his writing?

Madelines are small, spongy cakes, known for their seashell-like shape and iconic “hump” that develops when baked in the oven. The way in which the cake batter is whisked and mixed together results in an airy and light cake when baked in the oven and is a lighter sort of batter than the traditional sponge cake.

The dessert was thought to have originated in 17th century France, specifically in the Lorraine region. Over time, several legends explaining the invention of these sweets began to circulate. No one knows the true story, but one such tale focuses on a woman named Madeline. The legend claims that when a young woman stepped in as the pastry chef to the Duke of Lorraine, she chose to bake these delicious, airy cakes that came from her grandmother’s recipe, as they were the only thing she knew how to make. The Duke loved them so much that he decided to name them after the girl who’d baked them. Thus, madeleines were born.

There are several other legends regarding the origins of the madeleine, including finding the recipe on a pilgrimage to Spain; in fact, one story claims that Louis XV tried this new dessert and loved it so much that he popularized it in France. Though these stories all differ, there’s one thing in common: each time, a woman named Madeline is the one responsible for the invention.

We may never know the true origins of the madeleine, but its popularity–particularly in France–is obvious. But what about these desserts enamored Proust so much?

Proust first mentions madeleines in connection to memory:

“She set out for one of those short, plump little cakes called ‘petites madeleines,’ which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim’s shell…No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate than a shudder ran through my whole body, and i stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place.”

–Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past, Volume One

As soon as the narrator tries the madeleine, his senses are overwhelmed by the flavor, causing him to remember–involuntarily–an old memory from his past.

“And suddenly the memory returns. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray…when I went to say good day to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of real or of lime-flower tea. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it; perhaps because I had so often seen such things in the interval…But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered…the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment.”

–Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Lost Things, Volume One

Whether he shares the narrator’s experience of this dessert evoking a specific memory, or simply enjoyed the pastry enough to want to include it, Proust’s fondness for madeleines is undeniable. Perhaps that’s why, instead of including macarons–another dessert commonly associated with France–he instead opted for a more delicate pastry. One that happens to pair incredibly well with coffee and tea.

Despite their exquisite appearance, you can make madeleines of your own at home. All you need is a whisk, a madeleine tin, and a little bit of patience.

Madelines (recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)


  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, room temp.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Chocolate if desired (for dipping)


  1. Melt butter and set aside to cool.
  2. With a whisk (or equivalent attachment for a stand or handheld mixer), whisk eggs and sugar together until the batter becomes thick and pale, and forms ribbons when you lift the whisk (approx. 8 mins.).
  3. Beat in vanilla extract until combined.
  4. Fold in flour, baking powder, and salt. Be gentle when folding the dry ingredients into the egg and sugar mixture, as the batter is delicate.
  5. Stir about 1/4 of the butter into batter. It will take a minute to incorporate. After its combined, stir the rest of the butter into the mixture. Batter will appear thick and shiny.
  6. Cover and chill for ~30-60 mins. 45 minutes is ideal.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  8. Spray madeleine pan with nonstick cooking spray, or brush melted butter into pan to avoid sticking. Drop about 1 tbsp of batter into each madeleine mold.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops spring back after being lightly pressed on.
  10. Transfer to baking rack to cool, and if desired, dip in chocolate or add any other desired toppings.
  11. Enjoy!


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