Celebrate National Library Week with Staff Picks

Paula Clancy, Director of Library Services, recommends:
Human Acts by Han Kang
In the midst of a violent student uprising in South Korea, a young boy named Dong-ho is shockingly killed. The story of this tragic episode unfolds in a sequence of interconnected chapters as the victims and the bereaved encounter suppression, denial, and the echoing agony of the massacre. From Dong-ho's best friend who meets his own fateful end; to an editor struggling against censorship; to a prisoner and a factory worker, each suffering from traumatic memories; and to Dong-ho's own grief-stricken mother; and through their collective heartbreak and acts of hope is the tale of a brutalized people in search of a voice.
 
The Searcher by Tana French
Retired detective Cal Hooper moves to a remote village in rural Ireland. His plans are to fix up the dilapidated cottage he's bought, to walk the mountains, to put his old police instincts to bed forever. Then a local boy appeals to him for help. His brother is missing, and no one in the village, least of all the police, seems to care. And once again, Cal feels that restless itch. Something is wrong in this community, and he must find out what, even if it brings trouble to his door.
 
Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha
In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it’s been since the unrest of the early 1990s. Protests and vigils are being staged all over the city. It’s in this dangerous tinderbox that two families must finally confront their pasts. Grace Park lives a sheltered existence: living at home with her Korean-immigrant parents, working at the family pharmacy, and trying her best to understand why her sister Miriam hasn’t spoken to their mother in years. The chasm in her family is growing wider by the day and Grace is desperate for reconciliation, and frustrated by the feeling that her sister and parents are shielding her from the true cause of the falling out. Shawn Matthews is dealing with a fractured family of his own. His sister, Ava, was murdered as a teenager back in 1991, and this new shooting is bringing up painful memories. Plus, his cousin Ray is just released from prison and needs to reconnect with their family after so many years away. While Shawn is trying his best to keep his demons at bay, he’s not sure Ray can do the same. When another shocking crime hits LA, the Parks and the Matthewses collide in ways they never could have expected. After decades of loss, violence, and injustice, tensions come to a head and force a reckoning that could clear the air or lead to more violence.
 
Jacqi Haun, Archivist, recommends:
Days of Rage: America's Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence by Bryan Burrough
An account of the battle between the FBI & revolutionary movements of the '70s: Weathermen, The Symbionese Liberation Army, The FALN, The Black Liberation Army. The names seem quaint now, but then bombings by domestic underground groups were daily occurrences. The FBI combated these & other groups as nodes of a single revolutionary underground dedicated to the violent overthrow of the USA. Burrough's Days of Rage recreates an atmosphere almost unbelievable decades later, conjuring a time of native-born radicals, often nice middle-class kids, smuggling bombs into skyscrapers & detonating them inside the Pentagon & the Capitol, at a Boston courthouse & a Wall Street restaurant. The FBI’s response included the formation of a secret task force, Squad 47, dedicated to hunting the groups down. But Squad 47 itself broke laws in its attempts to bring the revolutionaries to justice. Its efforts ended in fiasco. Drawing on interviews about their experiences with members of the underground & the FBI, Days of Rage is a look into the hearts & minds of homegrown terrorists & federal agents alike, weaving their stories into a secret history of the '70s.
 
Peter Steinberg, Project Archivist, recommends:
These Ghostly Archives: The Unearthing of Sylvia Plath by Gail Crowther and Peter K. Steinberg (no relation)
These Ghostly Archives offers a groundbreaking and unique look at Sylvia Plath studies. Focusing on previously unpublished material found in archives from all around the world, These Ghostly Archives aims to reconstruct the ghostly figure of Plath within our culture via unseen letters, manuscripts, photographs, places and poems. This book approaches archival studies exploring both the practical and experiential work carried out in the archive highlighting the 'detective' type work that it involves and the traces left behind from history. However, for the first time, this book also combines the sociological notion of 'haunting' - that is, the archive as a location where both the researchers haunt the research subject and in turn are haunted by the traces left behind. Never is material culture more powerful than when associated with the dead. Never is the archive more ghostly than when haunted by the absent presence of Plath. This book showcases the necessity to leave no archival box or folder left unopened, and how the researcher and the archive can change even though its documents might stay the same.
 
Sarah Mezzino, Curator of Decorative Art & Design, recommends:
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.
 
Danny Geary, Emerging Technologies Librarian, recommends:
Invincible by Robert Kirkman
Mark Grayson is teenage superhero Invincible. He was a normal high school senior with a normal part-time job and otherwise normal life, except his father Nolan is the superhero Omni-Man, the most powerful superhero on the planet. At the age of 17, Mark begins to display superpowers, which come from his father being a member of the Viltrumite race, who, according to Nolan, pioneer the galaxy on a mission of benevolence and enlightenment. As Invincible, Mark begins working as a superhero, with his father acting as his mentor, and meeting other heroes. Mark worked occasionally with a superhero team called the Teen Team (consisting of Robot, Rex Plode, Dupli-Kate and Atom Eve), from there discovering that his Physics teacher has been turning his students into human bombs. He stops his teacher with the help of the heroine, Atom Eve. He also foils a plan to make an army of robots, created by the Mauler Twins. Meanwhile Omni-Man is kidnapped by aliens, taken to another dimension, but returns after what seems to be only a few days, but was actually eight months to him.
 
Laura Cunningham, Assistant Outreach Librarian, recommends:
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles' mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
 
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil. After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows. And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent. As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales.
 
Kristina Berg, Circulation Coordinator, recommends:
To Sleep In a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds. Now she's awakened a nightmare. During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she's delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move. As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn't at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human. While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity's greatest and final hope...

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
'Are you happy in your life?' Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakes to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before the man he's never met smiles down at him and says, 'Welcome back.' In this world he's woken up to, Jason's life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible. Is it this world or the other that's the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could've imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

Autumn Sinai, Instruction & Engagement Librarian, recommends:
Uncanny Valley by Anna Weiner
In her mid-twenties, at the height of tech industry idealism, Anna Wiener―stuck, broke, and looking for meaning in her work, like any good millennial--left a job in book publishing for the promise of the new digital economy. She moved from New York to San Francisco, where she landed at a big-data startup in the heart of the Silicon Valley bubble: a world of surreal extravagance, dubious success, and fresh-faced entrepreneurs hell-bent on domination, glory, and, of course, progress. Part coming-of-age-story, part portrait of an already-bygone era, Anna Wiener’s memoir is a rare first-person glimpse into high-flying, reckless startup culture at a time of unchecked ambition, unregulated surveillance, wild fortune, and accelerating political power. With wit, candor, and heart, Anna deftly charts the tech industry’s shift from self-appointed world savior to democracy-endangering liability, alongside a personal narrative of aspiration, ambivalence, and disillusionment.
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