Happy December! If you’re scrambling to hit your end of year reading goals, consider one (or more!) of these titles, recommended by our staff. Simply click on a title to place a hold request, and add it to your to-be-read list!
Want even more curated recs from our staff? Check out our What We’re Reading page, or complete a short form and we’ll email you a list of personalized recommendations.
“I’m normally averse to holiday-themed books, but Peter Swanson’s name on the cover of this slim, read-it-one-sitting novella drew me in. In 1989, an American girl studying abroad joins a classmate for Christmas in the Cotswolds. She’s immediately smitten with the Englishness of it all, and especially by the classmate’s older brother … a charmer who is also the lead suspect in the unsolved murder of a local girl. Swanson’s expert delivery of twists pack an emotional wallop, and turns what could have been a simple Yuletime gothic into a quiet meditation on memory.”
“It’s 1974. During a sunrise swim in her country club’s pool, Ellison Russell glides into the lifeless body of her husband’s mistress. Since Ellison is the number one suspect in the murder, she goes to work solving the crime, which results in revealing unsavory secrets about her husband. Fans of cozy mysteries will enjoy the familiar tropes of the genre: implausible numbers of murders, an underestimated protagonist, and quirky characters. What’s fun here is the absurdity of the country club set and the references to 1970s culture, such as Tab, harvest gold décor, feminism, and Watergate.”
“To go along with its catchy title, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is one of those books designed for a young adult audience that will hook you despite being … sigh … middle-aged. 17-year-old Greg is forced by his mother to make overtures of friendship to a fellow high school senior in the neighborhood who has been diagnosed with leukemia. Having spent much of his life avoiding deeper feelings, this presents a challenge for Greg. This book is hilarious, touching, and sweet, and is sure to make you laugh and cry. The movie is great as well!”
“This novel is based on the story of Belle da Costa Greene, a young Black woman who was encouraged by her mother to pass as white – a decision she and her mother would feel remorse about. Greene’s personality, smarts, and wit would one day make her instrumental in the development of J.P. Morgan’s library. Although I wasn’t comfortable with this book at first, I was moved by the sacrifices both women made. And now I can’t wait for my next trip to New York, so that I can visit the Morgan Library and see the results of Greene’s work.”
“Piranesi’s titular character was named by his only visitor – a man who asks for help with his research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls lined with thousands of statues. As Piranesi explores it, he begins to discover that he has forgotten a time and a world before this one. This story is a mystery, but it is also a story of loneliness that was written while Clarke was struggling with illness. Piranesi’s efforts to categorize the vast labyrinth in which he finds himself are vividly described, and the mystery of what happened to him will pull you in.”