October Staff Picks

Five titles our staff have read and loved recently.

Hap­py Octo­ber! Fall is offi­cial­ly here, and our staff have select­ed five of their recent favorites to add to your to-be-read piles. If one or more piques your inter­est, sim­ply click on a title to place a request. 

Want even more curat­ed recs from our staff? Check out our Read­ing Rec­om­men­da­tions page, or com­plete a short form and we’ll email you a list of per­son­al­ized recommendations.

Jack­ie and Maria: A Nov­el of Jack­ie Kennedy and Maria Callas by Gill Paul

Bar­bie says:

This was a thor­ough­ly enjoy­able read. Kennedy and Callas were two of the most talked-about women of their day. Yet, what and who were in their hearts? How could a for­mer First Lady and an opera singer have any­thing in com­mon? While some may believe this book is more fic­tion than his­to­ry, I would say oth­er­wise. There is a per­fect bal­ance of the facts we know and a mag­i­cal weav­ing of sto­ry­lines the pub­lic has not been privy to. Gill Paul does an excel­lent job of graft­ing sto­icism with pas­sion and flash with introspection.”

Fight Night by Miri­am Toews

Bob­bi Lynne says:

This book is superbly fun­ny. Seri­ous­ly, the first six words that open this tragi­com­e­dy – from pre­co­cious nine-year-old Swiv, in a let­ter to her absent father – made me gig­gle. As the title indi­cates, there’s def­i­nite­ly some grief and pain that Swiv’s preg­nant moth­er and her absurd­ly wise grand­moth­er have had to endure and fight might­i­ly through. But hav­ing arrived at this hap­pi­ly dys­func­tion­al, lov­ing, and inde­pen­dent place in their lives, shar­ing a tiny apart­ment in Toron­to, this tight-knit fam­i­ly hilar­i­ous­ly gives new mean­ing to the phrase Live to fight anoth­er day!””

Taco­pe­dia by Déb­o­rah Holtz

Eeon says:

Tacos are my favorite!! The brown paper bag feel of this book’s pages reminds me of grade-school lunch­es and swap­ping pud­ding cups for flau­tas. And of the taque­ria that shoves all of your foil-wrapped tacos into one bag, leav­ing grease stains at the bot­tom. (That’s how you know they are going to be the tasti­est.) I appre­ci­ate Holtz’s inclu­sion of his­to­ry, pop cul­ture food posters, and the del­i­ca­cies of Mexico’s many states. With­in these tor­tilla-filled pages, you will learn ALL about tacos and why they are my fave.”

Vel­vet Was the Night by Sil­via Moreno-Garcia

Joseph says:

This atmos­pher­ic noir thriller is set in Mex­i­co City in the ear­ly 1970s. The nar­ra­tive unfolds from the per­spec­tive of two flawed but sym­pa­thet­ic pro­tag­o­nists who become involved in the search for a miss­ing woman. Lush­ly writ­ten, excit­ing and evoca­tive, I could hard­ly put it down.”

Fight Like Hell: The Untold His­to­ry of Amer­i­can Labor by Kim Kelly

Mary says:

Do you want to under­stand more about the Hot Labor Sum­mer” of 2023? This book cov­ers the his­to­ry of the Amer­i­can labor move­ment from the Atlanta wash­er­wom­an’s strike of 1881 to the Ama­zon ware­house strik­ers of today. Jour­nal­ist Kim Kel­ly focus­es on the less­er-known par­tic­i­pants in the move­ment, includ­ing dis­abil­i­ty rights, sex work­ers, and LGBTQ+ activists. I learned so much about the often bloody fight for work­ers’ rights across mul­ti­ple indus­tries — the chap­ter on incar­cer­at­ed work­ers was espe­cial­ly enlight­en­ing. Pre­pare to be infu­ri­at­ed and inspired.”