What We Are Reading

We love our books! We often get asked what we at the library are reading, and so we are sharing that here. If you’re wondering what to read next, check out some thoughts from the folks at WPL. We’ve compiled a list of books that some of the people here at the library are currently enjoying. It’s a list of different types of books, so many there will be something in here for you. If you have anything to say, questions, or want to tell us what you’re reading please feel free to share. We love your comments!

The Alienist, by Caleb Carr (also available as an ebook.)

Currently I’m tearing through the Alienist by Caleb Carr. No, it has nothing to do with aliens, it’s not even science fiction. Think of it as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit meets Murdoch Mysteries set in old New York. With Teddy Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and many other historical figures making appearances it’s a rather fun piece of part historical fiction part murder mystery, and thriller.

I’m finding it particularly fascinating as it explores the evolution of the field of criminology. Seeing how people might have reacted to ground-breaking ideas in the field made the theories come alive (especially the ones that were way off base.) If you’re interested in how world changing ideas can meet opposition, this book offers great insight. It’s also a lot of fun if you’re into criminology or a good crime story. It provides a fun way to look at how the police could work serious crimes before the world of forensic analysis and CSI.

While the specific details of the murders are gory and the story might be somewhat familiar to those who love crime dramas, it’s still a great read. It’s a fresh twist on the mystery/thriller genre. It provides a great look back into the mindset of detectives in the late 1890’s and a vivid picture of New York City life at the time.

– Rob

The One by Kiera Cass.

I’m currently reading The One by Kiera Cass. This is the final book in a YA trilogy that I feel can best be described as The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games. The trilogy is based on “The Selection” a process by which 35 girls representing 8 different castes are brought in to the palace to compete for the Prince’s hand in marriage. In this book they are down to the final four, and the atmosphere among the girls is intense. Add political unrest, rebel attacks, and several gunshot wounds into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a story with enough twists and turns to keep you hooked until the very last page.

Overall this story (and series) has a great mix of romance, dystopia, action, and fairy tale.  It is edgy enough to keep young readers engaged without babying them, but at the same time wholesome enough that a teacher can unhesitatingly recommend it to a student (or even read it for themselves…).

– Julie

Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch

This is the third instalment of a series featuring police constable Peter Grant, his colleagues, and a host of interesting characters in modern day London, England. The series has been described as a cross between CSI and Harry Potter.

Peter Grant is attached to a unit of the Metropolitan Police that deals with magic. It is a small unit, consisting of himself and his superintendent, to whom he is formally apprenticed to learn magic. Most of the other police don’t want to know about the “magic bits” which can make reporting a bit difficult.

In this volume, the son of a U.S. Senator is found murdered at one of the Underground stations and the weapon is  a shard of pottery with magical characteristics. Investigations seem to lead to a criminal magician called “The Faceless Man”, who has appeared in earlier volumes, but I am only halfway through. The title implies that the subway system in London is going to play a larger role.

As a fan of Harry Potter and of CSI, I have really enjoyed these books. Peter is an engaging character; rather happy-go-lucky for someone dealing with a magical criminal element.  As the series is progressing, he is developing as both a police officer and a magician in his own right.

– Lea

The Silent Wife (also available as an e-audiobook)

A.S.A. Harrison’s “The Silent Wife” should be approached with caution. If you’re anything like me, it will consume your life. It’s a quick but intense read reminiscent of Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl;” many critics have compared the two books and the similarities are obvious. Both books chronicle a relationship’s end which is, in many ways, more interesting than its start; both books alternate between the husband and wife’s perspectives;  and both books feature shocking plot twists that keep the reader riveted and left me breathless.


Mo’ Meta Blues by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson

I wasn’t a fan of hip-hop, neo soul group The Roots, but more so recognized drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson for his role as a member of the house band for the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show. This is a poignant memoir at times, describing the hardship of trying to make a career in the hip-hop world, especially when the music The Roots were trying to make wasn’t following the ‘mainstream’ pattern. They were bounced around from labels, felt like they had lost themselves due to pressure from Interscope Records to make an album they didn’t love, but eventually found themselves winning a Grammy and landing themselves the gig at the Tonight Show.

This memoir includes a history of hip-hop, and the usual funny, perceptive writing we see from Questlove in his very popular Twitter feed. There are really interesting stories, such as getting invited to his hero Prince’s private roller skating party, or a wild night at Tracy Morgan’s hotel room. This is a book for anyone who is a fan of music, or who would like to read more from this very intelligent and insightful Philly drummer.

– Angela

 An Astronaut’s guide to life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

After many years of preparing to deal with “what will kill you next”, Hadfield provides a thoughtful description of his life and lessons learned through the space program.  For those who enjoy reading about aeronautics, a good companion biography is the “Yeehaw! didn’t we have fun” recollections contained in Yeager [629.13453 YEA], by the test pilot who first broke the sound barrier.  Chuck’s wife provides counterbalancing views of some events in the same book. For more insight into the wives behind the space pioneers, pick up The Astronaut wives club[629.45092 KOP] — also available as an ebook and an e-audiobook.

– Mae


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