the essentialThe Essential Gwendolyn Brooks by Elizabeth Alexander

The classic volume by the distinguished modern poet and winner of the 1950 Pulitzer Prize that represents her technical mastery, her compassionate and illuminating response to a world that is both special and universal, and her warm humanity.

Recommended by: Jené






empireofdustEmpire of Dust by Eleanor Herman

After winning his first battle, Prince Alexander fights to become the ruler his kingdom demands–but the line between leader and tyrant blurs with each new threat. Meanwhile, Hephaestion, cast aside by Alexander for killing the wrong man, must conceal the devastating secret of a divine prophecy from Katerina even as the two of them are thrust together on a dangerous mission to Egypt.

Recommended by by Mary Jean





murder of fifth streetMurder on Fifth Avenue by Victoria Thompson

Sarah Brandt’s family is one of the oldest in New York City, and her father, Felix Decker, takes his position in society very seriously. He still refuses to resign himself to his daughter being involved with an Irish Catholic police detective. But when a member of his private club–the very exclusive Knickerbocker–is murdered, Decker forms an uneasy alliance with Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy to solve the crime as discreetly as possible. Malloy soon discovers that despite his social standing, the deceased–Chilton Devries–was no gentleman.

Recommended by Suzanne





juliaIn the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

“It is November 25, 1960, and three beautiful sisters have been found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The official state newspaper reports their deaths as accidental. It does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it explain that the sisters were among the leading opponents of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujill’ s dictatorship. It doesn t have to. Everybody knows of Las Mariposas TheButterflies.

Recommended by Jené






kidsKids These Days by Drew Perry

Walter and Alice are expecting their first baby, but their timing is a bit off: Walter, once a successful loan officer, has been unexpectedly downsized. They’ve had to relocate to Florida so that they can live rent-free–in Alice s deceased aunt’s condo. When Alice s brother-in-law Mid offers Walter a job, he literally can’t refuse. But what he doesn t know–about the nature of the job, about the depth of Mid’s shady dealings, about what he’s really supposed to be doing–far outweighs what he does know. And soon enough, things escalate so out of control that Walter is riding shotgun with Mid in a bright yellow Camaro–chased by the police.

Recommended by Mary Jean