Staff Book Picks – Nina

We’d like to start showcasing some staff picks to help our patrons find a great book to read! This week, we’ll start off with Nina’s recommendations. Nina has been working at Preston Public Library since March 2020. She is a library assistant here.

  1. Call Me by Your Name, Andre Aciman. Set in northern Italy sometime in the 1980s, this book is a look at the nature of young love, young heartbreak, and coming of age. It was adapted into a similarly excellent film in 2017.
  2. The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II, Svetlana Alexievich. One of my favorite nonfiction books. This is an intimate portrait of a side of World War Two that isn’t discussed in depth in the United States – the Soviet experience, specifically the Soviet female experience. Through this book, you can get a sense of how horrific war was on the Eastern Front.
  3. Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides. Set in Michigan and spanning three generations of Greek-Americans, this novel deals with Cal, who has to deal with a medical condition that changes their identity down to the very core, as a result of what Cal’s grandparents had done twenty years before. A book with a fresh and unique story, deeply touching.
  4. Russian Fairy Tales, A. N. Afanasyev. This collection of tales reminds me of the stories my own family would tell me growing up. Richly illustrated by Afanasyev, this collection gives a rich overview of folktales from Russia and the surrounding areas.
  5. The Reader, Bernhard Schlink. This book exposes the tension between Germany’s postwar generation with the crimes of the Second World War through the framing of a love affair between a teenage boy and an older woman. Thought provoking and deeply touching.
  6. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy. One of the great classics of world literature. More than a simple romance, this novel explores complex characters and their motivations in a shallow society that is focused on status, wealth, and lust.
  7. Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man, Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic. Another nonfiction book, Vincent and Vladic paint a picture of a great tragedy with compassion and detail backed by great research.
  8. The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller. I’m a huge nerd for Greek mythology, and this book presents the well-known stories of the Trojan War by recasting them in the light that Achilles, the Greek hero, saw them in. Evocative and detailed prose.
  9. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D. H. Lawrence. Extremely controversial when first published in Great Britain in the 1920s, this book explores the desolation left behind from World War One as well as Great Britain’s rigid class structure through the interactions of a crippled soldier, his wife, and the gamekeeper who the soldier enlists to keep his wife company.
  10. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce. One of Joyce’s most famous works, this semi-autobiographical novel includes themes of identity through the backdrop of a young man’s life during a time of upheaval in his native Ireland.

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