The Librarian’s Nightstand, Winter 2023

close up view of a book laying on a blanket with mug beside, being held by an adult in the background
Jan 16, 2023
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The Librarian’s Nightstand, Winter 2023

Ready to cozy up with a good book? We’ve got you covered. These picks are more than just librarian-approved. They come straight from the librarian’s nightstand! We asked our six branch librarians to share a great book they are currently reading. Here are their picks.

Aldershot Branch Librarian Sarah

headshot of Sarah and book coverAfter reading my fair share of cozy Christmas books before and during the holidays, my favourite being Christmas by the Book by Anne Marie Ryan, it felt like it was time to dive into a thriller as my first read of 2023. I grabbed an express copy of The Last to Vanish by Megan Miranda and it was an enjoyable journey. 

The Last to Vanish is set in the North Carolina mountain town of Cutter’s Pass. After a string of disappearances over the past twenty-five years, the most recent victim’s brother shows up at the town inn, looking for answers. Trey West’s presence and inquiry leads inn worker, Abby, to start asking questions of her own. The pair uncovers some shocking discoveries about the close-knit locals in this sleepy tourist town. I enjoyed this thriller because of the mountain landscape, lack of gruesome content. Best of all was Megan Miranda’s careful creation of a string of possible suspects that leads you to wonder who the real culprits are.

Sarah's favourite reading escapes are warm and fuzzy romances, contemporary fiction, and any Christmassy story, but she also loves a good dystopian Sci-Fi. Her top picks from last year were Book Lovers by Emily Henry and Every Summer After by Carley Fortune.

Alton Branch Librarian Emma

headshot of Emma and book coverI just finished listening to The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal. I absolutely loved this author’s novel, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows so, this was a must-read for me. I’m happy to say that it did not disappoint! Join us at Alton Branch’s Titles Book Club to discuss it! 

This is a story about three Punjabi sisters embarking on a pilgrimage to their homeland to lay their mother to rest. What a journey! The voice of each sister is so distinct and captivating. Embracing readers with both the messiness and unconditional love of family, this is a story of sisterhood, secrets, forgiveness and self-discovery. I laughed, I cried, and I whole-heartedly recommend this book! Keep your eyes peeled for Balli Kaur Jaswal’s latest novel, Now You See Us

Emma likes to tuck into contemporary and historical fiction, young adult novels, and memoirs, and lists Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Lovely War by Julie Berry, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, and The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh as her favourite novels.

Brant Hills Branch Librarian Heather

headshot of Heather and book coverMy recent read, The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano by Donna Freitas is a must-read for mothers and anyone seeking to understand the complexities of parenthood. 

It is an emotional novel about about a woman who never thought she wanted to become a mother. We follow Rose down each of her possible “nine lives” in a choose-your-own-adventure style narrative. We get to explore the different paths her life could take whether she chooses to have children or not. 

This book really resonated with me. It brought me back to the difficult time I had deciding to become a mother, and gave me perspective on my role as a mom. I recommend it to anyone looking for a different take on parenthood, who has lived this struggle, or who just enjoys a bit of drama.

Heather dives into dramatic family sagas and historical fiction as her go-to audiobook picks, and reaches for romantic beach novels and light mysteries for her leisure reading. Her favourite authors include John Green, Liane Moriarty, and Edward Rutherfurd.

Central Branch Librarian Mehr

headshot of Mehr and book coverI recently finished An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. This book has been on my TBR (to-be-read) list for a while, and I am so happy I finally got around to it. This is the first book in an epic young adult fantasy series, and I am already halfway through book two!

Set in a world ruled by a Martial Empire, Laia and Elias try to escape darkness within a regime that is destroying countless lives. Laia joins the resistance and becomes an undercover spy in the regime’s military academy, where she meets Elias, who is training to become a soldier. This book is perfect for anyone who likes an action-packed adventure with a bit of romance.

Mehr loves young adult fantasy and science fiction-dystopian novels. Occasionally, she'll dive into contemporary fiction, but only when she needs to ground herself back to Earth after visiting epic fantasy worlds. Some of her favourite authors are Marissa Meyer, S.A. Chakraborty, and S.K. Ali.

New Appleby Branch Librarian Kumkum

headshot of Kumkum and book coverI’m sure you’ve heard it from others, but let me add my name to the long list of fans of The Maid by Nita Prose. 

Lonely and singularly focused on her work, Molly—a maid at a five-star hotel—finds a nasty celebrity guest dead in his hotel room. She becomes the main suspect, and the deck is stacked against her. Enjoy puzzling about possible suspects as this smoothly-written zinger twists and turns to a surprising finale. You’ll be entertained its cozy charm, and Molly’s quirky, hard-to-love personality. It’s being adapted for screen, and is a great book-club selection!

Kumkum often reads two to three books at a time, selecting from various genres including mysteries and thrillers, relationship fiction, contemporary and historical fiction, memoirs and non-fiction. She is currently reading Cormac McCarthy’s thought-provoking The Passenger, Rachel Aviv’s stunning short stories in Strangers to Ourselves, and skimming through Susan Cain’s Bittersweet.

Tansley Woods Branch Librarian Deepti

headshot of Deepti and book cover

I couldn’t put down my recent read, #NoEscape by Gretchen McNeil. This novel is part of the #MurderTrending series, which has captivated young adult readers. 

In #NoEscape, we follow 17-year old Persey, a contestant in a bizarre escape room challenge who must solve a series of ultra-challenging puzzles to win an enormous prize pot—not to mention fame. When contestants start dying, the remaining competitors must work together to solve the puzzles and the mystery behind the killings.

This book is reads like a teen version of Squid Game, and is just about as gruesome. If you can stomach a bit of gore, you won’t be able to put it down! 

Teacher-turned-librarian, Deepti, loves a good suspense mystery—especially books by master storyteller, Jeffry Archer—or young adult fiction adventures. Her favourite read of 2022 was One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus.

Find Your Next Great Read

Library staff are a great resource for reading recommendations. Of course, they have their personal favourite genres and authors, but they also keep a close eye on top picks from all corners of our collection.

When you visit the library, don’t be shy about asking for your “next great read.” Staff will ask you a few simple questions about your past favourites to help you find a perfect pick. You can also browse our curated Staff Picks lists online for thoughtful booklists on a wide variety of topics.

Happy reading!