Tag Archives: adult fiction

What We Read in 2023

The Germantown Community Library staff read some terrific books in 2023, and we want to share our favorites with you. Not everything on this list was published in 2023 – there’s always something we’ve been meaning to read for ages and finally got around to (sound familiar?).
And just like you, sometimes we put the book down to watch or listen to something, so we’ve
included those favorites as well.

When you’re looking for ideas, don’t forget to peruse the Friends of the Germantown
Community Library book sale! Some of the most interesting things I’ve read were found on
their shelves; things I didn’t know existed and would never have found otherwise.
We hope our recommendations will give you a good start to 2024!

Read It: Fiction Includes Adult and Young Adult titles

The Canary Girls by Jennifer Chiaverini (2023, Historical Fiction)

Canary Girls provides a glimpse of the diverse British women that
supported the WWI effort building ammunition and how it impacted their families and the country.

“If you enjoy learning about history through historical fiction material,
you’ll love this book.”


The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams (2022)

“Wholesome, adorable, funny romance.”

Emily, Circulation

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano (2020)

12-year old Edward is the only survivor of a plane crash. As time passes, Edward and
others affected by the crash learn how to find purpose and meaning again in their lives.

“A good pick for book club discussions.”

Lynn, Adult SERVICES

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (2021, Historical Fiction)

A young woman learns about the power of words as she navigates a man’s world during the first years that the Oxford English Dictionary was being written.

Esme had the courage to go beyond the expected, and with the help of other women,
created her own small but nonetheless important dictionary.

Shari, Adult SERVICES

Euphoria by Lily King (2014)

Set between the world wars and inspired by experiences from Margaret Mead’s life,
three young anthropologists are caught up in a struggle involving love and power that
has disastrous results.

“Vivid characters and a compelling storyline.”

lynn, adult SERVICES

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. (2012, Historical Fiction)

Towles is a skillful writer overall and has a special ability to artfully describe food! It’s
rare to see words put together so beautifully!

“This book continues to win fans after more than a decade.”

Katie, Youth Services

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (2019, New Adult)

Gideon wants to escape the planet she crash landed on as a child, but the cruel necromantic ruler of the Ninth House won’t let her leave without one more deal. She must accompany Harrowhark to a life-threatening gothic horror mansion where everyone is competing for the same thing: immortality.

“Sci-fi, fantasy, and comedy come together horrifically, and I mean that in the best way possible.”

Shannon, Youth services

The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R.M. Romero (2022, Young Adult)

A story about Ilana, a teenage girl sent to an
aunt in Prague. While discovering the hidden, enchanted side of Prague through her
friendship with Benjamin, a ghost, she also discovers herself.

“A beautifully written “ghost story”.”

Jill p, Adult SERVICES

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh (2022, Young Adult)

An interesting take on Asian mythology and the afterlife.

“Fans of Spirited Away or The Ghost Bride will enjoy it”

Jackie, Youth Services

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. 2013

Centers on 13-year-old Theodore Decker, and the dramatic changes his life undergoes after he survives a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that kills his mother and results in him coming into possession of Carel Fabritius’s painting “The Goldfinch.”

Recommended by Sue, Circulation

The Housemaid by Freida McFadden (2022)

A maid who isn’t who she appears to be finds herself working for a family with
secrets of its own.

“Full of suspenseful twists, this thriller is unputdownable!”

Barb, Circulation

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (2000)

This book is about a man who finds a book manuscript about a movie that doesn’t exist about a house that might exist. Everyone goes insane. Including you.

The most unique reading experience I’ve ever had.

Shannon, Youth Services

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys (2022)

In Romania 1989, a 17-year-old boy who wants to be a writer is recruited to spy on his neighbors.

An author recognized for giving voice to lesser known historical events, Ruta Sepetys is beloved by adult and young adult readers alike.

jill n, Youth services

The Island by Adrian McKinty

A desperate stepmother struggles to save her new family from a gang of vindictive locals seeking revenge.

An unputdownable thriller.

Jenny, circulation

The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy Reichert. 2021

Supper club + paranormal + romance = a lovely lighthearted read set in the Wisconsin

Emily, circulation

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward. 2021

This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an
ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street. All these things are true.

A story with a lot of surprising twists.

Sue, Circulation

The Last Flight by Julie Clark. 2020

Two women, both with secrets to keep, swap places in a desperate attempt to escape
their lives. A nail-biting thriller!

A nail-biting thriller!

Jenny, Circulation

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (2022)

In the 1950s, a woman’s dream of being a scientist is challenged by a society that
says women belong only in the domestic sphere. She accepts a job on a TV
cooking show and sets out to teach a nation of overlooked housewives way more
than recipes.

Recommended by Sue and Amy from Circulation

The Librarian of Crooked Lane by C.J. Archer (2022)

A cozy murder mystery set in 1920’s London.

A little romance, a little magic and a little murder – what more could you want?

Jackie, Youth Services

Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez (2021)

“Heart-wrenching but sweet romance.”

Emily, Circulation

The Maid’s Diary by Loreth Anne White (2023)

I’ve enjoyed all the popular “Maid” titles (such as those by Freida McFadden
and Nita Prose) but this one is the best. Tight, suspenseful pacing, less violence.

I thought I was on to the red herrings, but I didn’t see the end coming!

Joanne, Circulation

Mascot by Charles Waters (2023)

Six middle school students learn about identity, tradition, and what it
means to stand up for change after getting an English assignment to debate whether the
schools mascot should stay or change.

Recommended by Jill N, Youth Services

The Match by Harlan Coben. 2022

Second in Coben’s Wilde series, in this novel Wilde may be closer to learning who he is
and why he was found as a child feral and alone in the mountains.

“Dramatic plot twists
and turns abound as the answers Wilde finds lead to more questions.”

Jenny, Circulation

No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister. 2023

Although this book was essentially short stories, which I don’t normally love, they came together because each story had a connection with a particular book that was
meaningful in different ways to the various characters.

I really like her style of writing and have enjoyed all her other books as well.


The Quiet Tenant by Clemence Michallon (2023)

A well-respected man and his daughter live in small town. No one knows that he
has kidnapped and killed several women, and has one captive in a shed in his backyard. When he is forced to move, it leads to a strange connection between his daughter and his captive.

“I liked the interesting dynamic between the women.”

Diane, Circulation Manager

Remarkably Bright Creatures
by Shelby van Pelt (2022)

Ordinary people gracefully navigating unusual situations including those with other species.

I will never eat octopus again.

Joanne, cirCulation

A heartwarming book; don’t miss it!

Barb, Circulation

The River We Remember by William Kent Krueger (2023)

While gathering to honor veterans, the discovery of a murdered man results in members of a small town finding themselves caught in a web of secrets. Anger and suspicions threaten violence as the sheriff races to find the killer.

Jill N, Youth Services

The Rom-Com Agenda by Jayne Denker. 2023

Wholesome and funny romance!

Emily, circulation

Ruth Galloway mystery series by Elly Griffiths (2009-present)

This series of 14 titles (so far) is interesting not only because of the interpersonal
relationships in the series, but also because the main character is an archaeologist and
uses that background to help solve mysteries.

Amy, Circulation

The Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992)

Defined characters help create a believable and flawed narrative that you can’t help but getting lost in.

Some of the best writing that I’ve ever encountered

Rory B, Circulation

Sleeping Beauties by Owen and Stephen King (2017)

Famed author Stephen King teams up with son Owen to create a doorstopper horror
novel with complex characters. A strange disease causes women who are disturbed
while sleeping become feral and violent. One woman appears to be immune, but the
men divide into factions seeking to save or destroy her.

Jenny, Tech Services

The Switch by Beth O’Leary. 2020

Grandmother and granddaughter need a break, so they switch lives – and learn all sorts of things about themselves in the process.

Sweet and funny, with some wholesome
romance in there too.

Emily, Circulation

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher (2023)

How do you turn the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale inside out?

features endearing characters looking at things a new way.

Joanne, Circulation

Thursday Murder Club series by Richard Osman (4 books; 2021-2023)

I read the entire series this year and found them charming and hilarious. Four
residents of a British retirement home solve murders, match wits with mobsters and
drug dealers and still find time to bake delicious pastries for their afternoon tea. The
books strike the right balance of mystery and humor, with just a touch of melancholy, as
these senior citizens face the realities and limitations of age, determined to live life to
the fullest.

Grace, Jill N, Emily

Stay tuned for more than just books! Next time we’ll explore what we watched and listened to in 2023! Thanks for spending the year with us!

Comics Aren’t Just for Kids: Adult Graphic Novels And You!

Welcome to the wonderful world of adult graphic novels! Maybe you’ve heard that graphic novels “aren’t real books” or are “for kids”.

Well, as an adult, I’m here to dispel some rumors. First off, there are graphic novels for kids, just like there are cartoons for kids. In that same vein, there are graphic novels for adults!

Just like I wouldn’t show a child Attack on Titan or The Simpsons. Or Archer.

Sometimes (a lot of times actually), graphic novels can show some dark themes, and shows them visually. There’s horror graphics, action graphics, graphics about war, depression, and more mature themes that appeal to adults.

Things can be more than one thing! I mean, the Marvel Comics have had a huge impact on the Blockbuster movie circuit for the past decade, and those are all, yep, GRAPHIC NOVELS!

Graphic Novels, comics, manga, they all fall into the same category. “Books with a lot of pictures.” But just because a book has pictures doesn’t mean it’s not REAL reading. Some of the best stories I’ve ever read have come from graphic novels. And, yeah, they’re taken seriously has a medium. The reason I know that is because a lot of really good, NOT AIMED AT CHILDREN movies and TV shows came from comics and graphics. The Walking Dead! V for Vendetta! Scott Pilgrim vs The World! All of these an MANY more came from graphic novels and comics.

Bottom line is graphic novels are for everybody, and there’s something out there for everyone. It’s a great genre where beautiful illustrations and great stories combine into a wonderful morsel of entertainment for you, the reader. And YES. It is reading. Even if there’s pictures.

Want to know more? We made a video about it!

Do you have graphics recommendations? Donations? Questions?
Email me: ssiebers@germantownlibrarywi.org

Read cool books!

Shannon S.
Youth Service Specialist
Adult Graphic Novels Collection Manager

Reader’s Advisory: Choosing Books for a Book Discussion

Are you the lucky person who gets to pick the next book for your group to discuss? Feeling a little pressured? Here are some tips and suggestions that can help make the decision a little easier. 

Start by considering the needs of the individuals in your group. Does anyone need large print or an audio version? No matter how great the book, if someone can’t participate because it’s not available in the format they need, don’t pick that book.  

Next, consider the group’s interests as well as what they’ve recently read. As one patron mentioned recently, “I am so tired of depressing books!” Her group had read four books in a row that left her feeling down. Most groups need variety to maintain interest among members. 

Another consideration is whether group members are willing to buy the book, or do they prefer to get copies from the library. If they want to get their copies from the library, it’s important to choose titles that are at least a year old and not in high demand. What does “in high demand” mean? Titles are typically in high demand when they are less than a year old and/or on the New York Times bestseller list. Older titles can become in high demand when a movie or TV series based on the book is released (for example, “American Prometheus”, which is the book “Oppenheimer” is based on). If the book you want is in high demand, you could choose a different book by the same author. 

One more thing to consider is how your group likes to discuss the book. Will you (or someone else) be leading the discussion? Is the group comfortable with a rambling conversation that can go in any direction, or do they prefer having a framework? If the group needs a framework, you may want to limit your selections to books that have discussion guides/questions. Sometimes these are included in the book itself, other times you can find them on the internet. Try the publisher’s or author’s websites first. Sometimes there aren’t any “official” questions, but you might find questions created by another group that have been posted for anyone to use. You can also try LitLovers: https://www.litlovers.com/. LitLovers has discussion questions for specific titles as well as generic questions that are good for most books. They also have guides for starting and running book groups. 

Now that you have some guidelines for choosing a book, all you need is to pick one! Still feeling overwhelmed? Take a look at past selections from the library’s book groups here: https://germantownlibrarywi.org/book-groups/. Every book read by all of the groups is listed here. And below are my 15 fiction and nonfiction favorites, chosen from those lists. 


The Art of Racing in the Rain / Garth Stein Racing, Dogs, Illness, Family 
The Bees / Laline Paull Bees, Communities, Change 
The Bonesetter’s Daughter / Amy Tan   Family, Aging, China, Customs                                                   
Finding Nouf / Zoe Ferraris           Mystery, Saudi Arabia, Customs 
The Half-Drowned King / Linnea Hartsuyker Historical Fiction, Vikings, Roles 
The Immortalists / Chloe BenjaminFamily, Destiny 
The Last Town on Earth / Thomas MullenHistorical Fiction, epidemics 
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand / Helen SimonsonAging, Love, Family, Social Roles 
My Antonia / Willa Cather  Classic, Coming of Age, Immigrants 
The Nest / Cynthia D-Aprix Sweeney   Family, Relationships 
Never Let Me Go / Kazuo IshiguroComing of Age, Dystopian
The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency / Alexander McCall SmithMystery, Botswana, Social Roles 
The Ocean at the End of the World / Neil GaimanFantasy/Terror, Coming of Age
The Pumpkin Rollers / Elmer KeltonWestern, Coming of Age 
The Silent Land / Graham JoyceMarriage, Death


Ants Among Elephants / Gidla Sujatha    History (India), Family, Politics 
The Boys in the Boat / Daniel Brown  Rowing, History, Friendship 
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight / Alexandra Fuller     South Africa, Family, Resilience 
Dust Bowl Girls / Lydia ReederBasketball, History, Friendship 
Educated: A Memoir / Tara WestoverComing of Age, Resilience 
Empty Mansions / Bill DedmanBiography, History, Wealth
In the Heart of the Sea / Nathaniel Philbrick History, Whaling, Resilience   
Limping Through Life / Jerry Apps   Illness, Wisconsin, Resilience
My Life in France / Julia Child Food, France 
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes / Caitlin Doughty  Death and Dying, Humor
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating / Elisabeth Tova Bailey  Illness, Snails, Nature, Resilience
They Left Us Everything / Plum Johnson Family, Aging 
Three Weeks With My Brother / Nicholas SparksFamily, Grief, Resilience 
A Time of Gifts / Patrick Leigh Fermor History, Travel
Wave / Sunila Deraniyagala  Disasters, Family, Resilience 


Of all the months, December is probably the one with the most traditions. One you may not have heard of gets my vote for the best possible holiday tradition of all: in Iceland, people celebrate Christmas with a tradition called Jolabokaflod, which translates to “Christmas book flood” in English.

Jolabokaflod began in World War II, when almost everything was rationed. However, paper was not rationed.  Since there were no limits on books, that became the go-to gift. Giving each other books has become an essential part of the Christmas season for Icelanders. And, because gifts are traditionally opened on Christmas Eve night, people tend to spend that evening reading.

For over 70 years, every household in Iceland has gotten a book bulletin from the publishers of books in their country. This catalog helps people choose books for their friends and family.

If you’re looking for ideas for your own gift giving, I suggest you pick up a copy of this month’s edition of BookPage, available free at the library. While you’re here, ask the staff for their recommendations too! We are always happy to share our favorites with you.

Here’s a few we enjoyed this year:

Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure: Buck, Rinker:  9781501106378: Amazon.com: Books

Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure, by Rinker Buck. History.
Travelling the Mississippi in a wooden flatboat like those used in the 1800s, Rinker Buck encounters danger and adventure.

The High Sierra: A Love Story by Kim Stanley Robinson

The High Sierra: A Love Story, by Kim Stanley Robinson. History, Americana, Nature.
Best known for his science fiction, in this book Robinson shares his love of the Sierra Nevada mountains and tells the history of its exploration and those who lived there.

Long Overdue at the Lakeside Library (A Lakeside Library Mystery Book 2) -  Kindle edition by Danvers, Holly. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle  eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Long Overdue at the Lakeside Library, by Holly Danvers. Mystery.
Second in the Lakeside Library series by Wisconsin author Danvers (aka Holly Quinn), this book is perfect for those who prefer cozy mysteries.

The Runaway (A Peter Ash Novel): 9780525535508: Petrie, Nick: Books -  Amazon.com

The Runaway
, by Nick Petrie. Thriller/Suspense.
The latest in local author Petrie’s Peter Ash series, this title is sure to please the suspense lover on your list.

Happy Reading!

Lynn R.
Adult Services Librarian