Books: Staff Picks

A variety of books sure to capture your interest and imagination, hand-picked by Library Staff.


  • All of the books on this list are currently scheduled to be released as movies in 2017.
    Some of the movie release dates (
    in parentheses) may change or may not make it to theaters around here. Click on the title for more information about the book; Click on the date (or "TBA") for more information about the film!

  • Enjoy these biographies of well-known and not so well known people from the founding of our country.

  • 2016 marks the centennial celebration of America’s National Parks.  Don’t wait another 100 years. Read about and visit your National Parks this year.

  • Celebrate the culture and contributions of black Americans of African, Latin, and Middle Eastern heritage with these recently published books.

  • This list includes titles we've featured in past Books Plus group discussions. 

  • Sundays at 2 p.m. in Program Room 2B

  • Can you tell a book by its title? Here's a list of zaney, off beat, eclectic, quirky books you may enjoy.

  • June is Adopt a Cat month! Check out one of these non-fiction books about how cats can make a difference in our lives and how we can make a difference in theirs.

  • Celebrate Black History Month by checking out one of these recently published books about African Americans.

  • Celebrate Indiana’s bicentennial year by reading and rereading some outstanding Hoosier author’s works. Between 1900 – 1941, Indiana authors were second only to New York for being on the New York Times Best Seller List. The following list will take you from the early 20th century to our current year, 2016.

  • May is National Older Americans Month. More than ever, seniors are involved in their communities, engaged in new experiences—and simply redefining what growing older means.

  • Ever dream of writing a story, graphic novel, biography or memoir? As literary prize-winner E.L. Doctorow said, "Writing is an exploraton. You start from nothing and learn as you go." It's time to begin exploring those inner and outer worlds that only you can describe. Writing, as many authors agree, is like living twice. Start your second life now.

  • The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.
    —Ralph Waldo Emerson

    ...And the story of the movement to save those forests is available to you through the Library's collection.

  • If you're tired of whipping up the same old dishes in the kitchen try one of these unique cookbooks for inspiration. From Thug Kitchen to Dr. Who to literary cuisine there's something to motivate everyone to start a new culinary adventure.

  • We all have them. Sometimes we praise them, sometimes we rail against a relative or two, but families have made us what we are, who we've become. These novels and nonfiction books explore domestic life in all its joys, sorrows, perplexities, and anger. For what would our lives be like without this network of people so like and unlike us, who share our memories?

    “In every conceivable manner, the family is a link to our past, a bridge to our future.”  --Alex Haley

  • Planning a May 4th Star Wars party—or getting your geek on for a Game of Thrones screening with friends? Whatever you nerd out about, there's a cookbook to add some flair (and food) to your next gathering.

  • The following titles are sure to culitivate lively book group discussions. They have been recommended for book clubs by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Novelist and the librarians at the Monroe County Public Library. All titles are available at MCPL and some are available as "It’s In the Bag" book club kits.

  • Libraries support all different kinds of literacy, including financial literacy, the crucial ability to make informed decisions about your money. You can find a wide range of practical resources at the Library to help you become more literate in personal finance.

  • Summer is a great time to take your favorite companions on a road trip.  Book lovers know that some companions are wearing paperback at the beach. Better companions don't need a beach at all. Here's to summer and good friends.

  • Summer is a great time to take your favorite companions on a road trip.  Book lovers take some companions to the beach. The best companions don't need a beach at all. Here's to summer and good friends.

  • Sometimes listening to a book read by the author is even better than reading the book yourself. So choose one of these audiobooks,  sit back and let the authors read to you.

  • Many of our myths and stories center on forests. Early people from the Arctic to the tropics celebrated forests and honored the “tree of life” which they believed linked Earth to heaven and the underworld.

    What would life be like without the majesty and wonder of forests? Without trees, we would have no oxygen to breathe, nor soil in which to grow crops.

    In each of the following books, as in nature, forests play a vital role.

  • Want to start a book club? Looking for new titles for your existing club? The Monroe County Public Library has a unique collection to support local book clubs. "It's in the Bag" allows a patron with a library card in good standing to borrow one bag for a 6-week period.

  • Limestone stories are built into the foundation of our community.  Read or watch a few to find out about limestone has shaped Bloomington, Indiana, and beyond.

  • Aside from what we were taught in elementary school, how many of us have a really in depth understanding of Native American history? This list of carefully chosen titles offers well documented, fascinating accounts of America’s indigenous peoples, going as far back as before Columbus.

  • Books filled with lists, facts, figures, and general information that may or may not be considered "trivial."

  • When the air gets chilly and leaves fall from the trees it’s the perfect time to pick up a scary book. If you’re in the mood for a fright, try one of these recently published horror novels. Choose from tales of the paranormal, a new twist on vampires, exorcism combined with reality television and a variety of other horrors to enthrall you and keep you up at night.

  • Romance grande dame, Jo Beverley, was born in 1947 and died in 2016. Jo was born and educated in England, she married and spent most of her adult life in Canada, but upon retirement, she and her husband returned home to Great Britain. Jo published her first book in 1988, “Lord Wraybourne’s Proposal” and her final book, “Merely a Marriage” will be released in May 2017. Her historical romances, forty titles in all, won five RITA awards from the Romance Writers of America.

  • For some of us the best part of Thanksgiving and the holidays is not the food or visiting with the old man but a chance for merrymaking with brothers and sisters. This list might remind you of why you miss your siblings and the way they annoy you, defend you, knock you down a peg or two (right when you need it), hold your secrets, lend you money - and how they are the only ones who speak your language.

  • We admit it—being around so many great books at work each day is a dream made real. Enjoy this year’s list of our most recent favorites.

  • Learn more about creating an environmentally friendly household with these items in the Library's collection.

  • This list includes titles that received rave reviews from participants in our adult summer reading program. Our readers found all kinds of treasures to enjoy this summer from thrillers to manga to westerns to non-fiction.

  • Whether you're looking to simplify your life by living with less stuff, build a sustainable home, eat a sustainable diet or create with sustainable materials there's something for everyone on this list. Sustainability- the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance- can improve your life, while improving the lives of everyone by responsibly using the resources needed to live our lives. Pick an area of your life and get your green on!

  • Spice up your Thanksgiving with one of these intriguing thrillers or mysteries set on or near Thanksgiving. Whether you like a cozy mystery or prefer an edge of your seat thriller there's something for everyone to enjoy during the Thanksgiving holiday. 

  • Science tells us that when it comes to food, if it looks good, it'll taste even better. Our brains, in fact, use all of our senses to decide what's appealing to eat—by the way it looks, feels, smells, and, of course, tastes.

    But our love of good things to eat extends beyond our physiological needs. Artists paint, sculpt and photograph beautiful displays of food for our enjoyment—and many chefs create dishes that are truly works of art. 

  • It’s officially backyard garden and Farmers' Market season! If you’re looking for some fresh new recipes to liven up your cooking repertoire, check out one of these vegan cookbooks. Vegan cooking is entirely plant based, using no eggs, dairy, or other animal products.

    From healthy whole foods dishes to downright comfort food, there’s a little something for everyone on this list. Bon appetit!

  • For my part, writes Robert Louis Stevenson in Travels with a Donkey, "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."  Sounds like wanderlust to me  and these books will put an itch in your feet and make you want to pack up and board a

  • Bloomington's B-Line Trail and bicycle-only traffic lanes make a trip to the Library fun and easy on two wheels. Our shelves—real and virtual—are full of practical and inspiring information on cycling. Try these titles:

  • Here's a selection of Wild Things by and about Maurice Sendak available through the Library. For a more complete list, please see the Sendak-related items in the Library catalog.