Readers Advisor

Readers Advisor

I’m Mary K.–librarian, mom, blogger, reader. I believe there’s no such thing as too many books–if you do, too, you’re in the right place! Browse this page for great finds from across our collection. What will you read next?

Email Mary K.

Book Buzz
On this Beautiful Planet Print Email

Author photo of neurophysician Oliver SacksNeurophysician Oliver Sacks recently wrote a moving reflection in the New York Times, an introspection that came about because Sacks was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Sacks is renowned not only for his work in neurology, but also for his books, among them Awakenings (the basis for the film starring Robin Williams) and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, a groundbreaking work about brain disorders.

In the NYT piece, "My Own Life", Sacks writes, "I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure."

Learn more about Oliver Sacks' work through his books, available at your library. (photo credit: Goodreads)

Great Reads for Black History Month Print Email

Collage of book covers: Boy, Snow, Bird by Oyeyemi; Americanah by Adichie; Radiance of Tomorrow by Beah

February is Black History Month, and what better way to celebrate it than with a stack of novels? Start with Americanah by prize-winning author Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie - her story of a young Nigerian woman's journey to rediscover herself and reinvent her life in the United States. If your tastes run to fantasy, check out Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi. This retelling of the Snow White tale examines issues of race and gender in a wholly unique story. And lose yourself in Radiance of Tomorrow, the debut novel by Ishmael Beah, a lyrical exploration of the struggle to preserve the past in aftermath of tragedy. Our list of great reads for Black History Month includes books by some of the most talented writers in the business - powerful choices for individuals and reading groups alike. 

A Year of Staff Picks - Island Library Print Email

In 2015, we are featuring staff picks from a different branch library each month. February brings us the Island Library, a small but vibrant place to find great books, music, movies and more!


Photos of Island Library Staff and Building


Located on beautiful Lummi Island, this branch is a destination all on its own. Island Library is a true community hub, and it's the first sight that greets visitors as they come off the ferry. The building was remodeled in 2013 and the new space is cozy and inviting, just right for locals and tourists alike to find a spot to curl up with a book or to enter into the fun with one of the library's frequent programs. Branch Manager Karly and her energetic staff extend the welcome, recommending items from all across the WCLS collection. Check out the thoughtful reviews that Island staff have to share with you - these folks know their stuff!

What Whatcom Was Reading, 2014 Print Email

I'll admit it - I'm one of those people who loves to know what others are reading. I've been known to sneak a peek at friends' bookshelves or to try to decipher a cover from across a crowded airport (much easier to do both before the spread of ebooks!). If you suffer from the same affliction, we're making it a little easier for you, by sharing the top 10 books most checked out by Whatcom readers in 2014. No, we can't tell you who read what, but based on the popularity of these titles, I'll bet you know someone who did crack a few of these covers last year. Check out the full list in our catalog - just click to place holds and see if your favorite read made the cut! (image credit: Wikipedia)

Fiction's Grumpy Old Men Print Email

Book cover for A Man Called Ove, featuring a man & small cat with their backs to the viewer

One thing I love about fiction is the way it can sneak up on you, teaching you greater truths when you least expect it. That was my experience reading Fredrik Backman's debut novel A Man Called Ove. This is an absolutely marvelous character study, the gradual revelation of a man. Ove seems crusty and grumpy on the outside -- okay, on the inside too -- but the way Backman slowly reveals his story, we get to know him as so much more. There were many laugh-out-loud moments for me, particularly as Ove encounters more and more of the world around him, despite his best efforts. Ultimately a tender and hilarious story with lots to say about relationships, connections and the way life really goes. For more character-driven books, check out our list of fiction's grumpy old men - and don't miss A Man Called Ove!

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