Arts and Entertainment

Off the Shelf: LibraryReads: a monthly list of top new books for adults

Looking for the perfect book for these long winter nights? Tired of perusing the New York Times Best Seller Lists or trying to scribble down the title of a good book while listening to NPR? Librarians across the country have banded together to create a new list of great books to suit the tastes of any reader. The LibraryReads list is a monthly selection of the top 10 books published in the current month as selected by librarians nationwide.  


To find this new list on the NOLS website (, click “Language and Literature” under the E-resources tab, and select “LibraryReads List”. You also can find print copies of the list at the customer service desk at any library branch. All these books are in the NOLS collection and can be found online at by clicking “Catalog.”


November’s Top Pick is “Bellman & Black” by Diane Setterfield. This is a lyrically written gothic novel set on the English countryside. The book begins with a young William Black killing a bird with his slingshot to impress his friends. Many years later, this small moment of cruelty comes back to haunt William as the happy life he has built starts to slip away. He must make an unsavory bargain with a stranger to save what little he has left.


If you are a fan of historical fiction, LibraryReads recommends “The Cartographer of No Man’s Land,” by P.S. Duffy. Set in 1916, this is the story of Angus McGrath, who leaves his home in Canada to fight on the front lines in France during World War I. It also is the story of the family Angus left behind in a small fishing village in Nova Scotia, told through the eyes of his 13-year-old son, Simon Peter.


This extremely well-researched, character-driven first novel describes in engrossing detail both the terror of the battlefield and the emotional havoc of the home front.


The LibraryReads list also includes several picks for mystery-lovers. “Through Evil Days” by Agatha Award winner Julia Spencer-Fleming is the eighth installment in the eventful lives of Episcopal priest Clare Fergusson and Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne.


A blazing fire leaves two adults dead and one child missing even as Clare and Russ grapple with new challenges in their professional and personal lives.


Readers can start with this gritty crime novel or pick up the first in the series, “In the Bleak Midwinter,” which, even though set in New York, might be especially appropriate for the long winter nights of western Washington.


For more great librarian-tested books, try LibraryReads!


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