Staff share favourite December reads

Catherine Coles
Coles Notes

The staff of the County of L&A Libraries are avid readers and always eager to share their favourite books.

Here we bring you a list of some of the reads we’ve enjoyed this month. Some are brand new, and some are older but timely; there’s fiction and non-fiction and even a quasi-local mystery. Hopefully you’ll find something that piques your interest!

Karen N. suggests Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking

“The world-famous cosmologist and No. 1 best-selling author of A Brief History of Time leaves us with his final thoughts on the universe’s biggest questions in an accessible, posthumous work. Brief Answers to the Big Questions addresses some of our universe’s most fundamental questions from a uniquely humanist perspective.

“By merging scientific history with humanity’s future, the book dashes from the origins of the universe and the inside of black holes, to human space exploration and the dangers of super intelligent artificial intelligence in a grand and sweeping narrative.”

Shelby suggests Bird Box by Josh Malerman

“One day there is a report on the news. Someone tried to murder several people and then kill themselves after reportedly seeing some sort of creature. Newly-pregnant Mallory thinks nothing of it, until similar news reports are becoming more frequent. Soon there are multiple reports every day and people are afraid. They believe seeing the creature is what makes you go mad.

“To protect themselves, citizens make sure they have no chance of seeing the creature; they stay inside, board up windows, and wear blindfolds when they have to go outside. After her sister goes mad, Mallory finds an ad in the newspaper offering safety.

“Once there, Mallory adapts to her new life, while in constant fear for the safety of her future child. Jumping forward to the present, Mallory and the children are blindfolded in a row boat. They are navigating blindly, listening closely for signs of danger.

“Mallory is taking the children to safety, somewhere better than the tiny cabin they have spent the last four years in. Their destination will offer refuge and hope for the future — but only if they can make it there! Fans of the film A Quiet Place will no doubt love this similar premise.” Note: Bird Box will be released as a movie this month!

Marg suggests The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

“This is the fictionalized account of the horrifying time spent by Lale and Gita Sokolov in a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War  as relayed to the author in her interviews with Lale. It is a truly powerful, heartwrenching story of endurance in which he recounts the details of their lives at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

“This novel leads the reader through an emotional journey of the characters’ imprisonment, enduring the horrors of war and eventual freedom as Lale relates his truly remarkable story of survival. I would suggest to fans of historically-based fictional wartime novels such as Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith or The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.”

Andree suggests Bleeding Darkness by Brenda Chapman

“David McKenna is near death. As his family gathers by his bedside, it becomes clear that they are not a happy, coherent unit. None of the family seems to have recovered from the death, 14 years earlier, of a teenaged girl named Zoe.

“David’s son Tristan was Zoe’s boyfriend and the prime suspect in the murder, but was never arrested due to lack of evidence. When Tristan’s pregnant wife Vivian is murdered, he is once again a suspect as are the other members of this dysfunctional family.

“The local setting is an integral part of the story: it feels both familiar and exciting. Police officer Kala Stonechild and her boss Jacques Rouleau are strong, complicated characters that evolve as the series progresses.

“In Bleeding Darkness, the officers must untangle the web of deceit and procedural omissions of the first murder case to solve the second one. Each twist and turn brings them and the reader closer to the satisfying ending.”

Julie suggests 100 Fathoms Below by Steven L. Kent and Nicholas Kaufmann

“Fear of drowning, closed in spaces, trying to avoid being detected by Soviet submarines while an unknown entity is killing off your colleagues- this book has it all. 100 Fathoms Below takes place on a nuclear submarine during the Cold War.  The authors build the suspense perfectly as the crew has to take time out from their covert mission in Russian waters to battle a different sort of enemy that has taken over their submarine. You just never know what will be lurking in the deeps.”

All of these book can be reserve in a variety of formats from your library branch or online at

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