Staff picks for August

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 recently enjoyed. This month you’ll find a couple charming mainstream stories, a timely YA novel, and an apocalyptic thriller that hits a little too close to home.

Marg suggests The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey

“This charming character-driven story centered on curmudgeonly 79 year old Millicent (Missy) Carmichael of London, England. Missy is lonely and deeply depressed, mourning the loss of her husband and missing her beloved son and grandson now living in Australia. To add to this, she is estranged from her daughter after a terrible argument a few years ago. While out for a stroll in the park one morning Missy collapses and is cared for by passersby Sylvie and Angela who insist on taking her for coffee. This chance encounter develops into an unlikely friendship and introduces Missy to the new love of her life, Bob the Dog. As a favour to Angela, Missy begrudgingly agrees to temporarily take Bob in for another friend who going through a marriage breakup. As the story develops, we learn about tragic events that contributed to Missy’s cantankerous demeanor and we get to know the loveable, eccentric characters who came to her rescue that fateful day in the park. Little by little, Missy opens up her heart and realizes that life can be good again and it is never too late to give and receive forgiveness. In the vein of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine this book is filled with quirky and endearing characters you won’t soon forget.”


Coleen suggests Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

“Paul Tremblay delves into current events with his version of the apocalyptic genre in Survivor Song. Massachusetts is “ground zero” for a mutation of the rabies virus – it seems to have jumped from the animal host to human, and is much more virulent than the traditional rabies virus. I enjoyed the fast pace of the novel, which starts with our protagonist, Natalie, under quarantine (ringing some bells for all of us) flipping through social media posts suggesting the underlying themes of government incompetence and conspiracy theorists. As a fan of the genre, I enjoyed the references to other familiar apocalyptic/post- apocalyptic fiction. Tremblay paints ghostly images throughout, and serves up some retaliatory justice, quickly and efficiently. If you enjoyed, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Stephen King’s The Stand, or Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, give this quick paced apocalyptic thriller a try.”


Karen N suggests Five Wives by Joan Thomas

“Inspired by shocking real events, this is a fictionalized account of five women who are left behind in the rainforest of Ecuador after their missionary husbands are killed. Based on the real-life Operation Auca, in which five Christian missionaries were murdered when they attempted to contact the isolated Huaorani people in Ecuador, this atmospheric novel by Canadian writer Joan Thomas centres on the perspective of the men’s wives. She gets into the minds of her fascinating characters as they grapple with their doubts, deal with sudden fame, and continue with their evangelical work, while also showing the true, racist colours of the evangelicals and their mission.”


Jennifer suggests We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez

“This is a compelling story based on current events. This realistic tale documents a teen trio driven by desperation to undertake a dangerous journey to leave Mexico and cross the U.S. border. The heartbreaking account of their hometown struggles highlights the poverty and violence that mark their daily lives. When their terror reaches a tipping point, the teens make the difficult and necessary decision to leave their family and community in search of hope. It soon becomes clear in this powerful story that the road forward is just as horrifying as the situation they flee. Danger awaits them in the form of a horrifying train ride, blazing heat, brutal attacks, and more. This harrowing survival story is told from alternating points of view and spotlights the risks youth and adults alike undertake in a bid for freedom. This gripping tale underlines the urgency of action to address the issues which are as real as the references shared in the back”


Julie suggests How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior

“This is a delightful read in the vein of A Man Called Ove. I quite enjoyed the attitude of Veronica and her stubborn almost coldness (no pun intended) personality.  A great cast of characters: her housekeeper, grandson, a team of researchers, and most importantly the penguins especially Pip. It is Pip who eventually cracks through the ice of Veronica’s heart. Once you get the real story of why she is the way she is this book will warm your heart in spite of its polar location.”


All of these items are available in digital formats and can be reserved County of Lennox & Addington Libraries online at

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