The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri
Books & Authors

Library Staff Picks

If there's one thing librarians know, it's books. So if you're looking for a good read, check out this list of titles enjoyed by Springfield-Greene County Library staff. For an ongoing list of suggestions, follow the Library on Pinterest and check out the Staff Picks board

Adult Fiction


The Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. Enjoy "Game of Thrones"? Try this! Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry. He is treated as an outcast by all the royalty except King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz's blood runs the magic Skill--and the darker knowledge of a child rejected by his family. -Aleah W., Brentwood Branch




The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick. After one year of processing his grief, Arthur Pepper decides that it is time to sort and give away his late wife's possessions. He comes upon a charm bracelet that he had never seen before. Curiosity sets in, and Arthur takes a trip to search for the stories associated with the charms on his wife's bracelet. On his journey, Arthur learns about his wife's past before they met and finds a way to embrace life once again. -Vanessa S., The Library Center



The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. Young Esperanza Cordero offers readers a snapshot of a single formative year spent in the Chicago barrio where her family recently moved. A novel in lyrical vignettes, this book can be read in one sitting--but Esperanza's story will stay with you long after. -Heather C., The Library Center




The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. Tom has seen his fair share of misery. A veteran of WWI, he’s ready to make a quiet life as a lighthouse keeper on secluded Janus Rock. He falls in love with local sweetheart Isabel and marital bliss ensues, save for their inability to have a child. When a boat carrying a dead man and an infant washes ashore, Isabel and Tom decide to keep her. It isn’t until they return to the mainland that they find out the true identity of the child. Will they continue living a lie or give up the baby they’ve wanted for so long? Get ready to cry. -Kasey G., The Library Station




Maestra by L.S. Hilton. How scandalous can one book get? Let me count the ways. This book follows protagonist Judith Rashleigh on her escapades through the London art scene, romantic getaways in the French Riviera and several beautiful European locations. Readers will move from a graphic sex scene to a surprise murder in the span of a few pages. This is a sensational thriller great for readers of erotica who are looking for something a little different. -Miranda S., The Library Station



The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Umberto Eco passed away earlier this year, so how better to honor his memory than by checking out his most enduring book? Set in a medieval monastery beset by a gruesome series of murders, “The Name of the Rose” is a mind-altering novel that is equal parts Sherlock Holmes-ian murder mystery, rigorously researched historical tale, conspiracy thriller, coming-of-age story and philosophical treatise. You won't look at the world in the same way after finishing it. -Zachary F., The Library Center



Sphere by Michael Crichton. "Sphere" is a sci-fi epic by the same author who brought you "Jurassic Park" and "The Lost World."  In this book, a group of scientists are gathered in the middle of the ocean and sent down to the floor to investigate a "foreign object." This book will blow your mind and leave you pondering the meaning of everything for at least a week. That is why I am happy to call this my favorite book ever. -Jacob D., Republic Branch




Tenth of December by George Saunders. No one captures the trials and triumphs of modern American life like George Saunders. This hilarious and heartbreaking collection of stories digs deep into the struggles that continue to make us human, even in a world increasingly overrun by technology, bureaucracy and others powers we can't control. It's entertaining and thought-provoking in equal measure. -Zachary F., The Library Center




Uprooted by Naomi Novik. "Uprooted" tells the story of a girl named Agnieszka who is "chosen" to be taken from her family and forced to live with the only man who can save her village from the evil within the woods. This is a great stand-alone title for those who love fantasy, strong-willed characters and just a touch of romance. -Alana M., The Library Center





Adult Nonfiction


Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. Gilbert shows how to use creativity and inspiration to enhance your life. She has a unique perspective with fascinating stories to back it up. The writing is fresh, funny, approachable and doesn't take itself too seriously. There ots of takeaways here. Would highly recommend for anyone who wants insight on living a more open, fearless, authentic life. -Charity J., Brentwood Branch



The Birth of Korean Cool : How One Nation is Conquering the World Through Pop Culture by Euny Hong. "The Birth of Korean Cool" describes how South Korea has grown from a struggling nation into a first world country that leads the world in pop culture and technology trends. I have been fascinated with South Korea for several years, and this book is an excellent read for anyone who is interested in learning more about the history of Korean pop culture, also known as K-Pop. -Alana M., The Library Center



The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. In this graphic memoir collection, we follow the author from Tehran to Vienna as she comes of age against the turbulent backdrop of the Islamic Revolution. Satrapi's images are stark but complex, conveying both the political and emotional upheaval of her childhood and adolescence. -Heather C., The Library Center




Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty. Caitlin Doughty recounts her time working as a crematory operator and the events leading her to this career. She tackles tough issues, such as death acceptance and funeral practices, with humor and candor and pushes us to look at how we think about death and, ultimately, life. I would recommend this in audiobook format; Doughty narrates and her delivery is impeccable. -Aleah W., Brentwood Branch


 The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer by Sydney Padua. A unique and whimsical combination of graphic novel and biography, this book tells the story of dynamic duo Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace, who unknowingly invented the computer and computer programming theory in the 1840s. As the nonfiction footnotes of the book tell us, Babbage and Lovelace died before building any of their designs. Above those footnotes, however, we get their story told in graphic novel format in an alternate reality in which they build the Difference Engine and use it to save the world! -Miranda S., The Library Station



Young Adult


Beastly by Alex Flynn. In this modern retelling of "Beauty and the Beast," a flaw is found in Kyle's perfect exterior and his not-so-perfect interior starts to show. Kyle soon has to learn what life is like for those who can’t buy and charm their way through life. Will Kyle figure out that looks aren’t everything? Can beauty be found within a beast? -Jennifer B., The Library Station




Noggin by John Corey Whaley. When 17-year-old Travis Coates was dying of cancer, he and his family agreed for his head to be cryogenically frozen by a company attempting to develop head transplant technology in the distant future. To their surprise, the science moves along quickly and Travis wakes up five years later with his head attached to a new body. Happy as he is to be alive, he now has to adjust to a world in which his family and friends are five years ahead of him. Heartfelt and funny, this is a book that will stick with me for a long time. -Heather C.D., The Library Center



Sold by Patricia McCormick. Taken from research about girls who had been sold into sex trafficking in Calcutta, ”Sold” draws the reader along with Lakshmi on her journey from dreaming of her future husband to trying to transcend her own body so she won’t know what is happening. “Sold” is far from sensationalized and is a wonderful way to address a hard but very realistic and timely topic. -Jennifer B., The Library Station







The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson and Beth Krommes. This is an illuminating and beautiful bedtime story. I could look at this book forever. Reading it is a great way to curl up and get ready to dream. -Stephanie W., The Library Center





Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee. Get your tissues ready! This is a beautiful and poetic story about the spiritual connection between humans and animals. Jules has suffered a heap of grief by the time she is 11, having lost her mother and her sister in a short time period. Left with only her father and the complexity of her loss, Jules finds grace in her connection to a little fox, her spirit animal. -Jeannine B., Brentwood Branch



Space Case by Stuart Gibbs. It’s a murder mystery on the moon! Twelve-year-old Dash lives on the first moon colony because his parents are scientists. When one of his fellow "moonies" is murdered, Dash is determined to figure out who the killer is. In addition to fascinating details about life on the moon, there are funny, relatable characters and a compelling mystery. -Heather C.D., The Library Center



Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. This is a darling story about a young girl named Sal and her search for her missing mother. She and her loony grandparents drive across the country in search for her mom. Meanwhile, Sal recounts a story about her friend Phoebe and a “crazy-lunatic.” This book made me laugh, it made me cry and it made me want to read it again! -Stephanie W., The Library Center





The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. A robot finds herself stranded on an island and has to learn how to survive in this strange new environment. I enjoyed the story being told from the robot's perspective. It's a fast read with an adventurous feel. This is a good family read-aloud book for grades 3 and up. -Charity J., Brentwood Branch


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