Neil Gaiman’s books may or may not be your cup of tea, but you will not find a more eloquent fan of reading or libraries anywhere. He made a remark supporting the awesome job librarians do with the thought, “Anybody online can find a book they know they want to read, but it’s so much harder to find that book you didn’t know you wanted to read.” And that’s what librarians do. They can point you to a book or author you never even knew you needed.

So, in that frame of mind, I asked the staff here for some interesting book recommendations.

Ms. Rita, our adult services librarian, loved the classics “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee and “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott. She described the well-loved characters and the moving ups and downs in the stories with a smile. They are classics because they are so well-written; the humor and emotions are universal. She also recommended a true crime book set in McCook called “In Cold Storage” by James W. Hewitt, who was a history professor at UNL. It’s about a gory double murder back in the 1970s. How’s that for variety?

Our new intern, Bethany, loves Greek mythology and recommended two excellent titles on the subject. First, the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series by Rick Riordan. You might have seen the movies, but the books are always better. To read the ancient myths these contemporary books are based on, she suggests “Ingri and Edgar d’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths.”

Just listen to the way Mr. Mike, the youth services director, describes a favorite series: “I have spent many a day exploring the backcountry of the Cowboy State with Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett, the main character of the C.J. Box novels. From the opening paragraph of ‘Open Season,’ the first of the 17 Joe Pickett novels, to the last line of ‘Vicious Circle,’ Joe has tracked and brought to justice more that his fair share of bad guys (and gals). Our library has five of the Pickett series and of those I recommend ‘Stone Cold,’ which is one of the newest books. I became so enthralled with the character I bought many of the earlier books to fill in the blanks.”

I could listen to Mr. Mike describe books all day, so I asked him to continue. “As a child growing up in Middle America during the early 1950s, I still remember the countless adventures and misadventures of being a baby boomer boy in a neighborhood filled with other baby boomer boys. I can’t go into details about our many excursions into the world, but I recommend Bill Bryson’s ‘The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid’ for an excellent sampler of a simpler time to grow up in America. Although Bryson grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, I can’t help but feel that his youth was very much like my own. It is a wonderful journey down memory lane that always tugs at my heart.”

Mr. Jose, our library cataloger, really enjoyed one of our newest books. “’Eat That Frog’ by Brian Tracy is a self-help book about overcoming procrastination. At 108 pages, this book cuts right to the core of why it’s important to plan, prioritize and push away all distractions, and if you procrastinate on reading it, well, it won’t take long anyway.”

He also had interesting things to say about “The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories” by Mark Twain. “’The Mysterious Stranger,’ one of the nine shorts included in this collection, is by far my favorite. The story, set in a sleepy Austrian village, is told through the eyes of an old man reminiscing about his youth. Although much darker than Twain’s other works, the story still delivers his well-known wit, while giving a good glance at what happens when humans are greeted by greed, hypocrisy, herd mentality and Satan’s nephew.”

I am a big fan of wordless picture books. I love how the illustrator uses subtle clues in the artwork to tell the story. Some of the best I’ve seen are “Journey,” “Quest” and “Return” by Aaron Becker. This trilogy of picture books is truly magical. The illustrations are so vibrant and imaginative. I want to go on a journey.

And I can’t say enough good things about “Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics” by Jason Porath. It spotlights weird, strong and fierce women from history and mythology who you’ve probably never heard of but now definitely what to learn about. I was fascinated by the Nachthexen, the Night Witches, young Russian female fighter pilots who bombed the Nazis during World War II with only obsolete biplanes. And the fact that the author used to work for Pixar will give you a hint how awesome the artwork in the book is.

You can find copies of all these books at Schuyler Public Library. Need an inspiration? Want to try something new? Want more of what you love? We’ll help you find that book you didn’t know you wanted. Just ask your librarian at your library.


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