The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Reviewed by Holly (Library Patron)

This is a classic who dun-it mystery. As I read the book I was reminded of how much detective work has advanced in recent years. The book was written in a different time and place. Of course, Christie’s excellent writing transports the readers to that time and place. The characters are well developed and keep you guessing if they did it. I found myself playing a perpetual game of CLUE in my head. The ending was not an easy guess as it is in some murder mysteries. I found it to be a very pleasant read.

Available through the Bridges Library System

All That She Carried by Tiya Miles

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)
All That She Carried, winner of the 2021 National Book Award for nonfiction, is a must-read for anyone interested in American history, genealogy, or museums. Author Tiya Miles begins with a cotton sack–carried by a nine-year-old girl named Ashley and embroidered with Ashley’s story by her granddaughter 70 years later. From the sack and its five-line message, Miles traces the lives of Black women from the 1830s through the 1970s.

Miles uses almost every discipline in her quest to find out all she can about Ashley, her mother Rose, her daughter Rosa, and her granddaughter Ruth. She points out that because women–especially enslaved women–have rarely been viewed as worthy of mention in the historical record, a researcher has to get very creative when searching for clues about their lives. Genealogy, botany, art history, sewing, and literary criticism all take center stage in different chapters. In this multidisciplinary approach Miles emulates the former occupant of her Harvard office, distinguished women’s historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. (You’ll remember her from the oft-quoted line, “Well-behaved women rarely make history.”)

My only quibble with the book is Miles’s writing style. She has also written novels, and in this nonfiction book I worry that she takes too much poetic license in her descriptions. The act of writing history does require some imagination, but “hard” history should never give more detail than the author is prepared to back up with research. (I’m looking at you, Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.)

I sincerely hope that Tiya Miles continues with her innovative approach to seeking and writing Black women’s history. I look forward to more excellent books from her in the future.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Reviewed by Holly (Library Patron)

This is the first book that I’ve read by this author. It is a very well written book. Her descriptions are wonderful ( although sometimes difficult) to read and digest. The book is very intense as it tackles the sensitive topic of race. I’ve heard (after reading this book) that this author is known for writing books that deal with topics that are relevant and putting the characters in a situation where they have to make a difficult decision. There were many twists and turns in the plot. Readers might expect that as the two main characters are: Ruth ( a black neonatal nurse), and Turk (a white supremacist). I would recommend this book with the warning that it deals with the sensitive topic of RACE.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC PICOULT)

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! by Satoru Yamaguchi and Nami Hidaka

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

I’ve now experienced this story (which for brevity, I’ll just call My Next Life) twice, once as an anime and now as the manga. My Next Life is about Katarina Claes, a noble in a land of magic. Katarina is more than she seems, however. A high school student has found herself in Katarina’s place after dying in a traffic accident. BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! Katarina is a villain in a dating sim the high schooler was playing the night before her death. To avoid all the bad endings slated for Katarina’s character, she has to navigate her new life carefully; antics ensue.

My Next Life is such a sweet, cute story with lovable characters and a great setting. It’s great for preteens and teens looking to ease their way into anime/manga.

Located in Teen Manga (TEEN MANGA YAMAGUCHI)

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

As a lover of mystery, I picked this title up thinking it would be similar to Shari Lapena’s An Unwanted Guest. It is in that both are set in exotic lodge retreats, in the dead of winter and with shifting narration between characters. This novel however is about a group of seven old friends who come together every year to celebrate the New Year. I liked this book in particular because it is clear early in the novel that one guest dies though you don’t know which until the very end. On the surface, the guests enjoy spending time reminiscing about their pasts but beneath, old secrets bubble ominously like hot tar, threatening to seep through the thin connections the friends still maintain. Short chapters made it too easy for me to say, “Just another few pages,” and if you love mystery, you’ll feel the same way!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC FOLEY)