Staff Picks

All of these books are available at Cortland Free Library or through the Finger Lakes Library System. 

Abigail’s Pick
The False Prince  by Jennifer Nielsen 
       In this first book in a remarkable trilogy, an orphan is forced into a twisted game with deadly stakes.
       Choose to lie…or choose to die. In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify
 the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator
 of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete
 for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than
 questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he
 will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.
 As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of 
 treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous
than all of the lies taken together. An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

 Aimee’s Pick
Maybe You Should Tak to Someone  by  Lori Gottlieb

       One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes  
 her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose of­fice she
 suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from
 Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but.
 As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients’ lives — a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young
 newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing
 gets better, and a twenty-something who can’t stop hooking up with the wrong guys — she finds that the questions
 they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell.
 With startling wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient,
examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire,
meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change.

Alizabeth’s Pick
The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

    In the spring of 1984, high school students Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fell deeply, irrevocably in love.
 Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for one another seemed to defy the realities of life
 in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. But as the summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen
 events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths.
 Now, twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson are summoned back to Oriental for the funeral of Tuck Hostetler,
 the mentor who once gave shelter to their high school romance. Neither has lived the life they imagined . . .
 and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever changed their lives. As Amanda and Dawson carry out
 the instructions Tuck left behind for them, they realize that everything they thought they knew — about Tuck,
 about themselves, and about the dreams they held dear — was not as it seemed. Forced to confront painful
 memories, the two former lovers will discover undeniable truths about the choices they have made. And in the
course of a single, searing weekend, they will ask of the living, and the dead: Can love truly rewrite the past?

Georgette’s Pick
The Library Book by Susan Olean

  On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed,
 the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm.
 As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous:
 it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed
 four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene,
 but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—
 and if so, who? Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning 
 New Yorker reporter and  New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely
 compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never
been done before. In The Library Book, Orlean chronicles the LAPL fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger,
crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries across the country
and around the world, from their humble beginnings as a metropolitan charitable initiative to their current status as a cornerstone of national identity;
brings each department of the library to vivid life through on-the-ground reporting; studies arson and attempts to burn a copy of a book herself;
reflects on her own experiences in libraries; and reexamines the case of Harry Peak,the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire
to the LAPL more than thirty years ago.

Jaymie’s Pick
Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

  As the founder of the lifestyle website and CEO of her own media company,
 Rachel Hollis developed an immense online community by sharing tips for better living while fearlessly
 revealing the messiness of her own life.
 Now, in this challenging and inspiring new book, Rachel exposes the twenty lies and misconceptions that too often
 hold us back from living joyfully and productively, lies we’ve told ourselves so often we don’t even hear them anymore.

 With painful honesty and fearless humor, Rachel unpacks and examines the falsehoods that once left her feeling
 overwhelmed and unworthy, and reveals the specific practical strategies that helped her move past them.
 In the process, she encourages, entertains, and even kicks a little butt, all to convince you to do whatever it takes
 to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be. With unflinching faith and rock-hard
tenacity,  Girl, Wash Your Face  shows you how to live with passion and hustle–and how to give yourself grace without giving up.

 Linda’s Pick
Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids by David Walsh
  Backed by science and filled with stories, Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids finds the practical advice in groundbreaking
 scientific headlines about memory, language, emotions, nutrition, play, and more. Dr. Walsh equips you with usable
 information about exercise, sleep, emotional intelligence, connection—all of which work together to help kids reach
 their full potential. Some of the recent discoveries in neuroscience confirm age-old parental wisdom, while other
 discoveries will prompt some immediate changes. With accessible explanations and handy tool kits for building your
 personalized brain-wise parenting plan, Dr. Walsh helps you help your kids grow up healthy, happy, and smart as you
 navigate today’s unique challenges—including bullying, stress, and the risks of the Internet and other digital media.
 Particularly timely in its information on the highly adaptable teenage brain and how to help adolescents manage the
 transition into adulthood, this is a personal plan for the most important job in the world: raising kids.

Lois’s Pick
Valiant Ambition by Nathaniel Philbrick

  In September 1776, the vulnerable Continental Army under an unsure George Washington
 (who had never commanded a large force in battle) evacuates New York after a devastating defeat by the
 British Army. Three weeks later, near the Canadian border, one of his favorite generals, Benedict Arnold,
 miraculously succeeds in postponing the British naval advance down Lake Champlain that might have
 ended the war. Four years later, as the book ends, Washington has vanquished his demons and Arnold
 has fled to the enemy after a foiled attempt to surrender the American fortress at West Point to the British.
 After four years of war, America is forced to realize that the real threat to its liberties might not come from
 without but from within. ​


Lorri’s Pick
Papa, My Father: a Celebration of Dads by Leo Buscaglia

  While relating specific events which he remembers about his own father, Leo Buscaglia has written this book 
“in celebration of all fathers.” Readers are reminded that seemingly ordinary events can forever remind us
  of a cherished family member. 




Steve’s Pick
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when
 Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its
 startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society—
 where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve.


Tammy’s Pick
Educated: a Memoir by Tara Westover

  Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho,
 she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her
 “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the
 winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse.
 Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was
 so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and
 no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. Then, lacking any formal education,
 Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar
 to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world
events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over
oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far,
if there was still a way home.​

Theresa’s Pick
The View from Alameda Island by Robyn Carr
  From the outside looking in, Lauren Delaney has a life to envy—a successful career, a solid marriage to a
 prominent surgeon and two beautiful daughters who are off to good colleges. But on her twenty-fourth
 wedding anniversary Lauren makes a decision that will change everything.
 Lauren won’t pretend things are perfect anymore. She defies the controlling husband who has privately
 mistreated her throughout their marriage and files for divorce. And as she starts her new life, she meets a
 kindred spirit—a man who is also struggling with the decision to end his unhappy marriage.
 But Lauren’s husband wants his “perfect” life back and his actions are shocking. Facing an uncertain future,
 Lauren discovers an inner strength she didn’t know she had as she fights for the love and happiness she deserves.