Recommended Reads for Adults 2023

Recommended Reads: September 2023

September 8 is Ampersand Day!

Some authors love it, others can’t stand it, perhaps even more divisive than the much-contested Oxford Comma, is that little piece of punctuation, our friend, The Ampersand. Outcast from “professional writing,” the ampersand as we know it today developed out of  shorthand “et” – Latin for “and.” But the ampersand has a variety of uses in many different areas, with examples including denoting partnerships between two or more people (Tiffany & Co.), crediting screenwriters who wrote in close collaboration, applications in computer coding languages, and to combine two unique words into one idea (Rhythm & Blues, or R&B). It's even in our library's name! So, without further ado, let’s celebrate our trampled-upon friend with these book titles that deliberately chose to skip the “and” in favor of &.

4x3 grid with individual book covers

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin, 2019. (DB99016)
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation—marriage.

Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all. – Book Description from the Publisher.

Sorcery & Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia Wrede & Caroline Stevermer, 2003. (DB57183)
A great deal is happening in London this season. For starters, there's the witch who tried to poison Kate at Sir Hilary's induction into the Royal College of Wizards. (Since when does hot chocolate burn a hole straight through one's dress?!) Then there's Dorothea. Is it a spell that's made her the toast of the town--or could it possibly have something to do with the charm-bag under Oliver's bed? And speaking of Oliver, just how long can Cecelia and Kate make excuses for him? Ever since he was turned into a tree, he hasn't bothered to tell anyone where he is! The girls might think it all a magical nightmare . . . if only they weren't having so much fun! – Book Description from the Publisher.

& Sons by David Bilbert, 2013. (DB77348)
The funeral of Charles Henry Topping on Manhattan’s Upper East Side would have been a minor affair (his two-hundred-word obit in The New York Times notwithstanding) but for the presence of one particular mourner: the notoriously reclusive author A. N. Dyer, whose novel Ampersand stands as a classic of American teenage angst. But as Andrew Newbold Dyer delivers the eulogy for his oldest friend, he suffers a breakdown over the life he’s led and the people he’s hurt and the novel that will forever endure as his legacy. He must gather his three sons for the first time in many years—before it’s too late. – Book Description from the Publisher.

A Boat, A Whale & A Walrus : Menus and Stories by Renee Erickson, with Jess Thomson, 2014. (DBC00418)
One of the country’s most acclaimed chefs, James Beard Award Winner Renee Erickson is the owner of several Seattle restaurants: The Whale Wins, Boat Street Kitchen, The Walrus and the Carpenter, and Bateau, among others. This iconic cookbook is her love letter to the fresh seasonal food that defines the Pacific Northwest. Defined by the bounty of the Puget Sound region, as well as by French cuisine, it’s filled with seasonal, personal menus like Renee’s Fourth of July Crab Feast, Wild Foods Dinner, and a fall pickling party. Home Cooks will cherish Erickson’s simple yet elegant recipes such as Roasted Chicken with Fried Capers and Preserved Lemons, Harissa-Rubbed Roasted Lamb, and Molasses Spice Cake. Renee Erikson’s food, casual style, and appreciation of simple beauty is an inspiration to readers and eaters in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. – Book Description from the Publisher. Locally Produced in Audio at WTBBL.

Love & Saffron : A Novel of Friendship, Food, & Love by Kim Fay, 2022. (BR24218, DB106798)
27-year-old Joan Bergstrom, a budding food-writer in Los Angeles, didn’t expect a reply from the Northwest Home & Life magazine columnist Mrs. Imogen Fortier when she sent off her piece of fan mail and sachet of saffron, let alone the friendship that followed. Despite the 32-year age difference between the two women, their occasional chat about food and sharing recipes for creamy risotto all Milanese, moules marinière, roast chicken spiced with cinnamon and cloves evolves into something far more. As forgotten flavors surface memories and new tastes open to unexpected joys, the honest and vulnerable exchange between the women becomes an intimate bond and shared belief that the key to a savored life is delicious food, paired with love, to sustain us during our darkest hours. – Book Description from WTBBL Staff.

Ander & Santi Were Here by Jonny Garza Villa, 2023. (DB114347 in process at NLS)
The smell of pan dulce, the mixture of Spanish and English in the streets of San Antonio, and especially their family’s taqueria, is all that Ander Martínez has ever known. The gap year is supposed to be for them to practice their murals before going to art school, and so, Ander’s family “fires” them to encourage their college preparation. No one expected the arrival of the hot new waiter, Santiago López Alvarado, Santi for short, and Ander to fall so effortlessly in love. Through Santi’s eyes, Ander discovers more about who they are and what they want their art to accomplish, as Santi finds home isn’t a place, but a person. Until ICE agents show up and they learn how fragile a sense of home is when love can only hold on so long when the whole world is against you. – Book Description from WTBBL Staff.

Legends & Lattes : A Novel of High Fantasy, Low Stakes, & Good Company by Travis Baldree, 2022. (BR024733 in process at NLS, DB111420)
In Legends & Lattes, Washington author Travis Baldree tells the story of the orc Viv, who, after years of tireless battles, is hanging up her sword for good and turning her sights to her next challenge: opening and running the first café in town. With the help of new friends, and the threat of enemies both old and new, Viv faces challenge after challenge as she opens shop... the primary challenge being that no one seems to know what coffee even is! – Book Description by WTBBL Staff.

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan, 2010. (DB101568)
It all starts with a notebook hidden the favorite bookstore of 16-year-old Lily. Yearning for connection, inside the cover she’s written, “I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf please,” waiting for the right guy to come along and accept its dares. The holiday season has left Dash alone and out of sorts, happens to be the first guy to stumble across the notebook and accept the dare. Lily & Dash push each other out of their comfort zones, exchange their deepest secrets, and maybe even fall in love … all while never meeting. As they pass the notebook back and forth all across New York City their relationship builds through their dares, dreams, and desires, but can their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook selves? Do you dare to find out? – Book Description from WTBBL Staff.

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher, 2022. (BR024549 in process at NLS, DB107704)
This isn’t the kind of fairytale where the princess marries a prince. It’s the one where she kills him. Marra never wanted to be a hero. As the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter, she escaped the traditional fate of princesses, of being married away for the sake of an uncaring throne. But, her sister wasn’t so fortunate – and after years of silence, Marra is done watching her suffer the abuse at the hands of the powerful prince. Seeking help for her rescue mission, Marra is offered the tools she needs, but only if she can complete three impossible tasks. But as is the way in tales of princes and magic, doing the impossible is only the beginning. Hero or not – joined by a disgraced ex-knight, a reluctant fairy godmother, an enigmatic grave-witch and her fowl familiar – Marra may finally have the courage to save her sister and topple a throne. – Book Description from the Publisher.

Nouns & Verbs : New and Selected Poems by Campbell McGrath, 2019. (BR22813, DB96444)
Deeply personal but also expansive in its imaginative scope, Nouns & Verbs brings together thirty-five years of writing from Campbell McGrath, one of America’s most highly lauded poets. Offering a hint of where he’s headed while charting the territory already explored, McGrath gives us startlingly inventive new poems while surveying his previous work—lyric poems, prose poems, and a searing episodic personal epic, “An Odyssey of Appetite,” exploring America’s limitless material and spiritual hungers. Nothing is too large or small to remain untouched by McGrath’s voracious intellect and deep empathy—everything from Japanese eggplant to a can of Schaefer beer to the smokestacks of Chicago comes in for a close and perceptive look even as McGrath crosses borders and boundaries, investigating the enduring human experiences of love and loss. A book that stands on its own solid foundation, Nouns & Verbs captures the voice and vision of a truly singular poet.  – Book Description from Goodreads.

Loulou & Yves : The Untold Story of Loulou de la Falaise and the House of Saint Laurent by Christopher Petkanas, 2018. (DB92486)
In this stunning new insight into the world of High Fashion, professional journalist Christopher Petkanas opts for oral history, letting LouLou de La Falaise and her flashy circle tell her tale. Dauntless, “in the bone” style made Loulou de La Falaise one of the great fashion firebrands of the twentieth century. Descending in a direct line from Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, she was celebrated at her death in 2011, aged just sixty-four, as the “highest of haute bohemia,” a feckless adventuress in the art of livingand the one person Yves Saint Laurent could not live without. Yves was the most influential designer of his times; possibly also the most neurasthenic. In an exquisitely intimate, sometimes painful personal and professional relationship, Loulou was his creative right hand, muse, alter ego, and the virtuoso behind all the flamboyant accessories that were a crucial component of the YSL “look.” For thirty years, until his retirement in 2002, Yves relied on Loulou to inspire him, make him laugh and talk him off the ledgethe enchanted formula that brought him from one historic collection to the next. – Book Description from the Publisher.

Ben & Jerry’s, the Inside Scoop : How Two Real Guys Built a Business with Social Conscience and a Sense of Humor by Fred Lager, 1994. (BR09763, DB39204)
A former CEO of Ben & Jerry's tells how two '60s holdovers built a single ice cream store into one of America's hottest companies. From modest beginnings--opening their first ice cream shop in a renovated gas station--to entrepreneurial challenges, including their clash with Häagen-Dazs, to becoming a multimillion-dollar company, Lager provides an insightful insider's account of Ben & Jerry's ice cream empire. – Book Description from the Publisher.