Ferndale Library Staff Recommends: Jessica's Picks

Get to know our new director. Jessica Keyser suggests the newest titles by her long-held favorites (one of which just recently won the National Book Award! Fine taste, indeed).

Hello again, from the Ferndale Public Library.

This round of personal picks is special since it introduces .

Jessica comes to us from the Hazel Park Memorial Library where she served as director for almost three years. Though she's intoned warm reverence for her time spent, the staff and the community back there, she's particularly excited to settle into our community, here with our own quirky staff, working as the library director of her current hometown!

A born and raised Michigander, Jessica attained her master's degree in Library Science from Wayne State University in 2008.

When she can find the time between work and family, Jessica's an avid reader and a sporadic writer (also an English Major). It's no surprise, then, that she's already turned her way through some of the most critically acclaimed works of 2012. 

Jessica's Picks

New Books by my Favorite Authors

By Jessica Keyser

This has been an exciting year for literature, as several of my favorite authors have published wonderful new novels. Here are a few of the best books I have read in 2012 by some of the greatest writers of our time.

Round House by Louise Erdrich 


Part mystery, part coming-of-age tale, Round House is the story of Joe, a thirteen year-old boy growing up on an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota in 1988. Joe’s mother is the victim of a brutal attack, and Joe and his friends are determined to find justice for her after the official investigation fails. Despite the heavy subject matter, Erdrich inserts moments of levity via a cast of larger-than life characters. Although a work of fiction, Round House brings attention to very real issues of violence against women in reservations that persist today.


Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver


Kingsolver has a special talent for making the most confounding issues of our time personal. She does not fail in her latest novel, Flight Behavior. Set in an economically distressed rural Appalachian town, the characters in Flight Behavior are confronted with the effects of climate change when an enormous colony of Monarch butterflies descends upon a failing farm. The discovery of the butterflies sets off a larger debate about science and faith in the small town, while simultaneously awakening a desire in the heart of Dellarobia, the novel’s central character, to escape the confines of her life on the farm.


In the Kingdom of Men by Kim Barnes


In the Kingdom of Men is a rags-to-riches story about Gin and Mason McPhee, a young American couple whose lives are transformed when Mason takes a job with Aramco, an American oil company in Saudi Arabia. Mason and Gin go from desperate poverty to a life of luxury on the American compound practically overnight. But they soon learn that the luxury comes at a high price; to travel outside the gated compound is dangerous, and to question the authority of the ruling elite could cost them everything.


Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter


I have to say that this was just an incredibly fun book to read. It is an epic romance that takes place over several decades, in both Italy and in Hollywood, California. Walter engages the reader in two seemingly disparate tales that intersect is surprising ways. Poignant and funny, this is a gorgeous book that reinvents the most classic of themes, the redemptive power of love.


Ferndale Patch thanks Jessica Keyser and Jeff Milo at the Ferndale Public Library for contributing to Patch! Check back soon for more ideas from library staff. Are you looking for recommendations on something specific? Email jessica.schrader@patch.com, and we'll pass on your questions to the library.


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