Category Archives: Recommendations

Valentine’s Book Recs 2024

It’s that time of year again when love is in the air and in the pages –check out our Faculty and Staff recommendations for romantic reads below!

Love in the time of Serial Killers   by Alicia Thompson

Recommended by Dr. Pfannenstiel

While writing her doctoral dissertation, the protagonist moves to Florida to sell her father’s house – and falls in love with her neighbor whom she suspects is a serial killer. This is such a lighthearted romance read. There are so many misunderstandings, mixed in with the real pressures of navigating imposter syndrome, higher education, and real life – all at the same time. That level of real-ness really resonated, making the romance tropes even more enjoyable.

Check out a free physical copy with your Lancaster Libraries card here.

Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross

Recommended by Dr. Baldys

Two rival journalists fall in love while exchanging letters during a magical war. This book is an enjoyable blend of period piece (think British World War 2 vibes) plus an enemies-to-conspirators-to-lovers plotline, seasoned with magical realism and Ross’s lyrical prose. I’ve been on a YA kick recently and found Ross’s novel to be a standout: enchanting and satisfying without being sensationalist, and legitimately well written, too. Enjoy!

Check it out here!

Enchanted to Meet You by Meg Cabot

Recommended by Heather Verani

This paranormal romantic comedy novel is about a self-made witch who must team up with a handsome stranger to help protect her village from an otherworldly force. With the tag line of “It’s magic when you meet your match,” this book is an easy to read, slice of cheesy romance that we all need in our lives. I first picked up this book because the title is a line from the Taylor Swift song “Enchanted.” I love both witchy books and the romance genre, so I thought this would be a fun read!

Check out a physical copy for free with your Lancaster Libraries Card!

The Only Purple House in Town by Ann Aguirre

Recommended by Becca Betty

This book flirts with the supernatural and interweaves romance and found family as a group of strangers begin renting rooms together in The Only Purple House in Town. The main character, Iris Collins, has failed repeatedly to meet her family’s expectations and is struggling to find her place in the world. She inherits a house from a deceased relative and begins refurbishing and renting out the rooms to people that at first seem like unlikely misfits. The novel follows the repairing of the house and the hearts of its residents, embracing the human and the monstrous to overcome stereotypes about success, queer relationships, and what it means to be a family. Whimsy, sweet, and soulful, this book is an excellent read for anyone looking to be reassured that they can find love in themselves and others.

Access it for free online through Hoopla with a Lancaster Libraries Card!

Spooky Media Recommendations Fall 2023

With fall break upon us here are some spooky media recommendations from the ENWL department to bring some haunting charm to your break!

 

It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (1966)

Recommended by Dr. Nicole Pfannenstiel, this Charles M. Schultz Peanuts classic follows the shenanigans of Charlie Brown and company as they go trick or treating and await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin on Halloween Night. Directed by Bill Melendez, the movie first aired on TV in 1966. Dr. P writes “So, it’s not spooky – but it is a great story about belief and care for our fellow human when our beliefs don’t match. It includes the usual subtle existential dread of most Charlie Brown stories making it incredibly relatable. My son always gets so excited for trick-or-treating, only to be let down when the whole event only lasts about an hour and a half. He can empathize with Charlie every year, while also seeing the care that others extend Linus while he awaits the Great Pumpkin.”

And while until 2020 it aired for free on TV for over 54 years every fall, Apple TV+ has now made it exclusive to their streaming service. So now you can access it through Apple TV+ for a fee and while they are having a free weekend to watch it (Article on how to watch for free 2023 ) you must possess an Apple affiliated device to access it.

You can also get it out from the Lancaster Public Library on DVD for free: We can wait for the Great Pumpkin together:)

 

Les Diaboliques (1955)

Recommended by Dr. Jill Craven, this 1955 film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot is a psychological horror/thriller that “takes place at a French boarding school where the headmaster has an ill wife and a mistress who conspire to murder him, but things go awry….” Dr. Craven let us in on the cool fact that “this film was optioned by director Clouzot before Hitchcock could get it!” She also states that “it has a number of twists and turns that really make the film stand out, and the performances are super!” and that it is spooky in the similar way to the The Turn of the Screw, a novella by Henry James first published in 1898. You can access the film (with complete English subtitles since the movie is in French) for free on YouTube Watch it here!

 

What Moves the Dead

This novel, written by T. Kingfisher and recommended by Dr. Emily Baldys, strikes a balance between horror and humor. “Published in 2022, this novella offers a modern twist on Edgar Allan Poe’s classic story ‘The Fall of the House of Usher.’ Kingfisher cleverly updates Poe’s tale by adding ecological themes and an engaging nonbinary protagonist, Alex Easton. Alex must unravel a mystery to discover the unsettling secret that’s possessing not only their childhood friend, but the local wildlife and landscape, too.” Dr. Baldys writes that “I really enjoyed this book’s Gothic vibes, as well as its witty, bold protagonist. Plus, there are zombie rabbits, bleeding fungi, sleepwalkers, and a cranky British mycologist — what’s not to love? Hat tip to my student Liana Ockenhouse, who recommended Kingfisher to me; now I’m passing on the favor.”

It is available as an ebook through the Millersville McNairy Library Read me!

or as an ebook, physical copy, and audiobook through the Lancaster Public Library Check it out!

 

“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

Heather Verani recommends Joyce Carol Oates classic short story that depicts a casual encounter with the uncanny. “Set in the 1960’s, this short story preys upon every woman’s worst fear. Filled with tension and female terror ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been’ recounts 15-year-old Connie’s interaction with the odd and frightening Arnold Friend. With heavy imagery and symbolism, along with an ambiguous ending, this short piece of literature will leaving you guessing about what actually happened between Connie and Arnold. I first read this short story during my Sophomore year at Millersville in Dr. Rineer’s Stranger Things literature course. The fact that the buildup of terror and fear is palpable in the book is what scared me so much during my first reading of it, and it quickly became one of my favorite spooky stories.”

Here is a free pdf copy: https://www.npsd.k12.nj.us/cms/lib04/NJ01001216/Centricity/Domain/118/Where_Are_You_Going_Where_Have_You_Been.PDF

 

Over the Garden Wall (2015)

This one season animated TV show produced by Cartoon Network presents vignettes of two brothers lost in a mystical woods as they try to navigate (and survive) their surroundings, relationships, and fate itself. Combining whimsical storytelling and creepy characters with soulful jazzy musical numbers, this cult classic is a great watch on a fall weekend. From zombie pumpkin scarecrows and a horrible mythical beast, to bossy bluebirds and crooning bullfrogs, this exploration of unreality has it all. I’m drawn back to this show every time the weather starts to turn –it’s like a glowing lantern in the dark that helps keep the beast away.

Over the Garden Wall is currently available to stream on Hulu and on DVD from the Lancaster Public Library: Borrow me!

We hope you like our recommendations and have a wonderful, restful Fall Break!