July Staff Recommendations

Check out the latest books, DVDs, and CDs recommended by MPL staff!  If you’ve read or watched any of the items here, leave us a comment to tell us what you thought.

We also invite you to give us your recommendations for books and items you’d like to see at MPL.  Just fill out this online form!

July MPL Staff Recommendations



  • Maya’s Notebook, by Isabel Allende. “Riveting story about a teenage girl who has lived through more than most of us ever will in a lifetime.”  ~Julia
  • I Know This Much Is True, Wally Lamb. “This is a remarkable story of two brothers, Dominick is the last surviving caregiver of his twin brother Thomas who is suffering from schizophrenia. This book will take you behind the difficult journey of these two brothers.” ~Naomi
  • The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. “This title should be on the list of every fan of the post-apocalyptic genre. It is the story of a father and son (“each the other’s world entire”) who live on in what is left of a ruined world destroyed by an unknown disaster. In a world seemingly without hope, love remains.”  ~Jacqui

Young Adult Fiction

  • Every Other Day, by Jennifer Barnes.  “Every other day, Kali D’Angelo is a normal human high school student, on alternating days, she is a hunter of the creatures of the night.”  ~Marie
  • Terrier, by Tamora Pierce.  “In this first book of the series, we meet Beka Cooper, who chooses an unorthodox career for a young woman but remains true to herself and her strengths, despite the obstacles.  A great read!”  ~Elizabeth
  • After Tupac & D Foster, by Jacqueline Woodson.  “A beautiful story that takes place in Queens in the 90’s and details a friendship between tween girls and how Tupac’s music influences their connection to one another.”  ~Priscilla

Juvenile Fiction

  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, by Chris Grabenstein. “Mr. Lemoncello is a world famous board and video game creator who credits his success to the library he recreates and reopens which is amazingly modern and grand.  Explore Mr. Lemoncello’s new library through the exploits of twelve year old Kyle Keeley and eleven of his classmates. Adventure abounds in every chapter of the book.”  ~Rolando
  • The Island of Dr. Libris, by Chris Grabenstein. “Struggling with the separation of his parents, twelve year old Billy Gillfoyle find solace and escape on Dr. Libris Island that transforms Billy’s imaginings to reality. Author Chris Grabenstein writes another great tale of tween fantasy and adventure. The characters in the story and the book’s Author’s Note reveal an excellent bibliography literary classics that every child should explore and parent revisit.”  ~Rolando
  •  On the Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. “One of my absolute favorite books growing up (which I read over and over), this is the story of Laura Ingalls and her family in Minnesota. From their unique house built into a hill to the day it rained grasshoppers, to the mischief Laura and her sister Mary get into and a huge blizzard, this book will soon become one of your favorites as well.”  ~Jacqui

Picture Book Fiction

Science Fiction

  •  Quest for Lost Heroes, by David Gemmel. “I liked it a lot and someone said that it might appeal to people who like Game of Thrones.”  ~Sean
  • Retief of the CDT, by Keith Laumer.  “A collection of humorous science fiction stories about an intergalactic diplomat who’s actions are more typical of James Bond than a bureaucrat – light but fun reading.”  ~Robert
  • The Best of Cordwainer Smith, by Cordwainer Smith.  “A collection of some of the best short stories by a largely forgotten author, which depict a far future with a society that is utterly alien from our own – its the bizarre imaginative details that make these stories as memorable as they are. ”  ~Robert
  • Roadmarks, by Roger Zelazny.  “If you like science fiction AND driving your pickup truck, this is a must-read!”  ~John


  •  What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami. “A soothing, oddly funny memoir- each sections starts off about the author’s career as a hobby runner, but slowly trails off into musings about his writing career and personal philosophy. ” ~Dylan


  •  New Laurel’s Kitchen, by Laurel Robertson. [641.303 Rob]  “A great book for those who would like to consume less meat and those who are vegetarian and want to understand how to have a healthful diet.”  ~Beverly
  • A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander. [720.1 Ale] “This book engages you in thought about what makes a community, a neighborhood or a village. You don’t need to be an architect, a builder or even contemplating a new home to benefit from this book. It will give you reason to consider what makes human structures humane.” ~Beverly
  •  Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan. [741.5973 Vau]  “Saga is an insane, beautiful, sci-fi fantasy graphic novel that you have to read, because it’s depiction of emotions is raw and amazing.”  ~Sara
  • American Copia: An Immigrant Epic, by Javier O. Huerta. [811.6 Hue]  “A lyrical contemporary Mexican-American voice that is a must read – even for those who don’t ‘get poetry’!”  ~Priscilla


  • Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott. [DVD 791.43 Gla]  “A powerful, testosterone infused action drama with a tear-jerking end, this film includes memorable performances by Russell Crowe and legendary actors Richard Harris and Oliver Reed. Director Ridley Scott’s best work by all accounts.”  ~Richard
  • Mystery Train, directed by Jim Jarmusch. [DVD 791.43 Mys c1]  “This film’s three vignettes tell a quirky, unforgettable story of a night in Memphis, with or without Elvis.  Also recommended for any Steve Buscemi fans.”  ~Elizabeth
  • About Time, directed by Richard Curtis. [DVD 791.4372 Abo]  “It’s a slightly cheesy time-travel story disguised as a romantic comedy-  it’s about growth, past regrets, the ties between generations, and facing mortality.”  ~Dylan
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. [DVD 791.4372 Cap]  “Hands down the best Marvel movie to date, no contest. CA: Winter Soldier is pure brilliance from beginning to end ❤ Russo brothers for doing a great job!”  ~Jessica
  • Chef, directed by Jon Favreau. [DVD 791.4372 Che]  “Get in the mood for McAllen’s new food truck park by watching this heartwarming film about a restaurant chef who finds his true calling.”  ~Julia
  • Planet of the Apes, directed by Franklin Schaffner. [DVD 791.4375 Pla]  “If there is ever only one Planet of the Apes film, it is the first. Author Pierre Boulle’s thinly veiled satire takes a dig at humanity’s least admirable traits in this classic sci-fi movie with a clever swap of interspecies role-play, made all the more chilling by Michael Wilson’s glaring script, Jerry Goldsmith’s bizarre musical score, and Franklin Schaffner’s ominous directing style. The ending still haunts us after 47 years.”  ~Richard

Music CDs

    • Circuital, by My Morning Jacket. [CD 781.66 My c1] “Although Circuital is neither the newest or best My Morning Jacket album, it holds a special place on my shelf at home… it’s also my soundtrack so far this summer. ”  ~Jessica

We hope you enjoy these selections!

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