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Library Books On Shelf

The Montgomery College Libraries are home to more than 215,000 books and 60,000 e-books. We asked the library staff to help us sort through the stacks to find great reads for the summer.  Here are their picks. Want to check out a book yourself? Visit the Access Services desk at one of our campus libraries to get a community borrower card.


Turbo Twenty-Three: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich. Locations: Rockville and Takoma Park Best-Seller Collections. Recommended by Elizabeth Schlackman, collection development and assessment librarian.

Idiot or savant, Stephanie Plum, Jersey girl and accidental bounty hunter, always gets her man. How she gets them, and how many cars explode around her, will keep readers on the edge of their seats throughout this excellent addition to a long-running series. If you’ve never read them before, you can jump in at any point, but be prepared. You will get hooked!

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. Location: Rockville Best-Seller Collection. Recommended by Kari Schmidt, technical services manager.

In this breathtaking novel spanning more than 50 years, Anne Patchett follows the children of two families who are forever connected but whose lives become fractured because of it. Her writing is lovely, evoking vivid images and emotion for each character.

Schmidt also recommends The Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates (Locations: Rockville and Takoma Park Best-Seller Collections, Rockville Circulating Collection) and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Locations: Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park Circulating Collections, Germantown and Takoma Park Paperback Collections, Rockville Best-Seller Collection.

Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton. Locations: Rockville and Takoma Park Best-Seller Collections. Recommended by Anne Herrington, web services and communications librarian.

Michael Crichton, author and creator of Jurassic Park, ER, and Westworld, among many others, passed away in 2008, but Dragon Teeth was recently discovered in his archives and published in 2017. The novel tells the story of William Johnson, a Yale student who hunts for dinosaur fossils with paleontologist Othniel Marsh in the American West during the infamous Bone Wars in 1876. On his adventure, he encounters harsh conditions, difficult work, warring Native American tribes, notorious outlaws from the Wild West, and some amazing paleontological finds. In classic Crichton fashion, in addition to the novel’s page-turning plot, Dragon Teeth includes fascinating historical and scientific facts and philosophical analysis. This is a perfect summer read for Crichton fans or anyone interested in dinosaurs or the history of the American West.

Herrington also recommends The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. Location: Rockville Best-Seller Collection.

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen. Locations: Takoma Park Best-Seller Collection, Rockville Circulating Collection. Recommended by Randy Hertzler, reference services and periodicals librarian.

Written over the span of 20 years and published as The Refugees in 2016, Viet Thanh Nguyen’s collection of short stories takes place across two continents and more than 50 years in the lives of its characters. Nguyen, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2016 novel, The Sympathizer (featured below), captures the astonishing breadth of experiences and adjustments made by Vietnamese nationals following the end of the Vietnam War in the spring of 1975. These complex and moving stories highlight the resilience of people straddling two worlds, navigating a new home while maintaining traditions and associations of the old. Nguyen introduces us to a diverse cast: young and old, male and female, gay and straight, sublime and flawed – yet all of whom share a common history beyond their control.

Hertzler also recommends How to Set a Fire and Why by Jesse Ball. Location: Rockville Circulating Collection.

The Sympathizer was the recommendation of Chi N Quach, library assistant. Locations: Rockville Best-Seller Collection, Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park Circulating Collections.

The Sympathizer is a novel about betrayal and fratricide. Viet Thanh Nguyen’s unnamed protagonist is a half-Vietnamese, half-French wild child. He was raised in Vietnam but educated in the United States after the Fall of Saigon. The main character is portrayed as cheating, two-faced, treacherous and mischievous. He is torn between two worlds as he struggles to adjust to his new life in America while acting as a spy sending information back to the Communists in North Vietnam.


Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. Locations: Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park Circulating Collections. Recommended by Amanda Stroud, library assistant.

A recommendation for those who rarely, if ever, read nonfiction. Though it’s a timely piece of writing (named by the New York Times as one of “6 Books to Help Understand Trump’s Win,”) this is ultimately a story of a child who grew up in a dysfunctional family. And more importantly the author attempts to answer why his family and those around him were prone to violence, poverty, and substance abuse. Those who grew up in a similar environment will find themselves saying “uh huh” numerous times.

Stroud also recommends All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg. (Location: Takoma Park Circulating Collection.)

The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan. Locations: Germantown, Rockville and Takoma Park Circulating Collections. Recommended by Elizabeth Schlackman, collection development and assessment librarian.

This book informs us about the wonderful complexities of the world with four plants that humans love: potatoes, apples, tulips, and marijuana. Pollan tells us how each species awakened in humans a deep desire, which helped propel the plants around the world.

The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler. Location: Germantown Circulating Collection. Recommended by Nancy Nyland, reference librarian.

In this re-envisioning of prehistory, the author cites the evidence for the existence of egalitarian societies that did not know war. Because these peaceful societies would have existed so long ago, there is only slight physical evidence: pot shards, a few small figurines. But if even half of what Riane Eisler envisions here were ever true, then there is hope for the end of war and the beginning of peace in the world. After reading this book, you will never see anthropology, gender, or issues of peace and war in the same way again. It was such a radical change to the view of history that it has remained in print for 25 years. The author is the founder of the Center for Partnership Studies to continue her work of cultural transformation and edits the Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies at the University of Minnesota.

For fiction, Nyland recommends Poldark by Winston Graham. Location: Germantown Circulating Collection.

Young Readers

The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton. Location(s): Takoma Park Children’s Literacy Collection. Recommended by Elizabeth Schlackman, collection development and assessment librarian.

Have you been bitten by the Wonder Woman bug? This picture book tells the story of a little princess who wants to be a warrior, and the “mighty steed” that her parents give her instead. A delight for young readers and those reading to them, it upends princess stereotypes for all of us!

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