The Omaha Public Library wants to help readers find new books — or at least books new to them. Every month, library employees will recommend reading based on writing genres or styles.
With Valentine's Day on our heels, staff members suggested some of their favorite books featuring a love story. Find these and more at your local branch or omahalibrary.org.
Lori Arends, Omaha Public Library business office manager, recommended "Calling Me Home" by Julie Kibler. This is a story about forbidden love and an unlikely friendship between an 89-year-old woman and her young hairdresser. Isabelle tells the story of her first true love while traveling across the country with her hairdresser, Dorrie, to a funeral. Dorrie has family pressures and relationship issues of her own that bond the two women on their road trip.
Sara Baguyos, library specialist at Saddlebrook Library, suggested her "all-time favorite love story," "The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simsion. The book's socially awkward hero, Don Tillman, is a loveless geneticist whose passion for empirical data takes him on the adventure of his lifetime. Don devises a survey to find precisely the perfect mate. Will his data stand up to the subtle art of romance? This book is not only a great love story; it will make you laugh.
Nancy Chmiel, youth services librarian at Swanson Library, picked a children's book: "Love Monster and the Last Chocolate" by Rachel Bright. Enjoy heartwarming snuggle time with the little ones as Love Monster struggles with what he should do with a newly discovered box of chocolates. He wants to be sure he gets his favorite, but also feels like he should share. How can he do both? After all, he doesn't want to end up with the coffee-flavored one. The perfect read-aloud, Bright includes engaging illustrations and numerous opportunities to use your best monster voices.
Kris Cram, library specialist at Sorensen Library, recommended the young adult book "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" by Jenny Han. Lara Jean has always written her crushes a letter and then put them away in a secret box. One day she discovers that the letters have somehow been mailed when her crushes start confronting her. Lara Jean has to deal with her past crushes face to face, from the boy who was her first kiss to her sister's exboyfriend. Teens will sympathize with Lara Jean as she decides how to handle each past crush and eagerly finish reading to see how everything turns out for her.
Cram also picked "Summer at Mustang Ridge" by Jesse Hayworth. A young, single mother, Shelby, decides to take a summer job cooking at a family-run dude ranch after a nasty divorce. Romance is definitely not on her mind, but she finds herself drawn to the handsome head wrangler, Foster, who has also been scarred by love. This is a great read about a summer romance that Shelby and Foster weren't planning on, and will have readers wondering what will happen when the summer ends.
Rose Fennessy-Murphy, library specialist at Millard Library, recommended "Isn't It Romantic?" by Ron Hanson. This book is basically a doorslamming French farce set in a small Nebraska town. There is even a die-hard Husker fan in the story. It is a short book but not light-weight.
Fennessy-Murphy also suggested "All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps" by Dave Isay, from the National Public Radio series, and "At the Firefly Gate" by Linda Newbery. A story for middle-school students, it involves a young English boy named Henry who meets an elderly woman and hears about her lost love, also named Henry.
Karen Leibman, library specialist at Sorensen Library, suggested "A Dog's Purpose" by W. Bruce Cameron. Everyone who reads this book will love the message, not just dog lovers.
Jean Sharif, library specialist at Millard Library, picked "Modern Romance" by Aziz Ansari. This is an informative and interesting book about dating and romance in the digital age and how it differs from dating in the past.
Amy Wenzl, children's librarian at Millard Library, recommended the children's book "There's This Thing" by Connah Brecon. This is an adorable picture book about a shy little girl who wants nothing more than to share her heart with "this thing." She tries every trick she can think of to get it to notice her: leaves a trail of bread crumbs, sets a trap and even tries to shoot it with an arrow, but nothing works. Will she give up, or will it finally notice her?