Top 5 Recommended Hidden Gems from the Library

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This article is posted in partnership with The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.

Blogger Julie Nelson not only writes about books, but also helps selects them for library customers. She knows what’s popular, but she also knows what the community likes to read.

Here are a few titles she pulled from her Lost in the Stacks blog, which features books that are often overlooked or underrated. Give these titles a try. Thinking about these stories again made Julie smile, and they might just make you too. It’s mostly nonfiction, with a fiction title or two thrown in for those who prefer that genre.

An Innocent, A Broad by Ann Leary

This book is an amusing memoir about prematurely going into labor on the ultra-civilized Oxford Street in London and being a patient of the health care system in a foreign country. Leary, the wife of comedian Denis Leary, has also authored several fiction books, including one about her alcoholism called The Good House.

Forever and Ever, Amen: Becoming a Nun in the Sixties by Karol Jackowski

Yes, happy hour at a convent does exist, at least in this nun’s story. Read this humorous, exuberant account of Karol’s spiritual growth and struggles in becoming a nun during one of the most volatile periods in the history of Catholic sisterhood. Karol went from being nicknamed “Suds” to being called Sister Mary Carol Joseph. She shares juicy tidbits about convent life. Looking for a little happiness and encouragement, then Karol’s Ten Things To Do Before You Die is a can’t-miss.

Where’s My Wand by Eric Poole

Pick up another funny memoir (you can tell it’s good just from its cover) that’ll have you thinking your family isn’t so crazy after all. Through his perhaps misplaced reliance on magic, he turns dreary disasters into sunshine and light. His magical mishaps adds to the sweetness of this story that includes issues of bullying, homosexuality, marriage, fearlessness and acceptance. The quick-moving narrative helps make this an easy read.

The Cactus Eaters by Dan White

The story of a journey of a lifetime, backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail, unfolds through the eyes of two good-natured bumblers, Dan White and his girlfriend Allison. The story provokes some “glad that wasn’t me” reactions and the occasional facepalm. You’ll also meet wacky trail characters who dispense an equal amount of wisdom and weirdness.

Cruising Attitude by Heather Poole

Flying somewhere this summer? This well-reviewed book is a perfect flight companion, and after reading it, you’ll never look at a flight attendant the same way again. Cruising Attitude is told through the perspective of a flight attendant with 15 years experience in the business. She shares the juiciest details about airline passengers and crew members. Readers delight in her anecdotes and pick up some insider info on the airline business. If you are looking for a title with the same aviation theme but in the fiction genre, try the recent release Love Me Anyway by Tiffany Hawk, the story of a flight attendant new to the business who falls in love in the search for her long-lost father.