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Mar 06

Staff Picks, Special Collection: The Hot Items

Posted on March 6, 2022 at 8:19 AM by Beth Pofahl

Staff Picks—Special Collections: the Hot Collection 

photo of hot collection 1 

A visit to the library would not be complete without taking a look at our “Too Hot to Hold” books. This special collection is located on the first floor of the library across from the main public service desk. It consists of an ever-changing assortment of popular, new items, both fiction and nonfiction. These books are non-reservable copies of popular items and have a check out time of 14 days. You can tell a hot book by its highly-visible, flaming “HOT” sticker. Keep in mind you’re limited to checking out only two Hot items and these books cannot be renewed. The beauty of the Hot collection is you may get lucky and find a book you’ve been wanting to check out, but are far down on the holds list. Or a stroll by the Hot shelves might reveal a new book you hadn’t heard of before and want to read—snatch it up, readers. 

Here are a couple of my recent Staff Picks book recommendations that I found on the HOT shelves. You can also find both these titles in our regular collection as well as in eBook and eAudiobook formats. 


Beth recommends . . .  These Precious Days book coverThese Precious Days
by Ann Patchett 

I’ve read several of Ann Patchett’s books, her bestselling novels, one of her memoirs, and even her two picture books, so you could say, I’m a fan. When I saw this collection of essays, These Precious Days, on the Too Hot to Hold shelves, I thought I’d give it a try. Many of the essays read like mini memoirs and you’ll find out more about Ms. Patchett as an author, bookstore owner, and friend. She wrote many of these essays during the pandemic. The essay which shares the title of the book, “These Precious Days” is about meeting Tom Hanks and the friendship she develops with Tom’s assistant, Sooki Raphael. This poignant essay alone made the book worth my time. I also loved the essays: “Reading Kate DiCamillo,” “How Knitting Save My Life, Twice,” and “My Year of No Shopping.” Each essay is unique and well-written, many focus on family members and are quite personal. Overall, I think, if you’re a fan of Ann Patchett’s fiction, you’ll enjoy getting to know her more as a person through these essays. One last item of note about this lovely book: the painting used for the cover art. It’s Ann’s dog, Sparky, and was painted for her by Sooki.  

Find These Precious Days in the library catalog Here
Also available in digital format:
Montana Library2Go/Libby eBook and eAudiobook
Axis 360 eBook

Read more about the author Here 


 Recitatif book coverRecitatif 
by Toni Morrison 

Toni Morrison is an author I told myself I will read someday and just hadn’t gotten around to it--until now. Recitatif is a slim volume consisting of a single short story by Morrison. I often find reading a short story by an author to be a gateway to her other work. In this short story Ms. Morrison says she’s intentionally performing an experiment with her readers by not identifying her main characters’ ethnicity. The two main characters, Twyla and Roberta are eight years old when they become roommates in an orphanage. We learn that the girls are of different races, together they looked like “salt and pepper,” but Morrison never explains which race for which girl, just that they are different. The details of each girl’s life are used to address the reader’s possible stereotypes about racial identity and to get you to question why. Although the two girls are living in an orphanage, they both have one thing in common-- their mothers are still living, just unable to care for her daughter. The narrative explains Twyla’s mother is out dancing all night and Robert’s mom is too sick. Eventually the girls are separated as Roberta moves out of the orphanage, but the women meet several times later in the story as adults. They encounter personal conflicts as well as discrepancy in their memories about their shared time at the orphanage.  The book also contains a lengthy introduction, more of an analysis, written by author Zadie Smith. I recommend reading the introductory section after you've read the story. Zadie Smith also narrates the audio version of the book. 

Find Recitatif in the library catalog Here
Also available in digital format:
Montana Library2Go/Libby eBook and eAudiobook
Axis 360 eAudiobook

Read more about the author Here 


Another photo of the Hot books collection

Have you checked out books from the HOT collection? Log in below and let us know what you think. 



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