Priscilla’s Bookshelf

Priscilla’s Bookshelf

What is Priscilla’s Bookshelf?

Priscilla’s Shelf is named for longtime Loveland resident Priscilla L. Beal, and was started with money that her friends donated to honor Priscilla and to further her lifetime commitment to reading and learning, and in specific, to book groups.
From her obituary: “Priscilla committed her life to reading and learning, and empowering others to read and learn. She instigated the founding of the Johnstown Public Library, served for many years on the Loveland Public Library Board, and was a charter member of the Junior Great Books Club of Loveland. Everywhere she lived she founded book clubs, and through them forged enduring friendships; friendships with the intimacy and depth only book lovers understand. “
With money donated to the Priscilla’s Shelf Fund through the Friends of the Loveland Public Library, we make a collection of approximately 45 book kits available for book groups to check out.

Please contact an Adult Services Librarian for more information at or 970-962-2765.

Bags include 10 copies of the title plus author information, and check out for 6 weeks, renewable for 2 weeks. Holds may be placed on checked-out kits, but it is not possible to reserve for specific dates. Replacement cost for a single copy is $10.00.
NF = Nonfiction. All others are novels.

Updated 5/2018

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie, c. 2007.
The story of how geek fourteen-year-old Arnold Spirit gets off the “rez” to go to a white high school, and what he gains and loses by doing so. Culture shock is only the beginning!

All Quiet on the Western Front

Erich Maria Remarque, c. 1929.
Paul Baumer, the protagonist of this quintessential novel of World War l, is a young soldier fighting in the trenches of World War I. With its publication, German writer Remarque emerged as an eloquent spokesperson for a generation that had been, in his own words, “destroyed by war, even though it might have escaped its shells.” In 1933, when the Nazis rose to power, All Quiet on the Western Front became one of the first books to be publicly burned.

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr, c. 2014.
This Pulitzer Prize winner and National Book Award finalist tell the story of a blind French girl and a young German soldier whose paths collide in occupied France as both struggle to survive the devastation of World War II. “All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer ‘whose sentences never fail to thrill’” (Los Angeles Times). Loveland Loves to Read Selection, 2018.

Art of Racing in the Rain

Garth Stein, c. 2008.
“A heart-wrenching but deeply funny story and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope – a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life.”

The Beautiful Mystery

Louise Penny, c. 2012.
When a peaceful monastery in Québec is shattered by the murder of their renowned choir director, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Sûreté du Québec are challenged to find the killer in a cloistered community that has taken a vow of silence. This title, the eighth in the Chief Inspector Gamache Series by multi-award-winning Penny, works beautifully – and mysteriously – as a stand-alone.


Toni Morrison, c. 1987.
A dead child, a runaway slave named Sethe, and a terrible secret-these are the central concerns of Beloved, a dense, complex novel that yields up its secrets one by one. As Morrison takes us deeper into Sethe's history and her memories, the horrifying circumstances of her baby's death start to make terrible sense. “Beloved may well be the defining novel of slavery in America, the one that all others will be measured by.” – review
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 1988.


Kent Haruf, c. 2013
Haruf returns to his setting of the eastern plains town of Holt, Colorado, to tell the end-of-life story of Dad Lewis and the people whose lives he has affected. “…His story transcends being about death, and becomes instead a touching meditation on the connections, and separations, that make a life.” (From the back cover.)

Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Daniel James Brown, c. 2014.
The account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. NF

Burial Rites

Hannah Kent, c. 2013.
Inspired by a true event, this is the story of the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829. Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.


Ann Patchett, c. 2016.
An unexpected romantic encounter changes two families’ lives forever. The children of the blended family that results spend summer together, forging a lasting bond based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them. Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories, and is award-winning author Patchett’s most autobiographical work to date.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Tom Franklin, c. 2010
The intertwining of two childhood friends and two murders separated by more than twenty years form the basis for this literary thriller. A volatile collision of racism, family secrets, shame, fear, and friendship. Loveland Loves to Read Selection, 2013.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Mark Haddon, c. 2003.
Mathematically gifted and autistic, Christopher Boone sets out to investigate the suspicious death of a neighbor’s dog and uncovers the secrets of his own family.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Erik Larson, c. 2015.
A chronicle of the sinking of the Lusitania discusses the factors that led to the tragedy and the contributions of such figures as Woodrow Wilson, bookseller Charles Lauriat, and architect Theodate Pope Riddle. On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. As the Lusitania its way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small - hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more - all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history. NF

The Dog Stars

Peter Heller, c. 2013.
A post apocalyptical story of Hig – pilot, nature-lover and poet – and his uneasy alliance with his survivalist neighbor Bangly. Both and Hig and Bangly contribute to each other’s safety and continued existence, but eventually Hig must leave the “perimeter” and risk all to retain his humanity. Set in Erie and Grand Junction, CO.

Empire Falls

Richard Russo, c. 2001.
Blue collar life in a crumbling New England mill town becomes the setting for a cast of fully realized characters in thrall to the town’s matriarch. This comic, poignant masterpiece won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, c. 2008. January 1946.
Writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German Occupation.

The History of Love

Nicole Krause, c. 2006.
A complex, heart-wrenching and unforgettable story spanning a period of over 60 years and takes readers from Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe to present day Brighton Beach. At its center are issues of loneliness and the need to fill a void left by lost love.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Jamie Ford, c. 2009.
Belongings of Japanese families interned during World War ll emerge in 1986, bringing back memories of friendship between a young Japanese girl and a Chinese American boy, and a deeply felt view of a turbulent moment in U.S. history.

Inheritance of Loss

Kiran Desai, c. 2005.
In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas lives an embittered judge who wants only to retire in peace, when his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, arrives on his doorstep. A rising insurgency in the Nepalese mountains provides the backdrop for Kiran Desai’s highly-acclaimed novel of joy and despair. Her characters face numerous choices that illuminate the consequences of colonialism as it collides with the modern world. Man Booker Prize, 2006.

The Invention 0f Wings

Sue Monk Kidd, c. 2014.
On Sarah's eleventh birthday, she is given ownership of ten-year-old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next 35 years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other's destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love. Loosely based on the life of the little-known Sarah Grimke, the book brings together anti-slavery as well as women’s rights issues.

The Known World

Edward P. Jones, c. 2003.
"Tells the story of Henry Townsend, a black farmer and former slave who falls under the tutelage of William Robbins, the most powerful man in Manchester County, Virginia. Making certain he never circumvents the law, Townsend runs his affairs with unusual discipline. But when death takes him unexpectedly, his widow, Caldonia, can't uphold the estate's order, and chaos ensues." Jones has woven a footnote of history – the little-known occurrence of black slave owners - into an epic that takes an unflinching look at slavery in all its moral complexities. Pulitzer Prize winner, 2004.

La’s Orchestra Saves the World

Alexander McCall Smith, c. 2008.
In 1939, La flees London, with its bombs and her failed marriage, to a new life in the countryside, full of music and unintended consequences. Loveland Loves to Read Selection, 2012.

Last Bus to Wisdom

Ivan Doig, c. 2015.
Fourteen year old Donal Cameron is being raised by his grandmother, the cook at the Double W ranch in Ivan Doig’s beloved Two Medicine Country of the Montana Rockies. But when Gram has to have surgery for “female trouble” in the summer of 1951, Donal travels cross-country by bus to stay with her sister in faraway Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Adventures, mishaps, growth, and yes, wisdom ensue. Charming, wise, and slyly funny, Last Bus to Wisdom is a last sweet gift from a writer whose books have bestowed untold pleasure on countless readers.

A Man Called Ove

Fredrick Backman, c. 2014.
A curmudgeon hides a terrible personal loss beneath a cranky and short-tempered exterior while clashing with new neighbors, a boisterous family whose chattiness and habits lead to unexpected friendship. “This charming debut novel by Backman should find a ready audience with English-language readers… hysterically funny… wry descriptions, excellent pacing… In the contest of Most Winning Combination, it would be hard to beat grumpy Ove and his hidden, generous heart.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Murder at the Brown Palace: A True Story of Seduction and Betrayal

Dick Kreck, c. 2003.
A love triangle leads to murder, mayhem and scandal in 1911 Denver – true crime! Author Dick Kreck worked as senior columnist/journal with the Denver Post, and also wrote for the San Francisco Examiner and the Los Angeles Times. Loveland Loves to Read Selection, 2010. NF

My Antonia

Willa Cather, c. 1918.
In this enduring American classic, an orphan boy and an immigrant girl find hardship, love and fulfillment on the prairie, when it was the American frontier.

Norwegian by Night

Derek Miller, c. 2012.
After witnessing a murder in Oslo, elderly former Marine sniper and watch repairman Sheldon Horowitz undertakes a journey of concealment with the newly-orphaned son of the victim, and becomes haunted by memories of his own son who died in Vietnam. Originality of plot and character combine to make this first novel by the former director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research a thrilling, thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable read.

Ordinary Grace

William Kent Krueger, c. 2013.
Narrator Frank Drum, now 54 years old, remembers his fateful coming of age in New Bremen, MN, 1961. That summer, tragedy struck the Drum family, which included his thoughtful Methodist minister father, his passionate but distant mother, his Juilliard-bound older sister, and his wise-beyond-his-years kid brother. Edgar Winner for Best Novel of 2013, and Loveland Loves to Read selection, 2015.

The Orphan Train

Christina Baker Kline, c. 2013.
Foster teen Molly Is performing community service work for elderly widow Vivian, who, as a young girl, was taken from an orphanage in New York to a new life on an orphan train. As Molly and Vivian go through Vivian’s cluttered attic, their two stories are told, and they discover that their lives have much in common.

Our Souls at Night

Kent Haruf, c. 2015.
“I’m lonely. I think you might be too.” Thus begins Kent Haruf’s novel, set in the fictional small Colorado town of Holt, in which 70-year-old widow Addie Moore invites her elderly neighbor, Louis Waters, to “come sleep in the night with me.” A sparsely-written story that movingly contrasts the wants and needs of the elderly with society’s expectations of them. Haruf’s final novel, completed just weeks before his death.

Plague of Doves

Louise Erdrich, c. 2008.
The unsolved murder of a farm family still haunts the white small town of Pluto, North Dakota, generations after the vengeance exacted and the distortions of fact transformed the lives of Ojibwe living on the nearby reservation. In her inimitable style, Erdrich, a National Book Award-wining author, weaves together the divergent narratives of those involved, and those who still bear the consequences and the scars of the crime.

The Readers of the Broken Wheel Recommend

Katarina Bivald, c.2016.
Sara has traveled from Sweden to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy's funeral has just ended. Marooned in a farm town that's almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend's memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town.

Salvage the Bones

Jesmyn Ward, c. 2011.
Hurricane Katrina is approaching. As the twelve days that make up the novel's framework yield to their dramatic conclusion, this unforgettable family of motherless children and a hard-drinking father pulls itself up to face another day. A difficult, beautiful novel about family, and a wrenching look at the brutal realities of rural poverty. National Book Award Winner, 2011.

The Sense of an Ending

Julian Barnes, c. 2011.
Tony Webster, age 59, is contentedly retired and contentedly divorced. But when a latter from a solicitor arrives, awakening friends and events from his adolescence, Tony must rethink every memory and every story he has told himself about his life. Man Booker Prize, 2011.

Soldier Girls

Helen Thorpe, c. 2014.
, Describes the experiences of three women soldiers deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq to reveal how their military service has affected their friendship, personal lives and families, detailing the realities of their work on bases and in war zones and how their choices and losses shaped their perspectives. Helen Thorpe chronicles the lives of these women over twelve years on their paths to the military, overseas to combat, and back home…and then overseas again for two of them. Soldier Girls is utterly absorbing, gorgeously written, and unforgettable” (The Boston Globe). NF

Spider Woman’s Daughter

Anne Hillerman, c. 2013.
Anne Hillerman continues father Tony’s popular Leaphorn and Chee series with this Navajo Country mystery in which Bernadette Manualito, Navajo Nation Police Officer and wife of Jim Chee, witnesses a cold-blooded shooting. Bernie and Chee discover that a cold case involving Chee’s former boss and partner, retired Inspector Joe Leaphorn, may hold the key. Loveland Loves to Read Selection, 2017.

Station Eleven

Emily St. John Mandel, c. 2015.
One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time, this story charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Still Alice

Lisa Genova, c. 2009.
The author, a doctor of neuroscience, chronicles the downward spiral of a psychology professor coping with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

Gabrielle Zevin, c. 2014.
“The story of A. J. Fikry’s life includes the joys and heartbreaks that happen in most of our lives and the books that make our lives richer. Anyone who loves books, bookstores, and the world that reading opens up will love this book.” –The Wichita Eagle

This is Your Life, Harriet Chance!

Jonathan Evison, c. 2015.
With her husband Bernard two years in the grave, seventy-nine year old Harriet Chance sets sail on an ill-conceived Alaskan cruise only to discover through a series of revelations that she's been living the past sixty years of her life under entirely false pretenses. Between the imagined appearance of her late husband and the very real arrival of her estranged daughter, what Harriet hoped would be a voyage leading to a new lease on life becomes a wildly surprising and revelatory journey into her past.

A Walk in the Woods

Bill Bryson, c. 1998.
The Appalachian Trail is both the place and the excuse for lessons of history, ecology, and hilarity. NF

The Water Knife

Paolo Bacigalupi, c. 2015.
Water is power In the near future, when the Colorado River has dwindled to a trickle. Competing entities vie to obtain water, and “water knife” Angel Velasquez cunningly and brutally “cuts” water for his boss and her lush arcology development at the expense of the poor, who are left with thirst and dust. But when water is more valuable than gold, alliances shift like sand, and the only thing for certain is that someone will have to bleed if anyone hopes to drink. Thrilling, and disturbingly believable.

The Water is Wide

Pat Conroy, c. 1974.
A beautifully-written book that chronicles the year the author, spent teaching in a two-room schoolhouse on Yamacraw Island off the coast of South Carolina. An early memoir by the bestselling author of Prince of Tides and The Great Santini. NF

Where’d You GO, Bernadette?

Maria Semple, c. 2012.
When her talented, troubled, and agoraphobic mother goes missing, teenage Bee begins a trip that takes her to the ends of the earth to find her. To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

The Work of Wolves

Kent Meyers, c. 2004.
Four oddly matched misfits conspire to rescue three abused horses: a tale of moral responsibility, hidden family history, and human dignity set in the South Dakota Bad Lands. Loveland Loves to Read Selection, 2016.

Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story

Diane Ackerman, c. 2007.
When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw--and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. With her exuberant prose and exquisite sensitivity to the natural world, Ackerman shows us how Antonina refused to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her.