Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Fairfax County logo

My Perfect Read

FCPL staff can help you find it.

Laurel Tacoma

Laurel Tacoma in her study, surrounded by books.

I love talking about books! The more you work with books, the more you realize just how many are out there. I love finding and sharing hidden gems and connecting people to a title they might never have realized was available.

I always liked Victorian literature for its melodrama and restraint, and I’ve loved it since middle school. I’m fascinated by psychology and the mind. I enjoy lighthearted reads too which plays well with my sense of humor. I also love music and play the piano but if I may paraphrase Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice: My fingers do not move over the instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women’s do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault — because I would not take the trouble of practicing.

My favorite genre to discuss — though it’s difficult to choose — is LGBT fiction: Anything by Alison Bechdel (of Bechdel Test fame, though she feels that’s been misattributed to her, since one of her friends came up with it); The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee; Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson. For Victorian fiction, I love Arthur Conan Doyle to bits. I also love The Woman in White and Bleak House. Anything Jane Austen (Gregorian, but on the cusp of Victorian lit!).

Genres of Interest:

  • Victorian fiction
  • LGBT
  • business
  • pop science
  • microhistories
  • psychology
  • neuroscience

In no particular order and grouped by genre:

Victorian Fiction

  • The entirety of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collines
  • Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens


  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  • The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
  • The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
  • Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America by Rachel Hope Cleves


  • Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time by Bill McGowan
  • Lean In by Sheryl Sandburg
  • Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman
  • Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers by Jay Baer
  • Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity by David Whyte
  • Never Eat Alone: and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi
  • Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
  • Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
  • Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath

Pop science

  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  • The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean
  • And Then You're Dead by Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty
  • The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach


  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
  • The Person and the Situation by Lee Ross and Richard E. Nisbett
  • Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior by Ori Brafman and Ram Brafman
  • Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell


  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
  • How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker
  • In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind by Eric R. Kandel
  • Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind by V. S. Ramachandran
  • The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge
  • Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping by Robert Sapolsky



In my job as the branch manager at the Thomas Jefferson branch my hours vary. You can usually find me during weekdays and every other Saturday. I'm usually quick to respond and eager to get back to you, so reach out!

I'd like to help you find your perfect read, so please complete the Let's Get Started form, and I will be in touch!

 Let's Get Started!

Fairfax County seal