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Staff Book Picks

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Apr 3, 2014 by jimj

Fifteen year old Jess is headed for California to witness the apocalypse. Accompanied by her fundamentalist parents caught up in end-of-the-world fervor and a rebellious older sister this coming-of-age road trip captures the tortured conflict between a desire to believe in something bigger than oneself and the ubiquity of popular culture’s pull. Narrated with pitch perfect skill Miller captures the heart and heartbreak of adolescence. Check our catalog

Mar 28, 2014 by ritas

A debut novel about a dissolute artist, Thomas Bayber, and his relationship with two sisters, Natalie and Alice Kessler. This is a fascinating art history story and also a satisfying chronicle of the central character’s family histories. The story takes place over three time periods, 1963, when the teenage sisters first meet and become infatuated with the older artist; 1972, when Thomas has a brief affair with Alice and she becomes pregnant; and 2007 when the now famous artist is dying. Thomas reveals to his art historian friend, David Finch, that he has the center panel of a triptych painting based on a sketch of the Kessler sisters. He wants Finch and a young erratic art authenticator, Stephen Jameson, to find the two other paintings. Why use Finch and Jameson to find these panels when a large auction house would be better suited to the task? Where are the Kessler sisters? Who has and where are the side panels? Check our catalog.
Tracy Guzeman shares more in this short video:

Mar 19, 2014 by claudias

Charles Dickens was the “celebrity” of the Victorian era. Well loved for his family oriented stories and novels, his life was a combination of romantic subterfuge, financial constraints and familial duty. This biography highlights the three intensely romantic interests in his life other than his wife, the mother of his ten children. The most interesting relationship with Ellen Tiernan, twenty seven years his junior, lasts until his death. The author delves into letters and coded diaries and paints a speculative picture of this man of conflicting personality traits so “in love.” Check Our Catalog

Mar 18, 2014 by jimj

As Canada and the USA move dangerously close to war, the entire planet stands poised on the brink of an environmental catastrophe caused by global warming and the energy crisis. And only Dirk Pitt and all the fascinating characters of the National Underwater Marine Agency (NUMA) can save the day! As with all Pitt novels (20 and counting), Cussler begins his story with an actual past historic event--here it’s a 19th century attempt by two doomed sailing ships to traverse the Northwest Passage--and connects it to a present-day thrill ride. Pitt matches wits with the machinations of a greedy CEO whose pristine “green” image cloaks a nefarious plot involving murder and mayhem to corner the market on a technology that will eliminate carbon from air pollution. A wonderful guilty pleasure of a read! Check Our Catalog

Mar 7, 2014 by jimj

Troost has a good job in Washington D.C. One that might even lead to a career. But he’s bored and feels trapped. So he and his wife pack their bags and return to the South Pacific (he’s chronicled an earlier stay on Kiribati in the equally hilarious Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific). Her job takes them to Vanuatu--and later, Fiji--where Troost spends some serious time exploring the sedating properties of the local brew, kava. Along the way we enjoy a bit of history, a smidgen of social commentary, a healthy helping of self-effacing memoir all delivered with irreverent wit. It’s a handbook for living and surviving as an expat. But it’s also a poignant tale of finding one’s home. Check Our Catalog

Mar 3, 2014 by jimj

Earth has recently discovered that the Colonial Union has become humanity’s home for super-soldiers and colonists. Earth is not amused and is exploring the possibility of aligning with the Conclave, a vast collection of alien races - which could spell disaster for the CU. Super soldier Harry Wilson and diplomatic corp officer Hart Schmidt do the heavy lifting in a fast-paced narrative full of wonderfully snarky characters. Scalzi returns to the universe he created in Hugo-nominated Old Man’s War (2004) with a wandering but always fascinating, collection of 13 previously published interconnected stories replete with galactic intrigue. Check Our Catalog

Feb 25, 2014 by jimj

Faced with an environmental apocalypse created by the introduction of non-native creatures that devour our native flora and fauna Landers grabs his hunting gear, frying pan and a delightful sense of humor and instructs us on how we might all become responsible “invasivores.” Stalking everything from black spiny-tailed iguanas to Chinese Mystery Snails (and let’s not forget the culinary delights of the European Green Crab and Snakehead) we discover that devouring the enemy not only helps the environment. It tastes good, too! Check our catalog and watch the author talk about his adventures hunting and eating invasive species.

Feb 25, 2014 by ginaf

The semi-famous blog Hyperbole and a Half has a book counterpart! If you've never read the blog, go there now and read away and then read her book, too. It is heartwarming and heartbreaking. Funny and at moments somber. Using crude, yet perfect, drawings that convey every range of emotion, Allie Brosh tells stories of her childhood, life with two crazy dogs, and dealing with social anxiety and depression. The book--beautifully printed in full color--is a mix of a few stories already published on her blog, like fan favorite, The God of Cake, and many that her large fan base have never seen before. Check Our Catalog

Feb 25, 2014 by claytonc

Funny, outrageous stories from the personal life of the founder of Found magazine. Davy reminded me of a couple other Davids - Eggers & Sedaris - his writing is crystal clear and his grasp on reality is phenomenal. There's failed love for sure, but also incarceration, sex near a tarantula, death, music, a scam artist and 99 bottles of pee on the wall. Check our catalog and listen to Davy's friend talk about her favorite story:

Feb 10, 2014 by claudias

Set against the Nigerian conflict of 1967-1970 Adichie blends political drama and relationships. Tribal loyalties, British colonialism and that universal emotion : love are explored. Thirteen-year-old Ugwu is employed as a houseboy for a university professor. Olanna is the professor’s privileged beautiful mistress and Richard is a young Englishman in love with the country and Olanna’s twin sister. These characters will be tested by family loyalities and personal decisions intertwined with  themes of class, race and war-time survival . Winner of the Orange prize for literature in the United Kingdom.Check Our Catalog

Watch a trailer for the soon to be released film based on the book:

Feb 4, 2014 by jimj

Ellis Hock bids adieu to his failing clothing store, bitter wife and avaricious daughter and returns to Malabo, Malawi where he served as a Peace Corps volunteer almost 40 years ago. But a place of hope and nostalgia and usefulness has deteriorated to one of corruption, deep distrust and danger. Ellis not only has nothing to do but is slowly consumed by the people he once loved until he discovers that there is a price on his head. Snakes play a major—if understated—role in this provocative tale. Theroux is a master story teller with the travel writer’s exquisite eye for detail. Check Our Catalog

Jan 28, 2014 by megana

Eight-year-old Norma Joyce and her 17-year-old sister Lucinda are living with their widowed father on a wind-swept farm in 1930s Saskatchewan when a stranger blows into town and changes their lives forever. Beautiful, fair and hard-working Lucinda is the favored daughter, compared to small, dark and challenging Norma Joyce, but each is formidable in her own way. This family story by an acclaimed Canadian author covers 30 years and takes its members from the western prairies to "heavenly" Ontario to New York City and back again, through dreams, heartbreak, love, betrayal and loss. The story is exceptional for its powerful sense of place and the author's quiet, arresting and evocative prose. I don't know why I never heard of this writer before but I'll be reading the rest of her novels soon. Check Our Catalog

Jan 27, 2014 by ginaf

2014 Printz Award

The Michael L. Printz Award is an American Library Association literary award that annually recognizes the "best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit."

Winner: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Honors:
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

 

Jan 14, 2014 by cathyd

Steve Martin narrates his own memoir of being a stand-up comedian, from learning magic tricks at Disneyland at the age of 15, many years of crafting his show, to enormous success, then walking away. This is a surprisingly touching story of an isolating career, much of the time spent on the road, and many years of struggling before he hit it big. There is humor in it, but it is not a comic book. Rather, a sweet and dark reminiscence. Check Our Catalog

Jan 13, 2014 by dorothyc

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells is a brand-new (yes, really!) novel featuring beloved characters Bertie Wooster and his butler Jeeves. Sebastian Faulks has captured the spirit of P.G. Wodehouse's most famous characters, and the witty dialogue and hilarious situations Bertie and Jeeves find themselves in are absolutely true to Wodehouse form. I was a bit skeptical that Faulks would be able to pull this novel off, but, incredibly, it fits right in with the Wodehouse collection of comedic perfection. It will please old fans and should attract new readers to these characters. Check Our Catalog

Jan 2, 2014 by megana

After years of trying to have a baby, James and Ana unexpectedly become instant parents of a toddler whose parents have been killed (the dad) and possibly fatally injured (the mom) in a car accident. James dives into fathering while Ana keeps her distance, and their lives, identities and even their formerly happy marriage are put to the test. Canadian writer Onstad creates a story that rises far above chick lit, with evocative prose, fully realized characters, and a conclusion that is both unpredictable and true-to-life. Check Our Catalog

Dec 16, 2013 by megana

Copenhagen’s Department Q, led by detective Carl Morck, specializes in very cold cases: this one is 20 years cold with a confessed perpetrator already doing time in prison. The crime: the brutal murder of two teenage siblings in a summer cottage. The suspects: rich and successful members of Denmark’s elite who met in private school and formed a secret rampaging gang inspired by the movie “A Clockwork Orange”. This Nordic crime series has it all—interesting characters, twisty suspense, and plenty of quirky humor. I didn’t want to stop reading.  Check Our Catalog

Dec 5, 2013 by megana

Yael, Avishag and Lea are typical teens coming of age in an atypical environment—a country in a state of continual hostility with its neighbors and ever-present fear of attacks on civilians. It is modern Israel. The three friends are drafted into the Israeli Defense Force and fulfill their two years of service training shooters, monitoring border checkpoints, flirting with boys, remembering their girlhoods in a tiny village on the Lebanese border, and wondering about the future. This intense, caustic, funny and disturbing novel moves back and forth in time and between protagonists and shows how a culture of violence shapes its young citizens. It’s a war story about teenage girls this time, and it is remarkable. Check Our Catalog

Dec 3, 2013 by claytonc

This deliciously short novel recounts the experiences of a war correspondent, her philandering poet husband, their teenage daughter, and two family friends on holiday in the hills above Nice. Just as they arrive they discover a young women, naked, in the swimming pool. For reasons not immediately obvious, the stranger is invited to stay with them in the villa. The characters in this story have interesting dimensions and their complicated relationships with each are deftly explored. Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2012. Check Our Catalog

Watch and listen to the author read aloud from her book

Dec 3, 2013 by claytonc

This funny, dark, literary crime novel, marketed as a "neo-noir thriller" is loads of fun. The protaginst, Nile Nightingale, is on the run and hiding out in Quebec's remote Laurentian mountains when he witnesses a bloody christmas package dropped into a frozen bog. Inside the package he discovers a teenage animal rights activist who he gradually nurses back to health while poachers and corrupt accomplices circle. This work has already been published in at least 10 countries and been nominated for literary and crime-novel awards. Check Our Catalog


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