Staff Book Picks

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Jun 15, 2015 by claytonc

Curious what everyone else using the library is reading? Check out our lists of the most borrowed books. In addition to the top titles in any format we also have breakouts for the top books on cd and the top large print books. How many of these have you read? Here are the top ten borrowed titles in May:

  1. Hawkins, Paula: The girl on the train
  2. Lehane, Dennis: World Gone by
  3. Baldacci, David: Memory man
  4. Grisham, John: Gray Mountain
  5. Lehane, Dennis: The drop
  6. Patterson, James: NYPD Red 3
  7. Child, Lee: Personal
  8. Baldacci, David: The escape
  9. Connelly, Michael: The burning room
  10. Picoult, Jodi: Leaving time : a novel
Jun 10, 2015 by jimj

Holly Sykes is a typical teenager, breathing in the smells of "warm tarmac, fried spuds and week-old rubbish," and prey to inexplicable visitations and "daymares" in which she slips into another universe. Visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life. Mitchell leaps through six different universes, crossing into epochs, and throwing off mini-novels that double as pieces of a fabulous jigsaw puzzle. Telepathy, second sight and reincarnation may not be your cup of tea, but if you enter Mitchell's kaleidoscopic universe you can't not believe in them either. Check Our Catalog

Jun 8, 2015 by shaynem

Has America become a veritable paradise for those willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get to the very top?  In Griftopia, Matt Taibbi's electrically charged exploration of the 2008 mortgage crisis, the author makes a convincing argument that indeed our country has been overrun by egomaniacal crooks (insert favored Wall Street banker here) who will stop at nothing to earn that quick million, especially when their disastrous efforts are met with golden parachutes and not stainless steel handcuffs.  A perfect summertime read for those who prefer a healthy dose of indignation while hitting the sands of Nantasket Beach. Check Our Catalog

Jun 5, 2015 by claytonc

book coversHot off the presses! Have you read these yet?

Jun 3, 2015 by claytonc

book coversJust released today, the short-list of nonfiction Must-Read Books from the MassBook Awards!

Doug Most came to the library last year and talked about his book. Here is an interview he filmed for us before he visited:

Jun 2, 2015 by claytonc

The Must-Read books in Poetry for 2015 have been selected from a strong field of submissions to the annual MassBook Awards. In alphabetical order, they are:

Here is a book trailer for Afforded Permanence, by Liam Day:

Here is a video of Jennifer Markell reading "Laundry in April," from Samsara:

May 28, 2015 by megana

Lily Hayes' exciting semester abroad in Buenos Aires becomes a little TOO exciting when her roommate Katy is brutally murdered and Lily is the prime suspect. "Inspired by" the Amanda Knox story (American student accused of murdering her roommate in Italy in 2007), this richly imagined novel switches perspectives throughout, from Lily to Katy to the mysterious boy next door to Lily's parents and sister who have flown to Argentina and hired a defense attorney to the local prosecuting attorney. While Lily becomes increasingly despondent in prison, what actually happened (maybe) replays in flashback. Each individual's unique baggage--and how it influences his/her interpretation of events and others' motivations--is probed with considerable nuance, leaving you questioning the reliability of any particular version. Check Our Catalog

May 22, 2015 by claytonc

Ike (pronounced Ee-kay) lives in New York City and is tired of scraping by on the meager money he earns as a cabdriver. He knows of a store that sells foreign artifacts to rich people for outrageous sums of money and nourishes a dream to return to his home village in Nigeria and steal the statue of Ngene, an ancient war god, to fund his future. He hasn’t visited his family since he left and has struggled to stay in touch, especially since his father died. One of his childhood friends has come across some great wealth, while a childhood love has fallen on hard times. His mother has fallen under the spell of an evangelical preacher with a sketchy past and his uncle (and his multiple wives) are very busy as the village’s holy man. Told with a masterful sense of pacing, place, and culture, this novel is a fascinating investigation of modern culture and the concept of the “exotic”. Check Our Catalog

May 18, 2015 by jimj

The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save lives in World War II.

Lt. Col. James Howard Williams, also known as Elephant Bill, is a man who loves animals. He also understands them. After service in the Great War he applies for a job as an elephant wallah with the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation. With the assistance of Bandoola, a magnificent bull elephant on the cusp of his prime years, Williams creates the blueprint for an “elephant school” in Burma. The school quickly becomes a “company” as Williams and his elephants report for duty and defy the Japanese during WWII. Croke paints a rich and intimate portrait of a fascinating man living in extraordinary circumstances, and the even more extraordinary people — and elephants — surrounding him. Check Our Catalog

May 11, 2015 by claytonc

Sci-Fi dystopian fiction meets missionary tale. Peter once was lost, a drunk and a thief headed for an early death. Then he fell in love with a devout nurse and the two of them started a new life spreading the good word. The novel opens as Peter is just about to head millions of miles away from home to the next chapter in his life. A multinational corporation (and even that description seems too small, given their inter-planetary reach) has recruited him to work on a planet they are active upon. The purpose of the corporation is never entirely clear (are they ever?) but Peter quickly gets absorbed in relations with the indigenous inhabitants and the corporation’s intentions fade into the background. Meanwhile, life back on earth is falling apart and the physical distance between Peter and his wife proves very challenge to manage. This book really drew me in with the perfect blend of plot, setting, and emotional depth. Highly recommended. Check Our Catalog.

Apr 29, 2015 by megana

I admit it, I cried at the end of this outstanding debut novel. Inspired by the historic Tri-State Tornado of March 18, 1925 (which swept across Missouri, Illinois and Indiana and killed 695 people), it is set in a small farming community that has been home to the Graves family for four generations. By a freak turn of luck, the entire Graves family is the only family in town that suffers no loss of life or property during the deadly 45-minute windstorm. At first, this feels like a good thing, but as their longtime neighbors and childhood friends turn against them in the months following the disaster, the Graveses come to realize they will not be spared, either. A heartbreaking meditation on envy, bitterness, loss and memory. Check Our Catalog

Apr 13, 2015 by jimj

The story of an extraordinary family, a vanished way of life, and the unique child who became Theodore Roosevelt

Reflecting on T.R.’s event-filled life his good friend, Edith Wharton, put it best: “ . . . he was so alive at all points, and so gifted with the rare faculty of living intensely and entirely in every moment as it passed . . . “. McCullough won the National Book Award for this masterful story of the remarkable little boy (and his family), handicapped by severe asthma, who developed into the robust figure we associate with the 26th President. Check Our Catalog.

Apr 1, 2015 by claytonc

What a fun little diversion! Marie is 30, recently released from jail, and in love with a toddler. She is only slightly more mature than her new charge and thinks it perfectly fine to bath together while she enjoys some stolen whiskey. That’s not the only thing she steals in this quick celebration of good things happening to bad people. It’s refreshing how good you can feel routing for her as she makes one bad decision after another. Like watching a french-language train-wreck, in black and white. This book took no time to read and was a blast. Every dream of ditching it all? See where it gets Marie! Check Our Catalog

Mar 25, 2015 by jimj

Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) is the quintessential English gentleman. Sardonic, decorous, urbane, and endearingly opinionated. He has settled into a widower’s life when his brother’s death ignites an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, a Pakistani shopkeeper in their quiet village. A shared interest in literature and the loss of spouses creates something more than friendship. But the Edgecombe St. Mary’s inhabitants are scandalized by the harsh clash between culture and tradition. Hilarity, tentative romance and gentle wisdom ensue. A wondrous tale. Check Our Catalog

Mar 9, 2015 by claytonc

Need a break but don’t have the time or the money to get away? This is the perfect escape for you - two dozen tales that span the globe. Arranged alphabetically by author’s last name, I thought at first that this would be a very strange way to organize things, but it ended up working fabulously well. There was one piece that didn’t work very well for me, but it was short, and followed by a piece that completely redeemed the volume. Highlights for me were Harrison Scott Key’s Fifty Shades of Greyhound, Alex Shoumatoff’s The Last of Eden, and Colson Whitehead’s Loving Las Vegas (with a significant appearance by his friend Darren Aronofsky). Fans of David Sedaris will surely enjoy his contribution as well. Never heard of urbex? Michael Power’s Excuse Us While We Kiss the Sky is a great introduction - imagine scaling Notre Dame Cathedral under cover of darkness and then go read about people actually doing it. Check Our Catalog

Feb 27, 2015 by megana

Pushing 90, shaky on his pins, and irascible as ever (not in an endearing way), retired Memphis cop Baruch "Buck" Shatz discovers that the Nazi who tortured him and got away after the war is still alive. Not only that, he may be sitting on a stash of gold stolen from the German Reich. Whether he suffers from a God complex or is just a thorough misanthrope, Buck is the funniest detective I've run into in a long time, and his refusal to concede to old age kept me laughing all the way through. This book was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Check Our Catalog

Feb 17, 2015 by jimj

Beginning with the almost sado-masochistic endeavors of those engaged in competitive freediving and ending in the abyssal depths of the hadal zone five miles below the surface and crawling with organisms that have never seen the light of day, Nestor conducts a fascinating underwater travelogue. He swims with sharks. But he also swims with school bus sized sperm whales who, we learn, don’t use those powerful jaws to catch prey but emit jackhammer “clicks” that stun their food. A fascinating read. Check Our Catalog

The world of Atticus Finch, a small town Southern lawyer, is part of literary history. In 1960, Harper Lee published the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird, still one of the best-loved American books and required reading in 70 percent of U.S. school systems. By 1965 she had refused interviews and never wrote another book, a one-hit wonder, until it was just announced on February 3 that a second book, a pre-quel will be published this coming summer. Searching for background material for the Chicago One Book program, Marja Mills traveled to Monroeville, Alabama and met Alice Lee, the 88 year old still practicing lawyer and older sister of Nelle Harper Lee. Here is a description of a small Southern town and its people that inspired the classic novel as well as the devotion between the Lee sisters. It often feels like Alice is the real story here and the more likable of the sisters. Harper is described as “prickly at times”, can be impatient and suspicious, and Alice, is the “steady, responsible, older sister,” Atticus in a skirt.” The controversy surrounding this publication has added to the Harper Lee reclusive mystique. Harper has stated that she did not cooperate with Ms. Mills. That’s hard to believe since the author lived next door at her suggestion for 18 months.  Harper Lee still knows how to sell a book! Check Our Catalog

Jan 30, 2015 by megana

Brothers Joseph and Mira began life 12 years apart in a remote hilltop village in Haiti when the country was still occupied by U.S. Marines. They died a few months apart in 2004 in Miami and New York, one a prisoner of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and the other a naturalized U.S. citizen. This moving family story is told by acclaimed Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat, the ‘daughter’ of both men—the uncle who raised her in Haiti from the age of four until eleven, and the father she came to know after she and her younger brother joined their parents in America.  A masterful and beautifully written look at how different life choices—to leave Haiti for a better life, and to stay in Haiti and make a better life—impact an extended family unto the next generation and the next after that. Check Our Catalog

Jan 28, 2015 by jimj

Abandoned for dead by the rest of his crew after a horrific storm forces them to evacuate the planet, Mark Watney’s challenges are immense. Facing starvation, loneliness, broken machinery, an unforgiving environment, human error and no way to contact earth this botanist/engineer nevertheless is not willing to surrender. Will his ingenuity be enough to overcome the impossible odds he faces? A terrific adventure/survival tale. Check Our Catalog

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