Staff Book Picks

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Nov 27, 2011 by megana

Nothing is sacred to Barney Panofsky in this rambling, hilarious and ultimately sad fictional "memoir." Barney spares no one, including himself, in his version of events, from his years as a Canadian expat in Paris in the 50s, through his three wives and his career as a trash TV producer, to his involvement in the disappearance--or was it murder?--of his best friend, Boogie. You will laugh out loud from the beginning almost to the end, when the nature of Barney's own end becomes clear. Check Our Catalog

Nov 20, 2011 by megana

Set in the Scottish Highlands in the mid-1950s, this mystery features Joanne Ross, a typist at the Highland Gazette newspaper struggling to create a new life for herself and her two young daughters after leaving an abusive husband. Her personal connections to two men who turn up dead on the same day give her a chance to try her hand at reporting that challenges her loyalties. Great local color for those who love Scotland, plus a real sense of what it was like to be a woman in the post-war years before feminism had made much headway. Check Our Catalog

Nov 13, 2011 by megana

Another strange case for Paris police chief Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg involving vampires, political skullduggery and a troubled adult son he didn't know he had. The story begins in a meandering, vague sort of way with Adamsberg relying on his famous intuition as seemingly unrelated events come together and the suspense quickens. If you're already a fan of this intriguing and unorthodox French cop, you won't want to miss this latest title in the series. If not, start the fun with The Chalk Circle Man. Check Our Catalog

It's the end of days!!! In the not too distant future, robots have made our lives a lot easier. Robots can now drive our cars and fight our wars.  Fast forward just a little bit more and they gain intelligence and begin to turn against us. Wilson's book is an oral history of the rising of Archos, the leader of the computer/robot revolution, and the human reaction as they fight to stay alive. A great read that will have you questioning just how much we rely on our computers.  Check Our Catalog.

Nov 3, 2011 by megana

An absorbing and thought-provoking read, this novel explores a web of characters whose lives cross paths over the course of four decades, ending about 10 years from now. The two central characters are Bennie, a rock music promoter, and Sasha, his young assistant, but the story is told from multiple points of view and explores the lifelong echoes of chance encounters and the relentless impact of time passing. I'm often disappointed when I finally get around to reading an award-winning, critically acclaimed and popular title, because the work doesn't live up to the hype. Not so in this case. Check Our Catalog

Eve Weldon, a newly hired writer for a morning news show, is struggling to recreate the fabulous life her mother had in Greenwich Village in the 1960s. But Eve has few friends, trouble finding love and a ghost living in her apartment. And it's not the type of ghost that slams doors and tries to scare her away. No, instead it is the ghost of an almost, could-have-been famous Beat writer who demands Eve write his stories. The Ghost of Greenwich Village might fall into the chick lit/coming-of-age category, but it is incredibly smart and literary, and offers an interesting behind the scenes look at the production of a television show. Check Our Catalog

From the screenwriter who brought you Fanboys comes a debut novel with more 80s references than one person can handle.  Ready Player One takes place in the not too distant future.  This is a much bleaker future, where most of the world's population is now plugged into the virtual reality world of OASIS.  Cline's book follows Wade Watts and his OASIS avatar as he tries to solve the riddles left behind by the creator of OASIS.  This riddles will unlock a vast fortune and many obstacles stand in Wade's way, not the least of which is the ability to remember obscure 1980s trivia.  If you are the right age, this book was remarkable.  Check Our Catalog

Oct 28, 2011 by jimj

Connie Willis adds a seventh Hugo Award to her list of accomplishments with this diptych. Continuing a theme developed in The Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, Willis imagines a near future (2060) in which Oxford University historians conduct field work by traveling into the past. The past in these two books (which are actually one story) is London during WWII. Content rich and detail heavy the read can be a demanding slog. But the strategy becomes clear when the time travellers begin to suspect that their seemingly benign observations may have inadvertently shaped the course of history toward the defeat of the Allies. Check Our Catalog

Oct 28, 2011 by jimj

Chester's Mill, Maine finds itself suddenly and inexplicably cut off from the outside world when a 20,000 foot high transparent dome descends from out of nowhere. Who created this situation and why are only two of the questions the increasingly desperate denizens of this beleaguered town have to address as King spins a yarn full of unlikely heroes, monstrous pretenders to power and nefarious doings beyond the known universe. Mayhem rules. But so does redemption. A fast paced tale populated with a great cast of characters both good and evil. Check Our Catalog

Oct 20, 2011 by megana

From his 1992 debut novel (A Firing Offense) to his latest effort (The Cut), George Pelecanos has proven himself a consistently fine writer of interesting, suspenseful, and thought-provoking literary crime novels. His milieu is the gritty underworld of Washington D.C. and his characters range from slackers to strivers, hapless criminals to amoral killers. His latest hero, Spero Lucas, is a recently returned Iraq veteran making a living as a private investigator who takes on a case for a jailed crime boss. If you haven't picked up a Pelecanos novel yet, you could start with The Cut or any of his other titles--the guy can't write a bad book! Check Our Catalog

Oct 19, 2011 by deirdres

This book provides a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of many classic movies via the memos of producer David O. Selznick.  A notorious micromanager, Selznick had plenty to say about casting, costumes, dialog and every other aspect of a film's creation.  Of course Gone with the Wind, his greatest success, is covered thoroughly, but there are plenty of other movies, including Rebecca, Duel in the Sun, David Copperfield, and people, Alfred Hitchcock, Jennifer Jones (his mistress then wife) that are given their due. Check Our Catalog

London-based author Julian Barnes has won this year's Man Booker Prize for his novel The Sense of an Ending.  The book is a story of a seemingly ordinary man who, when revisiting his past in later life, discovers that the memories he holds are less than perfect.  This was Barnes' eleventh novel.  Check Our Catalog

The National Book Foundation today announced the finalists for the 2011 National Book Awards.  Awards are given in the following categories:  Fiction, Nonfiction, Young People's Literature, and Poetry.  There are some great titles on the list.  Check it out on the NBF website.

Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer won the Nobel Prize for literature today. Transtromer has published more than fifteen poetry collections, which have been published in over 60 languages.  You can read more about him in The New York Times,  check out some of his poems at www.poets.org, or check our catalog for poetry books by Transtromer.

Oct 4, 2011 by megana

What if your teenage son made a typical stupid teenage mistake--and the whole world found out about it? This compelling story of a modern American family shattering amid the fallout of a social media-driven sex scandal thoughtfully explores themes of identity, privacy, family, and loyalty. Check Our Catalog

Oct 2, 2011 by megana

Another funny, whimsical and thoroughly enjoyable read in this author's Corduroy Mansions series, which is a bit like the 44 Scotland Street series but set in London instead of in Edinburgh. McCall Smith has no peer when it comes to gently yet relentlessly skewering his motley assortment of characters, exposing everyday human failings and foibles. You will chuckle, and wince, and probably recognize yourself a few times. Check Our Catalog

Sep 27, 2011 by megana

In 1875, 25-year-old May Dodd is released from an insane asylum and, along with 40-odd other fertile female misfits, travels West to become a Cheyenne bride, part of a U.S. government program to pacify and assimilate the Indian tribes, the better to seize their land in violation of existing treaties. This engaging, insightful and exciting story is told through May's fictional journal entries and mostly unsent letters home to her family. A really good read!  Check Our Catalog

Sep 24, 2011 by deirdres

In this entertaining autobiography, the Red Rocker takes you from his humble beginnings in Fontana, CA to his dream life in Cabo San Lucas.  While glossing over his own failings he doesn't hold back on his negative observations about members of Van Halen, especially Eddie.  Full of interesting tidbits, it's definitely worth a look. Check Our Catalog

 

 

With Colonel Roosevelt, Edmund Morris finally concludes his brilliant history of the life of Theodore Roosevelt.  In his third book, Morris picks up Roosevelt's story in the days after he leaves the White House.  Roosevelt, who has chosen the name 'colonel' for his post-presidential years, sets off on adventures both exotic and political.  Roosevelt leaps out of the pages of Morris' work and you can see yourself watching Teddy stumping his Progressive platform.  An excellent read.  Check Our Catalog

Sep 17, 2011 by megana

Another absorbing and insightful contemporary family story from Joanna Trollope, this one focusing on the sometimes fraught relationships between parents and their adult children.  When Rachel and Anthony's youngest son marries, the arrival of a third daughter-in-law into the extended family mix brings new complications and power struggles.  Trollope excels at switching viewpoints from one character to another and you will find yourself sympathizing and becoming exasperated in turns with Rachel and her sons and daughters-in-law. Check Our Catalog


© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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