Staff Book Picks

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Aug 22, 2011 by megana

Another stellar title in this well-above-average mystery series featuring the Reverend Clare Fergusson and Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne. The books are set in the small town of Millers Kill, New York and feature consistently interesting plots and the evolving relationship between the priest and the police chief.  This latest (and seventh) novel explores the aftermath of war when five local veterans return home and struggle to adjust to everyday life after disturbing tours of duty in Iraq. If you haven't discovered this series yet, you would do well to begin with the first book (In the Bleak Midwinter, 2002) and work your way forward to the latest one. You will enjoy yourself from first to last.  Check Our Catalog

Aug 5, 2011 by megana

If you're a parent with a high schooler headed for college, you really have to read this book. Ferguson makes you wince, groan and laugh out loud as he relates his family's journey from PSAT to college orientation day. Even more than a personal story, the book places today's competitive college admissions process in a historical, social and economic context that will help anxious parents keep things in perspective as they help their children navigate from secondary to higher ed. Check Our Catalog

Aug 2, 2011 by jimj

Science writing at its best, myrmecologist Moffat shares his passion for a species adept at exploiting the most bizarre niches of the environment. Exquisitely illustrated with the author's color photographs we join a gigantic sortee of marauder ants in India, observe weaver ants spinning silk in order to bind leaves together to make a nest, and watch dumbfounded as a species in Brunei dives into pitcher plants to "fish" for drowned insects. We also get to admire the fungus-growing leaf-cutting ants and raise an eyebrow at the Amazon slavers who steal pupae from other species to do their work. All written with a dash of humor and loads of wonder. Check Our Catalog

Aug 2, 2011 by jimj

This tale has it all. Colonies of giant albino humaniods living below the Antarctic ice. A bitter, tenure-denied academic who discovers the manuscript of Edgar Allen Poe's only novel and decides there's enough evidence to prove it's not a work of fiction. A life-threatening, seafaring voyage of an all-black crew to find a black-inhabited island at the bottom of the world. Evil, conniving lawyers. Cold-hearted ex-girfriends. Acidly humorous, Johnson creates an uproarious satire of racial pathology. And does so with a cast of memorable miscreants and a blistering plot. Check Our Catalog

Aug 2, 2011 by jimj

Griswold takes the reader on a journey along the tenth parallel--the line of latitude seven hundred miles north of the equator--where we find a geographical and ideological front line where Christianity and Islam collide. Religious conflicts are also conflicts about land, water, oil, and other natural resources, and that local and tribal issues are often shaped by religious ideas. A deeply personal account, Griswold also places the intersection in its historical and social context. A must read. Check Our Catalog

Jul 25, 2011 by jimj

Four season's worth of observations on a slim peninsula of land in New York's Long Island Sound provide the skeleton of a lyrical, intelligent exploration of the state of the planet. It's a grim picture but, unlike many of those who write on this topic, Safina does not leave us without hope. The author travels far from Lazy point (Southeast Alaska, Palau, Antarctica, Bonaire) to support his main point: the interconnectedness of life. Best savored slowly the book argues for a new social contract with the planet, one focused on an ethics of compassion. A beautifully written book. And an important one. Check Our Catalog

This is the fifth Detective Hole novel to be translated into English, but the first to receive mainstream buzz.  This book has all the twists and turns you need in a good thriller and Hole is a loveable loser of a hero.  All of the books in this series are worth a read, so you don't have to stick with The SnowmanCheck Our Catalog

Jul 15, 2011 by dianec

A combination memoir, hip-hop homage and lyrical explication, Jay-Z's Decoded is a provocative read. The book itself feels like a coffee-table book—lots of images and a funkier layout—and is as fun to flip through as it is to read. Even non-fans may find Jay-Z's first hand account of life in Brooklyn's projects during the crack epidemic, and his transformation into a music mogul, interesting. Check Our Catalog

A great spy thriller, reminiscent of LeCarre.  Cumming's book explores the possibility of their being a sixth man in the infamous 'Cambridge Five' spy ring.  Sam Gaddis, who thinks he is on to a great story, finds himself in the middle of a standoff between British and Russian operatives.  Check Our Catalog.

Jul 1, 2011 by megana

The 'Lincoln Lawyer' character returns in this legal thriller about a woman accused of murdering the banker who was foreclosing on her home. Does L.A. defense attorney Mickey Haller think she's innocent...or guilty...or innocent...and does it even matter?  You have to wait until the last twist to find out. Check Our Catalog

This was a great read and Publisher's Weekly got it right when they called it "a quirky and stylish revisionist western."  Narrated by one of the fearsome Sisters brothers, this is a modern take on a good old-fashioned western.  Charlie and Eli Sisters set out on a mission, but find themselves on more of a quest.  A fun read.  Check Our Catalog

Jun 10, 2011 by megana

This is the fourth book in Trollope's Barchester Chronicles series but you can read it as a stand-alone novel (which I did).  Basically an English romantic comedy that relentlessly pokes fun at both politicians and clergymen. Some of Trollope's comments could be inserted into a contemporary op ed column (or blog, even) and sound totally right on!  Satisfying fun for 19th century fiction lovers. Check Our Catalog

Apr 26, 2011 by megana

Inspired to re-read this old favorite before seeing the latest movie version, I found it to be more modern--and even feminist (despite the mad woman in the attic)--than I remembered.  Check Our Catalog

Set in a fictional Mexican port town, this novel follows the investigations of an uncle and nephew team streaching from the 1970s to current day.  An investigative journalist in current day Paracuan end up dead.  Detectove Ramon Cabrera discovers a link to a 1970s serial killer investigated by his uncle Vincente Rangel.  Solares delves into the corruption of Mexican police and politicians.  This is a great read for fans of detective fiction looking for a more exotic locations. Check Our Catalog


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