Staff Book Picks

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Oct 24, 2012 by megana

Chef Jeremy Papier struggles to keep his first restaurant afloat in between visits to his anthropologist father, who is living with and researching the homeless residents of Vancouver B.C.'s 1,000-acre Stanley Park. In his day job, Jeremy negotiates with a profit-driven corporate financier in the city and creates radical cuisine menus for the diners at The Monkey's Paw Bistro. During his few off-hours, he glimpses the unseen lives of the Stanley Park denizens and applies his French cooking school training to the preparation of wild squirrels and starlings over a campfire.  The novel climaxes when his two lives come together in the suspenseful opening night gala of his new upscale restaurant, Gerriamo's. Woven into the story is an exploration of a 40-year-old unsolved murder case involving two young children whose bodies were discovered deep in the Stanley Park woods. This funny, thoughtful, and satisfying story mocks modern "foodies" and global corporate culture while exploring the real meaning of family, tradition, culinary roots, and a deep sense of place. Check Our Catalog

In this sequel to the religious conspiracy novel ‘Sanctus,’ we pick up where we left off. Liv Adamsen has survived an explosion in the Citadel, but doesn’t have any memory about how she got into the sacred fortress, or how she got out. Now her fellow survivors are mysteriously dying, one by one. She appears to be next. We follow Adamsen’s story as she tries to discover her relationship to the sacred mysteries of the Citadel, and what the future has in store for her.  Check Our Catalog

Oct 9, 2012 by megana

Someone is playing strange and nasty pranks on the citizens of Elvestad, and Inspector Konrad Sejer is called in to investigate. What begins as unnverving (one elderly woman reads her own obituary in the newspaper, and a dying man answers the door to find the hearse has arrived to pick him up) becomes increasingly sinister as the novel progresses. Fossum examines the impact of evil on the human mind in this psychological thriller--and provides no comforting conclusion. Another standout book from this Scandinavian author (try The Indian Bride as well). Check Our Catalog

Oct 3, 2012 by megana

90-year-old Hagar Shipley is increasingly frail and forgetful but still fiercely herself as she looks back on a tumultuous life and forward to what's left of it. Proud, prickly and strong-willed, Hagar came of age in the Manitoba prairies before the turn of the 19th century, struggling to assert herself in an era of limited choices for women. Along the way, she loses her mother and both her brothers, marries "beneath" her and against her father's wishes, raises two sons and loses one, and faces the end of her life unrepentant. Whether you are 30-something, 50-something or 80-something, you will be moved by this unfolding portrait of a formidable and flawed woman. Check Our Catalog

In Eggers’ first novel in six years, we are taken to a fledgling Saudi Arabian city. Here Alan Clay, a middle-aged middle manager, is making what could be his last chance effort for financial and mental stability. Gone are the days of his salesmanship excellence and achievement, now he is divorced, broke, and trying to pay for his daughter’s education. We follow Clay as he tries to keep his Saudi deal together, and himself together. Check Our Catalog

Sep 25, 2012 by megana

If you like big, fat, thoroughly enjoyable 19th century novels, this is the book for you. Considered by some to be one of Trollope's masterpieces (he wrote something like 50 novels), "He Knew He Was Right" is a character study, a satire, and an exploration of patriarchal power and women's rights. The central plot involves a happy, loving marriage gradually destroyed by the husband's obsessive jealousy. Orbiting Mr. and Mrs. Trevelyan are a fascinating and amusing assortment of friends and family members whose lives and loves intersect. One of my favorite scenes involves a single clergyman who can't bring himself to propose marriage to a young woman he's been stringing along for years--because he is so repulsed by her "shapeless, monstrous, absurd, and abominable" chignon. Check Our Catalog

What starts out as a plan to help people with medical issues by giving them implants to help their problems, grows into something much more. Some peoples skills are so amplified that they seem superhuman. Wilson’s book starts with a Supreme Court decision banning ‘Amps’ from full rights as citizens. The results of which are catastrophic and threaten to start a new civil war. We follow the story of one special Amp and his struggle in this new America. An excellent, fast paced sci-fi thriller. Check Our Catalog

Aug 31, 2012 by deirdres

As in most books I've read about addicts, Mike Doughty's doesn't really wallow for long in how awful it must be but his is the only one I've ever read in which the author says: "If heroin still made me feel like I did the first time, and kept making me that way forever -- kept working -- I might've quite happily accepted a desolate, marginal life and death."  Although sobriety is surely the better choice, he's seems to have traded desolate and marginal for bitterness and self loathing. He never refers to his former bandmates in Soul Coughing by their names, only as the "drummer",  the "sampler"  and the "bass player", which dehumanizes him and not them. He tells numerous stories in which he is bullied and manipulated into doing things he doesn't want, including divvying up the publishing rights to the band's works, even though he presents himself as the musical auteur to their tradesmen.  This makes it sound like an unrelenting screed against the band and it's not.  It's actually an interesting read filled with stories about his vacations to places I'd never go, humiliating sexual interludes and Jeff Buckley. Check Our Catalog

Aug 22, 2012 by dorothyc

Thinking this would be a light, fun, fluffy read, I brought this along on vacation. It was the perfect beach read, but it turned out to be much more than fluff. This fantastic novel changed gears each time I thought I had it figured out, and in the end I was left with a witty but deep-feeling novel about a loving, eccentric, slightly dysfunctional family. Like P. G. Wodehouse's more biting cousin, The Uninvited Guests is highly recommended. Check Our Catalog

Geiger is an ‘information retrieval’ specialist. He knows exactly how to get the information he wants, whatever means necessary. Geiger is not only good at his job, he is considered the best. The only information that continues to escape him is his own past. Geiger’s past and future collide when he is asked to get information from a twelve-year-old boy.  Mayhem ensues… Check Our Catalog

Aug 14, 2012 by deirdres

To truly chronicle NBC's heyday Warren Littlefield would have needed to add several more volumes to Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV. Which isn't to say it wasn't an interesting read it just seemed to leave so much out. It's understandable that so much emphasis is put on big hits Seinfeld, Friends and Will & Grace, especially when many of the main players in those shows participated in the book. However, there is nary a mention of the horrible shows that were thrown on to Thursday nights with the hope of turning something painfully unfunny, like Caroline in the City, into a ratings winner.  Littlefield presents his story as if every show were carefully cultivated to add to the quality of Thursday night's programming when anyone who saw the shows that were sandwiched between Friends and Seinfeld knows that isn't true. Still the insights from the writers, actors and producers involved are fun and the section about the role Cheers played in the transformation of NBC into a ratings behemoth is illuminating. Check Our Catalog

Aug 2, 2012 by megana

This quiet yet compelling novel begins in 1949 and ends in 1997. It is the multigenerational story of Bill and Sylvia Chambers of Stonebrook, Ontario, and their extended family. These are ordinary people living ordinary lives full of imperfection, conflict, births, deaths, secrets, loyalty and love over the course of 50 years. The prose is simple but subtle and finely crafted, revealing the meaning and beauty of everyday lives. Check Our Catalog

Aug 1, 2012 by megana

Historian, novelist, essayist and political gadfly Gore Vidal died yesterday at 86. Especially lauded for his essays, he won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 1993 for the collection United States: Essays 1952–1992. His novels ranged from the satirical transexual comedy Myra Breckinridge to the historical novels Burr and Lincoln. Urbane, witty, versatile, prolific and controversial, Vidal was an American cultural icon.  Check Our Catalog for more of his literary works.

Although the subtitle is “A Novel of Golf & the Game of Life” you don’t have to know, or play, or even like golf (I don’t) to thoroughly enjoy this wonderful book (I did.)  There was no way I would feel motivated to read a book "about golf." However as a reader who thinks Steven Pressfield is one of our great living thinkers and writers, I was more than ready to accept that this was more than a "sports book." This book is a meditation on what it means to be a man and a human. I am so grateful that I took the time to experience this powerful little book, and recommend you do the same.  Check our Catalog

Kate Moore is an expat living in Luxembourg, trying to make a go of things. She has left her life and career in the States to follow her husband to Europe, where he is working in bank security. Moore is adapting to life in a new country, bringing the kids to school, learning a new language, when all of a sudden her secret past comes back to light. Pavone leads us through layers of intrigue in this new tale of espionage.  Check Our Catalog

Art theft is one of the most profitable criminal activities in the world, and Rembrandts are often the most targeted pieces. Museum security expert, Anthony Amore, and investigative journalist, Tom Mashberg, look into the most notorious Rembrandt thefts of the last 100 years.  They offer a view of the criminals involved in art theft and those who live on the fringes of this world. We also catch a glimpse of Rembrandt’s genius, and why he has become one of the most sought after artists today. An excellent read.  Check Our Catalog

Jul 5, 2012 by julier

Having enjoyed Zen on Masterpiece Mystery I went looking for the books the series is based on. This is the first of the Aurelio Zen mysteries, oddly enough shown as the third episode in the TV series. The book provides a much more detailed story with many more characters and an ending that doesn't work out quite as simply as on TV. If you are curious about the character of Zen the book provides much more background but be warned there are changes--due to the producer's choice, Zen is much younger and handsomer on TV, also due to the fact that the book takes place in the early 1980s. Another thing the book does much better than the TV show is to make Italy, in this case Perugia, come alive. There are many more Aurelio Zen mysteries, I'm looking forward to them.

Jun 27, 2012 by megana

Sadly, writer, screenwriter & director Ephron died yesterday--yet even just reading the obituaries made me laugh. Read, for example, her reprinted comments ruing the fact that she was "probably the only young woman who ever worked in the Kennedy White House whom the president did not make a pass at"....perhaps because of her unfortunate permanent wave, or because she was Jewish, or because "JFK somehow sensed that discretion was not my middle name. I mean, I assure you that if anything had gone on between the two of us, you would not have had to wait this long to find it out." If you're a middle-aged woman, need a laugh, and haven't yet read Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck, do it now. And it's probably time to re-watch some of her famous and award-winning movies, like Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally, and You've Got Mail. Check Our Catalog for more of her essay collections.

There are those inside the Dome, and then there is everyone else. Pressia wasn’t one of those lucky enough to make it into the Dome before the Detonations. Now, like her fellow survivors, she bears the scars of the Detonations, both with her physical deformities, and her mental strife. Now, Pressia is on the run, trying to escape from a militia, and this is when she discovers a Pure.  Patridge has escaped from the Dome and as a Pure, has already escaped the physical scars of the Detonation.  Now, the two are thrust together, trying to survive in a harsh new world. Check Our Catalog

Over a span of 24 hours, brilliant, yet eccentric, physicist Alex Hoffman suspects that he is losing his mind. He can’t remember sending ominous emails supposedly sent by him. People die. He is brutally assaulted. And Alex might be the cause of cataclysmic worldwide stock market crash that threatens global financial institutions. He’s invented a computer algorithm that begins to “think” for itself (and the fortunate few investors who have thrown their cash in Alex’s direction), starts to move the markets and doesn’t care what the collateral damage might be. Can it be stopped? Read against the background of a real-life Flash Crash on May 6, 2010, the seemingly unbelievable becomes less so. A real page-turner. Check our Catalog

© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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