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Staff Book Picks

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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

Nov 18, 2013 by megana

Twin sisters Kate and Violet have taken separate paths in life: Kate is happily married with two small children; Violet is a bit of a drifter still unattached and making a living as a medium. Then Violet publicly predicts that a major earthquake will hit St. Louis MO on a specific date, just after a smaller earthquake hits the area. Years ago, Kate “disabled” her own psychic abilities by choice and now must confront her sister’s sudden celebrity status, her scientist husband’s skepticism, and her unexpected attraction to a fellow stay-at-home dad. While there is some suspense around the question of whether or not an earthquake will actually happen as predicted, this absorbing story is ultimately about sisterhood, family, marriage and coming to terms with a difficult childhood. Check Our Catalog

Nov 8, 2013 by megana

It’s 2006 and Conrad Farrell has just returned home after four years in Iraq as an officer in the Marines. While his parents and siblings welcome him back warmly, and his girlfriend welcomes him more cautiously, Conrad finds that re-entering the world he left behind is nothing like he thought it would be. As he corresponds with men he served with—some still at war and some back home--flashes back on painful scenes from Iraq, he finds himself confused, angry, and frustrated, with little help forthcoming from the VA. This honest and moving family story takes you inside the mind and heart of a soldier struggling to return to civilian life. Check Our Catalog

Oct 24, 2013 by megana

A loving but dysfunctional Irish English family converges at the family homestead in London during the legendary British heatwave of 1976 when the dad goes out for the morning paper and never returns.  As abandoned wife Gretta worries about her husband’s whereabouts, son Michael Francis (two kids, failing marriage) shows up to help, and favorite daughter Monica (failed marriage, shaky second marriage with two dreadful stepdaughters) also drops by. Youngest daughter Aoife, who has fled to New York and been out of touch with the family for several years, also flies home.  As the family gathers and frets and bickers, multi-generational family secrets leak out and a kind of reconciliation is reached when they all decamp to the family’s summer cottage on the remote coast of Ireland. Check Our Catalog



Oct 21, 2013 by claytonc

Arthur Opp weights 550 pounds and hasn't left his Brooklyn Brownstone in many years. Kel Keller lives 20 miles north on the Hudson and is the poor kid in the rich school dreaming about a future as a professional baseball player. They are connected by Kel's mother, a former student of Arthur's. There are a lot of sad stories in this engaging novel, but it is not a sad book. Liz Moore adeptly spins the tale of the commonalities that bring disparate people together (and includes a serious dose of addiciton to keep it from getting too light). This novel is a favorite of book groups (and the edition I read concluded with questions to prompt book group discussions and a brief interview with the author). Check our catalog and watch the book trailer below if you need additional enticements.

Oct 15, 2013 by megana

Another entry in the crowded Nordic noir field—but this one actually has some humor (black humor, anyway). Detective Carl Morck is in charge of the cold case department in Copenhagen. In the midst of coping with various bureaucratic office crises, he receives a years-old message in a bottle (written in blood)—passed along by Scottish colleagues after being found along their coastline—that appears to be from a boy in life-threatening danger somewhere on the Danish coast. As Morck and his staff gradually decode the message, they find themselves in a search for a still-active serial killer whose next victims are already at death’s door. Check Our Catalog

Oct 13, 2013 by InkWeaver

There is a forest in our heads – soaring trunks and twining branches composing an entire interconnected system. A spark, a pulse, and the branches lit up as the message speeds past in less than a microsecond. This network of nerves, dendrites, axons, and somas make up our connectome. Similar to the genome, this new concept stems from the research of Dr. Sebastian Seung of MIT’s Brain and Cognitive Science Department. He has started an ambitious project to map all the connections between neurons – the nerve cells that are responsible for our every movement and thought. This lyrically written nonfiction book chronicles the origin, present studies, and future of neuroscience. Check Our Catalog

Oct 10, 2013 by claytonc

Questlove has achieved fame as the drummer for The Roots, a long-lasting instrumental hip-hop band that is also the incredibly virtuosic house band for the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon televison show. Mo'Meta Blues, the very deftly written account of his life and love of music, is funny, smart, and a total joy to read. I would buy the soundtrack to this book and put it on heavy rotation if it were ever created.

Check the catalog and reserve a copy today!

Here is a clip of the author himself describing this book:

Oct 6, 2013 by megana

Looking for real Italian dishes that you really can make yourself? Look no further than the classic cookbooks written by Italian-born homemaker and cooking instructor Marcella Hazan, who died recently at the age of 89. As the Boston Globe's Joanna Weiss put it, "Her recipes prove what it takes to cook good food at the end of the long, hard day...Just a few basic ingredients, a sharp knife, and a good book."  Check Our Catalog

Sep 29, 2013 by megana

Robert Barnard's U.S. debut novel, A Little Local Murder, set the pattern for the many popular mysteries to follow: wryly funny and ingeniously plotted social satires disguised as English cozies (i.e. mysteries with picturesque settings, colorful local residents and not much blood or gore). Unlike many other bestselling mystery writers, Barnard varied his settings and characters, focussing on different communities and social types from book to book, and sketching well-rounded characters you wouldn't want for neighbors. Two of my personal favorites are Death of a Perfect Mother and A Scandal in Belgravia. Check Our Catalog for a more complete list of titles by this author, who died on September 19, 2013.

Sep 17, 2013 by megana

The main protagonist of this new psychological suspense series is therapist Frieda Klein, an unlikely and reluctant advisor to the police detective investigating the abduction of a five-year-old boy. The plot unfolds apace, linking the crime to an unsolved 20-year-old child abduction case, and to a current patient of Frieda’s with strange dreams that seem to coincide with details of both abductions. This is a really satisfying read with a directly related sequel called Tuesday’s Gone. Do not, repeat do not, read the second one first, or it will spoil the story. But once you have read Blue Monday, you will definitely want to read the next one! Check Our Catalog

Sep 3, 2013 by megana

Middle-aged lawyer Guido Guerrieri faces a perplexing case when a young woman accuses her ex-boyfriend—the son of a powerful judge—of abuse, and no witnesses are willing to testify on her behalf. This novel, and others in the Guido Guerrieri series, rise above the legal thriller genre; they are revealing and thought-provoking explorations of legal philosophy (Italian style), loneliness, love, trust and forgiveness. You will want to read them all. Check Our Catalog

Aug 19, 2013 by deirdres

It's like Aaron Hartzler was raised in an alternate universe. His memoir of growing up in a conservative Christian home was completely foreign to me, yet fascinating. No TV, no music except of the hymn variety, he was compelled to hide the fact that he was reading Neil Simon plays and listening to Amy Grant!   In his world a bad boy goes to the movies.  Hartzler presents his story in a straightforward manner that doesn't negate his parents beliefs, but illuminates his own burgeoning disillusion with them. There is no subject that doesn't come back to God in this family.  My favorite: "The lord wants you to wear socks" when Aaron tries to get away with wearing boat shoes without socks to church.  After being forced by his parents to transfer to an even more stringently religious school (with a seemingly less devout student body), Aaron is befriended by a popular basketball player who introduces him to his freewheelin' alcohol-drinking family, he has his first serious girlfriend and has the first inklings that he is gay. Check Our Catalog

Jul 6, 2013 by megana

On his way out of a Bangkok store laden with two full cans of paint, travel writer Poke Rafferty collides with a running man who dies in his arms, but not before muttering a name. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Briefly detained and questioned by the police, Poke soon finds himself on the run from several dangerous and mysterious characters as he tries to discover the identity of the murdered man and the reason for all the cloak and dagger behavior, in the meantime saving his own skin.  Under the rain-soaked Bangkok rocks (there's a major monsoon going on), Poke uncovers a world of Eastern and Western spooks that ties the Vietnam-era Phoenix Program to the 21st century global war on terror. This is the fifth Poke Rafferty thriller and now I have to go back and read them all starting with #1. Enough said! Check Our Catalog

Jun 22, 2013 by megana

Readers of politicial thrillers mourn the passing of author Vince Flynn, whose bestselling Mitch Rapp series started with "Transfer of Power" in 1999 and will end with "The Survivor" (to be published in October). Flynn originally began writing as a way of overcoming his dyslexia but after his first self-published novel, "Term Limits", went on to become a New York Times bestseller, he turned writing into a successful career. If you're a Robert Ludlum fan, or just love sizzling globe-trotting military/CIA thrillers, try taking a Vince Flynn book to the beach with you this summer! Check Our Catalog

Jun 11, 2013 by InkWeaver

Rating: 5/5 stars

The human population is rapidly accelerating to eight million, a total that far exceeds the carrying capacity of the earth’s limited resources. The solution? Descend into the nine circles of hell – Dante’s Inferno – and visit the lake that reflects no stars. There, a sleeping virus threatens to decimate the human race, to cull the population to manageable and sustainable levels. The ingenious geneticist who engineered this vector virus has committed suicide, leaving behind a frantic race to find the virus before it is released to the world. Robert Langdon returns to Italy as a guest of the World Health Organization, utilizing his knowledge of the classic Dante’s Inferno to follow the clues that Professor Zobrist left before his death. Will he reach the virus in time?

This novel masterfully blends breakthrough, modern genetic research with the macabre vibrancy of Dante’s journey through hell. A great read for teens and adults! Check Our Catalog

May 30, 2013 by briand

Before the summer blockbuster “Man of Steel” hits theaters on June 14th, be sure to pick up Superman: the High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero by Lexington native Larry Tye.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were young Jewish boys growing up during the Great Depression, and both had tragically lost their fathers. Together, with Jerry as writer and Joe as artist, they would create a modern day golem and forge a new American mythology. Their creation would experience an exodus from his native people and be raised by another culture, similar to Moses. He would possess the strength of Hercules and the speed of Hermes. He would be humble despite his powers and possess an unwavering moral compass. He would represent everything the young boys dreamed of being and everything they sought in a father figure. They would name their creation, “Superman”

What really makes  Larry Tye’s book shine is the detailed exploration of the rich history of writers, artists, actors, producers, and financiers that helped make the “Man of Tomorrow” as relevant today as he was during his debut in 1938. Each creative team would add unique ideas to the Superman mythos and would help extend the character beyond just comic books. But each creative team also experiences setbacks, from Fredric Wertham’s crusade against comics in the 1950s, to countless lawsuits by creators Jerry and Joe to the owners of National/DC comics, and the famously mysterious death of Superman T.V. actor George Reeves (as depicted in the movie Hollywoodland). This is a wonderful, well researched, and intimate trip for fans of Superman or the comic book industry. Check it out in our catalog before Superman hits the big screen again!


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