Staff Book Picks

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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

Jun 18, 2012 by jimj

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



A great story, especially one with this much action, requires suspension of the reader's disbelief. I realized how skilled Morrell is in accomplishing that effect, at least in this reader, when I turned to my wife and said, "Have you ever been reading a book that is so exciting that you realize you have been holding your breath?" This is not a new book, but it sure still packs a punch. Check Our Catalog

This is an audiobook release of a novella from King's 2008 collection, Just After Sunset. It is only two CDs but it feels like a longer story because he packs so much suspense in so few words. Narrator Mare Winningham conveys just enough emotion and mood, without overdramatizing a story that is exciting and - at times - lurid enough based just on the words. Like any great melodrama, you wonder how much more your "hero" can take, as challenges and disasters pile up, but you root for her to rise to every one and come out stronger. The plot and theme revolve around running - running away, running away from, running for fitness and strength, and running to keep on running. As such, it may leave you breathless for more reasons than one. Check Our Catalog

Jun 14, 2012 by jimj

As WW II comes to a close, 24 military sightseers take a flying joyride over the remote mountains of New Guinea. The plane crashes and the only survivors are a beautiful WAC and 2 G.I.s. All three are injured, unreachable by ordinary means, surrounded by startled stone-age warrior tribes and cut off from a 200-mile journey to the coast by thousands of hostile Japanese soldiers. The military inserts a squad of Filipino-American paratroopers and their gung-ho commander to aid the survivors. The tale moves briskly forward with breathtaking acts of courage and bravery, first-contact cultural chauvinism and miscommunication, and insightful sociological commentary. The “solution” to the disaster is a bold plan to extract the survivors using a cargo plane with a big hook. Captivating, exhilarating, heartbreaking. Check our Catalog



Jun 14, 2012 by jimj

In the dizzying third (and probably not the last) installment of a steampunk/alternative-universe/time-travel saga, polymath explorer extraordinaire Sir Richard Burton returns with his trusty sidekick poet Algernon Swinburne to pre-empt a royal assassination, prevent world war, recover a set of psychoactive diamonds deposited by a now-extinct non-human race of super beings, and defeat the powers of evil. Burton hops between alternative realities in an enthralling tale replete with an encyclopedic grasp of period detail. Thoroughly engrossing. Check our Catalog



Jun 14, 2012 by jimj

A generation ago this was required reading for those seeking to enlist in the ranks of ecclesiastical leadership. This classic begins with a resounding jeremiad against the rising tide of secularism and posits six marks of the mind that thinks Christianly: its supernatural orientation, awareness of evil, conception of truth, acceptance of authority, concern for the person, and sacramental cast. Still provocative. Check our Catalog



Euro 2012 has kicked off in Poland and the Ukraine.  This is one of the world’s largest soccer tournaments, featuring sixteen of Europe’s top flight clubs.  Will Spain continue their dominance, or will Germany restore order? To get you in the mood, try Simon Kuper’s Soccer Men.  This book contains essays on some of the great players and managers of today and the recent past. The profiles explore what makes a truly great player or soccer strategist. You can dig a little deeper and check out Kuper’s older book, Soccernomics, which explores the who wins and why. Check Our Catalog

Jun 12, 2012 by deirdres

As is typical in most autobiographies, Gregg Allman tries to put the best spin on years of bad behavior.  Of course he's been married 6 or 7 times, but it was never his idea.  He's just a pawn in the game, man.   Too drunk and drugged up to participate in his own life, he presents himself as so passive that it's a miracle he could write a song on his own or tour with the band.  Written in conversational style, the book is filled with entertaining side notes, such as his belief that the Grateful Dead had fans because they dosed them with acid.  He also asserts that he got hepatitis C from unregulated tattooing rather than years of intravenous heroin use.  He delves somewhat into the bad blood between some of the Allman Brothers band members, especially Dickey Betts and, of course, the deaths of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley.  I felt that there was a lot more to tell when I was finished with this book. Check Our Catalog

Do you ever think you are paranoid?  If so, try being a tourist.  Milo Weaver used to be a tourist, one of the CIA's special field agents without a home or a name. Six years after leaving that career, Milo in now a husband and father with a desk job at the CIA.  The arrest of an international hit man and a meeting with a former colleague yank Milo back into his old role, from which retirement is never really possible.  Steinhauer has created a beautifully conflicted character, who struggles between doing what is right and keeping his fledgling family free from harm. Check Our Catalog

Ray Bradbury passed away on Tuesday June 5th, 2012 and a light has gone out in the Universe.  To say that I was a fan of Bradbury's doesn't seem enough.  He inspired me.  I was introduced to Bradbury in my teens.  I was looking for something to read and while rifling through my mother's bookshelf, I came across a worn paperback.  On the cover, was a naked man sitting on a scaffold with his back to the audience.  He was completely covered from the neck down in tattoos (pardon me, illustrations).  The was The Illustrated Man.  Sixteen stories each told as the illustrations on this man's body come to life and predict the future.  Bradbury wrote like a fine artist paints.  His words flow and envelop you, lifting you up into the story being told.  For teens (adults too), I recommend The Halloween Tree and Something Wicked This Way ComesAs a librarian, I shiver at the thought of the future presented in Bradbury's masterpiece Fahrenheit 451.  I won't spoil it for you but think for a minute, if you had only one book to preserve for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Jun 5, 2012 by julier

Lin Fox and the rest of her family are uprooted from their life in England and dropped into the dark depths of a German forest by her father's obsessive quest for fame as a medieval scholar.  Oliver Fox is searching for the fabled Allerheiligen Glass, astonishingly beautiful stained glass windows, said to be haunted by the demon Bonschariant.  What starts as a conventional mystery with an elderly farmer found dead in his apple orchard rapidly turns into a dark gothic fairy tale of murder and madness. A dark and twisty tale worthy of the Brothers Grimm. Check Our Catalog

Jun 2, 2012 by megana

We first meet the orphan Pip as a young boy living with his harridan of an older sister and her saintly blacksmith husband, Joe. After Pip is drawn into the bizarre household of the wealthy and spiteful spinster Miss Havisham and her adopted daughter, Estella, his life and future prospects begin to shift. When "great expectations" of future wealth come upon him from an anonymous source, he leaves behind his humble roots and goes to London to become a gentleman. The twists and turns of Pip's story of crime, social class and ambition, with the many colorful friends and foes he encounters along the way, will keep you engrossed right up to the somewhat ambiguous ending. The recent three-part BBC dramatization of Great Expectations hews reasonably close to the story's main characters and themes but inevitably cannot do justice to the richness of Dickens' story. Check Our Catalog

Jun 2, 2012 by megana

Another keenly insightful yet forgiving character study disguised as a mystery, by Alexander McCall Smith. This series of novels featuring private detective Mma Ramotswe of Botswana are thoroughly charming, in the best sense of the word. Each book manages to incorporate at least one or two pithy life lessons that you can apply to your own ordinary American life. Check Our Catalog

Diane Keaton's memoir is far from being a Hollywood tell-all. While she does talk about certain films and boyfriends (Annie Hall and Woody Allen, Reds and Warren Beatty, The Godfather trilogy and Al Pacino), the heart of the story is her mother and Alzheimer's, her decision to adopt at age 50 and her lifelong struggle with self-confidence. Portions of her mother's 85 journals are juxtaposed with Diane's own story, and the book includes photos of Diane and family, as well as scanned images from her mother's journals. Fans of Keaton will like the book, but anyone, particularly women, who've love, lost and /or felt less than pretty, will find this book charming. Check Our Catalog


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