Staff Book Picks

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Nov 13, 2012 by deirdres

I've wanted to read this book ever since I first saw the cover and it was just as good, better even, then I thought it would be based on that skimpy criteria.  This is the kind of book I love.  Lots of intertwined characters jumping  back and forth through time from 1960's Italy to present day Hollywood.   It begins on the coast of Italy at the Hotel Adequate View as the proprietor Pasquale's life is changed by the arrival of beautiful American actress, Dee Moray, who is in Italy to film Cleopatra.  What follows are stories of love in many incarnations involving the friends and relations of Pasquale and Dee, including Richard Burton who is amusingly portrayed as an boozy narcissist. Check Our Catalog

Duncan’s new novel picks up on the threads of the romantic entanglements of now deceased werewolf Jake Marlowe. His love, Talulla Demetriou, has survived the hunt described at the end of ‘The Last Werewolf’. Talulla is now coming to terms with being a werewolf, possibly the only one left. As she struggles with her new identity, the same forces that were after Jake now are coming after her. Will she survive?  Check Our Catalog

Oct 31, 2012 by julier

A different kind of mystery.  Billy Webb, a recent college grad, gets his first job as an editor for a dictionary publisher located in a small town in western Massachusetts.  From the details it is obvious the author has worked as a lexicographer herself.  Researching the word "editrix" in the enormous citation file that includes snippets from books and magazines showing words in use, Billy and co-worker Mona come across a quotation from a novel entitled The Broken Teaglass that appears to be set in their office.  Intrigued, they try to track the book down only to find that it appears the book was never published so they begin looking for more citations in the files.  Word by word they begin to piece together a very odd murder mystery.   For a mystery the book is slow paced and measured. The layering of the story within the story will have you flipping back to check on details that seemed insignificant on first appearance. Check Our Catalog

This one is for the soccer buffs out there. Wilson provides an exhaustive history of soccer tactics, from the game’s beginning up to present day shifts in paradigms.  Taking us from muddy British fields, to behind the Iron Curtain, and into the heart of South American jungles, Wilson shows how the thinking about the game has developed. A great read for soccer fans, who crave to know why things are the way they are.  Check Our Catalog

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

© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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