Staff Picks   Outstanding Titles We Enjoy & Recommend

 by Katherine Osborne 

A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles       

War & Peace meets Eloise in this absolutely delightful novel from Amor Towles. Written with charm and grace, the story of Count Rostov's post-Revolutionary life under house arrest in the Metropol Hotel gives us a fascinating view of Russian life both large and small. As old regimes give way to new, how much do we fight to hold on to our mores and ideals? Towles brings a light touch to a deep subject making this a novel you do not want to miss.                                                    

Some of John Paul's favorites: 

Of All the Gin Joints, by Mark Bailey

Bite-size biographies are followed by ribald anecdotes and memorable quotes. If a star had a favorite cocktail, the recipe is included. Films with the most outrageous booze-soaked stories, like Apocalypse Now, From Here to Eternity, and The Misfits, are featured, along with the legendary watering holes of the day (and the recipes for their signature drinks). Edward Hemingway's portraits complete this spirited look at America's most iconic silver-screen legends.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, by Carlo Rovelli

Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli guides readers with admirable clarity through the most transformative physics breakthroughs of the twentieth and twenty-first century. This playful, entertaining and mind-bending introduction to modern physics, already a major bestseller in Italy, explains general relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, and the role of humans in the strange world Rovelli describes. This is a book about the joy of discovery. It takes readers to the frontiers of our knowledge: to the most minute reaches of the fabric of space, back the origins of the cosmos, and into the workings of our minds.

Made in America: An informal history of the English language, by Bill Bryson

Bryson de-mythologizes his native land-explaining how a dusty desert hamlet with neither woods nor holly became Hollywood, how the Wild West wasn't won, why Americans say "lootenant" and "Toosday," how Americans were eating junk food long before the word itself was cooked up-as well as exposing the true origins of the G-string, the original $64,000 question, and Dr. Kellogg of cornflakes fame.


Two-Minute Mysteries, by Donald J. Sobol

Whether testing their own sleuthing abilities by working against the clock or enjoying the intrigue of unraveling the case, readers get lots of spine-tingling mystery in these thrilling puzzlers.

DoubleCross by Ben MacIntyre

How do you keep secret the location and time of a 150,000 troop European D-Day from the most sophisticated army (Nazi) who are expecting it?  This book covers the astonishing exploits of Secret Intelligence Services who nullified or converted all the German spies in Britain into double agents and so cleverly and skillfully that the Nazis never guessed (or didn't care) they were being duped.

After reading this book, I realized we would never have broken out of the Normandy bocage region if Hitler and the German High Command hadn’t bought into the deception of St. Calais. Full of colorful, idiosyncratic characters that could be straight out of a ‘40s Hollywood comedy.  A must read for Normandy Invasion enthusiasts.   


 The Swerve, by Stephan Greenblatt   

This view of how one philosophical perception, Greek/Roman  Epicurean, helped changed the world when it was rediscovered in 1400 Italy and left to mature during the Renaissance Humanism and beyond.   He starts the story out as a mystery:  A former papal secretary searches for an elusive copy of Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things which in itself is an expansion of 3rd century BC Greek Epicurus.  It turns from there to a wonderful swim into atoms, absence of suffering as Good and pleasurable, free will versus determinism and how viewpoints on philosophical concepts can change through the ages.  

The Technologists by Matthew Pearl

Mr. Pearl has made a technological mystery out of the first year of MIT.  This has Harvard rivalry, Boston Bluebloods, Blue-collar Tinkerers, brash intelligent woman, a Moriarty type villain, a great 1868 Boston background and a possible luddite backlash that could affect the bent of the nation if not solved quickly.  A fun, not quite Steampunk tale of a time when Technology was not quite King. 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 

The World Wide Web is just one big Multi-User Dungeon where the entire worldl does its commerce, socializing and entertainment.  It was created by megamillionaire Mr. Halliday, now deceased.  As his swan song he made out his will to the gamer who can find the 3 Secret Easter Eggs squirreled away in the net, and answer the riddles.  Gamer Wade makes the attempt. This cyberpunk sci/fi story is an homage to the 1980's and computer gaming in general. Vernor Vinge True Names meets "Tron"!

Hackers, by Steven Levy

Computer Nerds and Techno freaks:  Know your roots: the history of the computer revolution that changed the world. From the MIT tech labs of the fifties to the emerging Silicon Valley to the game market of the eighties, Levy gives the circumstances, personalities and culture that each phase created.  Learn about The Hacker Ethic, Hands-on-Imperative, and the 30-hour-day programming.  One of my favorite books - John Paul

Brothers In Arms by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

A great account of Tank Warfare:  how a tank team worked in WWII and how they trained. This is also the story of the dismal treatment of Negro soldiers by their own countrymen. This is the armored version of the Tuskagee Airmen or the 92nd Infantry of Buffalo soldiers.


Karen's recent favorites:        
The Quality of Silence, by Rosamuch Lupton  This Alaskan thriller revolves around a mother and her 10-year-old deaf child, who are definitely survivors. What a wild story! Astrophysicist Yasmin ends up driving an 18-wheel truck north across the tundra through a raging snowstorm. The odds seem unsurmountable but they push on, never losing faith that her husband is still alive and will be found. I enjoyed the daughter, Ruby's self-confidence and technical skill as well as the kindness of the truck drivers who helped them on the journey. Highly recommended.

Burning Bright, by Nicholas Petrie Whoa! This is the best pairing since Tarzan and Jane, but cutting edge current! Think Jack Reacher meets Wonder Woman; they both are clever, resourceful and powerful, but each with an Achilles heel that renders them humanly endearing. Petrie grabs your attention for this thriller with the very first paragraph! 


Old Man, by Thomas Perry  

Dan Chase seems a harmless retiree in Vermont with two big mutts and a grown daughter. But most old men don’t have multiple driver’s licenses, savings stockpiled in banks across the country, and a bugout kit with two Berettas stashed in the spare closet. Most have not spent decades on the run. 35 years ago, as a young hotshot in army intelligence, Chase was sent to Libya to covertly assist a rebel army. When the plan turned sour, Chase reacted according to his own ideas of right & wrong, triggering horrific consequences. And someone still wants him dead because of them. Just as he had begun to think himself safe, Chase must use his survival instincts to contend with the history he has spent his adult life trying to escape. Armed mercenaries, a precarious love interest, and an unforgettable chase scene through the snow—this is lethal plotting from one of the best in crime fiction.

The Next, by Stephanie Gangi     In this raunchy, rollicking ghost story we meet Joanna as she is succumbing to breast cancer. She is trying to adjust to how her grown daughters have become the caregivers and Ned, her former younger boyfriend, has dumped her for a wealthy, international cosmetics queen. Joanna quickly realizes that as a ghost seeking revenge, she can torment the hell out of the unscrupulous Ned, and only her poodle, Tom, knows what is really going on. 

Widowmaker,by Paul Doiron 

Our team is quite excited to have this newest Bowditch mystery.  I am reading it now and already know this is my favorite so far. Each new book has been my favorite. It is terrific to see Mike's responsibility level increase, and to meet old friends in each new story. And I love reading about the areas I know so well as settings for these exhilarating tales. The wonderful addition of Shadow, the "wolfdog" will add much to the book's appeal for our mystery-loving customers.

Widowmaker is a very fine mystery. I enjoy Mike's increased responsibility and see him as a talented future detective, while maintaining his humanity, vulnerability and sense of humor.