Staff Picks   Outstanding Titles We Enjoy & Recommend

     

Good People, by Hannah Kent

A chilling, wonderful 1800 Irish story of herbal magic, folktales, superstition & betrayal.  These people are surviving on potatoes and faith; their lives are hard and this controversy is beguiling. Based on true events in nineteenth century Ireland, Hannah Kent's startling new novel tells the story of three women, drawn together to rescue a child from a superstitious community.
Nora, bereft after the death of her husband, finds herself alone and caring for her grandson Micheal, who can neither speak nor walk. A handmaid, Mary, arrives to help Nora just as rumors begin to spread that Micheal is a changeling child who is bringing bad luck to the valley. Determined to banish evil, Nora and Mary enlist the help of Nance, an elderly wanderer who understands the magic of the old ways.


The Child Finder, a novel by Rene Denfeld    
A woman who searches for abducted or lost children must confront her own memories of being kidnapped as a young girl. While looking for a little girl she is haunted by her past and the lies used to weave her present. The girl must survive years of terror and heartbreak, all while constructing a magical mythology to shield herself from the atrocities of her captor.  Strong, imaginative characters will captivate you as well.

The Alchemists Daughter, by Mary Lawrence

In the year 1543 of the turbulent reign of King Henry the VIII, Bianca Goddard, the daughter of a notorious alchemist finds herself suspected of cold-blooded murder. She employs her knowledge of herbs and medicinal plants to concoct remedies for the disease-ridden poor in the squalid slums of London. But when her friend Jolyn comes to her complaining of severe stomach pains, but the prescription seems to kill her on the spot. Bianca suspects Jolyn may have been poisoned before coming to her but the local constable is not convinced. Bianca must apply her knowledge of the healing arts to deduce exactly how her friend was murdered and by whom.

Unique characters, a twisty plot and a bold, bright heroine.


The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve, by Stephen Greenblatt  (author of The Swerve)
With all his usual clarity and freshness, one of our foremost literary historians and critics sets out a comprehensive picture of how a story foundational for European civilization developed, from its origins in western Asia to its much-contested place in the post-Darwinian world... This is a rich, learned, lively book, which should engage all who are interested in the history of our imagination and the interweavings of faith, poetics, and philosophy.

 

Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After, a memoir by Heather Harpham

Heather shares her very intimate, personal love story of raising her charming, completely adorable baby girl who must have monthly blood transfusions to handle her mysterious blood disease. She tells of living with her wonderfully complicated California family and of her odd relationship with Brian, the child's father, who is a well-known author living in NYC.Read this memoir which is captivating, current, humorous and wrenching. It will grip your heart.

 

Birding Without Borders, by Noah Stryeker

A truly wonderful tale of traveling the globe with his goal of spotting 5000 bird species in one year - and he did accomplish even more!

I most enjoyed reading about the people who helped Noah, as of course, there were mis-adventures too. He avoided war-torn areas but there is no controlling weather, and they didn't get much sleep. The friendships made are the icing on the cake for this astounding, amazing travelog.

It's Not Yet Dark, a memoir by Simon Fitzmaurice
In 2008, Simon Fitzmaurice was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. He was given four years to live. In 2010, in a state of lung-function collapse, Simon knew with crystal clarity that now was not his time to die. Against all prevailing medical opinion, he chose to ventilate in order to stay alive. The young filmmaker, a husband and father of five small children, draws us deeply into his inner world. Told in simply expressed and stark prose, this is a journey into a life that is lived more fully than most, revealing at its core the potent power love has to carry us through.

FAVORITES HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY STAFF

Celine: a novel by Peter Heller

Celine is a hard-nosed, Glock-carrying though aged private investigator with a stellar reputation. But when a young woman, Gabriela, asks for her help, a world of mystery and sorrow opens up. Her father was a photographer who went missing on the border of Montana and Wyoming. He was assumed to have died from a grizzly mauling, but his body was never found. When she undertakes finding the missing father, Celine and her husband Pete, overcome her health (and lifestyle) to track him down. These characters are unique, family ties are strong, and you will want to follow Celine on more adventures!

Under A Pole Star, by Stef Penney

This is a most interesting tale of Inuit history, survival and the rivalry between Arctic explorers, with just a touch of romance. Penney brings to life this realistic, enjoyable story of reconnoitering the Arctic, and of women's issues in the late 1899's.

Burning Bright, by Nick Petrie

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.  

War veteran Peter Ash sought peace and quiet among the towering redwoods of northern California, but the trip is not quite the balm he had hoped for. The dense forest and close fog cause his claustrophobia to buzz and spark, and then he stumbles upon a grizzly, long thought to have vanished from this part of the country. In a fight of man against bear, Peter does not favor his odds, so he makes a strategic retreat up a nearby sapling. There, he finds something strange: a climbing rope, affixed to a distant branch above. It leads to another, and another, up through the giant tree canopy, and ending at a hanging platform. On the platform is a woman on the run. From below them come the sounds of men and gunshots.


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain

This intelligent and often surprising book is a pleasure to read and will make introverts and extroverts alike think twice about the best ways to be themselves and interact with differing personality types.


The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis - The True Story of the Paper Brigade of Vilna, by David E. Fishman

 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.                                                    

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: a novel, by Gail Moneyman

 Meet Eleanor Oliphant who is completely original and the right kind of weird. She struggles with appropriate social skills and says exactly what she's thinking. She wears the same clothes every day and is a bit of a loner. But everything changes when she meets Raymond, the bumbling unhygienic IT guy from her office. Her life and her past, combined with such kindhearted characters, made for a compulsively readable, heartwarming story. Highly recommended!

Celine: a novel by Peter Heller

Celine is a hard-nosed, Glock-carrying though aged private investigator with a stellar reputation. But when a young woman, Gabriela, asks for her help, a world of mystery and sorrow opens up. Her father was a photographer who went missing on the border of Montana and Wyoming. He was assumed to have died from a grizzly mauling, but his body was never found. When she undertakes finding the missing father, Celine and her husband Pete, overcome her health (and lifestyle) to track him down. These characters are unique, family ties are strong, and you will want to follow Celine on more adventures!
                                                         
News of the World, by Paulette Jiles

Jiles captures the flavor of the post-Civil War American West perfectly in this tale built around two very strong characters. Captain Kidd brings news to isolated Texans by giving paid readings drawn from East Coast and European news articles. The elderly widower accepts the task of returning a ten-year-old girl to her faraway relatives.  She had earlier been captured by the Kiowa and adapted to their Indian ways. Now her crafty intelligence and surprising skill helps to save them both from attack. I do love westerns and recommend this pageturner highly!


 
Some of John Paul's favorites:
 
Spill Zone, Sci/Fi by Scott Westerfeld
    A disaster has hit a small New York city, now quarantined by the government. Only Addie risks entering the zone to take photos of the bizarre outcome. Westerfeld creates a story heavily influenced by the Russian film, Stalker, and Puvillland's edgy artwork makes a compelling graphic Science fiction tale.
 

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.

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 hadnít bought into the deception of St. Calais. Full of colorful, idiosyncratic characters that could be straight out of a Ď40s Hollywood comedy.  A must read for Normandy Invasion enthusiasts.  

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"!

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 donít have multiple driverís 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 snowóthis 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.


cookie