Staff Picks - 2010 April

Staff Picks April 2010
The April 2010 Staff Picks can also be viewed or printed as a PDF
Staff Picks April 2010 (2.18MB)
Hellhound on His TrailHellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin by Hampton Sides.

Riveting is the first word that comes to mind when trying to describe Hampton Sides' undeniably brilliant account of this pivotal event in the history of this country. Sides' research is impeccable and detailed and his writing style completely engrossing. This is one of those books you cannot put down. Highest recommendation. ~ Erik Barnum and Nancy Scheemaker.
AnthillAnthill by E. O. Wilson. This two-time Pulitzer Prize winning naturalist writes fiction as surely and carefully as he does his non-fiction classics. Wilson unfolds his story slowly, ultimately leading to a shocking and profoundly enlightening conclusion, creating fully realized characters indelibly etched on the reader's mind. ~ Erik Barnum The Solitude of Prime NumbersThe Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano. What a splendid and thoughtful novel. The characters are revealed in tiny bits, which build into complete and complex personalities, each as unique as a precious stone and just as isolated. ~ Karen Frank SolarSolar by Ian McEwan. McEwan's writing is nothing short of thrilling in this novel about Nobel Laureate physicist Michael Beard. His productive years behind him, he dabbles half-heartedly in a renewable energy project, his scientific genius constantly at odds with his awful personal habits - collecting girlfriends and indulging his ravenous appetite. ~ Stan Hynds
I Thought You Were DeadI Thought You Were Dead by Pete Nelson. I laughed, I cried, I heard the voices of my dogs past and present in Stella's wise/foolish "doggish" conversations with her owner. I felt the pain and frustration of the main character trying to navigate the minefield of life. A truthful and engaging read. ~ Karen Frank A Murderous ProcessionA Murderous Procession by Ariana Franklin. Franklin does it again. This latest in her engaging Mistress of the Art of Death series of medieval murder mysteries had me guessing until the last page! ~ Cynthia Richards P O E T R Y M O N T H

April 23 - 25
3rd Annual Poets & Writers Weekend

Readings, seminars & workshops hosted by the Greater Manchester Arts Council. Go to or call 802.867.0272 to register.

April 27 at 7pm
Donald Hall, U.S. Poet Laureate

(2006/2007) reading poetry & signing books at Arlington Memorial High School. Information: 802.375.2589 ext. 107
Long Time ComingLong Time Coming by Robert Goddard. You can always count on Goddard for an intelligent thriller featuring deceit and vengeance. He doesn't disappoint in this complex story shifting between 1976 and 1940, as a young man must solve the mystery surrounding his discredited uncle's involvement in art theft, forgery and treason. ~ Louise Jones The NamesakeThe Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. A rich, complex, enthralling story of two generations of an Indian family dealing with the clash of cultures and the conflicts of assimilation in America. Lahiri has a direct and magnificent way of writing. ~ Barbara Morrow
The Pig Comes To DinnerThe Pig Comes To Dinner by Joseph Caldwell. This sequel to The Pig Did It continues the frolic and fascination. Packed with Irish whimsy with tender attention to the characters and the rich history of the region, this novel gallops along with a sigh and a lilt, capturing the reader with delightful dialogue and a great story. ~ Karen Frank
The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine BThe Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B by Sandra Gulland. The first of a stunning trilogy relating the life of Napoleon's Josephine through her fictionalized diaries. Gulland creates a living woman out of a little-known legend. ~ Louise Jones
Vanessa and VirginiaVanessa and Virginia by Susan Sellers. Such interesting lives these two famous women had! The paintings of Vanessa Bell set her in the forefront of the Bloomsbury crowd along with her brilliant sister, writer Virginia Woolf. This is a well written, absorbing novel that examines relationships and the spirit of the times. ~ Karen Frank
Empire of LibertyEmpire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 by Gordon S. Wood. When did we really become a nation? Declared in 1776, a battle made it seem so in 1781; acknowledged by treaty in 1783, a constitution organized it in 1789. But it took another 25 years for the American experiment to get its act together. This brilliant masterpiece tells the story. ~ Bill Lewis For All the Tea in ChinaFor All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World's Favorite Drink and Changed History by Sarah Rose. In the 1840s, Robert Fortune, a Scottish gardener and botanist, traveled through China in disguise, stealing Chinese tea plants, seeds and secrets of tea production, for the Royal Horticultural Society and the British East India Company, enabling the Brits to grow tea in India. Fascinating! ~ Louise Jones NoxNox by Anne Carson. Renowned poet and scholar Anne Carson has created a book that is as extraordinary in its format as it is heartbreaking. Written as an epitaph for her brother, Carson presents us with a personal look at loss, love and grief in the form of her handmade scroll of letters, photographs and poetry. ~ Cheryl Cornwall
Dead End Gene Pool: A MemoirDead End Gene Pool: A Memoir by Wendy Burden. This is the book that Lewis Carroll might have written if Alice had fallen down a rabbit hole and found herself on Fifth Avenue. A brave, unsparing, very funny account of the struggle that comes with being born a part of the Vanderbilt clan. ~ Alden Graves A Kingdom StrangeA Kingdom Strange: The Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke by James Horn. The mystery remains unsolved 430 years later. This is a careful, logical, very readable explanation that will be hard to contradict in the future - but who knows what discoveries may lie ahead! Horn is a leading scholar of 16th and 17th century Chesapeake/Outer Banks history. ~ Bill Lewis EaarthEaarth: Making Life on a Tough New Planet by Bill McKibben. McKibben emphasizes that we're not saving our children anymore, we're saving ourselves. Using Vermont as a model for sustainability, he discusses large-scale projects also. No book makes it clearer that it's time to adapt to the world we've created. Required reading for everyone. ~ Krysta Piccoli
The TudorsThe Tudors: The Complete History of England's Most Notorious Dynasty ($30) by G. J. Meyer. Absolute winner. No matter how familiar you may be (or may not be) with the Tudor century this is splendid history writing. ~ Bill Lewis Using our Espresso Book Machine, we offer book printing and the expertise to guide you through the process. Poetry, novels, family journals, you name it - it's your story!
Bringing Nature HomeBringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants by Douglas W. Tallamy. One of the best gardening resources in decades. Using his scientific expertise and engaging writing style, Tallamy, an entomologist, clearly demonstrates why biodiversity is crucial, and how native plants support, in particular, the insect diversity needed in a healthy ecosystem. ~ Carrie Chalmers GenoGeno: The Pursuit of Perfection by Geno Auriemma with Jackie MacMullan. Bobby Knight says he's the best coach, John Wooden said his teams play the best game, President Obama states that his present squad is "the best sports team in the country." The coach of UConn's women's basketball team explains how he does it. ~ Bill Lewis
LincolnLincoln by David Herbert Donald. Second best (and only by a whisker!) full Lincoln biography ever. Certainly the best in soft cover. An elegant masterpiece by the foremost Lincoln scholar of the 20th century. ~ Bill Lewis Zen GuitarZen Guitar by Phillip Toshio Sudo. I learned more about playing the guitar from this book than from any other, and there isn't a single note of music in it. Rather than telling you where to put your fingers, it explains where your head needs to be. Highly recommended. ~ Erik Barnum