Staff Picks - 2010 July

Staff Picks July 2010
The July 2010 Staff Picks can also be viewed or printed as a PDF
Staff Picks July 2010 (2.4MB)
The Nobodies AlbumThe Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst

As with one of her previous novels, The Dogs of Babel, I came to this book with trepidation. Now I know that I must learn to trust Carolyn Parkhurst's talent as a storyteller. What appears to be a gimmicky and contrived novel is, in reality, a compelling read about a successful novelist, Octavia Frost...(Read More) ~ Erik Barnum
From AwayFrom Away by David Carkeet

Denny Braintree, writer for a model railroad magazine, stranded in Montpelier in a snowstorm, is mistaken for missing local Homer Dumpling. Denny soon becomes the prime suspect in a murder, first as Homer, whose identity he's assumed, then as Denny. Clever, very funny. ~ Louise Jones
A Visit From The Goon SquadA Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

There's a shifting quality to Egan's latest novel. It's a novel that also works as a collection of interlocked short stories, like Little Bee. It involves workers in the music business, but it's not really a "rock book." It's hip, but you don't need to know who LCD Soundsystem is to get down. We meet a young kleptomaniac assistant working for an impotent A&R man who knows a freaky musician drop-out who... ~ Charles Bottomley
What Is Left The DaughterWhat Is Left The Daughter by Howard Norman

This is a dark and sumptuous novel set in western Nova Scotia before, during and after WWII. The uniquely Canadian perspective on the war combines with complex, finely drawn characters and a narrative rich with atmosphere to enthrall any reader. Great storytelling ~ Karen Frank
TruthTruth by Peter Temple

This novel by prolific Australian Temple just won his country's most prestigious literary award, the Miles Franklin Prize. Here, Melbourne cop Stephen Villani must solve several murders that seem to walk the fine lines separating politics, the police and corruption. ~ Louise Jones
Faithful PlaceFaithful Place by Tana French

When Frank Mackey, now head of Dublin's police undercover unit, was young he and his girlfriend, Rosie, planned to run away from their impoverished neighborhood, Faithful Place. Rosie never showed up and now her suitcase is found. Frank returns to Faithful Place to investigate and also come to terms with his family who still live there. Suspenseful "who done it" with interesting characters. ~ Sarah Knight
The Invisible BridgeThe Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

Beautiful, heart breaking, epic - this novel pulls you into a story of hope and tragedy that makes you fall in love with the characters and remain riveted from page to page. I highly recommend this book to almost everyone.~ Kate Jensen
City of FearCity of Fear by David Hewson

Roman police detective Nic Costa and his squad are threatened personally and professionally when they discover a possible terrorist attack during a G8 conference. Eighth in an excellent series featuring well-drawn characters, face pacing and complex plots with historical relevance. ~ Louise Jones
Her Fearful SymmetryHer Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Everything you love about Victorian ghost stories written for the 21st century! Niffenegger's novel is full of memorable characters, beautiful prose, and truly original takes on the classic themes of love and identity. ~ Cheryl Cornwell
The Long ShipsThe Long Ships by Frans Gunnar Bengtsson

At last, this classic swash-buckling adventure novel, first published in 1954, is back. It follows tenth century Viking, Orm Tostesson, from youth to old age, on expeditions to England, Spain and Russia, with historical accuracy and sly humor. ~ Louise Jones
Mr. Emerson's WifeMr. Emerson's Wife by Amy Belding Brown

If you find yourself yearning for the days when you first read the great 19th century authors, you will want to immerse yourself in this story. I suppose if there are women out there who are still looking for their soul mate, they will be able to take heart in the poignant and expertly rendered tale of Lydian Jackson Emerson and the great intellectual and emotional fever that infected both men and women of the time. Absolutely stunning historical fiction. ~ Karen Frank
Border SongsBorder Songs by Jim Lynch

The character of Brandon in "Border Songs" is a marvelous example of what Jim Lynch does best. This is a character written from the soul of one who understands and can communicate the shimmering mind and heart of someone who has special perceptions. Brandon shines through the complex plot and intricate character relationships to make this a truly wonderful and thoughtful novel. ~ Karen Frank
Ask The DustAsk The Dust by John Fante

Palm trees! Earthquakes! True love! Fruit stands! Pound the L.A. pavement with Fante's arrogant, soulful alter-ego in this rich, off-centered novel. The perfect summer read for those who like their fiction rough around the edges. ~ Emilia B.
Brilliant The Evolution of Artificial LightBrilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light by Jane Brox

Brilliant begins with the very first known human-made lamp in the Lascaux Caves and travels all the way to present day with the debate between LEDs and CFLs. The most fascinating part is seeing how advances in lighting and electricity have shaped the culture of man-kind from the start. ~ Krysta Piccoli
The Last HeroThe Woman Who Fell From The Sky by Jennifer Steil

After a brief job teaching journalism at a newspaper in Sana'a, Yemen, Manhattan journalist Steil returned as editor-in-chief. Her adjustment to this strict Arabic country reveals a complex culture and people little understood by Americans. A fascinating book. ~ Louise Jones
Betsy Ross & The Making of AmericaBetsy Ross & The Making of America by Marla R. Miller

A trifecta of excellence. 1.)Brilliant story of a long and eventful life that historians thought could not be recovered. 2.) Vibrant portrait of a city in transition from the colonial period through the tumult of war and into the early republican era. 3.) Classic study of an extended family that made and remembered history. ~ Bill Lewis
Blind descentBlind Descent by James Tabor

Thrilling! Heart-stopping! Amazing! Unbelievable! This fantastic journey to the deepest cave on earth will have you gripped to each page with sheer awe for these unexplored terrains and the people willing -- and working -- to search their depths. ~ Kate Jensen
Lost Voices from The TitanicLost Voices from The Titanic by Nick Barratt

The world has been deluged with enough accounts of the Titanic tragedy to sink the ship without help from an iceberg. This book, however, is a particularly revealing one, incorporating many first-hand accounts by survivors into the story of the doomed ocean liner. ~ Alden Graves
Wounded KneeWounded Knee: Party Politics and the Road To An American Massacre by Heather Cox Richardson

An ugly and iconic event in American history with the usual roster of villains, fools, and self-righteous experts. What is surprising is the extent to which this tragedy resulted from partisan political warfare back east. A superb study of what happened and why. ~ Bill Lewis
Tocqueville's Discovery of AmericaTocqueville's Discovery of America by Leo Damrosch

Commence-ment speakers, teachers, and politicians all love to reference Tocqueville, but many of us actually know little about who he was or what he did. Leo Damrosch to the rescue with a concise yet complete study. Excellent writing, very engaging, and extraordarily incisive. ~ Bill Lewis
Moscow 1812Moscow 1812: Napoleon's Fatal March by Adam Zamoyski

The best military history writing never forgets that even colossal campaigns are collective stories of individual people in extraordinary situations. This superb example is nearly impossible to put down. ~ Bill Lewis
The BolterThe Bolter by Frances Osborne

Lady Idina Sackville was an amoral free spirit and leading lady in the "Happy Valley" set of fast-living British who lived in Kenya between the wars. Osborne, a great-granddaughter, skillfully uses family letters, photos and interviews to bring this adventurous, five-time married woman to life. ~ Louise Jones