Staff Picks - 2010 September

Staff Picks September 2010
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Staff Picks September 2010 (600KB)
The BellsThe Bells by Richard Harvell

The very least this novel delivers is a heightened awareness of what it is to, footsteps, weather and voices. The most you have to look forward to is the best historical fiction of the year. ~ Karen Frank

In The Fullness of TimeIn The Fullness of Time by Emily W. Upham

Essays, poems and interviews by writers, artists, a doctor, two actresses on the challenges of aging. A must read for every woman - and man - of any age! ~ Louise Jones
The Great DivorceThe Great Divorce by Ilyon Woo

Simply superb. Utterly fascinating story of an early 19th century woman who challenged the nascent Shaker communities and the State of New York for custody of her children. Certain to be nominated for awards. ~ Bill Lewis
ChristianityChristianity : The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch

Dazzling scholarship, elegant writing, and comprehensive scope establish this magisterial work as the likely standard against which all histories of Christianity... ~ Bill Lewis
The SnakeheadThe Snakehead by Patrick Radden Keefe

In 1993 the boat Golden Venture ran a ground in Queens. Three hundred illegal Chinese were forced off the boat and several died. An investigation uncovered a people mover (Snakehead), Sister Ping, who allegedly made forty million dollars in twenty years bringing people to America. Well researched, well written, and fascinating read. ~ Louise Jones
DeclarationDeclaration: The Nine Tumultuous Weeks When America Became Independent, May 1-July 4, 1776 by William hogeland

While the Continental Congress debated in a steamy Philadelphia assembly room, a mixed bag of activists favoring independence, led by Samuel Adams, worked in secret to undermine the "reconciliationists" who wanted to remain with England. And we know who won! Fascinating history and characters brought to life.~ Louise Jones
Framing InnocenceFraming Innocence by Lynn Powell

The story of an Ohio mother prosecuted for taking a nude photo of her daughter and the community support around her. Powell writes with ease and grace of a triumphant testament to what is possible when real people set aside their assumptions. The best of page-turners!  ~ Zachary Marcus
The Tree Where Man Was BornThe Tree Where Man Was Born by Peter Matthiessen

A reissue of the 1972 classic portrait of East Africa, with a new introduction by primatologist Jane Goodall. ¨A superb combination of nature and travel writing at its best, its vivid portrayal of humans and wild life is still relevant. ~ Louise Jones
The Eyes of Willie McGeeThe Eyes of Willie McGee by Alex Heard

Crammed with reasons to read with speed and intensity. Familiar issues masterfully presented: racism,injustice, vigilantism, etc. But also a fascinating attempt to unravel truth when mystery overwhelms history. Powerful. ~ Bill Lewis
The Fallen SkyThe Fallen Sky by Christopher Cokinos

With poetic narrative and wit, Cokinos describes how humans have been enthralled by shooting stars and tells of the scientists, adventurers and ordinary people who have found and puzzled over these meteorites "stones that fall from the heavens" embedded in the earth. Fascinating. ~ Louise Jones
The Devil In The White CityThe Devil In The White City by Erik Larson

Scott Brick is the perfect reader for Erik Larson's disturbing tale of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair; upbeat when necessary and solemn when the narrative hits its darker moments. The perfect story to listen to in the evenings when you are alone. Creepy! ~ Krysta Piccoli
Elegance Of The HedgehogThe Elegance Of The Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

The performances on this audio are superb: Tony Award-winning actress Barbara Rosenblat as the concierge of a posh Parisian apartment building, who hides her intelligence from the disdainful residents... ~ Louise Jones
Russian WinterRussian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

This debut novel is the kind of historical fiction that transports and transfixes while smoothly whirling one back and forth through time. Each character leaves a warm hand print on a frosty window and the story is intense and full of amazing detail. ~ Karen Frank
An Impartial WitnessAn Impartial Witness by Charles Todd

Todd's excellent second mystery features British WWI nurse Bess Crawford, who becomes involved in the investigation into the puzzling deaths of a soldier and his wife. A standout evocation of the toll the war took among those on the battlefields and those waiting at home.. ~ Louise Jones
Thirteen HoursThirteen Hours by Deon Meyer

Second mystery with Capetown's Detective Inspector Benny Griessel. A teenage American girl is found in the street with her throat slit. Her friend who was with her is on the run from the thugs who murdered her friend. She's afraid of the police as she thinks they're involved. Griessel must find her before she's murdered too. This gripping and suspenseful mystery takes place in thirteen hours. ~ Sarah Knight
Bitter In The MouthBitter In The Mouth by Monique Truong

In this beautifully written novel, Linda Hammerick learns the hidden history of her secretive family. Because she is synesthetic, she hears words as tastes, which shapes her view of the world. A mesmerizing novel that questions our assumptions about relationships and identity. ~ Louise Jones
The Man With The Baltic StareThe Man With The Baltic Stare by James Church

The fourth Inspector O mystery set in North Korea. Now retired Inspector O is dragged off his mountain where he's been making wooden toys. Secret reunification meetings are taking place between North and South Korea. His superior's want O to investigate a murder in Macau which may have been committed by a man designated the new leader of a united Korea...~ Sarah Knight
C.C. by Tom McCarthy

A young man’s adventures in WWI and Egypt herald the dawn (and dusk) of the modern age. A teeming, splendid novel that crackles with ideas. ~ Charles Bottomley
Wolf HallWolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Set in England as Henry VIII is trying to manipulate church and state in order to marry Anne Boleyn, this is hands down one of the best historical novels I've read. Mantel's breathtaking writing and exacting research show a changing society and the duplicitous and ambitious people who surround the King. Winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. ~ Louise Jones
American SalvageAmerican Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell

Through the desperate and tragic, Bonnie Jo Campbell reveals the essential redemptive qualities that make us human. A true portrait of America. ~ Roisin Todd
A Gate at the StairsA Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

Lorrie Moore writes wonderfully witty literature with a brain and a heart. This story follows a young woman who is just entering the confusing world of adulthood with all its wonders and disappointments. You know this girl...she is based on all of us and we feel her pain and admire her resilience. ~ Karen Frank
Half Broke HorsesHalf Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

This heartwarming novel based on the life of Lily Casey Smith, Walls’ grandmother, is every bit as riveting as Walls’ memoir The Glass Castle. Lily is a strong woman of indomitable spirit whose survival skills will entertain and captivate the reader. ~ Liz Barnum
Vanishing And Other StoriesVanishing And Other Stories by Deborah Wills

In my opinion, the mark of truly great fiction is thrifty and sparse prose packed with emotion and subtext. These stories are shot through with the human electricity which makes everyday life so interesting and rich. ~ Karen Frank
Juliet, NakedJuliet, Naked by Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby's Juliet, Naked had me grinning like an idiot from start to finish. In an English seaside town, a 40-ish couple is in their fifteenth year of a relationship long on routine and short on passion. Duncan runs a website devoted to Tucker Crowe, a critically acclaimed but somewhat obscure singer-songwriter from the 70's and 80's, who quit music in the middle of the tour for his album, Juliet, one of the great break-up records of all time. He has never been heard from since... ~ Stan Hynds
The SlapThe Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

A parent slaps a child at a BBQ, and all hell breaks loose. Tsiolkas’s satire on Australia’s suburban set is stinging but compassionate. ~ Charles Bottomley
Zorba The GreekZorba The Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis

This was life changing book for me in my youth. The vitality and passion...the sheer joy for living life to the fullest energized me for the future. I still draw on the Zorba force each day! ~ Karen Frank