Staff Picks - 2011 April

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Staff Picks April 2011 (487KB)
The Troubled Man


The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell.

The eleventh and last Kurt Wallander novel. A retired naval commander asks Wallander to unofficially investigate why an unidentified sub that he was ordered not to pursue was in Swedish waters in 1980. Then the commander disappears. Very entertaining and terrific series finale. - Sarah Knight

Mankell reveals more about the cantankerous Wallender here than ever before, especially his relationships with his ex-wife, ex-lover and his daughter Linda, who presents him with a granddaughter. The plot, part police investigation, part espionage inquiry, is engrossing and satisfying - even though loose ends remain. - Louise Jones


AUTHOR EVENT Saturday, April 30th
One Was A SoldierOne Was A Soldier by Julia Spencer-Fleming

An outstanding murder mystery in which the relationship between Rev. Clare Fergusson and Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne deepens. However, most important is the underlying theme - the great emotional and psychological difficulties facing Iraq combat veterans trying to adjust to civilian life. ~ Louise Jones
Lord of MisruleLord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon

I'm not a horse person, but found myself totally charmed by Misrule's magnificent cast of losers and their tangy kind of talk. Gordon has fashioned a true human comedy from the desperation of torn betting slips and nags long past their glory days. This is one you'll want to back--a winning ride all the way to the last furlough. ~ Charles Bottomley
ChangelingChangeling by Kenzaburo Oe

Fact and fiction do strange things to each other in this Japanese novel, where a controversial writer much like Oe investigates his best friend's suicide--and uncovers unpleasant secrets. I've read novels about death before, but nothing quite as haunting as this--a literary high-wire act that leaves the reader shakes and breathless. ~ Charles Bottomley
The Love of My YouthThe Love of My Youth by Mary Gordon

Truth and crystalline memories shine from every sentence in this novel, which absolutely delivers the promise of the title. Adam and Miranda meet by chance in Rome after being apart for more than 40 years. While taking the time to view one beautiful thing each day, they connect the shreds of their past and form a new kind of friendship. A lovely story well told. ~ Karen Frank
The Sea Captain's WifeThe Sea Captain's Wife by Beth Powning

The Sea Captains Wife, by Beth Powning, is recommended to anyone who would enjoy an adventure story of late 19th century life on the high seas. The book is told from a woman's perspective, by young Azuba, who marries a well respected and experienced sea captain. Though she is gifted a lovely home facing the sea built by her beloved father, Azuba is not content with the notion of a lifetime watching the Bay of Fundy for... ~ Nancy Scheemaker
The Shadow of What We WereThe Shadow of What We Were by Luis Sepulveda

The opening pages of this book feature Chile's first bank robbery, a record player falling on a man's head, and Pablo Neruda advising on the best seasoning for fried cow udder. If none of this grabs you, there are other books in the store you might enjoy. ~ Charles Bottomley
Started Early, Took My DogStarted Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

Jackson Brodie, "semi-retired" PI, is on the case again, but finds more questions than answers in Atkinson's multi-layered novel. Another terrific read from this writer who subtlely explores the randomness of existence, weaving together several plots that eventually come together. ~ Louise Jones
The Map of True PlacesThe Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry

Great contemporary fiction with strong characters and a delightfully complicated story. Only Barry could use the history of shipbuilding and the art of celestial navigation to illuminate relationships. The novel explores the fragility of sanity and the impact of various forms of mental illness in our lives. ~ Karen Frank
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. Alice and Mattia navigate life forever linked to each other but ultimately alone. ~ Karen Frank
The School of NightThe School of Night by Louis Bayard

The frantic search for an Elizabethan treasure propels this excellent historical thriller. The action shifts between contemporary US and London, and 1603 England, with enticing locales, enigmatic fictional adversaries and deftly portrayed historical characters - including Sir Walter Ralegh and Christopher Marlowe. ~ Louise Jones
Northshire Reading Groups
It Happened On The Way To Warit happened on the way to war by Rye Barcott

Creating strong youth leaders and improving basic health services in Kibera, a Nairobi slum that is among the largest in Africa, was the mission Rye Barcott began as a college student at the University of North Carolina. Through sheer determination and copious amounts of blood and sweat, he helped create an extraordinary organization, Carolina for Kibera,... ~ Stan Hynds
Liberty's ExilesLiberty's Exiles by Maya Jasanoff

One of the most important books about the Revolution in a long time...seriously. Start by thinking of the rebellion as civil war and then consider what became of 75,000 exiled Americans at war's end. Splendid writing and terrific research. Highest Recommendation. ~ Bill Lewis
Bottom of the 33rdBottom of the 33rd by Dan Barry

I must confess, when originally offered the opportunity to read an advance copy of Bottom Of The Thirty Third, I had some misgivings. I am a baseball fan for sure, but even a baseball fan can get itchy now and then when a low scoring game heads into the 10th, 11th, then 12th inning, and neither team seems to want the win. "33 innings," I thought, that's a lot of low scoring innings to profile. But then I paused. "Unless..." I began to think... ~ Jon Fine
The Sound of a Wild Snail EatingThe Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Bailey

How can a small book about a tiny gastropod be so hugely fascinating? This quirky gem is hopeful, humbling, and the perfect read for spring. ~ Emilia B.
Iphigenia In Forest HillsIphigenia In Forest Hills by Janet Malcolm

Malcolm's thorough coverage of the murder trial of a female Bukharan Jewish doctor is a fascinating portrait of our legal system. Human frailties in everyone from the defendant to the judge turn the trial into the Greek tragedy referenced in the title. ~ Sarah Knight
Thrity Below ZeroThirty Below Zero by Ethan Hubbard

Hubbard's signature black and white photographs capture and delight. His informal style embodies our spirit. This is who we are. ~ Sarah Teunissen
Before The RevolutionBefore The Revolution: America's Ancient Pasts by A. D. Miller

Rich survey of North American history from the pre-contact period through the French and Indian War. Its value lies in the masterful placement of the American stories within the context of European events. Should definitely encourage further reading. ~ Bill Lewis
Perilous FightPerilous Fight: America's Intrepid War with Britain on the High Seas, 1812-1815 by Stephen Budiansky

Terrific. Proves that first rate history writing can be both exciting and scholarly. Makes a trip to visit the U.S.S. Constitution almost mandatory. And don't mess with American sailors...even if you outnumber them 100 to 1. ~ Bill Lewis
an improvised lifeAn Improvised Life by Alan Arkin

This is not a traditional cradle to grave memoir, but a totally fascinating account of the creative life of one of our finest artists. Arkin's honesty and his candid introspection enlightens and informs the reader as he takes us from his fledgling days as one of the founding members of the improvisational troupe Second City... ~ Erik Barnum
Sex and the River StyxSex and the River Styx by Edward Hoagland

This collection of 13 essays, written in Hoagland's rare and exquisite style, covers his specialty - the intense and passionate exploration of the natural world - combined with ruminative memoir and exuberant descriptions of his world-wide travels. With a splendid forward by Howard Frank Mosher. ~ Louise Jones
CleanClean by Alejandro Junger

Dr. Junger's book and 21 day Clean Program have completely changed the way that I view and interact with food. I am on day 16 of the 21 day program and I feel amazing. I have lost weight, increased my energy level two-fold, and have begun cooking the most wonderful meals for myself and my family. If I had known that cleaning up my diet would yield such wonderfully healthful results I would have done it yeas ago. ~ Cheryl Cornwell
No Impact ManNo Impact Man by Colin Beavan

Beavan takes himself and his family on a year-long journey to practice what he preaches and discovers that a less wasteful life is also a more fulfilling one. ~ Krysta Piccoli

Curling for DummiesCurling for Dummies by Bob Weeks

Because your life has been empty without it. ~ Emilia B.

The Revolution Will Not Be MicrowavedThe Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved by Sandor Ellix Katz

If I were to meet Mr. Katz on the street I would thank him, shake his hand and invite him to my house for dinner for writing such an amazing book. ~ Krysta Piccoli