Staff Picks - 2011 August

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Staff Picks August 2011 (1MB)
Chill with summer Sc i Fi . . .

Ice TrilogyIce Trilogy by Vladimir Sorokin

Tired of Swedish mysteries? Try some Russian gonzo sci-fi. If you're not naked and catatonic by the end, something has gone wrong. - Charles Bottomley

The Name of the Wind Kingkiller Chronicles Volume 1 by Patrick Rothfuss

The realistic writing style and charming protagonist, who is a magician, draw you in from the very beginning and will leave you thirsting for more. -Talon Birns

The Band That Played OnThe Band That Played On by Steve Turner

The Titanic epic from a unique perspective -- the individual lives of the eight musicians who gathered on the Boat Deck in a effort to allay panic while the ship sank beneath them. It was an example of personal courage during an event that should never have happened. Turner makes it clear that a concerted effort was made to shine the light of heroism on the band to deflect the public's focus on those who were responsible for the appalling loss of life. ~ Alden Graves

A World on FireA World on Fire by Amanda Foreman

For those who enjoy big, rich, memorable history titles this is a veritable feast. The cast is extensive, the dynamics of tense international relationships are excruciatingly exciting, and what was at stake for all parties was immense. Foreman's research is magnificent and just when you might wish the book were a tad shorter you succumb to her splendid writing and continue reading...because the story is so fascinating. ~ Bill Lewis

David CrockettDavid Crockett by Michael Wallis

Boomers know him from the phenomenal 1950s TV series but even in his lifetime he was already iconic. This solid biography clears up many misconceptions about Crockett and succeeds splendidly in giving context to a very original American. A pleasure all the way. ~ Bill Lewis
Inside ScientologyInside Scientology by Janet Reitman

Everything you wanted to know about Scientology but were afraid to ask. Ms. Reitman examines the intricacies of one of the world's most controversial religions, turning a spotlight on a subject that prefers to remain in shadows. Cautionary rather than condemnatory. ~ Alden Graves
Paying For ItPaying For It by Chester Brown

An awardwinning cartoonist's experiences with prostitutes form the basis for a look at sex and love as unshakable as a dose of gonorrhea. ~ Charles Bottomley

Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We EatSome We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat by Hal Herzog

People have the wackiest relationships with animals! A fun read that will really get you thinking about why we feel the way we do about animals. ~ Krysta Piccoli
Nicholas RayNicholas Ray by Patrick McGilligan

Student of Frank Lloyd Wright, friend of both Woody Guthrie AND Howard Hughes, director of some of the best films ever made (Rebel Without a Cause, anyone?) -- but Ray died a lonely ruin of a man. This revealing biography gets under the skin of one of Hollywood's most complicated personalities. ~ Charles Bottomley

Landscape and MemoryLandscape and Memory by Simon Schama

How has nature influenced the development of western civilization? Schama is an outstanding writer and researcher, and in this enthralling book he discusses how natural wonders impacted the development of the western imagination and individual national sensibilities. Fascinating! ~ Louise Jones

Captain CookCaptain Cook by Frank McLynn

Completely compelling, superbly researched, and crisply written. Probably veteran historian McLynn's finest work. An incisive biography, a vivid portrayal of an era of astonishing discovery, and an evocative portrait of culture clash. ~ Bill Lewis
I Will Bear Witness : A Diary Of The Nazi Years 1933-1941I Will Bear Witness : A Diary Of The Nazi Years 1933-1941 by Victor Klemperer

Here is the eagerly awaited second volume of Victor Klemperer's acclaimed memoir, I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years, 1941-1945. A Jew married to a Christian woman, Klemperer was able to avoid deportation; although incarcerated in a forced labor camp for more than a year, he escaped during the Dresden bombing which is dramatically described. His books are certainly among the most outstanding of Holocaust literature for their meticulous observation of daily life in Hitler's Germany. ~ Louise Jones
Thick As ThievesThick As Thieves by Peter Spiegelman

In this smart, highly entertaining heist thriller, a skilled team of thieves hopes to rob the ill-gotten millions from a crooked financier now hiding out in the Cayman Islands. Fine writing, well-delineated characters and an intricate plot will keep you turning the pages. ~ Louise Jones
Red on RedRed on Red by Edward Conlon

NYPD detective Conlon, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for his memoir Blue Blood, follows the professional and personal lives of two Manhattan detectives, their complicated emotional and psychological problems matching those of the citizens " innocent and guilty, victims and perpetrators" that they encounter. A literary novel that is far more than a police procedural. ~ Louise Jones
The LineThe Line by Olga Grushin

What is the line? Why are these people waiting? And for how long? Out of these simple questions comes an unforgettable parable of heartbreak and hope. ~ Charles Bottomley
The Family FangThe Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

Caleb and Camille Fang are performance artists of the most unusual - and often destructive - kind. Their daughter Annie and son Buster live through a chaotic childhood and must figure out how to cope as adults. Brilliant, bizarre, moving - you name it. ~ Louise Jones
Three SistersThree Sisters by Bi Feiyu

Three sisters pursue three very different destinies in modern China. Bi's understanding of life's messy progress recalls Chekhov at his best. ~ Charles Bottomley
Jerusalem GapJerusalem Gap by T. R. Pearson

A man, his dog and fine supporting cast in the southern Appalachians. Whether you love dogs or not, this big-hearted, funny novel cannot fail to delight. ~ Stan Hynds
The LanternThe Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson

This is a marvelous novel written with a painterly eye. The backdrop is the shimmering landscape of Provence and the characters are rendered like portraits. The story is a haunting page turner. ~ Karen Frank
Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels And StoriesSherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels And Stories Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Still BRILLIANT after 124 years! ~ Sarah Teunissen
The Travels of Jaimie McPheetersThe Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor

A man recalls the greatest adventure of his life -- a trek across America at the time of the Gold Rush. Taylor's wonderful novel is an adventure for every reader who embarks on the journey with Jaimie. One of my favorite books. ~ Alden Graves
the all of itthe all of it by Jeannette Haien

This is a simple, exquisite gem of a story set in a small Irish town. Each sentence is a work of art and not the slightest idea or emotion goes unnoticed. Lovely and dear. ~ Karen Frank
The Glass Bead GameThe Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse

Fans of Siddhartha and The Alchemist take note! Masterfully told and subtly ironic, Hesse's last novel represents the end of a journey towards enlightenment. His ultimate revelation may surprise you. A spiritual classic! ~ Charles Bottomley
I Capture The CastleI Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith

I remember reading this wonderful story one lazy summer. This is one of the books that made me a lifelong reader...when I realized that there was nothing I'd rather do than sit under a shady tree and enter the magical universe that is literature. A splendid book for any age...any attitude. ~ Karen Frank