Staff Picks - 2011 March

Staff Picks March 2011
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Staff Picks March 2011 (480KB)
The Strange Case of Edward GoreyThe Strange Case of Edward Gorey by Alexander Theroux

This is the best sort of biography. Written like a thoughtful introduction of one friend to another. ~ Emilia B.
My Father's FortuneMy Father's Fortune by Michael Frayn

This is an affectionate memoir by the noted novelist and playwright (Noises Off, Copenhagen). The humor that infuses much of his other work is apparent in his recollections of growing up in England. The loss of his mother was devastating to the young Frayn, leaving him in the care of a distant and demanding father and the ministrations of the erratic woman whom his father married primarily to provide more economic stability to his family. The book is honest, occasionally moving, and told with a rare insight into the dynamics of the frequently tenuous relationship between fathers and sons. ~ Alden Graves
Northshire author event
March 24
TownieTownie by Andre Dubus III

Dubus's memoir focuses on his years growing up in neighborhoods that were as much fighting class as they were working class. He, his three siblings and his mother endured considerable hardships, including many violent encounters, while his famous but mostly absent father lingered on the fringes. This is a fascinating examination of violence and how it can simultaneously attract and repulse. ~ Stan Hynds
Northshire author event
March 12
The Complete Kitchen GardenThe Complete Kitchen Garden by Ellen Ecker Ogden

Both experienced and beginning gardeners will enjoy this comprehensive book of 14 charming vegetable and herb garden, with delicious recipes to match, by Manchester cook and gardener Ogden. Profusely illustrated with drawings by local artist and architect Ramsay Gourd and photographer Ali Kaukas. ~ Louise Jones
The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

I was truly stunned by the complex and fascinating biography of this woman and her family. The many advances in medical research owe so much to her cells but it became apparent that we should be afraid for the future of ethics in this field. The murky past present and future of patient rights and in fact human rights should be of concern to all. ~ Karen Frank
Northshire author event
March 18
A Strange StirringA Strange Stirring by Stephanie Coontz

A highly readable account of the effect that Betty Freidan's controversial 1963 book The Feminine Mystique had on American women. Anecdotes from letters and interviews are moving and evocative of a time that now seems ancient. . ~ Louise Jones
Octavia BoulevardOctavia Boulevard by Yvonne Daley

This affectionate memoir is part sociology and part Alice in Wonderland. For Ms. Daley, the rabbit hole was located in Vermont, where she raised her family, and Wonderland was San Francisco, where she taught college-level journalism. Much of her book is centered around a colorful cast of characters, both in her apartment building and on the streets... ~ Alden Graves
Dead End Gene PoolDead End Gene Pool by Wendy Burden

Hilarious and tragic, this is a memoir of someone with a healthy sense of humor and appreciation for the bizarre cards dealt by life and family. Sharp writing and the absence of self pity makes this a refreshing and delightful read. ~ Karen Frank
TriangleTriangle: The Fire That Changed America by David von Drehle

March 25 2011 is the 100th anniversary of the most devastating disaster in New York City until 9/11. Killed were 146 people, mostly young Italian and Jewish immigrant women working at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory under dangerous conditions. Results included vast changes in social and labor legislation. Highly readable. ~ Louise Jones
The Genius In All of UsThe Genius In All of Us by David Shenk

David Shenk's book contains anecdotal evidence which will rock your world. Ted William's was NOT naturally gifted, nor was Mozart or Beethoven. The reason the Suzuki method produces such amazing results in young children is carefully explained. The book is written in a friendly style for the non-scientist...Truly fascinating news for those of us who struggle to be creative. ~ Karen Frank

Witches On The Road TonightWitches On The Road Tonight by Sheri Holman

Quirky and complex, this novel takes the reader on a bizarre journey which is still firmly rooted in reality. Holman's strength lies in her sensitivity to human nature and her ability to construct fantastic situations and clever relationships. Very enjoyable! ~ Karen Frank
Though Not DeadThough Not Dead by Dana Stabenow

In this outstanding 18th Kate Shugak novel, the feisty investigator looks into the death - and life - of her relative and mentor, Samuel "Old Sam" Dementieff, leading to a treasure hunt that reverberates with Alaska's history. Intriguing, exciting, evocative. ~ Louise Jones
Charles Jessold, Considered As A MurdererCharles Jessold, Considered As A Murderer by Wesley Stace

An unreliable narrator vividly evokes the combative world of early 20th century English music, relating a tragedy that parallels an opera by the brilliant Jessold and the life of his 16th century inspiration. A provocative exploration of the relationship between art and life. Stace is the pen name of the musician John Wesley Hardin. ~ Louise Jones
The Tiger's WifeThe Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht

This multifaceted novel is a treasure from one of the New Yorker's 20 under 40. A doctor living in an unnamed country searches for answers regarding the death of her grandfather whom she suspects was in search of a legendary deathless man. This is gorgeous storytelling that walks a very precarious tightrope, acrobatic and thrilling in the moment, pensive and profound in afterglow. In a word, exquisite. ~ Erik Barnum
Learning To SwimLearning To Swim by Sara J. Henry

On a late spring day,Troy Chance dives off a ferry and into the icy waters of Vermont's Lake Champlain to rescue a drowning boy. Troy soon realizes the child's fall was no accident and although her selfless act has brought an end to one mystery, the danger is just beginning and the mysteries only deepen. In her debut novel, Vermont author Sara J. Henry weaves a story that will keep you turning pages well into the night. ~ Sarah Teunissen
Miss Me When I'm GoneMiss Me When I'm Gone by Philip Stephens

A troubled musician's return to his Ozark home, told in the rich and murderous language of a mountain folk ballad. ~ Charles Bottomley
SnowdropsSnowdrops by A. D. Miller

A tale of obsession, self delusion and questionable morality. Nick Platt, an English lawyer working in Moscow during the oil boom days, befriends two woman and their aunt. He becomes involved in the intrigue of their lives. Corrupt officials, fishy businessmen, scams and a missing man make up this very well written and entertaining tale which takes place over a Moscow winter. The title, Snowdrops, is a slang term in Moscow for dead bodies which come up when the winter thaw begins. ~ Sarah Knight
I Think I Love YouI Think I Love You by Allison Pearson

I recommend this book. Pearson evokes perfectly the passions of fan-dom, as well as the setting of a girls' life in blue collar, 70s England. She portrays well that supercharged energy that is generated among girls 11-14 when they fall passionately in love with a media star. It's a demographic generally considered not worth anyone's serious consideration - just a bunch of silly (worthless?) girly business. Except 1. it is big business and 2. why don't we take a look at these very intense feelings and try to understand them in the bigger picture, as we did w the boys' relationships in Lord of the Flies?... ~ Heather Bellanca
Life On SandpaperLife On Sandpaper by Yoram Kaniuk

Life in New York's Jewish Bohemia during the 1950s, with walk-on parts by Charlie Parker, Marlon Brando and more. ~ Charles Bottomley
Last Night at the LobsterLast Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'nan

Bet you never thought the most touching book you'd read this year would take place in a Red Lobster. I, too, had my doubts, but this vivid slice of life in a ubiquitous industry (that has been sinfully ignored by literature) packs more punch than novels three times its size. Original, funny, and surprisingly moving. ~ Emilia B.

Everything In This Country MustEverything In This Country Must by Colum McCann

Holy smokes, what a collection! McCann's triptych of tales about his native Ireland is as tough and soulful as the island he so precisely renders. Gorgeous, straightforward prose and characters as real as your elbows. This is the perfect introduction to a major voice. ~ Emilia B.

DopeDope by Sara Gran

An entertaining dark tale set in 1950's New York. The parents of a missing Barnard student hire former drug addict, Josephine, to find their missing daughter. Joe scours the seamy side of New York searching for the young woman in this stylish noir novel. ~ Sarah Knight