Staff Picks - 2012 August

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Staff Picks August 2012 (530KB)
The Violinist's ThumbThe Violinist's Thumb by Sam Kean. Brought to you by the man who gave us The Disappearing Spoon, this history/ explanation of DNA and the science of genetics is meant to whet the curiosity of the non-scientist with a clear and amusing style. Educational and a bit unnerving, the path of our past and future is unrolled for us to marvel at! ~ Karen Frank Snow-Storm in AugustSnow-Storm in August:Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835 by Jefferson Morley. Beautifully crafted example of "small" history at its best. Irresistibly and effortlessly sweeps the reader into a time and place seething with racist tension, then tells a forgotten story featuring virtually unknown actors caught in a life-or-death drama. A book you won't forget. ~ Bill Lewis GarbologyGarbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash by Edward Humes. The remarkable story we never hear about our trash: what happens long after we've forgotten about it. We know that garbage doesn't just disappear when we throw it away, but where does it go? The truth is more complicated and interesting than you might think! ~ Krysta Piccoli
Stand Up That MountainStand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness Along the Appalachian Trail by Jay Leutze. A passionate, humorous, marvelously written account of the author's long struggle to preserve a piece of our most spectacular natural places. It is a story of people with authority doing the wrong thing and of people of diverse backgrounds coming together to fight for justice and beauty. ~ Stan Hynds A Labyrinth of KingdomsA Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles through Islamic Africa by Steve Kemper. Think of 19th century Europeans exploring interior Africa; Livingstone, Stanley, Burton, Speke come to mind. Why not Heinrich Barth? His six-year journey involved every danger and hardship associated with the time and place. And he was probably the smartest and least prejudiced of them. Superb writing, fascinating story. ~ Bill Lewis First, Learn to PracticeFirst, Learn to Practice by Tom Heany. An invaluable book for all musical skill levels and any instrument. Written simply and with humor, it will turn your head around about practicing as it did mine, making routines fun and effective. Apply the lessons served up here and you will become a better musician, guaranteed. ~ Erik Barnum
A Man and His ShipA Man and His Ship by Steven Ujifusa. The life of William Francis Gibbs, a visionary nautical architect who dreamed of creating the perfect ocean liner using his own concepts. He ultimately designed the S. S. United States, a majestic liner that still holds the prestigious Blue Riband for crossing the Atlantic in record time. ~ Alden Graves The Back in the Day Bakery CookbookBack In The Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl Day. Delectable concoctions, scrumptious morsels, mouthwatering recipes. Day brings baking to a level of delirious bliss. Some favorites are: Lemon Pie Bars, Pumpkin Crunch Bars and Lovely Lemon Loaf. ~ Sarah Teunissen It Happened On the Way to WarIt Happened on the Way to War by Rye Barcott. Barcott created an incredible organization of strong youth leaders and improved basic health services in a vast Nairobi slum while in college and later while fulfilling his obligations as an officer in the Marine Corps. This inspiring story strongly reminded me of Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains. ~ Stan Hynds
Crucible of WarCrucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 by Fred Anderson. A superb examination of the events leading to the American Revolution. Don't be put off by the length of the book - Anderson's fine writing and exhaustive research will keep you glued to the page, with notes that are equally as engrossing. Highest recommendation! ~ Louise Jones
The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell SimThe Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim, by Jonathan Coe. Maxwell Sim is out of work, newly divorced and clinically depressed. How then can this book be so funny? Of course, it's a dark sort of humor, but Coe has crafted a brilliant tragiccomic tale with a hero who can't help but make a mess of his life. An absolutely fantastic novel. ~ Stan Hynds The Return of Captain John EmmettThe Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller. In 1921 England an exsoldier is asked to investigate the suicide of a boyhood friend. More than a mystery, this engrossing book examines the effects of war on those who fought and those who stayed behind. First in a new series. ~ Louise Jones Broken HarborBroken Harbor by Tana French. Dublin cop Mick "Scrocher" Kennedy gets an important case, which quickly becomes very complicated. As with other of French's characters, Kennedy must come to terms with events in his past that tangentially relate to the current case. A successful combination of psychological thriller and "who done it." ~ Sarah Knight
There But for The by Ali Smith. A dinner guest locks himself in his hosts' bedroom and won't leave. A brainteaser filled with mischievous play and keen insight. ~ Charles Bottomley PurePure by Andrew Miller. An ambitious young engineer is hired to demolish a Parisian cemetery. As the graves are dug up, revolution bubbles to the surface. A voyage into the land of the dead, beautifully told. ~ Charles Bottomley The Virgin CureThe Virgin Cure by Ami McKay. This fine novel unfolds in the dreadful stew of late 19th century Lower Manhattan through the eyes of one of its most vulnerable inhabitants – a young girl thrust into a world where innocence is prized and exploited. An uplifting story of women striving to survive and flourish in a toxic human wasteland, surrounded by wealth and power. ~ Karen Frank
Leaving the Atocha StationLeaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner. A late discovery for me, so don't make the same mistake! Lerner's hilarious, haunting novel about a layabout poet wasting time in Madrid is one of the most spectacular debuts in years. Miss it and miss out. ~ Charles Bottomley
King CityKing City by Brandon Graham. Accompanied by an ingenious feline, a young Cat Master navigates the dangers of the urban apocalypse. Graham's sly art is equally informed by graffiti and manga. Comics do not get any better than this! ~ Charles Bottomley
Here is our fall lineup of author interviews by Joe Donahue for WAMC Northeast Radio's The Book Show, at the Maple Street School:

October 28 - Alexander McCall Smith, author of No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency about his newest book, The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds

November 17 - Jeffrey Toobin on his book,The Oath: The Obama White House & the Supreme Court
The Winter VaultThe Winter Vault by Anne Michaels. The author lays bare souls in this cinematic novel of loss, love and memory. The characters draw close to each other by telling stories of their past and time flows constantly like the rivers that are at the heart of the story. The reader is swept along on a journey of introspection. ~ Karen Frank