Staff Picks - 2012 Holiday


All of us here at Northshire Bookstore wish you the best for the holidays.

We have a new offering this year. We are partnering with Kobo to bring you e-readers and e-books. Kobo is well known in Europe and Asia and making a strong foray into North America. If you are interested in buying an e-reader, please stop in and try one. If you own an iPad or other tablet, you can download the Kobo application and buy your e-books through us at competitive prices.

But don't forget that we have a big building full of wonderful paper books, gifts and sundries for you to discover when you come to the store. We look forward to helping you find great presents for your loved ones this holiday season.

Happy Holidays,

Chris Morrow, Co-owner
Fall/Winter 2012/13
Northshire Bookstore
4869 Main St. P.O. Box 2200
Manchester Ctr., VT 05255
802-362-2200 or 800-437-3700
Fax 802-362-1233

Printed on 100% Recycled Paper

The Independent is produced by the Northshire Bookstore Press Corps. All prices are based on current publishers' information and are subject to change. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause.
The Shires Press
on Espresso Book

Whether your book is ready to go or needs help for completion, whether you want a few for family or hundreds for the wider market, we are here to provide a superlative author experience. The Shires Press publishing program at the Northshire Bookstore offers a variety of packages depending on your goals. Visit our website for more information www. or call our EBM coordinator, Debbi Wraga at 802.362.3565 x117.

Co-Owners: Chris, Barbara & Ed Morrow Co-Editors: Louise Jones, Kim Potter, Heather Bellanca Children's Book Editor: Jessica Wood Design: Heather Bellanca Photos: Heather Bellanca Contributors: Erik Barnum, Charles Bottomley, Alison Clark, Jon Fine, Alice Fiske, Karen Frank, Alden Graves, Stan Hynds,Louise Jones, Whitney Kaaz, Sarah Knight, Bill Lewis, Barbara Morrow, Amy Palmer, Ben Parker, Krysta Piccoli, Aubrey Restifo, Nancy Scheemaker, Jeanette Sessions, Sarah Teunissen, Fran Tobia, Jessica Wood

The Town Mouse And The Country MouseThe Town Mouse And The Country Mouse by Helen Ward (ages 5 & up). The lovely illustration gracing our cover is taken from a newly realized version of this magical tale set in glamorous 1930s New York at Christmas time. The book is a sumptuous retelling in the hands of award-winning artist Ward. ~ Jessica Wood Charley's First NightCharley's First Night by Amy Hest, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (ages 3-6). Meet Henry and his new puppy! Sweet and light-hearted, this story follows Henry as he introduces Charley to his new home. A must for families considering the adoption of a new pet! ~ Aubrey Restifo Bear Has a Story to TellBear Has A Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (ages 2-6). This gently told tale of Bear trying to tell his story before he slumbers for the winter is a wonderful picture of patience and compassion. None of the forest creatures have time to hear him but benefit from his helpfulness as they prepare for winter. ~ Jessica Wood
Little Children's Music BookLittle Children's Music Book by Fiona Watt & Elisa Squillace (ages 3-6). Press the buttons on this book and listen to five distinct tunes played by the different animals (and their instruments). When they're played together at the end, hear each one. This is a fun, interactive book to introduce and develop an appreciation for musical instruments, reading and working together. ~ Alice Fiske Clifford CollectionClifford Collection: The Original 6 Stories by Norman Bridwell (ages 2-4). Upon first glance of this keepsake 50th anniversary edition I was catapulted back to childhood and recalled these original stories and illustrations with great fondness. With revelations about Clifford and Emily Elizabeth's origins, this is a wonderful introduction to the "Big Red Dog." ~ Jessica Wood Llama Llama Time to ShareLlama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney (ages 3-5). A fun read-aloud for any child who needs a little encouragement in sharing. Llama Llama is only willing to share SOME of his toys with his new neighbor, Nelly Gnu. When a fight breaks out, Llama Llama's Fuzzy Llama is ripped in two. Mama fixes Fuzzy but warns: "I'll put Fuzzy on the stairs, until you're sure that you can share." ~ Alice Fiske
Fluff and BillyFluff and Billy by Nicola Killen (ages 3-6). Fluff and Billy are best friends - everything Fluff does, Billy does, too! Yet even these happy penguins disagree sometimes. An adorable, simple story of friendship and forgiveness. ~ Aubrey Restifo
This is Not My HatThis is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (ages 5 & up). Jon Klassen returns with another humorous book about animals wearing hats - but this time it takes place Pict ure Books under the sea! What happens when a small fish appears wearing a blue bowler hat? It's all in the eyes in this hilarious follow up to I Want My Hat Back. ~ Whitney Kaaz Linnea in Monet's GardenLinnea in Monet's Garden by Christina BjÖrk, illustrated by Lena Anderson (ages 4-8). Back in print to celebrate its 25th anniversary! Discover the world of Monet and his beloved garden through the eyes of a curious child. Linnea travels to France to see the beautiful garden that inspired Monet's most famous paintings. A wonderful tribute to an amazing Impressionist - sure to delight art fans of all ages. ~ Whitney Kaaz Black DogBlack Dog by Levi Pinfold (ages 4-7). Amazing illustrations are the driving force behind this story of a family who is visited by a dog. As each family member sees the dog, the descriptions of him keep getting bigger and bigger. Ironically, it is the smallest family member who sees the dog for what it really is - a friendly black dog! Gorgeous! ~ Whitney Kaaz
This Moose Belongs To MeThis Moose Belongs To Me by Oliver Jeffers (ages 5-8). With signature charm and wit Jeffers has forged a wholly original partnership between young Wilfred and a moose. Lovely illustrations adorn this volume and add to understanding the frustrations that come with having a moose as a pet. ~ Jessica Wood Goldilocks and Just One BearGoldilocks and Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson (ages 5-7). A clever sequel to the traditional Goldilocks story. Little Bear is all grown up and Goldilocks is a distant memory. One day, Little Bear wanders out of the woods and finds himself lost in the Big City. What are the chances he will bump into someone who remembers exactly how he likes his porridge? ~ Alice Fiske Boot & ShoeBoot & Shoe by Marla Frazee (ages 5 & up). The brilliance of this lovely picture book lies in its simplicity. Frazee expertly culls a wide array of emotions and fluidity from two sibling canines as they go about their day and the business of being friends and comrades against a pesky squirrel. Comic timing and wonderfully subtle artwork make this volume quite a gem. ~ Jessica Wood
One Frozen LakeOne Frozen Lake by Deborah Jo Larson, illustrated by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher (ages 5 & up). A beautiful family story about a grandfather and grandchild who spend the winter going ice fishing. Captivating illustrations of the world below the frozen surface complement the quiet stories from the ice towns that form above. ~ Aubrey Restifo The White-Footed MouseThe White-Footed Mouse by Willem Lange, illustrated by Bert Dodson (ages 4-8). "Kill only what you intend to eat" is the advice a father offers about hunting to his son, but when the father sets a trap to catch a white-footed mouse in the cabin, the boy quickly reminds him of his own advice. A beautiful story of shared love of the outdoors. ~ Whitney Kaaz
Unbored: The Essential Guide to Serious Fun by Elizabeth Larsen & Joshua Glenn (computer-savvy & not so savvy kids). This is a vibrantly designed, lavishly illustrated activity book that every modern kid needs. It's at once cool and constructive, filled with activities that are fun, doable and designed to get kids engaged in the world at large. Highly recommended! ~ Jessica Wood Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Matt Tavares (ages 6-8). This brilliant portrait of Helen Keller, laced with stirring quotes and magnificent illustrations, shows that the desire to learn knows no boundaries. An inspiring story about taking full advantage of every opportunity one has and showing the vastness of knowledge that is available if one has the desire. ~ Fran Tobia
Birds of a Feather by Bernadette Gervais & Francesco Pittau (ages 5-8). The creators of Out of Sight have done it again with this amazingly beautiful, interesting, interactive, factfilled, oversized book about birds! Lift the flaps and popups and tons of interesting facts will keep bird lovers of all ages entertained for hours. This book will make the perfect gift! ~ Whitney Kaaz Lenore Finds a Friend: A True Story from Bedlam FarmLenore Finds a Friend: A True Story from Bedlam Farm by Jon Katz (ages 4-8). Poor Lenore! None of the animals at Bedlam Farm welcome her. Even Rose the border collie is too busy. But Lenore refuses to give up. Things change unexpectedly after she licks a grumpy ram named Brutus right on the nose. Katz's irresistible photographs chronicle this true story of a dog determined to make friends. ~ Alice Fiske
Vermont Peace Magnets ($6.95) Do humankind a favor - take a stand on this subject - give one to everyone you know. Who doesn't want peace?
Horten's Incredible Illusions: Magic, Mystery & Another Very Strange Adventure by Lissa Evans (ages 8-12). Stuart is back in another amazing adventure! This time, in order to prove his uncle's magic tricks really belong to him, he's teleported into magical worlds to solve his uncle's puzzles and find a hidden will - with help from familiar and unlikely characters in the latest quest from Teeny-Tiny Tony Horten. ~ Krysta Piccoli Summer & Bird by Katherine Catmull (ages 10 & up). A cryptic picture message is all that young sisters, Summer and Bird, have to seek out their missing parents. A story filled with beautiful imagery and breathtaking language, along with cryptic leads propels this fantasy and its authentic cast forward at a meandering, thoughtful pace. ~ Jessica Wood
Son by Lois Lowry (ages 10 & up). Set after The Giver, Son follows 14 year-old Claire, a girl selected to become a Birthmother in a community where roles are chosen by the government. In a land of strict rules, however, the baby is taken away from her. Driven by love and heartbreak, Claire, Jonas and Gabriel search for the ones they love in the face of many real and magical evils. ~ Aubrey Restifo Malcolm at Midnight by W. H. Beck, illustrated by Brian Lies (ages 9-12). Follow the story of Malcolm, a rat. But does that mean he's a rat? Accused of just that, he must clear his name and keep the school safe for the "lankies" and "nutters." Mixing fantasy, mystery, even romance(!), the twists and turns are as many as the corridors of Malcolm's new home. ~ Jeanette Sessions
The Birds of BethlehemThe Birds of Bethlehem by Tomie dePaola (ages 3-5). An inventive and fresh Nativity story told from a bird's-eye view. The birds of Bethlehem gather on the first Christmas morning to share the exciting news that something extraordinary is coming and they fly to the stable where a child has been born. Beautiful illustrations provide the perfect backdrop to this simple yet powerful story. ~ Jessica Wood The Barefoot Book of Buddhist TalesThe Barefoot Book of Buddhist Tales retold by Sherab Chödzin and Alexandra Kohn, illustrated by Marie Cameron (ages 8-11). A very entertaining, beautifully illustrated bedtime, story-time book. The symbolism will inspire thoughts and questions to ponder about life, such as generosity, compassion and a sense of humor. One common thread is about generosity over trying to find fulfillment in foolish self-interests and possessions. ~ Fran Tobia
The Raven BoysThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (ages 13 & up). With a wonderful cast of quirky characters, rife with seers, graveyards and enough atmosphere to last for a very long time, this is a beautifully written, compelling read. While it has many elements of current trends in young adult literature, it stands alone due to the talent of the author. Highly recommended. ~ Jessica Wood Silhouette of a SparrowSilhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin (ages 13 & up). Garnet longs for the freedom of the birds outside her window, but growing up in the 1920s, ladylike behavior is expected. A summer in Minnesota changes everything for her. A lovely bird silhouette graces each chapter and in turn each bird highlighted is characterized within the chapter. Charming coming of age tale. ~ Jessica Wood The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland andThe Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente, illustrated by Ana Juan (ages 10 & up). September returns to Fairyland to find her shadow in another satisfying adventure. Again, Valente dazzles us with her rich use of language and leaves us hungry for the next beautifully constructed sentence. If you love classic fantasy stories you are sure to be a fan. ~ Whitney Kaaz
DodgerDodger by Terry Pratchett (ages, 12 & up). Another wonderful romp of a book by Mr. Pratchett, inspired by Dickens' Artful Dodger character in Oliver Twist. Set in Victorian London, it features a colorful cast of characters including Dickens, Disraeli and Queen Victoria. History and fantasy intertwine in a breathtaking account of adventure and mystery coupled with a thoughtful coming of age element. ~ Jessica Wood The DivinersThe Diviners by Libba Bray (ages 14 & up). New York City, 1926. Flappers, speakeasies, pickpockets and showgirls! The city is alive and full of hope as Evie O'Neill finds herself thrust into the middle of a bizarre serial killer investigation and must use her secret powers to stop him. But all is not what it seems in this novel of ghosts, demons and superstitions. You will be dying to read the sequel! ~ Whitney Kaaz Edgar Allen Poe Lunchbox ($15.95) Express your dark side, or your literary bent, with this moody yet charming Goth lunchbox.
The Big New Yorker Book of DogsThe Big New Yorker Book of Dogs. The New Yorker magazine and our favorite four-legged friends—it's a perfect combination. With a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell, this oversize, full-color canine celebration includes poems, fiction, essays and, of course, cartoons, from the likes of Roald Dahl, James Thurber, Ogden Nash and Susan Orlean. You really can't miss with this one. Dog lit at its best. A Little History of ScienceA Little History of Science by William F. Bynum. From the Greek philosophers to Einstein, from the stars to DNA, this well-priced volume tells a marvelous, sweeping adventure story—the history of science. The format is the same as the illustrated edition of E. M. Gombrich's classic, A Little History of the World. With smart illustrations, it's a fantastic choice for curious readers of all ages.
The Dust Bowl: An Illustrated HistoryThe Dust Bowl: An Illustrated History by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns. The acclaimed filmmakers and authors provide a riveting chronicle of the epic 1930s disaster in a companion volume to this fall's PBS special. A unique and vivid document of a great human and environmental tragedy, The Dust Bowl includes more than 300 photographs as well as extensive letters, government reports, articles and interviews. The Appalachian Trail: Celebrating America's Hiking TrailThe Appalachian Trail: Celebrating America's Hiking Trail by Brian King, foreword by Bill Bryson. Whether you've hiked it all, or just a piece, or simply dreamed of doing it, this lavishly illustrated volume is a worthy tribute to "The People's Path" in this its 75th year. An exploration of the legendary footpath, which includes 300 eye-popping contemporary images plus unpublished archival photos, maps and documents.
Bouchon BakeryBouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller & Sebastien Rouxel. Three years ago, Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc At Home was the must-have cookbook of the season. This year it is Bouchon Bakery that will dazzle. Combining American and French elements, Keller has created a book that is both flashy and simple, exquisitely beautiful and useful. From homemade Oreos to mille-feuilles, Bouchon Bakery is full of delightful surprises as well as classics. ~ Stan Hynds BurmaBurma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid. In her James Beard Award-winning Hot Sour Salty Sweet, Duguid ate her way through villages throughout Southeast Asia. Her spectacular new cookbook focuses on the cuisine of Burma. I personally know booksellers across the country who have tested recipes from this book before its release. The raves are loud and across the board. Unlike any other cookbook this season. ~ Stan Hynds The King Arthur Flour Baker's CompanionThe King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook. It's back and better than ever. Now with an innovative lay-flat paperback cover with a durable, sewn binding, the authoritative baker's baking book has the same tried and true content at an unbelievable price. The new packaging and exceptional value make it the perfect gift choice for Vermont bakers who want to share a classic. ~ Stan Hynds
Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and EatConsider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson. Readers will savor this delightful, deliciously fascinating history of cooking and culinary tools, from knives to coffee grinders to the kitchen fire itself. When was the vegetable peeler invented? How different are our whisks from the whisks of the Middle Ages? An account of our kitchens that every cooking enthusiast will relish. ~ Krysta Piccoli Smitten Kitchen CookbookSmitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. "There are no bad cooks…just bad recipes," says celebrated food blogger Perelman. She's not a TV chef or a restaurant owner - just an excellent home cook and adapter of recipes. Here are the best of the best from her extraordinarily popular blog (plus many never before seen) with lush photos. Broadly appealing, simply irresistible, Smitten could be your new everyday, go-to cookbook. ~ Stan Hynds
Bowl of HeavenBowl of Heaven by Gregory Benford and Larry Niven. A first contact novel from two science fiction heavyweights. While en route to a new planet the colony ship Sunseeker encounters an artifact of immense, mind-bending size. Niven is one of my favorite world-builders and once again he delivers. This is part one of a two-part story. ~ Ben Parker Red CountryRed Country by Joe Abercrombie. They burned her farm and stole her siblings. Now Shy South and her stepfather Lamb must journey into the Far Country to save those who can be saved and kill those who need killing. This highly anticipated novel from the author of The First Law Tril-ogy has Abercrombie's trademark wit and vivid combat scenes ~ Sarah Teunissen The HiveThe Hive by Charles Burns. The creepy second volume of Burns' trilogy that began with X'ed Out continues the story of Doug "Nitnit," a negative version of Tintin, as he works his way through his failed relationship and the horror of the hive. ~ Ben Parker
Pariah: Ravenor vs EisenhornPariah: Ravenor Versus Eisenhorn by Dan Abnett. Warhammer 40K fans rejoice - it's a Ravenor and Eisenhorn smackdown, as Ravenor must hunt down his former ally and friend. ~ Ben Parker The Lands of Ice and FireThe Lands of Ice and Fire (A Game of Thrones) by George R. R. Martin. You can't be a true Game of Thrones fan without owning a set of maps to help your journey. Among the maps is one of the entire known world and also a map of character movements, which will enhance your angst as characters keep just missing each other. ~ Ben Parker The Walking Dead Com-pendium Volume IIThe Walking Dead Com-pendium Volume II by Robert Kirkman. Just in time for the start of season 3 of The Walking Dead is the second volume of the bestselling graphic novel series. This volume of the compendium collects the second eight graphic novels (Walking Dead issues #49-96). New to graphic novels? Be sure to check out volume 1 for the first eight novels. ~ Ben Parker
Paradise CityParadise City by Archer Mayor. Mayor again produces a winner with his 23rd Joe Gunther novel. The story starts with a home invasion in Boston but soon extends to Vermont (naturally!) and then to Northampton, MA, the eponymous Paradise City. There's plenty of action and the well-defined characters move the plot, as do the arcane details that Mayor does so well. ~ Louise Jones Talking to the DeadTalking to the Dead by Harry Bingham. Welsh Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths bends rules and flaunts authority, determined to solve the murder of a young mother and daughter found in a squalid Cardiff squat. Bingham skillfully shows external and internal conflicts Fiona must face as she uncovers more widespread and deeper criminal activities. Recovery from her teenage psychological breakdown adds depth to her feisty character. ~ Sarah Knight A Question of IdentityA Question of Identity by Susan Hill. Old women living in an almost completed housing complex are killed and posed in front of mirrors. The killer takes trophies from each victim that are identical to those taken years before in murders in which the killer was acquitted. Subsequently the man and his identity have completely disappeared. Another excellent Serrailler mystery from Hill. ~ Sarah Knight
The Uncommon Appeal of CloudsThe Uncommon Appeal of Clouds by Alexander McCall Smith. In this ninth Isabel Dalhousie novel, she is asked to help a wealthy Scots landowner who has been robbed of a valuable painting by Nicolas Poussin. While rendering assistance, Isabel waxes gently on matters philosophical, quotes Auden and depicts a full life with her precociously mathematical young son and husband. ~ Amy Palmer Island of BonesIsland of Bones by Imogen Robertson. The newest Gabriel Crowther/Harriet Westerman mystery is brimming with intrigue and plot twists. A corpse is found in an ancient tomb on Crowther's family estate and it isn't one of the original occupants. The two embark on an investigation that will bring to light deeds Crowther has spent decades trying to forget. A nail-biting thrill of a read! ~ Sarah Teunissen  
The PatriarchThe Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy by David Nasaw. Despite America's continuing fascination with the Kennedys, the collective memory of "The Patriarch" is mostly limited to that of the unscrupulous businessman, bootlegger, womanizer and political failure. Nasaw digs more deeply and carefully, restoring Kennedy to a front and center position in mid20th century public affairs and within his family. Compelling. ~ Bill Lewis The Last LionThe Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965 by William Manchester and Paul Reid. At last! The final volume of Manchester's biography of a towering historical figure. Before Manchester's death in 2004, he chose Reid to complete the project. Reid uses Manchester's stupendous research to bring Churchill to life during the time when his nation, its empire, its very ideals faced a life and death struggle. ~ Bill Lewis Master of the MountainMaster of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves by Henry Wiencek. One of our finest scholars and writers about early American slavery and race uses his superb research skills to give a penetrating study of the enigmatic Jefferson's engagement with both, revealing much that is new, carefully supporting his judgments and leaving the reader vastly more informed. Perhaps the most important study of Jefferson in years. ~ Bill Lewis
Leonardo and the LastLeonardo and the Last Supper by Ross King. Leonardo da Vinci left Florence for Milan in 1482, hoping to work for Count Lodovico Sforza as an architect and military engineer, to no avail. Finally, Sforza ordered a wall painting at a small Dominican convent. This absolutely fascinating book shows the artistry, techniques and politics that created one of our most memorable works of art. ~ Louise Jones The Longest RaceThe Longest Race: A Lifelong Runner, an Iconic Ultramarathon, and the Case for Human Endurance by Ed Ayres. Ayres is running the JFK 50 Mile days after 9/11. The world has shifted and as he races he considers how he got there, how humanity reached this point and how both can prevail. His case will make you reassess everything from training regimes to evolution. ~ Alison Clark
The Big ScreenThe Big Screen: The Story of the Movies by David Thomson. A wonderful mixture of film critic, historian and novelist, Thomson enlights and infuriates. Here is a rich epic of films and film-making, from the Victorian photographer Eadweard Muybridge to the never-ending stream of baby pictures on Facebook. In between, puckish profiles of cinematic pioneers, odes to ravishing leading men and women and piercing appreciations. ~ Charles Bottomley Living BeautifullyLiving Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chödrön. This wise and encouraging book from the American Buddhist nun teaches us through "The Three Commitments" to embrace our prickly natures and habitual patterns in order to live fearlessly and be completely present for ourselves and for those in our lives and in the world, even in the most challenging and difficult times. ~ Amy Palmer Light And Shade: Conversations With Jimmy PageLight And Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page by Brad Tolinski. Given Page's famously enigmatic and highly introverted nature, Tolinski's look into the musician/producer/composer's creative thoughts and processes represents a major leap forward for Led Zeppelin fans. Tolinski guides the reader through Page's entire career and legacy while periodically offering song-by-song insights that are bound to entice hard core fans and musicians alike. ~ Jon Fine
Kurt Vonnegut: LettersKurt Vonnegut: Letters Vonnegut's letters are just as cutting and hilariously cynical as his writing, if not more so, because they are so honest. The reader gets a glimpse at the struggles he endured on the way to becoming the amazing writer we all know him to be. His life was full of false starts and many, many rejection letters. So it goes. ~ Krysta Piccoli The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father's Twentieth CenturyThe Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father's Twentieth Century by Margaret Talbot. Most people won't remember the name Lyle Talbot, but movie buffs will recognize the face. He never made it to Hollywood's top tier, but he had a great time trying. Here, his daughter affectionately remembers her father's long show business career during the last century, although the subject often plays second fiddle to the writer's elegant prose. ~ Alden Graves
Live by NightLive By Night by Dennis Lehane. If William Kennedy were Raymond Chandler's editor, the result might resemble Lehane's latest, most wonderful novel. Set twenty years after The Given Day, this literary masterstroke is much more than the story of a small-time gangster's rise during Prohibition. It is a dark, stylistic tour de force, elevating this tale to truly classic status. What a ride! ~ Erik Barnum In Sunlight and in ShadowIn Sunlight and in Shadow by Mark Helprin. This magnificent story, set in post WWII Manhattan, describes the depths of mind, heart and soul of characters whose lives have been shaped by the war, the culture and the city. The reader is torn between the swift river of the narrative and its luminous sentences and searing paragraphs. A deeply romantic, supremely intelligent novel. ~ Karen Frank
SuttonSutton by J.R. Moehringer. The Pulitzer prizewinning author of The Tender Bar turns his formidable talent to a novel based on the life of this famously unknowable hero/villain. Willie Sutton, bank robber and escape artist, who said he robbed banks "Because that's where the money is," often fictionalized his own life story. This version weaves between the events that shaped an extraordinary character. ~ Karen Frank Sweet ToothSweet Tooth by Ian McEwan. In 1972 Cambridge graduate Serena Frome is recruited by MI5, the British Secret Service. After boring months filing reports, she's sent to check out the politics of a young writer. A love affair begins, with dire results. McEwan creates the paranoid Cold War atmosphere and the duplicitous nature of espionage with his customary wit and elegance. ~ Louise Jones
Between the Notes: Making Art's CelloBetween the Notes: Making Art's Cello by James N. McKean. Shires Press is thrilled to bring you this poignant memoir of three friends united in the unique art of creating fine violin-family instruments for elite musicians. After one became ill, the others vowed to make a cello to donate to a deserving Julliard student in their friend's name. A feast of artistry, a tribute to friendship and a great story. By the author of the novel Quattrocento. ~ Karen Frank
The Round HouseThe Round House by Louise Erdrich. A powerful investigation of a Native American woman, raped on sacred ground. Thirteen year-old Joe attempts to understand and solve his mother's violation, exposing themes of truth, honor and integrity - and the harsh realities surrounding inequality and power in America. Once again Erdrich confirms why writers of fiction are universally vital to us all. ~ Nancy Scheemaker The Art ForgerThe Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. Claire Roth, a luckless artist who paints reproductions, is asked to copy a Degas that looks exactly like one stolen from the Gardner Museum in 1990. Those art works have never been recovered, despite multitudes of rumors and speculation. Is Claire being drawn into a conspiracy? A clever plot with many twists produces a highly satisfying read. ~ Louise Jones
Flight BehaviorFlight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. Wonderfully rounded characters tell a story both frighteningly contemporary and important in its insights: the entire population of the North American monarch butterfly migrates to southern Appalachia rather than Mexico. Kingsolver creates a complex scenario based on scientific and historical fact in which the natural world plays a significant role. A thought-provoking, inspiring, achingly moving novel, embodying Kingsolver's well-loved humanity and empathy. ~ Barbara Morrow Dear Life: StoriesDear Life: Stories by Alice Munro. "Nothing changes really about love." This last line of the second story in this collection sums up a lot of what makes Alice Munro a gift to the world. Her words illuminate achingly real people in ordinary situations as that elusive shock of recognition grabs the reader. The last, an autobiographical sketch, ends: "Just after my mother had grabbed me up, as she said, for dear life." ~ Karen Frank
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $39.98). The lives of a group of British citizens, living in a hotel in India that caters to older people of limited means, begin to undergo momentous changes. A rare, quietly understated film nearly impossible to dislike, about the power of the human spirit, beautifully acted by a superb ensemble cast. ~ Alden Graves