Staff Picks - 2012 October

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Staff Picks October 2012 (685KB)
Garment of Shadows: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock HolmesGarment of Shadows: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes by Laurie King. Mary wakes in Morocco with bloodstained hands and amnesia. With few clues, she must rely on her wits to survive. Holmes, on his own mission to quell a revolt, begins investigating her disappearance. Fans of this series will not be disappointed! ~ Sarah Teunissen Shout Her Lovely NameShout Her Lovely Name by Natalie Serber. A family negotiates a daughter's anorexia; a single mother and daughter grow up together, entwined, raging, inseparable; a woman questions her place as her husband and son get tattoos. A perfect set of stories about imperfect people. ~ Amy Palmer Memoirs of an Imaginary FriendMemoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks. In this novel narrated by the imaginary friend of an eight year-old boy, who is somewhere on the autism spectrum, Dicks spins a terrific tale of a child in peril, expertly navigating real and imagined worlds while creating suspense that had me turning pages furiously to the end. ~ Stan Hynds
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryThe Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. An unfulfilled man on a strange journey may not be anything new, but in Joyce's hands it becomes something remarkable. Her warmth fills every perfect line and a tale of goodness is masterfully told. Quite simply wonderful! ~ Charles Bottomley Ancient LightAncient Light by John Banville. Banville's extraordinary writing, sensory and sensuous, makes this intricate novel about an aging actor, calling recent and long-ago events, a joy to read. The real protagonist is memory – how it inhabits and forms our lives. ~ Louise Jones Mrs. Queen Takes The TrainMrs. Queen Takes The Train by William Kuhn. This is a light and friendly look at the personality of Queen Elizabeth II. The author sends her on "walkabout" where she interacts with her subjects in amusing and sometimes poignant situations. Great fun and gently insightful. ~ Karen Frank
Life and Death Are Wearing Me OutLife and Death Are Wearing Me Out by Mo Yan. As his family is buffeted by the transformation of China over half a century, their patriarch is reincarnated as a series of barnyard animals. Wicked and heartbreaking, this is a zesty, unforgettable saga from one of the world's great storytellers. ~ Charles Bottomley
A Sunless SeaA Sunless Sea by Anne Perry. A woman is found slaughtered on the London docks. Clues suggest she was a high-end prostitute, but Superintendent Monk thinks differently. His investigation exposes secrets best left buried and a desperate killer who will do anything to make sure they stay that way. ~ Sarah Teunissen Goodbye For NowGoodbye For Now by Laurie Frankel. The creation of a successful algorithm to find the love of your life leads a software designer to create computer simulations of DLOs (dead loved ones), allowing conversation with the departed. A clever, timely novel, with great characters, that compels consideration of the ethical and emotional price of technology. ~ Karen Frank
I Married You for HappinessI Married You for Happiness by Lily Tuck. An intimate, honest, brave portrayal of a 40-year imperfect marriage. Original, poetic, stunning, radiant, nothing short of genius, but not for the weak of heart. ~ Nancy Scheemaker The Constant HeartThe Constant Heart by Craig Nova. An astronomer describes his relationship with his father in this beautiful novel, with two compassionate and honorable men (unusual in contemporary fiction), stunning evocation of the natural world and a suspenseful plot driven by an irresistible woman. ~ Louise Jones PhantomPhantom by Jo Nesbo. A sober Harry Hole returns to Oslo when his surrogate son, Oleg, is accused of murdering a drug dealer and, no longer on the police force, begins his own investigation. Did I mention Hole tries to slit his throat while sitting at a bar? Nesbo's best yet. ~ Sarah Knight
The Founders and Finance: How Hamilton, Gallatin, and Other Immigrants Forged a New EconomyThe Founders and Finance: How Hamilton, Gallatin, and Other Immigrants Forged a New Economy by Thomas K. McCraw. At last: a clearly written study of early American finances, when economic calamity threatened the young republic. For all of their skills and virtues, the native-born leaders of American affairs were woefully deficient in financial matters–unlike the brilliant "foreigners" who saved the day. Superb history. ~ Bill Lewis A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonaldA Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald by Errol Morris. Did a Green Beret really kill his entire family in 1970? Part detective, part philosopher, Morris reopens the Fatal Vision case and discovers our justice system is more interested in sustaining fictions than discovering the truth. Compulsive and compelling. ~ Charles Bottomley Talking Heads' Fear of MusicTalking Heads' Fear of Music (33 ⅓) by Jonathan Lethem. To Lethem's ears, Talking Heads' 1979 album is where Andy Warhol meets The Twilight Zone. Track by track, The Fortress of Solitude novelist gives a master class in close listening. ~ Charles Bottomley
The End of Your Life Book ClubThe End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. An extraordinary memoir, a testament to the author's mother, underscoring the enduring bond reading and sharing books can give any two, or more, people. I finished this book with reluctance - it gave me so much to think about and aspire to. ~ Mary Allen Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, and the Rebirth of the British MonarchyShooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, and the Rebirth of the British Monarchy by Paul Thomas Murphy. A rich journey into Victorian England that recounts the multiple attempts to harm Queen Victoria. Each unsuccessful assault served to strengthen the bond between the monarch and her subjects and had great impact on evolving legal procedures regarding insanity defenses, punishment and rehabilitation. Fascinating. ~ Bill Lewis Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria by Noo Saro- Wiwa. The daughter of a slain civil rights activist, Saro- Wiwa tries to make peace with her Nigerian homeland. This fascinating travelogue shows us an Africa that is as much a part of the future as of our past. ~ Charles Bottomley
I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard CohenI'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons. Poet, monk, clown, lover, song and dance man - Cohen is also an enigma. Drawing on her own encounters and Cohen's circle, one of the best music writers today elucidates his lifelong spiritual quest and staggering body of song. ~ Charles Bottomley
The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's FloodThe Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood by David R. Montgomery. A comparison of flood stories from around the world shows how science, theology, mythology and folklore intersect. The writing is smooth and engrossing, the research impeccable. A fascinating, well-reasoned exploration of how humans explain the natural world. ~ Louise Jones