Staff Picks - 2013 April

The April 2013 Staff Picks can also be viewed or printed as a PDF
Staff Picks April 2013 (1.2MB)
A New Staff Favorite
Walking Home: A Poet's Journey by Simon Armitage.

Armitage's droll account of hiking England's Pennine Way. Housed and fed in exchange for poetry readings, he reflects on nature, personal challenge and the generosity of strangers. A beautiful depiction of the region, from fells to fog-obscured heights. ~ Amy Palmer

A thoughtful journey south along the Pennine Way for the poet results in nourishing entertainment for the reader. I laughed out loud and marveled at the place names and turns of phrase that pour effortlessly from his pen. This truly working poet shares a bit of his soul (and his sole) with us. ~ Karen Frank

Fresh Off the BoatFresh Off the Boat: A Memoir by Eddie Huang. How does a loudmouthed Chinese immigrant find his way in the U.S.? Through hoops, hip-hop and - it turns out - one helluva sandwich. An uproarious memoir from the East Village Baohaus restaurateur with lots to say about race, food and everything inbetween. ~ Charles Bottomley PaleofantasyPaleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live by Marlene Zuk. Zuk combines biology and anthropology to disprove the myth that humans did not evolve to live as we do now. Although we don't know exactly how early man lived, Zuk dispels the most common ideas through meticulous research. A fascinating and accessible read. ~ Krysta Piccoli The Presidents ClubThe Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy. A fascinating books about the ex-Presidents of the United States - chock full of surprising facts, political intrigue and odd friendships (Clinton and Nixon, really). A great read and a satisfying jolt for the political junky. ~ Liz and Erik Barnum
BanishedBanished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church by Lauren Drain. The most shocking, disturbing, eyeopening true story I have read. Westboro Baptist Church's ability to indiscriminately shatter countless lives is mind-blowing, and it is a testimony to Drain's spirit that she survived, can share her story and lives a relatively normal life after banishment. ~ Jess Krawczyk Salt Sugar FatSalt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss. This mind-blowing book reveals that food giants are not simply providing consumers with the food they crave; they create cravings to skyrocket profits, at the expense of public health. You will NEVER look at packaged food the same. ~ Krysta Piccoli
The Riddle of Scheherazade: And Other Amazing PuzzlesRiddle of Scheherazade: and Other Amazing Puzzles by Raymond M. Smullyan. After the original tales, Scheherazade managed to get herself into trouble with the king once again and invented some puzzles to keep him entertained all over again. A fantasic-fun book of math riddles that will keep you busy for 1,001 nights. ~ Krysta Piccoli
April 23 Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan. Food writer Pollan learns to cook with fire, liquid, heat, fermentation.

April 23 Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris. Need we say more?

May 7 A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. Lots of publishing buzz about this first novel.

May 14 The Outsider: A Memoir by Jimmy Connors. The tennis bad boy tells all.

May 14 The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-5 by Rick Atkinson. Conclusion to the Liberation Trilogy.
The Used Book Collection April display features Poetry. Look for interesting selections, check our blog and sign up for the monthly used books e-newsletter. ~ Karen Frank
Please register by contacting Karen at

April 9 Cookbooks Every Grain Of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop
April 15 Northshire Women Read I Married You for Happiness by Lily Tuck
April 16 History Embers Of War by Fredrick Logevall
April 17 NEW! Fountain of Youth Reading Group Compare The Fairy-Tale Princess by Su Blackwell to The Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yeh Mah
April 17 Dark Side For The Thrill Of It by Simon Baatz
April 18 Mystery & Thrillers In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming
April 19 Poetry The Favorite Poem Project
ArtfulArtful by Ali Smith. Part contemporary ghost story, part academic treatise, sparkling with allusion, crackling with wit and brilliance. This set of discursive commentaries on love, loss and connection by a dazzling wordsmith will inspire you to explore philosophy, poetry and literature with renewed exuberance. ~ Amy Palmer The Burgess BoysThe Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout. Relationships between the siblings of the Burgess clan from Shirley Falls, Maine are as tempestuous as a North Atlantic storm in this memorable story of interwoven lives and destinies and the inescapable bond of family. A worthy successor to Olive Kitteridge - no higher praise. ~ Alden Graves
By BloodBy Blood by Ellen Ullman. When a mildly unstable professor overhears voices in a neighboring shrink's office, he's drawn into a spellbinding tale about parents and the lies we tell ourselves to survive. Controversial and captivating, By Blood will stick with you for a long time. ~ Charles Bottomley
Middle MenMiddle Men: Stories by Jim Gavin. Gavin's heroes aren't swimming in L.A.'s glittering pools, but they aren't quite drowning either. In fact, the SoCal dreamers and couch surfers in his stories make screwing-up as American as Del Taco and as wincingly funny as Girls. But, like, with dudes. ~ Charles Bottomley A Tale for the TimeA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. A young Japanese schoolgirl plans to commit suicide but first feels she must record the life of her great-grandmother, a Zen Buddhist nun. A woman walking on the beach on Vancouver Island, Canada finds the young girl's diary and begins to investigate. This beautifully written novel goes back and forth in time and place between the characters in Japan and Canada. Very satisfying read. ~ Sarah Knight
Last FriendsLast Friends by Jane Gardam. The finale of Gardam's outstanding portait of Edward and Betty Feathers, this time featuring Eddy's old associate and Betty's lover Terry Veneering. An intelligent, clever, haunting, funny insight into a marriage. You also must read Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat. ~ Louise Jones
The Unchangeable Spots of LeopardsThe Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma. An earnest aspiring writer can't commit, but finally realizes how intertwined his life is with the stories he creates, discovering the fine line between truth and storytelling. Completely familiar but unique - a page-turner you'll want to revisit time and again. ~ Jess Krawczyk Being EstherBeing Esther by Miriam Karmel. A wonderful portrait of a seemingly simple life reimagined from Esther's last serene days. The details of her "modest" existence take on a brilliance and clarity, which allow Esther to become alive and loveable to the reader. ~ Karen Frank
The CatThe Cat by Edeet Ravel. Elise wants to join her 11 year-old son in death, but she can't abandon Purrsephone, her son's beloved cat, forcing her to somehow find the courage not only to survive, but to live. ~ Jess Krawczyk
Life After LifeLife After Life by Jill McCorkle. This living, breathing novel about human nature insightfully focuses on some of the residents of a retirement home, touching the deepest human experiences with entertaining glimpses into the minds of the characters (both young and old) who are all growing and aging in surprising ways. ~ Karen Frank Life After LifeLife After Life by Kate Atkinson. In this moving tour de force, Ursula Todd is born, dies; is born, lives; makes small decisions that alter her many lives, creating different endings – and even change history. As usual, the splendid Atkinson delights and amazes with her power, wit and inventiveness. ~ Louise Jones  
  Delights & ShadowsDelights & Shadows by Ted Kooser. Wonderful word imagery paints short pictures, but packs a real punch! Perfect for experienced and new poetry readers alike. ~ Jeanette Sessions Ring of BoneRing of Bone: Collected Poems by Lew Welch with Gary Snyder. One Beat poet shows what's important to him in haunting detail, depth and, even, simplicity of wording. ~ Jeanette Sessions