Staff Picks - 2013 January

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Staff Picks January 2013 (1.4MB)
NEW BOOKS by Popular Authors
8th - The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

8th - On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes by Alexandra Horowitz, author of Inside of a Dog. 15th - Standing in Another Man's Grave by Ian Rankin Rebus returns!

15th - Heat: Adventures in the World's Fiery Places by Bill Streever

22nd - The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures by Edward Ball author of Slaves in the Family.

29th - Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Jungleland: A Mysterious Lost City, a WWII Spy, and a True Story of Deadly AdventureJungleland: A Mysterious Lost City, a WWII Spy, and a True Story of Deadly Adventure by Christopher S. Stewart. Journalist Stewart, intrigued by the story of Theodore Morde's search for a fabled mysterious "White City" in the Ecuadorian rain forest 70 years ago, sets out to repeat the journey, using notebooks given to him by Morde's nephew. A terrific read! ~ Louise Jones Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865 by James Oakes. Although most Americans believe the Civil War was fought to destroy slavery as a military necessity, it's not true. Lincoln and the Republicans began abolishing slavery in 1861, relentlessly pursuing it before the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and 13th Amendment (1865). An important, well written book, carefully argued. ~ Bill Lewis Judging a Book by Its LoverJudging a Book by Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere by Lauren Leto. This hilarious book was written for book lovers and book lover wannabes. I tried to read it slowly but ended up finishing it in two evenings and discovered that, as a Hesse lover, I'm required to own one straw chair. Hmm. ~ Krysta Piccoli
Open HeartOpen Heart by Elie Wiesel. Facing emergency open-heart surgery at the age of 82, humanitarian, scholar and Holocaust survivor Wiesel reflects on his life, works and mortality, probing essential questions about the nature of humanity and the existence of God. Eloquent, moving, beautiful. ~ Amy Palmer The VoyeursThe Voyeurs by Gabrielle Bell. This acclaimed cartoonist has an extraordinary eye for the manners and foibles of the young and hip. These funny, keen autobiographical fragments truly show the way we live now. ~ Charles Bottomley Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting TribeEating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe by Charlotte Gill. This book reads as fluidly as fiction. It tells the story of professional tree planters who live a rough and grimy life. Gill does not sugarcoat, but the story is still romantic with an intimate writing style. ~ Krysta Piccoli
The Carter Family: Don't Forget This SongThe Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song by Frank M. Young. Few artists cast a longer shadow over country music than the Carter family. This graphic novel shows just how much hard times, hard work and heartbreak went into making it so. Not just a great book about country, but a great book about music. ~ Charles Bottomley The World Until YesterdayThe World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? By Jared Diamond. Diamond's fantastic and much-anticipated new book details the differences and similarities of modern culture vs. traditional societies. As always, he is a readable expert, making this book perfect for the casual reader or the scholar. ~ Krysta Piccoli
BreedBreed by Chase Novak. A childless couple travels to Eastern Europe for fertility treatments from a shady doctor, leaving them with a set of twins and a lot of problems they hadn't anticipated. A creepy story with contemporary overtones – a great way to pass a winter's night. ~ Alden Graves Finding CamlannFinding Camlann by Sean Pidgeon. Welsh archeologist Donald Gladstone is working on a book that will reveal the "real" King Arthur when a surprising discovery confounds him. An intricate novel incorporating myth, history, archeology, literature, academic backstabbing, politics - and a lovely romance. ~ Louise Jones HopeHope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander. What would you do if you found Anne Frank living in your attic? That's the jump-off point for one of the funniest novels since Portnoy's Complaint. ~ Charles Bottomley
MagnificenceMagnificence by Lydia Millet. Susan Lindley, newly widowed, inherits a strange mansion in Pasadena CA, which further changes her life. An engrossing, disturbing, odd story by a gifted writer, with a plot that surprises and satisfies in ways you won't expect. Third in a trilogy, but complete by itself. ~ Louise Jones Happiness is a Chemical in the BrainHappiness is a Chemical in the Brain by Lucia Perillo. A pitch-perfect collection of glimmering short stories dominated by wild, tough women who may be down, but are never out. Then there's "Ashes," in which a young burnout takes his father's remains to a strip-bar. We will hear a lot more from Perillo, and I can't wait. ~ Charles Bottomley Vulture PeakVulture Peak by John Burdett. Burdett's detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep might be the last good cop in Bangkok - and even he stumbles sometimes. He's on the collective tail of twin body-part black marketers in a thriller that combines Third World cunning with plenty of smart riffs on our new globalized reality. ~ Charles Bottomley
The Painted GirlsThe Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan. At the end of the 19th century, three sisters aspire to the world of ballet in Paris, then the center of the world for all the arts. Based on historical figures and incidents, this novel delivers great atmosphere and characters, who weave through the harsh yet rich tapestry of life at the time. ~ Karen Frank The InterceptThe Intercept by Dick Wolf. Yes, the creator of the hit TV series, Law & Order, can also write a fastpaced entertaining thriller with good characters. Just before July 4th, NYPD's rule-breaking detective Jeremy Fisk investigates a thwarted airplane hijacking, which he believes has ramifications for the future. ~ Sarah Knight
The OtherThe Other by Thomas Tryon. Reissue of a gripping psychological horror story about identical twins, one good and one bad. There is a revelation as jaw-dropping as anything I've ever read, and the author masterfully keeps the reader from seeing it coming. ~ Alden Graves
Hikikomori and the Rental SisterHikikomori and the Rental Sister by Jeff Backhaus. After a tragedy, Thomas Tessler withdraws from his wife and closes himself in his bedroom. The Japanese call this Hikikomori. His wife hires a young Japanese woman, called a "rental sister," to rescue him. A beautifully written novel about grief, intimacy and dealing with emotions. ~ Sarah Knight The Siege of KrishnapurThe Siege of Krishnapur by J. G. Farrell. Farrell's masterpiece, set during the Great Indian Mutiny of 1857, examines culture, class and race with insight, subtlety and wit. Farrell's superb writing brings to life an historical event by creating memorable characters, action and suspense. One of my favorite novels. ~ Louise Jones On the RoadOn the Road by Jack Kerouac. "'s a valentine to the United States," wrote Kerouac scholar Douglas Brinkley about the infamous road trip undertaken with Neal Cassady. This novel is a fierce personal quest for "IT" - meaning and belonging - Kerouac's manic, jazz-inspired, poetic voice is the definitive one for The Beats! ~ Amy Palmer