Staff Picks 2013 July

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Staff Picks July 2013 (520KB)
The Illusion of Separateness

The Illusion of Separatenessby Simon Van Booy
The circle of life is no illusion. This novel, while spare and focused, is bursting with magnificent intelligence and humanity. Every sentence is crafted and precise, leading the reader on a path to realization. ~ Karen Frank

There are few writers who create art with every word the way Simon Van Booy does. His latest book is an intimate look at the tiny choices that connect us all. Van Booy has a talent for bringing out the extraordinary in everyday circumstances. His mastery of language gets better with each book. ~ Krysta Piccoli

Instructions for a HeatwaveInstructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell. Three siblings reluctantly reunite from around the world to search for their missing father during the London heat wave of 1976. Temperatures rise, tempers flare and we're plunged into the eerily familiar realms of sibling rivalry, overbearing mothers and how to cope when a loved one hurts you. ~ Jess Krawczyk

While maneuvering through memories and childhood secrets during Britain's drought-plagued summer, a fascinating story emerges shedding light on the present situation. Being Irish in London in the 1970s is both problematic and enriching. ~ Karen Frank

TransAtlanticTransatlantic by Colum McCann . Everyone contributes to humanity's progress; the smallest action could set in motion events of a worldchanging nature. McCann is a master weaver, taking us on a journey danced by a cast of characters until one particular circle of life is examined from many perspectives. ~ Karen Frank JoylandJoyland by Stephen King. Devin Jones spends his summer working at Joyland, an amusement park along the North Carolina seacoast. He discovers it was once the site of a brutal murder and the victim supposedly still haunts one of the rides. Escapist fare at its best by a master storyteller. ~ Alden Graves Bobcat and Other StoriesBobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee. Lee knows her characters so well that they seem like old friends, whether it's a woman finding her bestie a wife or an architect finding himself on a retreat. Like Alice Munro and Karen Russell? Give this winning collection a shot. ~ Charles Bottomley
The Last Summer of the CamperdownsThe Last Summer of the Camperdowns by Elizabeth Kelly. The combination of 1970s politics and the glamorous horsey/film star set on Cape Cod draw the reader into an unfamiliar and exotic world full of intrigue and complex relationships. A witty and dramatic story from the viewpoint of young Riddle, who'll capture your heart. ~ Karen Frank The Mermaid of BrooklynThe Mermaid of Brooklyn by Amy Shearn. Both funny and insightful, this novel follows a Brooklyn mother during the summer of her husband's disappearance - and her "possession" by a feisty, opinionated mermaid. A quirky book that manages to mix complete emotional honesty with a rare sense of humor. ~ Rachel Person, Events Manager for our Saratoga store!
Oryx and CrakeOryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. In the very-plausible future, the human race has been nearly eradicated by its pursuit of genetic perfection. A love story and an examination of the human condition, this first in the MaddAddam Trilogy (followed by The Year of the Flood) held me waiting eagerly for the conclusion - set to arrive this September. ~ Jess Krawczyk
Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West's Greatest EscapeShot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West's Greatest Escape by Mark Lee Gardner. The botched robbery of a Northfield, Minnesota bank sets off one of the largest manhunts in American history, with the quarry being the James/Younger gang. A thrilling chronicle of the ordeal endured by the robbers to escape the noose that was slowly tightening around their notorious careers. ~ Alden Graves The Feud: The Hatfields and McCoys: The True StoryThe Feud: The Hatfields and McCoys by Dean King. The dispute between two extensive Appalachian families has entered the realm of legend. In reality, it was a viscous, spiteful, ignoble war with farreaching consequences. King tackles an extremely complex subject and persuasively puts to rest any noble motives by members of either clan. ~ Alden Graves The Friedkin Connection: A MemoirThe Friedkin Connection: A Memoir by William Friedkin. A bumpy ride through the Hollywood maze, from a Chicago TV station mailroom to directing The French Connection and The Exorcist. An incisive look at a business that traditionally takes a dim view of idealistic notions about the personal cinema that Friedkin admired and embraced. ~ Alden Graves
Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to QuestloveMo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson. Beneath The Roots bandleader's towering 'fro is a powerful mind. His memoir is a thrilling journey around his own group, his record collection and collaborators ranging from D'Angelo to Prince. ~ Charles Bottomley The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark. Clark dramatically and meticulously recreates a time when human decisions in response to a volatile and fast-moving chain of events could have produced any number of different outcomes - not necessarily a world war. A brilliant, compelling, extremely important book. Highest Recommendation. ~ Bill Lewis
In the Kitchen with Alain Passard: Inside the World (and Mind) of a Master ChefIn the Kitchen With Alain Passard: Inside the World (and Mind) of a Master Chef by Christophe Blain. A cover-to-cover delight! A cartoonist takes us into a legendary Parisian kitchen for a master class on preparing food, complete with recipes. Beautifully drawn, the flavors of Passard's colorful, balmy meals practically waft from the pages. ~ Charles Bottomley
Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My AppetitesBlue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites by Kate Christensen. With austere language and a dispassionate attitude, Christensen takes us on a grand tour of her life, cleverly linking important highs and lows with her love of specific foods. She invites us to remember similar Proustian connections and enjoy this entertaining memoir. With bonus recipes! ~ Karen Frank The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New AmericaThe Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer. An astonishing history of the last recession, as told by the people who survived it and thrived during it. Packer lets his subjects speak for themselves. Their sobering but inspiring stories explain just what went wrong with America. ~ Charles Bottomley Life's a BeachLife's A Beach by Martin Parr. Wow, Parr's photos are a panic– wonderfully revealing of all kinds of human behavior in countries from Great Britain to Japan to Argentina. People everywhere on a beach somewhere: tanning, eating, frolicking, swimming, reading and enjoying themselves. ~ Sarah Knight
A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home: Lessons in the Good Life from an Unlikely TeacherA Dog Walks into a Nursing Home: Lessons in the Good Life from an Unlikely Teacher by Sue Halpern. When Halpern and her dog volunteer as a therapy-dog team at a Middlebury nursing home, she learns more about humanity, kindness and insight than she expected. A charming, moving story – sweet but not saccharine – and Labradoodle Pransky is a wonder! ~ Louise Jones
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never SeenBorn To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. A truly awesome, inspiring "tale of the running gods," masterfully told. The most enjoyable non-fiction read - and by far the best sporting book - I've had the pleasure of reading in a long time. I hated to see it end - and it got me running again! ~ Jon Fine
Sun HatsSun Hats! Pretty, stylish, functional sun hats (assorted sizes, prices and colors, many SPF 50) that will protect your brain from sunspots and leave your friends green with envy! From the trendy fedora to the machine- washable sun hat, we have your summer needs (and head!) covered! ~ Jess Krawczyk