|The June 2013 Staff Picks can also be viewed or printed as a PDF
Staff Picks June 2013 (750KB)
The Son by Philipp Meyer. A majestic, multigenerational tale of power, greed and the intricacies of a Texan family stained by violence, beginning with a brutal Comanche raid in the mid-1800s. ~ Amy Palmer.
A cautionary tale about wealth and family ties, moving with the speed of a cattle stampede, with inevitable comparisons to Lonesome Dove, Blood Meridian and Giant. It is a meticulously researched historical examination of a changing, expanding land and the people who must change with it or be buried beneath it. –Alden Graves A violent, harrowing story about love, honor, power and family. A great book, not to be missed! ~ Liz Barnum.
|The Black Country by Alex Grecian. Inspector Walter Day from Scotland Yard investigates the disappearance of three members of a family from a remote village in the Midlands, home to many superstitions, including tales about a creature prowling the woods. Grecian is a master at creating a palpable atmosphere of suspense. ~ Alden Graves||Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. From the author of the critically acclaimed Half a Yellow Sun, a new, seductive very different story of Ifemalu, a young woman who moves to the US for new opportunities; despite some success she returns to her true home in Lagos. Lush, sprawling, modern, intelligent. ~ Liz Barnum||Southern Cross the Dog by Bill Cheng. Part homage to bluesmen like Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, reminiscent of Flannery O'Connor and Faulkner, this debut is set against the great flood of 1927 in Jim Crow-era Mississippi and is an odyssey you won't be able to put down. ~ Amy Palmer|
|We Need New Names by Noviolet Bulawayo. Darling, a young girl growing up in Zimbabwe, eventually finds herself in America, struggling to get comfortable in a new country. The story is intense, the writing musical, beautiful and simply wouldn't let me go. A wonderful debut book; I'm looking forward to more from Bulawayo! ~ Liz Barnum||Trains and Lovers by Alexander McCall Smith. A gentle exploration of love, through a series of intertwined romantic stories exchanged by four strangers traveling by rail between Edinburgh and London. With compassion and tenderness for the human condition, McCall Smith is unwavering in his belief in the goodness of the human heart. ~ Amy Palmer||All the Dead Yale Men by Craig Nova. The sequel to Nova's outstanding The Good Son follows the next generations of Mackinnons into the present. Nova writes with sensitivity, humor and subtlety as he delves into the complex family ties that divide and unite. Powerful, evocative of emotions and place. ~ Louise Jones|
|Sight Reading by Daphne Kalotay. With an eye for exquisite detail and a supreme sensitivity about the musical mind, the author of Russian Winter creates a compelling story around the talent, creativity, family relationships and general complexities of life affecting members of the Boston art and music community. ~ Karen Frank||Norwegian by Night by Derek Miller. A complex yet simple story, suspenseful but more intricate than a genre thriller, this original debut follows an elderly American living in Norway as he tries to save a youngster from his vicious father, who they both saw murder his mother. Beautifully written, thoughtful, tense, evocative. ~ Louise Jones||The Morels by Christopher Hacker. It's often unclear whether this debut novel is a challenging examination of the social limits of creative expression or a profile of the unusual and ultimately troubling life of writer Arthur Morel. The fact that it turns out to be both is most impressive. ~ Jonathan Fine|
The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan. Do NOT let the cover fool you! It's full of engaging characters who weave one of the more unique stories I've read in a while: I walked around one-handed for two days because I couldn't put it down. Very highly recommended! ~ Jess Krawczyk
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. In a land in which a flu epidemic has wiped out all but a few, Hig, his dog and his partner in survival, Bangley, stake out an existence at a small airport near Denver. This amazing debut is a post-apocalyptic novel that brims with hope. ~ Stan Hynds
FAVORITE THINGSKobo Glo & Kobo Mini This outstanding eReader is the perfect graduation gift – Northshire Bookstore in your pocket: pre-loaded with 100 books, access to over a million free titles and plenty more to purchase, can store up to 1,000 books, newspapers or magazines while supporting Northshire. ~ Jess Krawczyk
|Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach. A glorious romp through the historic and current science of the digestive tract. Roach rivals Sedaris in her wit and humor, informing you of things you didn't know you wanted to know (you do), while not leaving you (terribly) disgusted. ~ Krysta Piccoli||
Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941 by Lynne Olson. Few histories of the American "war before the war" capture the passion, ferocity and no-holds barred nature of the whitehot debate between interventionists vs. isolationists prior to December 1941. Olson does it in page-turning style reminiscent of her remarkable best seller Citizens of London.
The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan. For tens of thousands of women who came to a brand new, utterly secret war production plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the experience was unlike anything they could have imagined – because nothing like it had ever been done before. Rosie the Riveter to the nth degree! Unputdownable.
The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 by Rick Atkinson. The final volume of Atkinson's magisterial history of America's role in the liberation of Western Europe is a triumph, primarily because it never forgets that this colossal undertaking was the sum of countless individual experiences. Military history at its best.
To Eat: A Country Life by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd. This final celebration of food and gardening (Winterrowd died in 2010 before the book was completed) is a lovely and moving tribute to companionable lives well-lived by the partners who founded the garden design firm North Hill in southern Vermont and created the spectacular gardens there. ~ Louise Jones
|Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris. Whether going to his "happy place" during a colonoscopy, contemplating a severed forearm at his neighborhood taxidermist's, sharing drugs with a stranger in a men's room or obsessively collecting rubbish along the roadsides of rural England, Sedaris continues to delight with his witty commentary on life's absurdities. ~ Amy Palmer||
Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, a Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick. A riveting examination of one of the most decisive events in American history. An intimate look at pivotal figures and reverberant events that led up to the bloody confrontation on what was actually Breed's Hill outside of Boston, after the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord. ~ Alden Graves
|Yes is the Answer: (And Other Prog- Rock Tales) edited by Marc Weingarten. Most people would rather shoot themselves than listen to Tarkus. This book could change all that. Funny, touching, enlightening essays on that whitest of music – prog rock. A trip to a topographic ocean worth taking. ~ Charles Bottomley||
10th Women Read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
11th Cookbook Vermont Farm Table Cookbook by Tracy Medeiros
17th Dark Side Midnight In Peking by Paul French
17th Fountain of Youth The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim, Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
18th History For Adam's Sake by Allegra Bonaventura
20th Mystery & Thriller Midnight In Peking by Paul French
27th Poetry Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas edited by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke
|The Complete Don Quixote by Rob Davis and Miguel de Cervantes. Beautifully drawn and always hilarious, this comic adaptation of the Man of La Mancha's misadventures remains true to the anarchic spirit of Cervantes' novel. A treat for fans and a great intro for young readers. ~ Charles Bottomley||Father's Day: A Journey into the Mind and Heart of My Extraordinary Son by Buzz Bissinger. Bissinger portrays himself with brutal honesty as he plays second fiddle to his mentally challenged, uncannily savant 24 year old son. A father/son cross-country road trip at times painful to read, but ultimately a beautiful work of art. ~ Stan Hynds|