Staff Picks 2013 October

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Staff Picks October 2013 (1.7MB)

The LowlandThe Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. A well-intentioned bad decision impacts the life of a young Indian graduate student. A richly textured, fascinating look at a culture steeped in tradition and the constant struggle by new generations to break free of political and social bondage. ~ Alden Graves

This gorgeous novel explores the complexities between two brothers growing up in Calcutta in the 1960s, entwined yet utterly different – one a scientist, one a revolutionary. An intricate examination of family after tragedy: the ramifications of grief, guilt, honor and resolution that reverberate throughout subsequent generations. ~ Amy Palmer

An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a ScientistAn Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist by Richard Dawkins. The renowned evolutionary biologist recounts his early years and education, as a wild and skeptical kid, and his beginnings as an innovative thinker – up to the publication of The Selfish Gene. Highly readable and accessible, even if you aren't a fullblown scientist. ~ Louise Jones Men We Reaped: A MemoirMen We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward. In this memoir of community set in the rural south, Ward remembers five young men close to her who died in four years. She painstakingly traces each death back to a history of racism and economic struggle, channeling her grief into beautiful, precise language. ~ Carol Graser A House in the Sky: A MemoirA House In the Sky: A Memoir by Amanda Lindhout. Although this book starts as a travelogue of a carefree Canadian's solo travels off the beaten path, we soon see shadows of what lies ahead: kidnap and torture in Somalia. A memoir of painful brilliance. ~ Jennifer Armstrong
Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human PandemicSpillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen. Quammen investigates the suspects of the next human pandemic, including Ebola, Lyme and Hendra. A great read for those interested but possibly intimidated by the field of virology. Fascinating, at times funny and terrifying, knowledgeable yet easy to understand. ~ Tara Swahlan Levels of LifeLevels of Life by Julian Barnes. Barnes shows in three connected essays that "Love is the meeting point of truth and magic," in this very personal account of his beloved wife's death. Moving, sensitive – a lovely remembrance of a marriage, with no sentimentality or self-pity. A beautiful book. ~ Louise Jones
Driving Home: An American JourneyDriving Home: An American Journey by Jonathan Raban. Like a cousin of Christopher Hitchens and Bill Bryson, Raban is a witty, erudite traveler who sees the things others tend to miss. This essential essay collection is a penetrating portrait of America. ~ Charles Bottomley
Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler ProjectLife in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer. The story of a Polish Catholic social worker responsible for saving the lives of more than 2,500 Jewish children from extermination in the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII. Written by a Vermont pediatrician. A glorious example of how one person's heroism can change the world! ~ Amy Palmer
Police: A Harry Hole NovelPolice: A Harry Hole Novel by Jo Nesbo. In the newest thriller by the master Norwegian crime novelist, a serial killer is targeting Oslo's police officers, recreating unsolved murders. Breathless pacing, well-drawn characters and a ruthless baddie make this a pageturner. ~ Jennifer Armstrong
Author Event Oct 11th
in our Vermont Store
Three Can Keep a Secret: A Joe Gunther NovelThree Can Keep a Secret by Archer Mayor. Tropical Storm Irene tears through Mayor's 24th mystery, as Joe Gunther's team chases after an escaped mental patient, investigates a retirement home murder and discovers an empty coffin excavated by the storm – the solutions complicated by family secrets and past crimes. ~ Louise Jones
Blood SportBlood Sport: A Journey Up the Hassayampa and Deadville, both by Robert F. Jones. Reissues of two of Jones's wonderful novels long out of print: Blood Sport, a fantastical father-son adventure, became a cult classic. Deadville follows two Vermonters west in the 1830s to seek their fortunes. Both books are stunning portrayals of good and evil, meticulously researched, written with wit and style. Great reads! ~ Louise Jones
And Sons& Sons by David Gilbert. This powerful, multilayered novel-within-anovel delves into the emotionally fraught landscape of fathers and sons, taking on New York's literary scene, adolescence, conflicted sibling relationships, love, loyalty and tragedy with wit and enormous generosity of spirit. ~ Amy Palmer Bleeding EdgeBleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon. Pynchon is old enough to be a grandfather, but he writes about the digital universe like Malcolm Gladwell on DMT. Bleeding Edge is an overheated hard drive that hacks the funny bone even as it reboots one's consciousness. A must read. ~ Charles Bottomley
Man Alive!Man Alive! by Mary Kay Zuravleff. Owen Lerner, a pediatric psycho pharmacologist, is struck by lightning, which shreds apart then reassembles the dynamic in his closeknit family – university headhunter wife, teenage daughter and twin sons in college. Engaging, witty, provocative, compelling, elegantly written. ~ Louise Jones The LuminariesThe Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. The best mystery of the year is a tightly knotted tale of death and double-crosses, set during New Zealand's colonial gold rush. Superbly researched and wholly unpredictable, it'll keep you awake long after the candle has sputtered out. ~ Charles Bottomley A Working Theory of LoveA Working Theory of Love by Scott Hutchins. It's one thing to create an artificial intelligence program using your late dad's journals. It's quite another when "dad" starts talking back. Hutchins's immensely satisfying debut novel is a father-son story unlike any you've read before. ~ Charles Bottomley
Traveling Sprinkler Traveling Sprinkler by Nicholson Baker. Have you read The Anthologist? If not, do so and continue your adventure through Baker's fertile brain,marveling at his wit,in this "sequel." He gathers poetry,cigar smoking, songwriting - even romance - beneath his analyticalgaze, probing the human condition with humor and clarity. ~ Karen Frank
Blue Is the Warmest ColorBlue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh. This beautifully drawn graphic novel was made into a movie that won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. It's a heart-stopping story of young love for romantics of every stripe. I dare you not to cry at the end! ~ Charles Bottomley
May We Be ForgivenMay We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes. Not only has Homes created a comic hero to stand alongside Portnoy or Ignatius J. Reilly, but he's the center of a powerful story of redemption. One of those essential books that make you feel better about being alive. ~ Charles Bottomley
The People in the TreesThe People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara. Everybody knows that when ancient cultures meet Western science, tragedy usually results. In his brilliantly told first novel, Yanagihara spins an unforgettable tale about the perils of going native. ~ Charles Bottomley Fancy Halloween MasquesFancy Halloween Masques. Bewitching and glamorous, with just enough spooky and just enough sparkle, these Halloween essentials will make any costume spectacular. ~ Alison Clark