Staff Picks 2014 April

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Staff Picks April 2014 (1MB)
The PloverThe Plover by Brian Doyle. What an adventure! This amazing personal quest is a delightful read, both for the actual sea journey across the Pacific and the fascinating trip through the minds and personal relationships of the characters. I've never read anything quite like it – remarkable, enlightening. ~ Karen Frank

Declan O'Donnell's solitary sea journey evolves into a rousing adventure tale as his small boat becomes the refuge of a number of unexpected - and largely unwelcome - passengers. Lyrical and literate, a love story dedicated to the sea and an exciting and ultimately moving human drama. ~ Alden Graves

"No man is an island" and Declan O'Donnell comes to realize that in this wonderfully original book! ~ Liz Barnum

Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi, illustrated by Wendy Hollender. Beautiful illustrations make this a refreshing field guide. Recipes are divided by season and laid out in a readable format. ~ Bonnie Winchester Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime That Changed AmericaKitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime That Changed America by Kevin Cook. When Kitty Genovese was savagely murdered in 1964, her screams were ignored by residents of her Queens, New York neighborhood. It created an urban legend comprised of fact and fiction, setting off a firestorm concerning apathy in America that still reverberates. ~ Alden Graves The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth GapThe Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi and Molly Crabapple. A dire, takeno- prisoners call to arms that takes on the new American system of justice between the untouchable wealthy and the criminalized poor. A frightening, important work about the abuses and inherent unfairness evolving into a warped dissolution of civil rights in this country. ~ Erik Barnum
Being a Rockefeller, Becoming Myself: A MemoirBeing a Rockefeller, Becoming Myself by Eileen Rockefeller. Growing up the youngest daughter of David and Margaret Rockefeller, and a greatgranddaughter of John D., Eileen Rockefeller has navigated a life of privilege while struggling to find her true voice and authentic self, mend familial relationships and discover her own philanthropic path. ~ Amy Palmer Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open HeartMister Owita's Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart by Carol Wall. Despite vastly different backgrounds a deep and caring friendship results between an upscale woman and the Kenyan immigrant she hires to restore her neglected yard. From him she learns to nurture her heart and spirit so it too can bloom and flourish. ~ Jennifer Canfield Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AdThrough the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350- 550 A.D. by Peter Brown ($24.95). One of our greatest historians has written his masterpiece! In showing how religious sacrifice changed through antiquity, Brown sheds new light on how Imperial Rome fell - and Christianity took its place. ~ Charles Bottomley
Life in Motion: An Unlikely BallerinaLife in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland. A well-written pageturner! An honest, open account o f ove rcoming obstacles, inspiring perseverance and a tremendous love for ballet. Everyone will be engrossed by her incredible life's story. ~ Fran Tobia Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to AmericaOperation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen. An important, absorbing, and frequently chilling, examination of the secret government program that brought hundreds of German scientists, doctors and their families - despite their political beliefs and wartime experiments - to America after WWII. Ethically questionable - a program that kept German scientists from the Russians. ~ Louise Jones
Jack the Ripper: The Forgotten VictimsJack the Ripper: The Forgotten Victims by Paul Begg and John Bennett. Although the identity of the notorious Whitechapel killer is still unknown, so is the actual count of victims. Here is a convincing argument that there may have been more than the widely accepted number of five. This thought provoking book isn't for the squeamish. ~ Alden Graves
The FightThe Fight by Norman Mailer. Mailer's masterpiece - one of the most exciting narratives I've ever read, depicting the 1974 fight between underdog Muhammad Ali, trying to regain his heavyweight title, and the Godzilla, George Foreman. Infectious, edge-of-the-seat prose will have you breathless even if you already know the conclusion. ~ Erik Barnum
The LieThe Lie by Helen Dunmore. In this novel full of beautifully understated emotion, Dunmore invites us into the tormented mind of Daniel, a WWI survivor, as he attempts to manage the past and present and finds a kind of closure at the meeting of both realities. ~ Karen Frank Every Day Is for the Thief: FictionEvery Day is for the Thief by Teju Cole. An unnamed narrator visits his native Lagos, Nigeria, where corruption, graft and violence are widespread, religion is panacea, ancient tribal beliefs abound, but also spots of sunlight and unexpected beauty. An unusual and thoughtful read by the author of the award-winning Open City. ~ Amy Palmer The Other LanguageThe Other Language by Francesca Marciano. A woman splurges on a Chanel dress to celebrate professional success, a teenager finds first love while mourning her mother's death, a white Kenyan searches for her place after a mixed-race marriage. Layered stories set in varied locales offer surprising twists of character and plot. ~ Amy Palmer
Frog MusicFrog Music by Emma Donoghue. An atmospheric novel of a murder set in San Francisco during the 1870s, filled with rich, ribald characters as well as a precise attention to period detail and flavor. Although a distinct departure from the author's bestselling Room, it shares the earlier book's dark soul. ~ Alden Graves The Intern's Handbook: A ThrillerThe Intern's Handbook: A Thriller by Shane Kuhn. John Lago is an assassin working deep undercover as an intern at a high profile law firm, about to take on his final assignment before retirement, which he might not live to enjoy. A black comedy for people who understood The Fight Club was a satire. ~ Chris Linendoll The Lost SisterhoodThe Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier. A marvelous retelling of the folklore and myths surrounding the Amazons, Troy and the Aeneid. Rich in detail combining lesser-known Amazonian tales with a new story and two women 1200 years apart. The characters, weak and strong, breathe and get dirty and make mistakes. ~ Maeve Noonan
The Last Days of CaliforniaThe Last Days of California by Mary Miller. Jess Metcalf and her evangelist family take a wayward, one-way road trip through California to the Rapture, eating fast food, staying in fleabag motels. Along the route through America's wasteland Jess questions her faith and her actions, while drawing ever closer to her quirky family. ~ Amy Palmer
Blood and Beauty: The Borgias; A NovelBlood and Beauty by Sarah Dunant. A splendid historical novel about the Borgias, especially Roderigo (Pope Alexander VI) and two of his illegitimate, and beloved, children – Cesare and Lucrezia. Well researched (with a bibliography), a lush Italy, richly imagined characters who belie their evil reputations. A terrific read. ~ Louise Jones
Inappropriate Behavior: StoriesInappropriate Behavior by Murray Farish. Farish's widely varied subjects and excellent writing showcase his extraordinary imagination. There's not a cheerful story in the bunch but there isn't a clunker either. A consistently strong and moving collection. ~ Stan Hynds
The CitadelThe Citadel by Kate Mosse . The final in Mosse's Languedoc trilogy about the Cathars and the resounding conflicts inhabiting the South of France in the Middle Ages and contemporary times, full of detail and folklore but always historically based with a mystery twisted throughout the series. Strong, evocative, poignant. ~ Maeve Noonan The Guest CatThe Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide. A simple, beautiful story that dares to suggest a cat may be the answer to all of life's mysteries. Or as a cat might say, "Meow Meow Meow Meow Meow."~ Charles Bottomley Beware of PityBeware of Pity by Stefan Zweig. When an officer asks a young woman to dance, it's a mistake with catastrophic consequences. A breathtaking tale of love and duty that inspired the new movie The Grand Budapest Hotel. ~ Charles Bottomley