Staff Picks 2014 July

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Staff Picks July 2014 (1MB)
Dark AemiliaEuphoria by Lily King. Inspired by events in the life of Margaret Mead, this is the story of three anthropologists studying native culture on the Sepik River in the Territory of New Guinea in the 1930's, who become embroiled in a love triangle that ultimately threatens their lives. A riveting tale about passion, obsession and greed. ~ Amy Palmer

The characters are powerfully and truthfully drawn and their individual search for their ideal of "Euphoria" is blistering. ~ Maeve Noonan

A stunning novel based on real people, but it transcends biography in dealing with the complex nature of love, sex and ambition. ~ Louise Jones
Fetch the Devil: The Sierra Diablo Murders and Nazi Espionage in AmericaFetch the Devil: The Sierra Diablo Murders and Nazi Espionage in America by Clint Richmond. Torture, murder, intrigue, deception and Nazis. In 1938 the wife and daughter of an explosives industry executive were found shot to death in the Texas desert. A meticulous, riveting re-creation of the crime and the exhaustive hunt for the killers. ~ Alden Graves Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes HomeLove, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home by Nina Stibbe. The author's letters to her sister while working as a nanny to the sons of film director Stephen Frears and Mary-Kay Wilmers, in a sophisticated North London home that boasts Alan Bennett as a regular visitor. Highly enjoyable, charming and laugh out loud funny! ~ Becky Doherty
Weapons of Mass DiplomacyWeapons of Mass Diplomacy by Abel Lanzac, Christophe Blain, Edward Gauvin. France scrambles to get on the right side of the Iraqi war in this Graphic political satire that deserves to be ranked with Machiavelli's The Prince and House of Cards. One of the best books of the year!
New Life, No Instructions: A MemoirNew Life, No Instructions: A Memoir by Gail Caldwell. When Caldwell, a strong single woman raising a big dog, discovers she must have debilitating hip replacement surgery, her physical transformation allows time for reflection, begetting a deeper understanding of her circle of friends and her own abilities as an ever-evolving human, illuminated by sparkling prose. ~ Bonnie Winchester My Salinger YearMy Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff. Rakoff remembers the intense ups and downs of her first year working for a New York City literary agency and the potential publication of Salinger's Hapworth. Not a book about the reclusive author but a coming-of-age story: the transition from college life to the "real world." ~ Chris Linendoll The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, EvenThe Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even by Chris Westbury. Where does artistic genius end and OCD begin? Three art obsessives travel to Philadelphia to pay homage to Marcel Duchamp's titular masterwork, finding misadventure and healing on the way. An off-kilter tale you won't soon forget.
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A MemoirCan't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast. For anyone terrified of broaching the uncomfortable topic of advancing old age and death with one's parents, or actively involved in caretaking one's folks, this is for you! Funny, ironic, honest and true. ~ Amy Palmer

Chast's experiences with her parents ride the fine line between tragedy and humor. These funny, heartbreaking and totally true episodes are all illustrated in New Yorker cartoonist Chast's signature style. ~ Marika McCoola
Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh ShermanFierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman by Robert L. O'Connell. Approaching Sherman from three different angles, O'Connell has written a biography that reveals the complexities of the General as not only a commander but as a civilian and family man. Fast moving and absorbing. ~ Sarah Donner Us ConductorsUs Conductors by Sean Michaels. A love/adventure story – most of it true – about Leon Theremin, inventor of the first electronic instrument. Whether describing the glamour of pre-WWII New York or the harshness of the gulag, Michaels' prose is like a siren's call – seductive and irresistible.
Smoked Maple Syrup by Sugar Bob's Finest KindSmoked Maple Syrup. Made by infusing hardwood smoke into the darkest pure Vermont maple syrup, this is not your regular breakfast syrup. It's a sweet and savory treat, fantastic on salmon, chicken, salads, even in cocktails! Most definitely worth a try. ~ Monique Proulx
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to BeyonceYeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyonce by Bob Stanley. Music history for anyone who ever tuned in to the Top 40, spent hours reading liner notes, saved their concert ticket stubs or learned more from a 7-inch record than they ever did in school. A book that sings like the Spotify playlist in Heaven. Essential!
The Girl Who Was Saturday NightThe Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O'Neill. A tale told by Nouschka Tremblay, twin sister of Nicholas, daughter of Etienne, a once famous Quebecois entertainer and quasi-criminal. A wonderful Montreal story of what makes family - with crazy events and zany characters that seem to dress outrageously. ~ Sarah Knight A Possibility of ViolenceA Possibility of Violence by D. A. Mishani. In Israel, a suitcase bomb near a daycare center initiates a puzzling case for Inspector Avraham. ~ Louise Jones BittersweetBittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore. Set in Vermont – a tale of violence and a family's dark past. A scholarship student at a famous college spends the summer at her roommate's estate and is forced to make hard choices. Exciting. A great summer read. ~ Sarah Knight
The Swan GondolaThe Swan Gondola by Timothy Schaffert. A richly drawn, atmospheric, quirky love story set against the 1898 Omaha World's Fair. Like the midway illusions, the characters are not always what they seem. Fans of Night Circus will enjoy this as well. ~ Jennifer Canfield The Good Suicides: A ThrillerThe Good Suicides by Antonio Hill. Barcelona Inspector Salgado is distracted from the search for his missing wife by a case in which several employees at a cosmetics firm commit suicide after receiving disturbing emails. ~ Louise Jones Elizabeth Is MissingElizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey. Maud, an 82 year-old struggling with dementia, keeps solving a crime, although she constantly confuses present and past. This beautifully written and crafted mystery novel with two recurring enigmatic clues that will be answered, will keep you guessing. ~ Becky Doherty
Green GirlGreen Girl by Kate Zambreno. For fans of The Bell Jar comes the account of Ruth, a "green girl" in England, who is desperately trying to navigate her way through that sometimes glorious - but mostly painful - period between teens and adulthood. ~ Jess Hanlon Delicious!Delicious! by Ruth Reichl. Known for her memoirs, Reichl turns her love of food and cooking into a fun culinary mystery. With the added elements of romance and history this is a satisfying summer read. ~ Jennifer Canfield
The Memory GardenThe Memory Garden by Mary Rickert. A thoughtful aromatic delight - mythology, garden spells and goddess lore are woven together in a tale of love, loss and the humor that binds women's friendships together. Reminiscent of Alice Hoffman but wholly in Mary Rickert's own strong voice. ~ Maeve Noonan
The Rise & Fall of Great PowersThe Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman. A wild ride from a remote bookshop in Wales to Bangkok and around the globe after the enigmatic Tooly, whose mysterious past kept me guessing and delighted until the end. A simply lovely read by the author of The Imperfectionists. ~ Amy Palmer

An Ingenious Story! A cast of magnetic characters! And Tooly Zylberberg - a young woman trying to unravel the mystery that is her life! All the ingredients you need for a great story! ~ Liz Barnum
Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early AmericaFlight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America by Amy Belding Brown. Historical fiction humanized and full of recognizable emotion, empathy and intelligence, woven around well-researched Puritan and Indian personages. A bright, absorbing story that does not shy away from atrocities and prejudices on all sides, with people who form relationships that are constant and true. ~ Karen Frank The Girl With All the GiftsThe Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey. A mind-bender complete with characters equally compelling and revolting, with an ending that you'll never see coming. ~ Jess Hanlon

You will not be able to put this book down, nor should you! Melanie, the young protagonist, introduces a world of savagery and inhumanity. From within this moral and spiritual abyss, she also brings forth hope for humankind on the brink of destruction. ~ Cheryl Cornwall
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The QuickThe Quick by Lauren Owen. A refreshing change of pace that puts a new spin on old legends as a young woman tries to reclaim the brother she loves from the exclusive and dangerous Aegolius Club. ~ Jess Hanlon

A plush and elegant tale perfectly set in a gas-lit haven for vampires in fog-shrouded London. Written with style and a palpable sense of terror. ~ Alden Graves