Staff Picks 2014 October

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Staff Picks October 2014 (1.2MB)
All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went TabloidAll the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid by Matt Bai. All the Truth is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid by Matt Bai is, at first glance, a look at the media debacle surrounding Gary Hart's fall from grace. It certainly succeeds in bringing new insight into the event itself. It does much more, however, and this is where Bai, former chief political correspondent for New York Times magazine, really scores. This was the moment, Bai argues, when the media and politics got into bed together. The resultant offspring is the hybrid political/media circus that passes for discourse today. This is an important book, it is not just a re-telling of the saga of Gary Hart, but an incisive, totally compelling and even poignant work that follows the media down the rabbit hole that it created and maintains to this day. ~ Erik Barnum

A blow-by-blow account of Gary Hart's meteoric fall from grace, an event that not only ended one of the most promising public service careers of its time, but -- even more significantly -- forever altered both the tone and the tenure of political reporting. Thought-provoking and, unfortunately, still very relevant in today's world. ~ Alden Graves
Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce. "Riveting" is the only word that can adequately describe Merritt Tierce's debut. The prose is as precise, tight, and captivating. The narrative is so resonant that you will ache with Marie, the protagonist, as she falls farther and farther past salvation. My favorite novel of the year so far. ~ Reviewed by Lily Ringler
Nora Webster by Colm Toibin. An Irish widow struggles with the loss of her husband while her country is wracked by civil unrest. Nora is a vivid, remarkable woman whose difficult journey toward her own independence is hampered by setbacks and a reluctance to grasp the hands extended to help her. ~ Alden Graves
The High Divide by Lin Enger. The sweeping history of the 19th century American Midwest, with sights, sounds and smells effortlessly rendered, is captured in the details of this family journey, as each individual piece falls into place and destinies are fulfilled. A marvelous read. ~ Karen Frank
Proof Positive by Archer Mayor. A case of murder and mayhem leads Joe Gunther and his VBI squad from Vermont to Philadelphia and New Hampshire. Mayor excels at creating complex characters and vivid scenes, from the odiferous hovel of a hoarder to the ostentatious home of a US Senator. ~ Louise Jones
Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas. What does it take to be the best? And does that help you when you lose everything? The author of The Slap returns with the story of a champion swimmer climbing out of the pool. Tragic and wonderful, Tsiolkas once again gets to the heart of what makes humanity so awful ... and so good. ~ Reviewed by Charles Bottomley
Henna House by Nomi Eve. A story of love, betrayal, fear, faith and the strength of a woman's soul, set in the last days of the Ottoman Empire and the rich traditions of the Yemenite Jews and the Women of the Henna House. In the tradition of The Red Tent. ~ Maeve Noonan
The Ploughman by Kim Zupan. In a contemp- orary Montana jail, a troubled young sheriff 's deputy guards a recently apprehended, nearly 80 year-old serial killer; an uneasy friendship develops, the old man seeming to understand his much younger keeper. Dark and unsettling, with characters and style reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy. ~ Stan Hynds

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The Drop by Dennis Lehane. If you miss Elmore Leonard's wry humor, offbeat characters and whacky situations, you'll be happy with this book – a poignant love story combined with a crime caper, set in a seedy Boston neighborhood. Originally written as a script for the new film. ~ Louise Jones
Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix. The typical retail experience can seem like an endless zombie movie, but for the team at ORSK, a furniture/lifestyle warehouse built over a 19th century panopticon run by a ruthless warden, this is no B-movie. Hilarious in faux catalog format - a page-turner I read in one sitting. ~ Chris Linendoll
The Search for Heinrich Schlögel by Martha Baillie. A beautifully written surreal tale of a young German man who goes for a 10-day hike on a remote Canadian island. He experiences dreamlike visions of Arctic history and when he returns thirty years have passed. ~ Sarah Knight
The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau. A descendent of an old family uncovers a secret about her grandfather that sets her upon a path of revenge. This emotionally potent, multigenerational saga is so infused with Southern atmosphere, you can almost feel the humidity rising. ~ Alden Graves
Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles M Blow. This stunning, poetic memoir by New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow depicts a boyhood in a rural Louisiana hamlet echoing with the aftermath of slavery. Blow emerges from a childhood replete with storytelling, extended family and trauma to give voice to his singular experience. Riveting! ~ Amy Palmer
A Cool and Lonely Courage by Susan Ottaway. Two sisters, born in France, raised in Great Britain, return to their birth country to fight for the Resistance during WWII. A remarkable true story of courage and endurance, as well as a horrifying account of Nazi atrocities and the terrible psychological repercussions they caused. ~ Alden Graves
Good Grief!: Life in a Tiny Vermont Village by Ellen Stimson. Whether or not you embrace the lifestyle and choices lavishly and lovingly described in this memoir, you will find yourself back on the wild ride that began last year with Mud Season. Ellen Stimson's life is full to the brim with love, food, kids, candles, humor, pets and...grief. At the end of this journey we are invited to share her serenity and quiet wisdom as she reflects on the spiraling intersecting circles of life and accepts that good grief is a product of a good life. ~ Reviewed by Karen Frank
Extreme Metaphors by Simon Sellars. Best known for Empire of the Sun, Ballard was a sci fi pioneer who found "inner space" more interesting than far-off galaxies. In novels like Crash and The Atrocity Exhibition, he laid bare our dystopian consciousness. Quirky, witty, provocative ... these interviews are an essential read for sci fi fans and sociologists alike. ~ Reviewed by Charles Bottomley
The Language of Food by Dan Jurafsky. Jurafsky's book explores the relationship between food, language, and history. An entertaining look at how the choice of words used to describe food influences our perception of them. Foodies and anyone interested in trivia, etymology or culinary history will enjoy the explanations of how culinary terms evolved in some very surprising ways through time and across cultures. ~ Reviewed by Jennifer Canfield
Off the Sidelines by Kirsten Gillibrand. Everyone should read this book! Senator Gillibrand writes to motivate all people but especially women to get off the sidelines and get involved in what happens in your country! Not only is she our state senator but she is a witty, relatable, working mom from Albany and believes that we can do it all because we are women! ~ Reviewed by Jessica Elder
Glazed, Filled, Sugared & Dipped by Stephen Collucci. An excellent reference for the novice doughnut maker. Instructions and processes are clearly explained and there is a wide range of complexity, providing something for all skill levels. The Basic Cake Doughnut recipe on page 26 is very easy, while yeast-dough Berliner recipes with filling are more advanced. This title is a great way to gain 20 pounds. ~ Reviewed by Nate George
Whitetail Tactics: Cutting-Edge Strategies That Work by Peter Fiduccia. There are lots of deer hunting titles available but this is one of the best. LOTS of info. on deer behavior, movements and habits. Fiduccia also covers the use of scents, mock rubs/scrapes, lures and the correct way to rattle all season long. Best of all, Fiduccia hunts in the Northeast, primarily New York state. ~ Reviewed by Nate George
Dinner with the Smileys by Sarah Smiley. While Smiley's Navy pilot husband was overseas, she and her three sons invited one guest a week, from politicians and athletes to local teachers and strangers, for dinner. What began as a simple gesture turned into important lessons about life, love and sharing. ~ Reviewed by Louise Jones
Twitter: The Comic (the Book) by Mike Rosenthal. A collection of the surreal, absurd, and downright dumb- in the best way possible. Twitter: The Comic (The Book) is laugh out loud funny! The mad tweeters who can put this much hilarity into 140 characters are truly geniuses. Or something...I found myself showing off this book to everyone who was standing near me, just to spread the joy! ~ Reviewed by Chris Linendoll
Mother Daughter Me by Katie Hafner. In this remarkably honest memoir, journalist Katie Hafner chronicles an experiment in multigenerational living that goes painfully awry, once reverberations of painful past experiences arise. The interactions, responses and reactions between the three women and those peripherally involved makes for fascinating reading. ~ Reviewed by Amy Palmer
Miles to Go T-Shirts ($25.99, sizes S, M, L). These literary-inspired T-Shirts are a stylish way to show the world your love of reading, mixing creativity and inspiration of art and literature into one fabulous product. And the poly/cotton blend guards against shrinking. ~ Monique Proulx