Staff Picks 2015 February

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Staff Picks February 2015 (2MB)
A Spool of Blue ThreadA Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler. A gentle, warm, and involving novel about three generations of a Baltimore family. By most standards, the Whitshanks are not remarkable people. They are, more precisely, Anne Tyler people and, for the author's admirers, nothing further needs to be stated. She invests their struggles, large and small, with a subtle nobility that relies upon the enduring bond of family for the source of its strength. ~ Alden Graves
The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney. Over 1,000 years before Cleopatra, Hatshepsut became the first recorded woman to successfully manage not just a political coup but a religious one as well and it was entirely bloodless. A fascinating read! ~ Maeve Noonan
Mecca: The Sacred City by Ziauddin Sardar. Islam's holiest city has had more than its fair share of backstabbing, bloodshed and miracles. With insight and humor, Sardar has written a lively history of Islam and the place that incarnates both its ideals and its reality. ~ Charles Bottomley
Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy. L.A. Times reporter Leovy uses the murder of a policeman's son to look at the Herculean effort of solving crime and stopping the slaughter in one of the country's deadliest cities. A heart-stopping true crime story, a humane call for better policing and an unforgettable look at how good cops work. ~ Charles Bottomley
Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed Paul Cronin. The German film director Werner Herzog has dragged boats over mountains, eaten his shoe, threatened to kill his leading man, and turned up on Parks & Rec - all in the name of art. This book-length interview is full of inspiration for dreamers and tall tales for the credulous. Essential! ~ Charles Bottomley
The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World by Adrienne Mayor. This is a fabulous and long overdue review and critique of all the recent scientific work on the Amazons from aspects of archaeology, literature, art and history. Engaging and brilliant. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan
Village of Secrets by Caroline Moorehead. An Alpine region in central France became a haven for people fleeing the Nazi persecution, but Le Chambon-sur-Lignon was not without inhabitants who were willing to act as informants. Those whom they betrayed faced almost certain death. ~ Alden Graves
Yes Please by Amy Poehler. Reading this book confirmed that I need to be best friends with Poehler - she's worked hard to get where she is and doesn't take it for granted. Full of testimonials about Poehler's work ethic, comedic genius, and her "what you see is what you get" attitude, Yes Please is for her fans who want a laugh out loud read. ~ Jess Hanlon
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Leaving Before the Rains Come by Alexandra Fuller. This poignant memoir details the unraveling of Fuller's marriage through the lens of a childhood lived during the Rhodesian wars. Whether facing armed rebels or baboon spiders, Fuller is fearless. Striding into her own both linguistically and personally, Leaving Before the Rains Come is her most powerful work to date. ~ Amy Palmer
Golden Son by Pierce Brown. Even better than the first in the series! Golden Son is filled with more action and higher stakes as Darrow immerses himself further into the world of Golds. Torn between his roots and his newly formed friendships, he must figure out his place in the Mars rebellion. ~ Jessica Elder
Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm. A young American woman living under an assumed name repairs tchotchkes in a seedy antique shop near Paris. Two young men in Tennessee are released from prison. The connection makes a highly entertaining, well written caper. I couldn't put it down. ~ Sarah Knight
Almost Famous Women: Stories by Megan Mayhew Bergman. Bergman has guts and imagination in abundance. Her almost famous women come vividly and surprisingly to life in this latest collection of unique and wonderful stories. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds
Descent by Tim Johnston. A tightly constructed thriller about the disappearance of a teenage girl in the Rocky Mountains, and the fissure created by that loss in a family that clings fiercely and stoically to hope. ~ Reviewed by Amy Palmer
Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson. The magic of Matthewson's beautiful debut novel is so multi-faceted, so original, and so engaging that it's a breath of fresh air for the fiction world. Very highly recommended! ~ Reviewed by Jess Hanlon
Funny Girl by Nick Hornby. Hornby vividly captures mod London of the early 1960s in his latest– a romp through British comedy television of the time. Barbara, a young beauty queen from northern England, ditches her crown to seek her fortune as a comic actress. She makes it. Her writers, producers and co-stars make for fascinating company in Hornby's latest witty and wonderful novel. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds
Sweetland by Michael Crummey. Moses Sweetland is determined to live out his life off the coast of Newfoundland among the ghosts of his ancestors despite the Canadian government's attempt to move people from the remote outports and islands. This is a marvelous story that immerses the reader in the magnificent realm of Atlantic Canada. ~ Reviewed by Karen Frank
Hold the Dark by William Giraldi. Not for the faint of heart, William Giraldi's novel Hold The Dark, is a bloody, brutal, ice cold look inside the darkness of an isolated Alaskan town and the unfolding cascade of violence that erupts in the wake of a child's death. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine
Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar. From Vanessa Bell's point of view, we gain further insight into her sister Virginia Woolf's troubled mental state and learn how her own life as an artist suffered because of her care giving and responsibility for the family. I can never get enough of the Bloomsbury crowd! A truly enjoyable read. ~ Reviewed by Karen Frank
Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale by David Duchovny. Elsie Bovary, Shalom the Pig and Tom the Turkey make a mad dash for freedom after Elsie learns the truth about industrial meat farming. An oddly satisfying story that drives home the point that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. ~ Reviewed by Jess Hanlon
The Chessmen: The Lewis Trilogy by Peter May. This gritty, contemporary novel, set in the Outer Hebrides Islands and the final book in the Lewis Trilogy, is the story of a man returning home to solve a murder and to face his murky past. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan
There are plenty of new additions to used fiction & mystery in our Manchester Store plus a big batch of quilting books & patterns. The February display will feature American Presidents, including many books about Lincoln and Washington.
Displacement by Lucy Knisley. When her elderly grandparents book themselves on an tropical cruise, Lucy gets recruited to accompany them. This travelogue is a touching, compassionate, and at times very funny look at mortality, generational differences and family. A very sweet read with such great illustrations! ~ Reviewed by Jessica Elder
The Room by Jonas Karlsson. Bjorn, a paragon of efficiency, works for a nameless Authority. Hostility arises among his colleagues when he claims access to an invisible room, which he "visits" throughout the day. This spare novel is by turns an Orwellian fantasy, an ironic nod to modern bureaucracy, and a study in sanity. ~ Reviewed by Amy Palmer
La Bete Humaine by Emile Zola. A French railway worker fleetingly witnesses the brutal murder of a man through the window of a speeding train. The killing sets off a chain of terrible events with twists and turns, tunnels and side tracks that will enthrall lovers of complex thrillers as well as those who harbor an enduring fascination with railroads. Naughty, nasty, and fun. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves