Staff Picks 2015 March

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Staff Picks March 2015 (2MB)
A Little LifeA Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I think about this book every day, it is so deeply affecting, the characters are so memorable, the writing is so courageous. But grab hold of your seat because it will take you to deep dark places that you may never have traveled to before. ~ Liz Barnum

This novel explores friendship at its most tragic and its most uplifting. Yanagihara's story is deeply woven into the lives of four men. Without cloaking despair, the author illuminates how deeply transformative friendship can be. ~ Becki Trudell

The characters in this utterly devastating novel about unspeakable suffering, loyalty, and love will insert themselves into your heart, perhaps for a lifetime. This is a novel to be discussed, wept over, celebrated. ~ Amy Palmer
City of Blood by Frederique Molay. Human remains are discovered during the excavation of a famous conceptual artist's work at a Paris Museum Park. Meanwhile, the "Paris Butcher" murders two men in rapid succession. Police Chief Sirsky thinks the cases may be related. Exciting. ~ Reviewed by Sarah Knight
Someone by Alice McDermott. A flawless rendering of the ordinary life of Marie, the daughter of "lace-curtain" immigrants, whose simple yet profound life is revealed in snippets of reflection - sitting with girl friends watching stick ball on the stoops of Brooklyn, employment in Fagin's funeral parlor, near death in childbirth - as sister, wife and mother. ~ Reviewed by Amy Palmer
Redeployment by Phil Klay. Through these stories about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the author shows the reader a world of confusion, absurdity, violence and isolation. The collection includes views from inside the combat, behind the desks, and between the worlds of civilian and military life. Nothing is ever simple in these devastating and brilliantly written stories. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds
The Painter by Peter Heller. A novel by the author of The Dog Stars. The value of his work soars after a popular Santa Fe artist, who spends as much time fishing as he does painting, becomes a murder suspect. The family of the victim is trying to kill him, while the ghosts of his heartbreaking and violent past continue to haunt him. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds
Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller. A decidedly dark and uneasy journey narrated in the voice of eight year old Peggy Hillcoat. Leaving London with her survivalist father, Peggy believes she is being taken on a camping holiday, but deep into the forest she is told the world has ended and her mother gone. A haunting and accomplished debut. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker
Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough. When headless female torsos turn up in the Thames, Scotland Yard's renowned Dr. Bond is asked to investigate. During his investigation, he encounters a bizarre priest with an unbelievable story. Is the priest delusional or is he a figment of one of Bond's opiate induced dreams? ~ Reviewed by Jennifer Canfield
One More Thing by B. J. Novak. A blind date with a warlord, a principal who strikes "rithmetic" from the school curriculum, and Aesop's tortoise challenging the hare to a rematch are a few of the topics considered in this very funny collection. ~ Reviewed by Amy Palmer
The Buried Giant by Kuzuo Ishiguro. This is an unorthodox Arthurian tale written in the landscape of the imagination in the author's exquisite language. Ishiguro's knights and princesses are wise and unruly. A timeless story for the ages. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan
H Is for Hawk by Helen Mcdonald. This is a superbly crafted memoir, incredibly original in its depth and visceral impact. Self deprecating humor vies with wonder and grief as Macdonald manages to make the reader see, hear and feel every aspect of her incredible journey. ~ Karen Frank
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. This brilliant book allows the reader to look at the history of man from the Space Station of the Mind. The arrow of evolution is revealed in clear, readable and fascinating detail and, if enough people read it, there is hope for the continuation of the species. ~ Karen Frank
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine. This book addresses the subject of racism in America from personal and political perspectives. Rankine writes honestly, spares nothing, and gives us a brilliant, beautiful book of poetry. ~ Reviewed by Carol Graser
The Little Drummer Girl by John Le Carre. A young unemployed British actress is hired by the Israelis to set up a Palestinian terrorist in this novel of trust and betrayal, which is as good and timely an espionage novel as when it came out in 1983. Wonderful characters and marvelous writing. ~ Reviewed by Sarah Knight
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. The torpedoing of the Lusitania was considered an act of unparalleled barbarism in 1915, but whispers that the great liner was deliberately left vulnerable in dangerous waters have never completely abated. This is a thorough examination of a disaster that claimed 1,200 lives and an intelligent evaluation of the questions that surrounded it. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
The Cabot Creamery Cookbook by Cabot Creamery Co-op. The Cabot Creamery (owned by dairy farm families in New York and New England) has finally blessed us with a cookbook! With recipes for every meal this is a true "down on the farm" cookbook sure to please even the most discriminating palate. ~ Reviewed by Sarah Donner
The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones by Thomas Asbridge. This book chronicles the life of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, nearly hanged at age 5, who was thought to have been the model for the "ideal" knight. He was a wealthy and politically powerful man, proponent of the Magna Carta, and Earl and Templar. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan
The Wilderness of Ruin by Roseanne Montillo. This compelling true story follows the life of Jesse Pomeroy, a 14-year-old boy who became the youngest convicted serial killer in the nation's history. Ms. Montillo contrasts the compassion that was extended towards the child with his steadfast (and lifelong) refusal to recognize the savagery of his actions. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves