Staff Picks 2016 April

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Staff Picks April 2016 (1.6MB)
Early WarningThe Midnight Watch: A Novel of the Titanic and the Californian by David Dyer. Captain Stanley Lord adamantly refused to believe that the ship that he and some members of his crew had seen in the distance during the evening of April 14,1912 had been the Titanic. Lord slept fitfully during the night, occasionally being roused by his second officer, who was concerned that the vessel was sending up rockets. The captain would be vilified for the rest of his life for his inaction. This is an intelligent, immaculately researched speculation centering around one of the most enduring mysteries involving the legendary lost ship. ~ Alden Graves


Lab Girls by Hope Jahren. A wild and pleasantly bumpy ride through the life of a young scientist. This memoir focuses, not on her considerable achievements, but on daily events, thoughts, emotions and the borderline madness that accompanies a life lived with purpose and passion. As a bonus, the reader also learns some fascinating facts about the secret life of plants. ~ Karen Frank
A Murder Over a Girl: Justice, Gender, Junior High by Ken Corbett. A psychologist’s in depth account of the murder of a teenage transgender boy, the classmate who killed him, and the subsequent trial. A thought provoking journey through the legal system, white supremacist culture, gender identity, and teenage social dynamics. ~ Nate George
Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini. Leah Remini takes us through her experience with Scientology with the same attitude and humor that she brought to her character on "King of Queens". From joining as a young teen in NYC to donating over $1 million as a celebrity, you get to see an inside view of the mysterious group founded by L Ron Hubbard. Fascinating! ~ Jess Elder
Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir by Tom Hart. There is no way to understand or explain the agonizing grief that comes with losing a child. After losing his daughter three weeks before her 2nd birthday, Tom Hart began to draw his grieving process. "Rosalie Lightening" is so beautiful, honest, and heart wrenching, it will make you grieve for the little bolt of lightening that left this world too soon. ~ Jess Elder
Orson Welles, Volume 3: One-Man Band by Simon Callow. By 1947, Welles’ marriage to Rita Hayworth was as dead as the box-office receipts for The Lady from Shanghai, their only film together. In the years between that milestone and the release of Chimes at Midnight in 1968, Welles reinvented himself many times over: Television tour guide, magician, stage director, Shakespearean actor. This is a masterful look at one of the most fruitful and fascinating periods in the great man’s tumultuous life. ~ Alden Graves
A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold. Imagine your child's last words are a flippant, "Bye," and then within a few hours he is discovered to be a suicide-mass murderer, responsible with another for the events at Columbine. Klebold's memoir chronicles her journey through trauma with sensitivity for the victims and their families, and for those who suffer silently with brain illness. A thoughtful, provocative,honestly rendered read. ~ Amy Palmer
Summerlost by Ally Condie. Condie may be my new favorite author. It's amazing how she captures heartache, loss, friendship and hope not just in one book, but in one sentence! Resilient kids, great adults. All-around fantastic read. ~ Gail Cosgriff
Booked by Kwame Alexander. Using a variety of poetry styles, Booked follows Nick's journey through 8th grade - a difficult year complete with social and family issues, an obsession with soccer, a best friend and former teammate, Coby, and a sweet girl named April. It's all so rich and original. Oh! And the rapping middle school librarian and all those fun words? Just fabulous! ~ Gail Cosgriff
Emily’s D + Evolution by Esperanza Spalding. This album amazes me more with each listening. A constantly surprising, lush, sparse, gorgeous, jazzy, (occasionally maddeningly catchy), smooth, jagged, ingenious melding of musical creation unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Jazz, soul, R&B? The influences are all here, but it can’t be labeled. The best album of any kind I’ve come across in a very long time. Esperanza has officially earned her “genius” label. ~ Jon Fine
The Bone Labyrinth by James Rollins. Genetic science meets a roller coaster of adventure and espionage. Neanderthal, Denisovan, and DNA research are wrapped up in questions of intelligence and nature vs. nurture. What is our stewardship of ALL who inhabit the earth? Brilliant! ~ Maeve Noonan
The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson. Still my favorite period for a good historical fiction read, this story takes place during the Edwardian sunset and is packed with great characters and an atmosphere that draws the reader into the gossamer England of the prewar era. With hindsight, we know that life will never be the same for anyone. Even as the dread of the coming conflict builds, we can’t help but cherish the values and lifestyle and wish there had been a different outcome. ~ Karen Frank
Shelter by Jung Yun. A brutal home invasion is the catalyst for uncovering a secret history of familial violence in this riveting debut novel, which is also a study of forgiveness and an exploration by the protagonist Kyung Yun of what it means to provide for one's family. ~ Amy Palmer
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. I absolutely loved this witty and heartfelt debut! When older brother Leo is sent to rehab under extreme circumstances, his siblings panic that their share of the inheritance, "The Nest", has dwindled because of him. You will not be able to stop reading about the Plumb family's craziness from the very first page. ~ Jess Elder
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. Ravensbruck was Hitler's infamous all-female concentration camp. Inspired by real life events, Lilac Girls tells the story of three women whose lives are linked in disparate ways by virtue of the camp. Impassioned and intense, this is a deeply affecting novel of loyalty,bravery and sisterhood under horrific circumstances. A moving and unforgettable read. ~ Jen Canfield
The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley. The second book in the Seven Sisters series follows Ally, the second oldest daughter and a world class sailor. After tragedy curtails her professional sailing career, she decides to pursue a clue regarding her heritage. Her journey takes her to Norway and reveals an unexpected secret. As enjoyable as the first entry in the series. Riley is adept at weaving history seamlessly into her storyline. ~ Jen Canfield
The Stopped Heart by Julie Myerson. Moving to a small cottage is what Mary and Graham hope will help them heal from a recent tragedy. It doesn't take long however for Mary to realize something is just not right. Is it her grief causing her to see things? Hear things? Or is it something darker that has been lingering & waiting just for her for over 100 years? If you enjoy the works of Jennifer McMahon, this is a must have. ~ Sarah Donner
Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway. Just how painful is it to see a child's flaws or your own flaws in your child? Worse, if your daughter was a sociopath, would you see it? Could you see it? Treadway brilliantly teeters down a very fine line dividing unconditional love and absolute family dysfunction. Speaking in the first person, she tells the story of her youngest daughter, Dawn, who has always been different from the other children her own age and is buried under the spot light of her older, over-achieving sister. Buckets of sibling rivalry and a mom's crushing insecurities make it almost impossible to see what's unfolding in front of her. Scary stuff because it all seems remarkably possible. ~ Gail Cosgriff
The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein. Two young New Yorkers from odd families end up in Norway via very different routes. Frances, 21, has an art fellowship working with an painter who only uses the color yellow. Yasha, 17, is burying his father at the top of the world. An awkward friendship turns into a tentative romance in the land of the midnight sun. Lyrical writing befits the enchanting setting in this first novel. ~ Stan Hynds
The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus. This first (I find it very hard to believe) novel is about a year in the life of three members of a socially prominent family--matriarch, adult son, his wife. Money, class and madness, yes, and prose so good I shook my head in wonder. If you are the type of reader who underlines good sentences, forget it. There's not enough lead in your pencil. The Unfortunates is a sensation. ~ Stan Hynds
Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica. Another winner from this new author, whose first book, The Good Girl, was also an exceptional read. The lead character, Heidi Wood is charitable and compassionate, perhaps too much so. When she brings home a teenage homeless girl with a four month old baby, her husband and daughter are rightfully distressed. As the story progresses plot twists will leave the reader suspicious of every character in the book up until the unpredictable ending. Great read! ~ Tracy Davies
After by Anna Todd. Unofficially the college edition of Fifty Shades of Grey. A complex romance between a good girl and a bad boy that grips at your heart, brings tears to your eyes, and helps you understand the indescribable feeling of young-love relationships. Along with bystanders’ feelings, Anna Todd gives you the inside look at the cruel and unspeakable behavior displayed when it comes to love and forgiveness. A great fast-paced read, and only the first in this five book series. The relationship's journey continues with After We Collided. ~ Caitlyn Hale