Staff Picks 2016 June

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Staff Picks June 2016 (1.2MB)
The GirlsThe Girls by Emma Cline. In Emma Cline's electric debut novel we are exposed not only to the free-wheeling, free love feel of the Sixties but also to the seductive yet dangerous lure of counterculture. Fast-paced and relevant, this is a compelling coming of age novel that explores the relationship between girls and the women they idolize. I couldn't put it down! ~ Whitney Kaaz

Joe Gould's TeethJoe Gould's Teeth by Jill Lepore. Gould insisted he was writing the greatest history book of all time and for a while friends like ee cummings, Ezra Pound, and Joseph Mitchell believed him. Jill Lepore tells of her search for evidence of the existence of at least some of his writings and traces his sad life in and out of mental institutions, his obsessions, and his secrets. A fascinating read! ~ Liz Barnum
Wild by Nature: From Siberia to Australia, Three Years Alone in the Wilderness on FootWild by Nature: From Siberia to Australia, Three Years Alone in the Wilderness on Foot by Sarah Marquis. This courageous 30 plus- year-old Swiss woman crossed the globe on foot. She walked from north to south, from Siberia through Australia, wearing a 40 pound pack and pulling a 110 pound cart with food, water, and supplies. Some of the travel was so harrowing, she still will not speak of it after three years have passed. ~ Vicki Ward
Hamilton: The RevolutionHamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Everything you could possibly want to know about the "once in a generation" Broadway phenomenon. This handsome book includes the complete libretto from the Pulitzer Prizewinning show that interweaves hip-hop music into the story of one of America's Founding Fathers. Lavishly illustrated with production photos. The next best thing to a front row seat. ~ Alden Graves
Find Me Unafraid: Love, Loss, and Hope in an African SlumFind Me Unafraid: Love, Loss, and Hope in an African Slum by Kennedy Odede & Jessica Posner. A truly inspirational story of how an American young woman and a charismatic young Kenyan came together to dedicate themselves to transform a Kenyan slum by first targeting its most vulnerable and promising population: pre-school girls. A searing look into despair and hope, and the power of love and perseverance. ~ Barbara Morrow
But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking about the Present as If It Were the PastBut What If We're Wrong?: Thinking about the Present as If It Were the Past by Chuck Klosterman. (No, this cover is not printed upside down here.) Are there fundamental laws of the universe that will have been replaced by new scientific knowledge in 100 years? Will anybody remember the Beatles in 500 years? Chuck Klosterman asks a lot of questions that seem pretty out there until you realize how wrong we often are and have been about almost everything. This is a perfect blend of entertainment and enlightenment from a wildly talented writer. ~ Stan Hynds
Only in Naples: Lessons in Food and Famiglia from My Italian Mother-In-LawOnly in Naples: Lessons in Food and Famiglia from My Italian Mother-In-Law by Katherine Wilson. I have fallen in love with Naples and the Neapolitan people. Through family traditions we learn how the hierarchy of a family embraces the author and helps her navigate the very strong traditions of the region. Be prepared to catch the next plane! ~ Sue Rice

The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden & the Trial of the CenturyThe Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden & the Trial of the Century by Sarah Elizabeth Miller. We all know the story and the infamous child rhyme, "Lizzie Borden took an axe.” That is not the whole story. In this young adult crossover creative non-fiction book, Miller hopes to show a balanced portrait of a human and not "just a murderess" with her interpretations of the photographs, newspaper articles, and court documentations still available to the public (some included in the book). A slice of history comes to life through events we all think we know. ~ Jeanette



Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can BrewBrewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew by Jamil Zainasheff & John J. Palmer. An excellent companion to any "how to brew" instructional book. Well organized, clear explanations of defining characteristics of all beer styles recognized by the Beer Judge Certification Program. At least one recipe is included for each style. The second book any home brewer should own. ~ Nate George
Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with KidsParent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids by Asha Dornfest. From the creator of, here is a collection of ingenious, down to earth solutions for everyday parenting problems. From using puppy training pads to protect car seats to cleaning up glitter with play dough, this book will make you smile. It’s the perfect baby shower gift. Illustrated by Craighton Berman. ~ Adriana Gómez Piccolo
One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard NixonOne Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon by Tim Weiner. There is probably no greater testimony to the resiliency of the United States than the fact that it survived the Nixon administration. This is a terrifying, unstinting look at Richard Nixon, a man beset by personal demons and overwhelmed by a war that was tearing the country apart. ~ Alden Graves
The Noise of TimeThe Noise of Time by Julian Barnes. The author crafts a complex, meditative, and compelling por-trait of Dmitri Shostakovich, the most celebrated composer of Soviet Russia. Following his life from the fear-ridden days of Stalin's regime to the no less psyche-crushing rule of Kruschev, Barnes explores the ways power can warp and constrain your soul. The result is a deft consideration of the nature of courage and cowardice, tragedy and farce, and the book's central question: to whom does art belong? ~ Cathy Taylor
The Mirror ThiefThe Mirror Thief by Martin Seay. Kaleidoscopic and utterly unique, this book defies any attempt at a brief synopsis. The main characters, each of them from different time periods, are all pursuing something elusive -- and all, at some point, are being pursued. This rich and ambitious first novel brims with danger and atmosphere and will undoubtedly be one of the literary events of 2016. ~ Stan Hynds
Lost and Gone ForeverLost and Gone Forever by Alex Grecian. The fifth installment in the author's popular Murder Squad series finds Inspector Walter Day slowly recovering his memory after being held prisoner by Jack the Ripper for a year. Day's former partner at the Yard has started his own detective agency and is involved in the hunt for a pair of merciless hired killers. Taut, suspenseful, and atmospheric. ~ Alden Graves
The Summer GuestThe Summer Guest by Alison Anderson. This splendid story within a story within another story follows a gentle arc of personality and provides a strong sense of time and place. The ultimate message is revealed about why we tell and write stories. It also becomes apparent how important fiction is to human nature and what a critical role the art and soul of a great translator plays in the complex communication of thoughts and feelings. Chekhov would approve. ~ Karen Frank
Anatomy of a SoldierAnatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker. This breathtaking debut novel about the pointless carnage of war is told through the voices of ordinary objects (a thirty-liter day-sac, a handbag, a bicycle) connected in some way to Captain Tom Barnes, a British soldier. He was left a double amputee after he stepped upon an explosive device. This is a visceral work that plunges the reader into the immediacy and horror of war from the boots up. ~ Amy Palmer
Roses and RotRoses and Rot by Kat Howard. This modern fairy tale is not the sweet, happy ending kind, but the darker sort where the fae folk are not so friendly. The novel follows two talented sisters after they are both accepted to an elite artist’s retreat. But it would seem this prestigious program has secrets that may ultimately pit the sisters against each other, and will definitely change their lives. Beautifully written and hard to put down. ~ Becky Doherty
The Curious Charms of Arthur PepperThe Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick. How well do we really know ourselves or those closest to us? Arthur Pepper, recently widowed, discovers a charm bracelet hidden in one of his deceased wife’s shoes. When he sets off on a journey to trace the origins of the charms, he discovers much more than he anticipated about his himself, his wife and his family. An utterly charming read, touching and gently humorous. ~ Jen Canfield
WinteringWintering by Peter Geye. Timeless themes of man against nature, man against man, and man against self play out in this complex novel that spans generations in a small town adjoining the Minnesota wilderness. Brutally beautiful and emotionally powerful, each character reveals a bit of the story until the tendrils of this small piece of history finally tighten and resolve. ~ Karen Frank
The Last Painting of Sara de VosThe Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith. A deft and vivid novel of women, history, and the art of forgery. One of the best books on the topic since The Girl with a Pearl Earring. The plot revolves around a mysterious, lost painting by the 17th century Dutch artist, Sara De Vos. Lucid hues permeate this tale of love, loss and grief. ~ Maeve Noonan
Graphic Novel
Something New: Tales from a Makeshift BrideSomething New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley. I love everything that is Lucy Knisley! This new book included! Buy this for every newly engaged or newlywed you know. It is a hilariously honest look at planning a wedding. ~ Jess Elder
Freeze/ThawFreeze/Thaw by Chris Bucholz. The author set the bar high with his first book and Freeze/Thaw jumped that bar and then some. It is set in a post-apocalyptic, ice-age future where scavenging for data and electronics is a common occupation. Bucholz's humor masks the darker issues at play, particularly the lengths that humans will go to protect themselves. Highly recommended both as a post-apocalyptic adventure and as a science fiction piece that could make you think about the limits and drawbacks of technology. ~ Sam Williams
Eleven HoursEleven Hours by Pamela Erens. The story of two mothersto- be. One a nurse just realizing her pregnancy. The other in labor facing single motherhood. Spanning the eleven hours of labor with flashbacks to how the women came to be in this moment together, this is a vivid telling of the beauty, fear, and strength of childbirth. ~ Jess Elder
AndersonvilleAndersonville by MacKinlay Kantor. Brilliant and unforgettable novel about a hell-on-earth Confederate prisoner-ofwar camp in Georgia. Kantor is unsparing in his depiction of the capacity for raw brutality that mankind is capable of demonstrating. One of the great books about the Civil War and, certainly, the most harrowing. ~ Alden Graves