Staff Picks 2016 March

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Staff Picks March 2016 (1.9MB)
Early WarningAll Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage. A murder mystery set in the Albany, New York area. The author brilliantly captures the dynamics of farm life and college academia, as well as the repercussions of a violent murder in a small, economically ravaged community. Great character development that just keeps building and building. Fans of George Inness will love all the art references; those loving a ghostly or spiritual tale will appreciate Brundage’s language and her ability to make the reader question...everything. ~ Gail Cosgriff


In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri. This creative and engaging autobiographical work by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author chronicles her passion for the Italian language. Her immersion in a new language becomes an exploration in self-expression; a writer’s search for a new voice and identity. This book is a beautifully rendered series of self-reflective essays rich in nuance and metaphor that, at their heart, question the nature of existence. ~ Amy Palmer
A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup. Christie’s experience as an apothecary’s assistant during WW1 was the beginning of her love affair with poison. Though her methods of murder varied, 14 poisons used to dispatch victims are examined here, as well as the crimes themselves. A must have for fans of Dame Agatha! ~ Sarah Donner
Blood of the Celts: The New Ancestral Story by Jean Manco. This is a great critique and analysis of all things Celtic: Archaeology, linguistics, literature, mythology and includes the most recent genetics research. This is thought provoking, argumentative, thoroughly enjoyable book and a required title for any Celtophile. ~ Maeve Noonan
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli. After reading Rovelli’s elegantly written series of essays on what we think we know about modern physics, I’ll admit I still don’t get it. But what I lack in complete understanding is happily made up for by a re-energized curiosity. This is a mind-expanding and entertaining short work for people who want a better grasp of what’s going on in this universe. Did you know space isn’t really space? It’s actually a thing. ~ Stan Hynds
Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape by Barry Holstun Lopez. This book is a portal into another world. Scientific facts, firsthand accounts, and personal observations combine to celebrate the stark and mysterious Arctic. Lopez’s writing is exquisite. His poetry, meditation, and precision transport you to the icy north and alter your perceptions about landscape. What is time, what is nature, and what is our place among them? Read this book and be enthralled, amazed, and struck with wonder. My highest recommendation. ~ Julietta Cole
Free Men by Katy Simpson Smith. In the Deep South during the late 18th century, an unlikely, multi-racial trio of men find themselves on the trail together. One is wandering, one is fleeing, one is pursuing. They don’t realize that they are being pursued themselves. What keeps these strangers together is one of the fascinating questions Smith explores in this terrific novel about what it means to be free. ~ Stan Hynds
Noonday by Pat Barker. Paul Tarrant is an air raid warden in London during the Blitz. His wife, Eleanor, is an ambulance driver. As they nightly confront the carnage and the destruction, the couple must also face the dissolution of their marriage. This beautifully written novel presents a candid and refreshingly unvarnished examination of adult relationships told against a backdrop of massive devastation. ~ Alden Graves
Only the Stones Survive by Morgan Llywelyn. This is a wonderful retelling of The Invasion Cycles of the Irish literature. Vivid and poetic, it is told from the Sidhe ‘s (Gods who lost the final war with the Gaels) point of view. A great companion to Llywelyn’s masterpiece, Bard. ~ Maeve Noonan
The Vegetarian by Han Kang. A breathtaking and deeply disturbing novel about the ways in which desire (and lack thereof ) transforms, torments, and comes to define one woman’s life. Although a turn to vegetarianism may seem inconsequential, Yeong-hye’s seizure of her own agency plunges her family into a chaotic spiral even more bizarre than her detachment from reality. ~ Aubrey Restifo
Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon. On board the Hindenburg for what becomes its final transatlantic journey, each passenger hides a secret. During the three day flight, tension and intrigue build until the inevitable tragedy. Combining elements of historical fact with detailed descriptions of the ship’s lavish accommodations and engineering, Lawhon offers a plausible backstory to a still unsolved disaster. ~ Jen Canfield
Morning Star by Pierce Brown. The final book in the epic Red Rising Trilogy does not disappoint! Picking up at the shocking end of Golden Son, it has everything the fans have been waiting for and more. I don’t want to say much more for fear of giving anything away, but just know I read all 500 pages in a day! ~Jess Elder
The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins. Set during the Reformation, this is an extraordinarily complex novel blending the mythology of the Ancient Faerie Faith, Jewish mysticism, witches, and Jinn with ordinary humans in the guise of pirates, priests, queens, and slaves. It is the story of the survival of magic. Brilliant! ~Maeve Noonan
The Heart by Maylis De Kerangal. Translated from the French by Sam Taylor, The Heart is an emotional, spellbinding story of the 24 hour period when a young person dies and another is given a second chance at life with a new heart. Written with tenderness and precision, it examines the emotions, quick decisions and procedures that take place in this very short span of time. Heartbreaking and fascinating. ~Liz Barnum
Lie in Wait by Eric Rickstad. For readers who enjoyed The Silent Girls, this much anticipated thriller does not disappoint! A creepy mystery once again set in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, this is a page turner with an unexpected, disturbing conclusion. Eric Rickstad has upped his game. Highly recommended. ~ Tracy Davies
Disclaimer by Renee Knight. A woman discovers a novel that has mysteriously appeared on her bed stand only to find out, the book is about her. The dark secret she has fought to keep hidden for nearly two decades has been exposed for the world to read, but the only person who knew her secret is dead. A twisty psychological mystery with an unforeseen ending. ~ Tracy Davies
Delicious Foods by James Hannaham. A false promise leads a widow and her young son to “become employees” at produce-harvesting giant, Delicious Foods. Brilliantly told, their story is at once a meditation on modern-day slavery, the ties between class and drugs, and the unbreakable bond between parent and child. Unforgettable and unputdownable. ~ Aubrey Restifo


The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig. A mesmerizing debut novel. This is a fun adventure rich in both history and myth. Sixteenyear- old Nix “navigates” through time with her father the captain and a unique but loveable crew gathered from throughout different periods of time. It’s a heist, time-traveling pirate-esque fantasy, not just for YA audiences. ~ Misha D'Andrea
Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, thousands of Japanese Americans were retained in prison camps. This book tells the story of one family’s struggle and the devastating impact it has on 10-year-old Manami after she’s forced to give up everything, including the family dog. I found this book excruciatingly difficult to read at times because it was so heartbreaking. It is, however, a must read for all ages. ~ Gail Cosgriff