Staff Picks 2016 October

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Staff Picks October 2016 (1.3MB)
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The WonderThe Wonder by Emma Donoghue. In a mid-19th century small Irish town, an English nurse is hired to watch a young girl who by all accounts hasn't eaten in months. A miracle. The nurse is determined to expose the hoax and go home. Events do not unfold as she expects. Much of this novel involves this former Nightingale sitting in a chair watching a charming and intelligent girl lie in her bed. While reading this thrilling novel about faith, hope and hardship, I too sat in a chair but on the edge of it. ~ Stan Hynds
Time Travel: A HistoryTime Travel: A History by James Gleick. We tend to think the idea of time travel is as old as...well, time itself. But surprisingly, travelling through time is a concept that only just came about in the last 100 years. Tracing the idea through literature, language, pop culture, and physics, from H.G. Wells to Stephen Hawkings, Gleick doesn't end up definitively proving if time travel is possible. But he will leave readers wondering: is it impossible? ~ Katelynne Shimkus
A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information AgeA Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age by Daniel J. Levitin. There is so much information out there: Newspapers, TV reporters, blogs on the Internet, even Wikipedia. Just what is accurate and truthful? This book imparts solid reasoning as to how to weigh the information we are given and understand what is fact and what is fiction. ~ Sue Rice
1777: Tipping Point at Saratoga1777: Tipping Point at Saratoga by Dean Snow. An hour-by-hour account of the Battle of Saratoga, 1777 places readers in its 33-day whirlwind of combat, strategies, blunders, and triumphs. Expert storytelling and meticulous research illuminate rash Benedict Arnold, champagne-sipping John Burgoyne, officers, enlisted men, and families. 1777 presents a realistic and sympathetic retelling of the Battle that made America. ~ Mike Hare
Ghostland: An American History in Haunted PlacesGhostland: An American History in Haunted Places Colin Dickey. Dickey claims to be neither a skeptic nor a believer in ghosts, instead presenting the history of supposedly haunted locales and recounting the legends and myths. I found myself learning quite a bit and realized that I had been suckered into believing some of the less-than-true rumors of various haunts. Firm believers in the supernatural may wrinkle their noses at some of the debunking, but for those who are curious, this is a standout book in the genre. ~ Chris Linendoll
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College TownMissoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer. An appalling, frequently shocking examination of the incidence of rape in a college town. Officials at the University of Montana, the local police, and the Missoula District Attorney’s office displayed very little enthusiasm for examining the circumstances surrounding the reports by young women that they had been sexually assaulted. The book closely follows two cases, both involving star players on the football team. The United States Justice Department was more interested in conduct off the playing field. A chilling eye-opener. ~ Alden Graves
An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United StatesAn Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. This is an outstanding review of the past 400 year history of the Americas from the point of view of the people who were conquered and ostracized before a concerted effort of eradication was put in place. Eloquent, heart-rending and enlightening. ~ Maeven Noonan
GhostsGhosts by Raina Telgemeier. This graphic novel is spooky and funny all in one! Catrina’s family has moved to a new town for her sister’s health. But what they find is a little more than anyone bargained for. The town is known for being populated by very friendly people, but also very friendly ghosts! A story that mixes family, friendship and even a bit of culture. Great for ages 10-14 and adults. ~ Jeanette
JubileeJubilee by Patricia Reilly Giff. This is a heart warming story of a girl who stopped speaking after her mom leaves. Left on an island in Maine she communicates with the community with tapping and gestures until she adapts and abandoned dog and finds a new voice. ~ Martha Conrwell
Holding Up the UniverseHolding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven. Libby, who developed weight problems after the universe took her mom, is ready to face life again at high school thanks to good counseling and hard work. Jack has his own issues with the universe - he can’t tell the faces of people he loves from total strangers. Their lives collide in ways that will change them both. Touching and funny, another YA masterpiece. ~ Leah Moore
CommonwealthCommonwealth by Ann Patchett. When two acquaintances decide to leave their spouses for each other, both families are badly damaged. Bonds that were fragile before the divorces threaten to shatter completely and a sudden tragedy only deepens the divisions. Ms. Patchett's book is about the ability for brothers and sisters to aim the arrows that really wound their siblings, but it also confirms their singular capacity to offer comfort and refuge from life's more impersonal onslaughts. ~ Alden Graves
The Book That Matters MostThe Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood. When a space finally opens up in a local book group, Ava’s life is in turmoil. This novel weaves in and out of her family’s lives and the lives of the other people in the book group. Book choices that once seemed pivotal to their lives now have different and profound meanings. An absolutely wonderful read. Highly recommended. ~ Sue Rice
The City Baker's Guide to Country LivingThe City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller. Like a perfect piece of warm apple pie! Miller's book is about finding family and your place in the world. Set in a fictional Vermont town the descriptions of the characters and place had me laughing out loud. The perfect end of summer read! ~ Martha Cornwell
Half Wild: StoriesHalf Wild: Stories by Robin MacArthur. A love letter to Vermont- bittersweet and heartbreaking. This is a lovely collection of short stories of Vermonters and their relationship with their natural surroundings. Some embrace the peaceful life, others are trapped by the quietness. All of these stories leave you ruminating. ~ Martha Cornwell
News of the WorldNews of the World by Paulette Jiles. Captain Jefferson Kidd reluctantly agrees to return a 10-year-old child who was kidnapped by Kiowa Indians to her aunt and uncle. The bond that develops between these two unlikely companions as they travel across hundreds of perilous miles in 1870 Texas is beautifully depicted in this exciting and ultimately very touching story of perseverance and courage. ~ Alden Graves
NutshellNutshell by Ian McEwan. A brilliantly wacky idea that McEwan pulls off like the pro he is. A highly cognizant unborn baby with an amazing vocabulary eavesdrops on the criminal plans of his mother and her lover (who is the brother of his father!) What can he do but listen, wait and worry? The prose is sublime and the abundant humor is dark. ~ Stan Hynds
The Lesser BohemiansThe Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride. The second novel from the 2014 winner of the Bailey Women’s Prize for Fiction matches her first book’s dark, relentless exploration of sexuality and self-destruction. The affair between an Irish drama student and an established actor upends and consumes their lives. McBride’s stream-of-consciousness language, lush, colloquial, and entrancing, beautifully narrates the violent and hope-filled course of their love. ~ Cathy Taylor
Small Great ThingsSmall Great Things by Jodi Picoult.Ruth Wilson is an African-American obstetric nurse, whose life changes forever when she hesitates to perform a crucial CPR on a newborn after being forbidden to touch it by the infant’s white supremacist parents. This story also examines how skin color shaped each character’s lives and behavior and how they come to understand their differences. A powerful, unsettling look at racism. ~ Sue Rice
Hot MilkHot Milk by Deborah Levy. A young woman unravels her life in southern Spain while seeking a cure for her mother’s mysterious, maddening illness. Though I never turn down a book on female desire and identity, this one is special: a drama of ritual and imagination that is wild, seductive, and bold. ~ Cathy Taylor
The Secret ChordThe Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks. Geraldine Brooks is a master of taking a minor thread of a well known history and bringing it to light flawlessly. The Secret Chord is the story of King David as told by his most trusted prophet Nathan. The Bible mentions a book of Nathan but it has never been found. From David's time as a young shepherd fighting the giant of Gath to his struggles as the King of Israel, Brooks has filled in the gaps and brought this biblical hero to life. Nathan's voice paints the story with captivating description and insight. Geraldine Brooks has done it once again. This is historical fiction as its best! ~ Jess Elder