Staff Picks 2017 July

The July Staff Picks can also be viewed or printed as a PDF
Staff Picks July 2017 (1.6MB)
May 2017 Logo
The Silent CornerThe Silent Corner: A Novel of Suspense by Dean Koontz. Just in time for summer, an exciting new thriller from a master storyteller that introduces a new heroine, Jane Hawk. After the unexpected suicide of her husband, Jane becomes aware of a number of other unexplained self-inflicted deaths. Suddenly, Jane finds herself a wanted criminal with ruthless people after her. Dropping off the grid, this tough smart woman fights to expose the evil forces so she and her son can have a normal life. Fast paced with lots of exciting action, twists and turns. I couldn’t put the book down!~ Sarah Knight


American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing LandAmerican Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse. Over the course of six months, there were over 60 arson fires along the Eastern Seaboard in Virginia. The fires taxed local resources to the limit and caused people to live in a constant state of anxiety. No one, however, was prepared for the revelation of who was setting the blazes. This is a fascinating look at one of the worst instances of a crime that covers its own tracks in the nation’s history and a perceptive journey into the twisted minds of people drawn to images of flames and destruction. ~ Alden Graves
No One Cares about Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in AmericaNo One Cares about Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America by Ron Powers. While critiquing American society’s entrenched neglect of the mentally ill, Powers lays bare the deadly destruction schizophrenia wrought on his two sons. His heroic honesty and analysis of evolving treatments show crazy people can be cared for, and perhaps someday be healed. ~ Mike Hare
The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the RoadThe Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road by Finn Murphy. Have you ever been curious about what the working life of a long haul van line driver might be like? The author takes us on a witty, humorous, and informative cross country trip with him. His first exposure to trucking resulted in his decision to drop out of college to spend the next 30 years as a high-end “bedbugger”, showing us a life few of us know about, with funny and poignant stories of the people he moves. A delightful, informative romp! ~ Tambra Johnson Reap
The Best Land Under Heaven: The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest DestinyThe Best Land Under Heaven: The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny by Michael Wallis. The first account by an historian of the tragic Donner Party saga. In April of 1846, a group of pioneers left Springfield, Illinois bound for a better life in California. It was late in the year to begin the arduous trek, but the prospect of being hampered by blizzards in the Sierra Nevada mountains didn’t deter them. Mr. Wallis separates the facts from the sensational stories. His book is as much a tribute to human endurance as it is a cautionary tale about careless folly. ~ Alden Graves
America and the Great War: A Library of Congress Illustrated HistoryAmerica and the Great War: A Library of Congress Illustrated History by Margaret E. Wagner. America's deliberate entry into World War I, fueled by patriotism, jingoism, militarism, and pivoted by Germany's indiscriminate submarine warfare, is thoroughly chronicled by Wagner. The Great War's end result: America's emergence as a great world power, remains the foundation of international relations a century later. ~ Mike Hare
Papi: My StoryPapi: My Story by David Ortiz. Retired Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, Big Papi, is a one of a kind champion, a big man with a big heart and the rightful owner of one of the most storied careers in modern sports. The previously unattainable World Series championships (unreachable without him?), the PED accusations, countless opponents and teammates, behind-thescenes machinations of the Red Sox organization, and the ever-present Boston media; it’s all here! Ultimately – spoiler alert! – we do learn that there are still some role models and heroes left in the world. Papi! ~ Jon Fine
Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st CenturyChuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century by Chuck Klosterman. I hate Chuck Klosterman because there is no way I could possibly have a career in writing now. This guy has wormed his way into my brain and written about my dumb flights of fancy in a way that I could never even hope to achieve. I will, however, read everything he writes. X is a collection of the best of his past ten year’s worth of work. It’s awesome. ~ Chris Linendoll
The Pride of the Yankees: Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper, and the Making of a ClassicThe Pride of the Yankees: Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper, and the Making of a Classic by Richard Sandomir. "I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth," the dying Lou Gehrig's unforgettable phrase spoken at a Yankee Stadium ceremony, catapulted a baseball player to heroism. Gary Cooper's modest and dignified portrayal of Gehrig in The Pride of the Yankees is revealed by Sandomir as a near-perfect match of a ballplayer and a star. ~ Mike Hare
This Is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape SocietyThis Is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society by Kathleen McAuliffe. A fascinating look at the pioneering work of parasitologists and the link between parasites and human/animal behavior. We like to think we are in control of our actions but we may be under the influence of a staggering number of wee invaders manipulating us for their own purposes. If you aren't already familiar with toxoplasma gondii you'll soon be deeply acquainted! ~ Nate George
Camino IslandCamino Island by John Grisham. Camino Island is a fun mystery, especially so because it has books and booksellers as central characters. What could be better? Rare Fitzgerald manuscripts get stolen from Princeton in a brazen heist and we follow the adventure through the eyes of a young writer sent undercover. Filled with wacky characters and a sustained pace, Camino Island is a summer read for anyone. Enjoy. ~ Chris Morrow
The Little French BistroThe Little French Bistro by Nina George. Marianne is unhappy in both her marriage and her life. After an unsuccessful suicide attempt, she flees to the northernmost point of France, where she is embraced by the locals, who help her realize what she has and who she is. A great story about life, love, and how nothing is lost forever. ~ Suzanne Rice
The AnswersThe Answers by Catherine Lacey. Lacey takes familiar questions about love and crafts a stunning story. Mary responds to a vague advertisement for a project known as the Girlfriend Experiment. The brainchild of a superstar actor, the experiment seeks to scientifically monitor the physical state of a person in various stages of love. The author has an amazing ear for the rhythm of language; I found myself reading certain sentences over and over, until I wrote them down to read again later. In short: a crazy good book. ~ Cathy Taylor
Persons UnknownPersons Unknown by Susie Steiner. This even better sequel to Steiner’s first novel finds Manon and her newly adopted son back in Cambridgeshire living with her divorced sister. They are trying to adjust to a quieter life when a murder occurs which embroils her family in a web of questions and mistrust. Does she really know what they are capable of? A wonderfully clever mystery with complex characters. ~ Tambra Johnson Reap
White FurWhite Fur by Jardine Libaire. Jamey is the son of a famous movie star and billionaire father. Elise is the product of the projects. Fueled by intense sexual desire, their relationship grows until friends and family start to interfere. Will these star-crossed lovers find their way? Will love conquer all? Find out the answers and more in this beautifully crafted novel of love and sex, poverty and privilege, right and wrong. Intense! ~ Whitney Kaaz
Full Wolf MoonFull Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child. A Yale professor and self-proclaimed "enigmalogist" on a writer's retreat in the Adirondacks begins to suspect that a series of savage killings deep in the wilderness may be the work of something beyond the realm of natural science, especially given the full moon factor. A genuinely creepy excursion into the supernatural that expertly resurrects one of its most fierce and formidable denizens. ~ Alden Graves
Quiet Until the ThawQuiet Until the Thaw by Alexandra Fuller. The author’s first novel is as searing and biting as her memoirs were. Set on the Pine Ridge Reservation in contemporary times, Fuller explores the concept of choice through the lives of two boys. Rick Overhorse and You Choose Watson are brothers and eternal rivals. Dark, poignant, funny at times and yet utterly real, this book haunts me. ~ Maeve Noonan
Here and GoneHere and Gone by Haylen Beck. This harrowing thriller makes you question how safe your children really are. Her children end up missing after a woman ends up in custody following a traffic stop gone wrong. This thrilling rollercoaster of a trip against time to find the children will keep you glued to the pages. ~ Tambra Johnson Reap
The Templars' Last Secret: A Bruno, Chief of Police NovelThe Templars' Last Secret: A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel by Martin Walker. Set in contemporary Dordogne, France, this book encompasses art, archaeology, Templars, lost treasure, terrorists, and even tasty recipes (it is France!). Inspector Bruno and his dog, Balzac, are confronted by dilemmas on all sides. The twists and turns will keep you glued to the pages and make you a fan of the series! ~ Maeve Noonan
The Girl in the GardenThe Girl in the Garden by Melanie Wallace. A young woman with an infant son is abandoned at a small motel on the coast of New England. The community rallies to give her the shelter and support she needs to learn to trust and to find love again. In turn, her presence helps the people of the town to right the wrongs of the past. ~ Suzanne Rice
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
Miss JaneMiss Jane by Brad Watson. An intensely rich story about a woman’s search for fulfillment, growth and wholeness despite a physical abnormality that no one can see. Jane Chisolm is a hermaphrodite, delivered at home by a country doctor to a Mississippi farming family in 1915. So many passages on this theme are magnificently framed by luminous prose. Watson has delivered here an authentic novel about a woman’s transcendence. ~ Nancy Scheemaker
The Noise of TimeThe Noise of Time by Julian Barnes. Art and power – a combo that makes for a beautiful read from the 2011 Man Booker prize winner. Soviet Russia’s most celebrated composer struggles to preserve his artistic integrity under total state control. The result is a compelling meditation on courage, love, and the enduring strength of music. ~ Cathy Taylor
Behold the DreamersBehold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue. It’s 2007 and Jende and Nemi Jonga, immigrants from Cameroon, are working hard to achieve “the American Dream”. They have jobs, and ambitions and are full of optimism and then the recession hits. Engrossing, powerful and emotional! ~ Liz Barnum