Staff Picks 2017 June

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Staff Picks June 2017 (1.6MB)
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Do Not Become AlarmedDo Not Become Alarmed Your mind says it's time to get out of this chair but your fingers won't let it go. Meloy has written the un-put-downable novel of the summer. Propulsive, frightening, and worst/best of all, believable. If you liked A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again...okay not really. This novel offers a convincing case for not fooling around with the tour guide when you go ashore. ~ Stan Hynds

Two families take a cruise to Central America, but when they disembark for an excursion ashore, a series of mishaps and impulsive decisions bring disaster, and children go missing in this fast-paced thrilling novel.~ Amy Palmer

The Baker's Secret The Baker's Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan. A rich and powerful story set in a small coastal village in Normandy during the German Occupation. Emma, an apprentice baker, is ordered to bake for the enemy. She is also secretly baking for her fellow townspeople and bartering for items they they all need. An incredible tale of strength, determination, survival and most importantly hope. ~ Suzanne Rice
House of NamesHouse of Names by Colm Toibin. The thirst for revenge among the members of a heroic but rapidly dwindling family is the driving force in this literate, intrigue- filled novel that utilizes figures from Greek mythology for its central characters. Real daggers often provide a finishing touch to the work that their verbal daggers instigate. The book is a decided departure for this author and a dark and twisted treat for the reader. ~ Alden Graves
The PartyThe Party by Robyn Harding. Ingredients: Sweet Sixteen Party, five girls, San Francisco mansion, hands-off parents, drugs, alcohol, raging hormones. Result: physical and emotional maiming. Victims: many. Victims' ages and circumstances: widely varied. Lesson: ask the birthday girl. ~ Mike Hare
Silver HitchSilver Hitch by Linda Greenlaw. An ex-detective turned insurance investigator discovers the charred body of a universally disliked businesswoman in the remains of her home on a remote island off the coast of Maine. A routine house-fire inquiry suddenly looks a lot like a grisly case of murder. This entertaining mystery is as rich in atmosphere as it is in suspects. ~ Alden Graves
So Long, See You TomorrowSo Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell. A perfect book, my favorite book. A man retells a boyhood event, one he profoundly regrets. In the clearest, sharpest language, Maxwell turns a tale of commonplace guilt into a haunting classic of human weakness and longing. ~ Cathy Taylor
A French WeddingA French Wedding by Hannah Tunnicliffe. Old friends gather for a 40th birthday celebration in the French countryside and a weekend of good food, wine, and hard truths. A great cast of characters make this novel the perfect beach read! ~ Suzanne Rice
The Essex SerpentThe Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. The kind of splendid historical novel of which there are far too few. The perfect capture of the essence of Victorian sensibility during a time of wondrous advances in science and society. Each character a gem supported by superbly evocative writing. A true joy to read! ~ Karen Frank
Another BrooklynAnother Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson. An anthropologist returns to Brooklyn to attend the funeral of her father. A chance encounter with a childhood friend plunges her into vivid memories of growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970s. Flashbacks describe the isolation of moving from rural Tennessee to New York, and her vital connection with a close-knit group of bold young women poised on the brink of adulthood in a Brooklyn where danger lurks in the alleyways, where loss pervades their lives. ~ Amy Palmer
Zero KZero K by Don Delillo. A taut, superbly written family story (sort of ) set in the near future. A meditation on death, after- life, immortality, meaning and ultimately, life. Excellent! ~ Chris Morrow
Words In Deep BlueWords In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley. Cath Crowley's story of Rachel and Henry is a sweet, poignant treatise of love and loss and hope. Rachel is suffering the death of her brother in silence. Henry, her best friend (with whom she is in love), is coping with the loss of his longtime girlfriend. Their story, set in a used book store, is finely woven with other love stories. A wonderful read! ~ Shirley Cagle
Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed CampaignShattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen & Amie Parnes. Chicken Little would have felt at home in the fretting, squabbling, disaster-seeking Hillary Clinton campaign revealed in Shattered. An early campaign mantra, "We're not allowed to have nice things," sums up the painful result. ~ Mike Hare
Hourglass: Time, Memory, MarriageHourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage by Dani Shapiro. A meditative, moving account of a marriage and the inescapable velocity of time. With eloquence and grace, Shapiro reckons with chance and choice, the forces that have shaped her life and long term partnership. The love in these pages is precious and delicate; her writing flows with clear wonder at life's accumulated losses, uncertainties, and joys. ~ Cathy Taylor
The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a MemoirThe Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. This is an intimate journey through the author’s childhood. Her molestation by a family member is intertwined with the story of a pedophile sentenced to death for the abuse and murder of a six-year-old boy. The traumatic incident leads her to question the motivations of her abuser, the shroud of silence that surrounded her molestation (and other family secrets), and finally, her feelings about her family, as well as about the death penalty. ~ Shirley Cagle
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining WomenThe Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore. Shortly after radium was discovered it was billed as a miracle element with endless health benefits. It was used in many consumer products including watch faces (it glows in the dark). Thousands of young women were employed to paint numbers on watches, all thinking they were benefiting from the constant exposure to radium. How very wrong they were. Well written, poignant and a little terrifying. An amazing read through and through. ~ Nate George
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) BodyHunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay. This breathtaking memoir is about a body: its history, its presence, and its resilience. Gay has been morbidly obese since she was a teenager; her body shaped by forces both violent and loving. With uncompromising grace and honesty, she traces both her own weaknesses and the impact of a world hostile to unruly bodies. Through despair Gay finds a fragile thread of hope and the result is beautiful. ~ Cathy Taylor
The Poetry of Everyday Life: Storytelling and the Art of AwarenessThe Poetry of Everyday Life: Storytelling and the Art of Awareness by Steve Zeitlin. This collection is part memoir, part documentary, and personal essays that represent a cross section of Zeitlin’s experiences as a folklorist - examining and documenting the meaning and power of human expression in all of its varied forms. He challenges and inspires us to celebrate the ordinary as the extraordinary and demonstrates how our daily work, play, music, food, art, and family traditions matter. ~ Nancy Scheemaker
Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering MercyHallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Anne Lamott. Lamott continues her musings on faith and the vulnerability of being human, while exploring the topic of mercy in her latest collection of essays, sharing her belief that despite all, we are capable of patience and great kindness. ~ Amy Palmer
Scars of Independence: America's Violent BirthScars of Independence: America's Violent Birth by Holger Hoock. Textbook accounts of the American Revolution as a high-minded, relatively bloodless quest for freedom are smashed in Scars of Independence. Terrors infecting the globe today are not too far a stretch from the abhorrent physical, psychological, and deadly brutalities practiced by both sides before, during, and immediately after the Revolution. ~ Mike Hare
Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and LoveLast Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love by Marissa Moss. A graphic, stark portrayal of a family frayed by impending death. As her husband slips beyond reach and becomes unintentionally cruel while battling ALS, Moss struggles to maintain her love for him while tending to his care and raising their three sons. This is an unflinching look at the challenge to sustain and celebrate life. ~ Mike Hare
The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler's Atomic BombThe Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler's Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb. If Germany had succeeded in developing an atomic bomb, it would have changed the outcome of the war. This is the story of the attempt to destroy the plant in Norway that was supplying the Nazis with large quantities of heavy water, an integral part of the weapon. Easily rivaling the best fiction thrillers, this book is an icily (in every sense) suspenseful account of one of the most daring and crucial missions of World War II. ~ Alden Graves
The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected NonfictionThe View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman. Travel through literature, fairy tales, music, and art in this eloquent collection by one of the foremost fiction and comic authors of our time. Gaiman preaches on the process of writing and reading. He delves deeply into the musicians and novelists who inspired him from Tori Amos to Stephen King. After you finish this book you will immediately have a list of novels to read and musical artists to explore. A MUST read for any lover of literature and art. ~ Hannah Worsham
Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the WorldQueer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prager. From obscure figures (Elagabalus) to the well-known (Eleanor Roosevelt); from the iconic (George Takei) to the surprising (Abraham Lincoln!), this book features several queer persona who have had an immense influence on our history. Complete with a helpful glossary of terminology, this is a great read for kids and adults alike to understand how normal and ancient is the tradition of queer and trans* people. ~ Katelynne Shimkus