Staff Picks 2017 September

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Staff Picks September 2017 (1.5MB)
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SEPTEMBER FEATURE
Little Fires EverywhereLittle Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. This book singlehandedly saved me from a stubborn reading slump. The manicured, well-ordered neighborhood of Shaker Heights in the mid-nineties forms the backdrop for a big-themed family drama. With colorful characters and an immersive, compelling plot, the novel explores motherhood (its pain and joy, mystery and intimacy) and growing up (what we choose and what we often unknowingly surrender). At its core, it’s an engaging story about empathy, one I’m certain will raise you from your own reading rut. ~ Cathy Taylor

 

NONFICTION
Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish, and Charlie Finley's Swingin' A'sDynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish, and Charlie Finley's Swingin' A's by Jason Turbow. The brawling, mustachioed, incredibly talented Oakland A's ruled baseball from 1972 through 1974. Turbow reveals the dynamic personalities of the players, and the outlandish antics of the owner, Charlie O. Finley, an egotistical, skinflint baseball visionary who assembled, then destroyed, a dynasty. ~ Mike Hare
What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American TeenWhat Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen by Kate Fagan. 19 year old track star Maddy Holleran committed suicide in her freshman year at Penn. Fagan examines Maddy's friendships, family ties, and voluminous social media posts for clues to her horrid emotional disintegration. The search is full supposition, conjecture, and the heartbreaking mystery of what made Maddy run. ~ Mike Hare
The Stars in Our Eyes: The Famous, the Infamous, and Why We Care Way Too Much about ThemThe Stars in Our Eyes: The Famous, the Infamous, and Why We Care Way Too Much about Them by Julie Klam. Society's often shameless obsession with celebrity, according to Klam, is not always shallow. Inescapable social media has created a constantly shifting virtual landscape with celebrities offering, at best, a fleeting chance of authentic human connection. ~ Mike Hare
Dying: A MemoirDying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor. A slim, assertive memoir about confronting and preparing for death. Both staggering and comforting, this book is an essential and remarkable meditation on mortality. ~ Cathy Taylor
The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War IIThe Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II by Svetlana Alexievich. Thousands of Soviet women fought for the Motherland in World War II, enduring atrocities that scarred them for life. Alexievich chronicles their brutal stories, and emerges with human, humane, and distinctly female voices valiantly seeking absolution for the harrowing sins of war. ~ Mike Hare
Northshire Selects

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other ProvocationsUtopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr. In a series of blogs and essays, Carr hammers home his deep appreciation for the web's variety, and wariness of its intrusion into our lives and brains. Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the rest, Carr fears, have seeped into our consciousness in ways that will permanently, and adversely, rewire the circuitry of the human race. ~ Mike Hare
Wolf Boys: Two American Teenagers and Mexico's Most Dangerous Drug CartelWolf Boys: Two American Teenagers and Mexico's Most Dangerous Drug Cartel by Dan Slater. Slater chronicles the lives of two American teenagers as they become ensnared by Mexico's Gulf Cartel. Vivid accounts of cartel operations and insight into the mindset of their trained murderers. A coherent look at failed drug policy, poverty, economics and the bloody, amoral realm of organized crime south of the border. ~ Nate George
The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True StoryThe Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston. This account of an expedition into the jungles of Honduras is a study in archaeology, a dip into political science, a lesson in history, and a medical mystery, involving one of the most insidious tropical parasites known to man. And then there is the fer-de-lance. Truly an epic adventure! Highest recommendation! ~ Sarah Donner
FICTION
The Heart's Invisible FuriesThe Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne. This is a different view of Ireland: intimate, raw, often volatile, and darkly humorous. The novel follows the life of Cyril Avery and vividly encompasses the changes in Ireland from 1945 to the present. A brilliant book by the author of The Boy in Striped Pajamas. One of the best novels I’ve read this year! ~ Maeve Noonan
Sea of RustSea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill. We have all heard the stories about the future robot uprising but what happens after the revolt? This science fiction novel is set 15 years after humanity becomes extinct. Now mankind’s killers find they too must evolve as more advanced AIs make them obsolete. This is a fun action story. ~ Ben Parker
The Last TudorThe Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory. I found this novel well researched and presented. The main characters, three sisters, were all fully drawn. But the shadowy figure of Elizabeth I and the dark terrors of her court, hovers over them all. ~ Maeve Noonan
Hook's Tale: Being the Account of an Unjustly Villainized Pirate Written by HimselfHook's Tale: Being the Account of an Unjustly Villainized Pirate Written by Himself by John Leonard Pielmeier. Every tale has two sides. What if Peter’s version of the story became famous simply because he had a better publicist (i.e. J. M. Barrie)? Here is the memoir of James Cook explaining how a runaway from London becomes a cabin boy and discovers a treasure map that leads him to Neverland. What happened between James and Peter leads him down the path to becoming the infamous Captain Hook. ~ Ben Parker
The Lying GameThe Lying Game by Ruth Ware. After a body is discovered in a marshy area called the Reach near the English Channel, three English women living in London receive a terse message from a fourth friend, “I NEED YOU,” forcing them to break a pact of silence stemming from a tumultuous year at boarding school 17 years earlier – when lying led to murder. ~ Amy Palmer
The ForceThe Force by Don Winslow. The precipitous fall of a member of an elite New York City detective unit is chronicled in this gritty - and occasionally brutal - crime novel. The easy money and the temptations provided by the drug trade finally submerge Sgt. Denny Malone in a swamp of corruption and murder, first compromising and then destroying everything he stood for when he became a cop. A thrilling journey into an urban heart of darkness. ~ Alden Graves
The Golden HouseThe Golden House by Salman Rushdie. The Next Great American Novel - as told from the immigrant's eyes. A family of four - three sons, one father - leave their homeland and re-invent themselves in the Land of Opportunity. But identity is not a demon so easily exorcised, and both their past and the future come to each Golden in their own cataclysmic way. ~ Katelynne Shimkus
My Absolute DarlingMy Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent. This novel is not for the faint of heart. The prose is evocative and visceral. It takes on some of our most taboo societal ills including abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. A 14-year-old girl is being raised by her father in a small coastal community in northern California. She is socially isolated and her father has ingrained in her a survivalist mentality that stands her in good stead for all the turmoil to come in this story. ~ Shirley Cagle
YOUNG ADULT
PrettyPretty by Justin Sayre. Middle school has its ups and downs but for Sophie, it is a safe place. Home means running upstairs if mom has a drink in her hand. The bad nights seem to be happening more often so, when her mother leaves for Paris, Sophie is relieved. Maybe she can be a normal kid, and have friends visit and go to the movies, but the secret looms large and not talking about isn’t making it go away. A great story of coming of age. ~ Leah Moore
PAPERBACK
Cruel Beautiful WorldCruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt. This tragic and seductive novel weaves together love, loss, naivete, and secrets. The author’s exploration of love and family leaves the reader questioning their very definitions. For fans of The Girls and Fates and Furies ~ Whitney Kaaz
The WonderThe Wonder by Emma Donoghue. Eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell has refused to eat for four months, prompting an investigation by local officials in the small Irish village where she lives. Is Anna's seemingly good health evidence of a flagrant hoax or the unfolding of a miracle? Two women, a passive nun and a nurse hardened by the horrors she has experienced in the Crimean War, are hired to constantly watch the girl. The author of Room reasserts her mastery at entering into a child's mind and chronicling how vulnerable it is to the wiles of the world. ~ Alden Graves
Close Enough to TouchClose Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley. Jubilee Jenkins is a young woman diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening allergy to human skin cells. Her first and only kiss triggered an anaphylactic reaction that nearly killed her and turned her into an agoraphobe for nine years. Necessity forces her out into the world where she meets Eric, a divorced, single dad trying to understand and communicate with his rebellious, teenage daughter and grief-stricken, adopted son. Each holds a key that helps the other reach their goal. A truly enjoyable read! ~ Shirley Cagle
The Spy: A Novel of Mata HariThe Spy: A Novel of Mata Hari by Paulo Coelho. Related as a letter from Mata Hari to her lawyer, this ingenious piece of historical fiction tells her story as only she could; as a misunderstood, unappreciated and independent woman. Was she a spy or was it all the result of an unfounded, malicious allegation? Coelho re-imagines her life based on nonfiction accounts, and it was a fascinating read to the bitter end. Quick and enjoyable. ~ Tambra Johnson Reap
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