Staff Picks - 2019 Adults Holiday

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Staff Picks 2019 Holiday Catalog (4.8MB)
Morning Glory on the Vine: Early Songs and DrawingsMorning Glory on the Vine: Early Songs and Drawings by Joni Mitchell. Joni created a handmade book to give to her friends for Christmas in 1971. It contained handwritten lyrics and many of her drawings. Here it is beautifully reproduced in full color on high quality paper as a gift to all those who love her art. Read the words as she wrote them down in her own hand, and you can hear the voice. "I am on a lonely road and I am traveling..." ~ Stan Hynds
Atlas Obscura, 2nd Edition: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden WondersAtlas Obscura, 2nd Edition: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Ella Morton & Dylan Thuras. Roam if you want to… Roam around the world to the strangest places on every continent that you never imagined existed with the second incarnation of this bestselling atlas of hidden wonders. In Thailand, there's a Buddhist temple whose construction includes 1.5 million beer bottles. Salzburg boasts the world's longest ice cave. Don't touch anything in the Poison Garden in Northumberland, England. No diving at the world's largest deep-granite quarry located in Barre, Vermont. A great gift at a great price. ~ Stan Hynds
Bibliostyle: How We Live at Home with BooksBibliostyle: How We Live at Home with Books by Nina Freudenberger. This is a genius celebration of bibliophiles and their exquisite book collections. From Hudson Valley farms to Brooklyn lofts, Paris apartments and French country homes, the book lairs are as richly textured, colorful and complex as their spirited and distinct owners. Depending on your point of reference the photography will either validate your stacks or inspire a lavish revamp, but there is no walking away unaffected. ~ Nancy Scheemaker
Game of Thrones: A Guide to Westeros and Beyond: The Complete SeriesGame of Thrones: A Guide to Westeros and Beyond: The Complete Series by Myles McNutt. This book is the PERFECT salve for the GOT fan who has read all the books and has been sorely missing the televised series. It is a must-have addition to any fan’s collection, no matter the degree of obsession. Sumptuously illustrated with gorgeous Helen Sloan photographs, it is complete with battle depictions, those necessary family trees, and in-depth character profiles. Even the most die-hard super fan will gain new insight and be able to answer the hardest trivia question! ~ Tambra Johnson Reap
How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World ProblemsHow To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall Munroe. The author takes serious real-world tasks and ponders the most absurd processes to complete them. Many solutions cross-reference each other to the point of directing you to a web address for one that wasn't in the print edition. This makes for delightful reading, the closest I've come to falling down a Wikipedia hole in print media in a long time. I'd expect nothing less from Munroe. ~ Andrew Bugenis
Artisan Board 13" - Snowy Evening (Printed) - Maple Landmark 63292Artisan Board 13" - Snowy Evening (Printed) - Maple Landmark 63292. This is a perfect gift for anyone who loves Robert Frost's "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening." His beautiful poem is printed on one side with a sturdy maple cutting board on the flip side adding artistic usefulness to any kitchen. A true Vermont classic!
Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People OverNothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over by Alison Roman. Does the idea of throwing a dinner party intimidate the heck out of you? Alison Roman is here to show you how fun, relaxed, and delicious hosting your next gathering can be. From pre-dinner snacks (check out the crispy haloumi with honey and pistachio) to main courses (kimchi-braised pork!), this cookbook, like any good party, is pleasure-packed. Throw out your carefully planned menus, pour a wine spritz, and chill--if all goes wrong, there's always pizza! ~ Cathy Taylor
Wine for Normal People: A Guide for Real People Who Like Wine, but Not the Snobbery That Goes with ItWine for Normal People: A Guide for Real People Who Like Wine, but Not the Snobbery That Goes with It by Elizabeth Schneider. I consider myself normal when it comes to wine. Meaning, I know my colors and whether I like something or not. But the rest is confounding. UNTIL NOW. Demystifying and "de-snobbifying" buying, sipping, and pairing as well as providing entertaining lessons on geography and wine making, this is the wine book for all the normal people. Great price!! I'll drink to that. ~ Stan Hynds
Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking: A CookbookJubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking: A Cookbook by Toni Tipton-Martin. Adapted from historical texts and rare African-American cookbooks, these 125 recipes richly portray the history of African-American cooking. It's for cooks who want to explore beyond soul food. When I paged through it for the first time, I found myself thinking 'yes' to every recipe and photo. Filled with ingredients I crave--pecans, fish, sweet potatoes, chicken, greens--Jubilee is my favorite of the season. ~ Stan Hynds
The Envious Siblings: And Other Morbid Nursery RhymesThe Envious Siblings: And Other Morbid Nursery Rhymes by Landis Blair. Gleefully diabolical nursery rhymes whose disturbing stew of pitch-black humor, macabre menace, and chilling gruesomeness would light up the face of Charles Addams. ~ Mike Hare
The Little Book of Lost Words: Collywobbles, Snollygosters, and 86 Other Surprisingly Useful Terms Worth ResurrectingThe Little Book of Lost Words: Collywobbles, Snollygosters, and 86 Other Surprisingly Useful Terms Worth Resurrecting by Joe Gillard. Shh, don’t tell, I’m a word nerd. That’s why I read this book and why you need to read it too! This book answered one of my lifelong questions, where did the word Sloom come from? Gillard brings words back to life that just roll off your tongue and uses them in sentences that will genuinely make you laugh, describing everyday concepts and timeless ideas with historical artwork throughout. Discover your favorite lost word and gift a copy to your compeer! ~ Debbi Wraga
Marley: A NovelMarley: A Novel by Jon Clinch. Before Ebenezer Scrooge's fateful night, before the ghosts, before Tiny Tim, bah humbug, and one all-time great conversion story...Before "Marley was dead," Marley was very much alive. Clinch imagines the lives of the two world-famous literary characters bound together by their sordid business in pitch perfect Dickensian tone. This is a dark and brilliant origin story. ~ Stan Hynds
Nothing to See HereNothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson. A comic, feel-good novel about children who spontaneously combust. Lillian is hired by her rich friend Madison to be the governess to her stepchildren who are now coming to live with them. Madison’s husband is a senator and jockeying for the position of Secretary of State. The only problem is that these kids have a condition: when they get upset they burst into flames, burn off their clothes and everything they touch—but then they’re fine. This uproariously funny novel about “fire children” is narrated through Lillian’s dead pan voice. And it amazingly becomes a really moving novel about parenting. Highly recommended! ~ Dafydd Wood
The Topeka School: A NovelThe Topeka School: A Novel by Ben Lerner. From the personal histories of a Midwestern family at the close of the twentieth century, Ben Lerner crafts an expansive vision of the moral and intellectual condition of contemporary America. Shifting narratives between haughty, brilliant high school student Adam and his two psychologist parents, this novel explores the creative and destructive power of language, both locally and culturally. The wisest, most imaginative novel you’ll read all year. ~ Cathy Taylor
The Innocents: A NovelThe Innocents: A Novel by Michael Crummey. A brother and sister are left to fend for themselves on the rugged shoreline of northern Newfoundland after the deaths of their baby sister, mother, and father. The knowledge the two children have of how to survive in this unforgiving terrain has been imparted in meager portions by their parents. Their only regular contact with the outside world is the annual arrival of a ship, ironically called The Hope, which provides them with enough supplies to barely survive another brutal winter in return for their catch of fish. The author's prose is as stark and vibrant as the landscape in which this remarkable story of determination and endurance is set. This is easily one of the year's best novels. ~ Alden Graves
Tuesday Mooney Talks to GhostsTuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia. Do you like drunken karaoke nights? Lovely Cher and Madonna drag-queens? Do you want kooky adventures with coffi ns and the back-halves of horse costumes? Then this is the book for you. It is fi lled with memorable characters: the villain, treasure hunters, the widow, frenemies to the dead billionaire, and the dead billionaire himself (running the treasure hunt from beyond the grave). Part ghost story and part mystery. ~ Jeanette
Metropolitan Stories: A NovelMetropolitan Stories: A Novel by Christine Coulson. This is a wonderful collection of stories about life behind the scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. We read about many of the works that are on display today, the people who work with them on a daily basis, and the people who visit them. If you are a museum junkie, you’ll swoon over this collection of exquisitely written gems. The author took a sabbatical from working in the museum itself to write this book and her intimate knowledge shines through. ~ Becky Doherty
Finding Christmas: A NovelFinding Christmas: A Novel by Karen Schaler. All she wants for Christmas is a romantic holiday week with her always-working boyfriend. All he wants is a holiday from the writer’s block he suff ers, working on his next best-selling mystery, that his agent is impatient to see. What author Karen Schaler seems to want is to carol her fi rst novel the way she did A Christmas Prince, the holiday movie she wrote last year for Netfl ix. What I wanted was a merry holiday noël I could read in one silent night. ~ Ray Marsocci
Bomber's Moon: A Joe Gunther NovelBomber's Moon: A Joe Gunther Novel by Archer Mayor. Archer Mayor's 30th Joe Gunther mystery surprises the reader by introducing a reporter for the local newspaper and a private detective. Both are spunky women who aid the investigation. Not being police, the two can investigate in ways police can't. How do the murders of a small time drug dealer and a thief fit in with mysterious goings on at a prep school? The interactions between the women investigators and police in solving the crimes make for an enjoyable read. ~ Sarah Knight
A Bitter Feast: A Novel (Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Novels #18)A Bitter Feast: A Novel (Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Novels #18) by Deborah Crombie. The latest from an author that has become a favorite of mine. What starts as a simple, and rare, family vacation for the British detective couple morphs into a fatal accident that leads to murder. Set in idyllic Cotswolds with its gorgeous countryside replete with sheep and border collies, local pubs, amazing food and libations. The author has developed multiple storylines and points of view in the story which I never felt confused by, only intrigued. Marvelous storytelling, deep and complex characters. You will be absorbed in the story to the very end. ~ Tambra Johnson Reap
Fate of the FallenFate of the Fallen by Kel Kade. Take a fantasy prophecy story where the fate of the world rests on the shoulders of the Chosen One. Then take that Chosen One out of the equation, and see how those who would have accompanied him-sidekicks of all sorts-must rise to the occasion and stand in the face of certain adversity. Among many themes in this book, my favorite is the protagonist's drive to press on contrasted against others he runs into. ~ Andrew Bugenis
Ninth HouseNinth House by Leigh Bardugo. Ghosts, murder, secret societies... Urban fantasy at its best! When you are offered a full ride to Yale, you say yes. But for Alex, the deal is more then just getting good grades - she has an assignment. She monitors Yale’s secret societies, assuring that their magical experimentation is kept in-house. One dark and stormy night, on haunted ground, a girl is found dead and Alex Stern must learn the cause - mundane or magic? Grab this if you are a Bardugo fan, or love Kim Harrison and Jim Butcher! ~ Leah Moore
All Blood Runs Red: The Legendary Life of Eugene Bullard-Boxer, Pilot, Soldier, SpyAll Blood Runs Red: The Legendary Life of Eugene Bullard-Boxer, Pilot, Soldier, Spy by Phil Keith & Tom Clavin. This deftly wrought book almost defies a category. A rousing account of a most improbable life: a descendant of slaves, Eugene Bullard fled rural Georgia as a kid to become, among other things, a French citizen and its first black fighter pilot, a boxer, a nightclub owner, an associate of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Josephine Baker, and a spy whose story strangely resembles Rick in the movie Casablanca, right down to Bullard's relationship with Dooley Wilson. By retrieving Bullard from the shadows, the authors have revealed a one-of-kind, unforgettable personality. ~ Mike Hare
Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil WarHymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War by S. C. Gwynne. Gwynne splendidly achieves dual aims by unstintingly revealing the manifest horrors of the Civil War's final year, and keenly capturing the human, and sometimes humane, characteristics of its major and minor participants. As Lincoln, Grant, Lee, and the rest are trapped in the maelstrom, Gwynne unearths their aims, prejudices, prerogatives, and decisions which ultimately led to the preservation of the United States of America. ~ Mike Hare
American Radicals: How Nineteenth-Century Protest Shaped the NationAmerican Radicals: How Nineteenth-Century Protest Shaped the Nation by Holly Jackson. The American Revolution was merely a warmup for 19th Century radicals desiring free love, open marriages, full gender and racial equality, shared property, universal passivism, and unfettered thought. While the hurly-burly of life painfully extinguished much of the radical flame, some embers smoldered then, and sparks still ignite today. ~ Mike Hare
One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in AmericaOne Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America by Gene Weingarten. What an utterly compelling read! Washington Post columnist Weingarten wanted to write about a completely random day in U.S. history and, after having various components literally picked out of a hat, he spent 6 years researching and writing about December 28, 1986. Many of these episodes were private dramas in the lives of private people, but were still connected to the world at large. All were completely engrossing and made me realize that maybe there is no such thing as an “ordinary” day. ~ Tambra Johnson Reap
The Ship of Dreams: The Sinking of the Titanic and the End of the Edwardian EraThe Ship of Dreams: The Sinking of the Titanic and the End of the Edwardian Era by Gareth Russell. The Titanic epic told largely from the perspective of six of her first-class passengers, including the naval architect who designed the ship, a movie star, a vice president of the Pennsylvania Railroad and his 17-year-old son, Isidor Strauss, who founded Macy's Department Store, and Lucy-Noelle-Martha Leslie, the Countess of Rothes. This is an incisive and engrossing account of the ship's evolution and tragic loss that injects intelligent light into an event that is as much enshrouded in legend as Titanic's remains are in the total darkness of the deep ocean. It is both a paean to the genius of the age that gave birth to her and a eulogy for the hubris that doomed her. ~ Alden Graves
Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a HeroRunning with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero by Christopher McDougall. This is a heartwarming romp through pastures, trails, and landscapes that most of us have never experienced. Beginning with the rescue of a neglected donkey, the story blossoms into a rewarding journey with an everexpanding cast of oddball characters and goats and other donkeys that McDougall meets and bonds with. Sherman is a donkey with a pretty much standard burro-shaped heart, who was in need of a kind, understanding and intuitive home, that he finds thanks to McDougall and his bevy of unique friends. ~ Jon Fine

This is a memoir of the Dao of Donkey. Christopher McDougall's wonderful, funny, insightful, and always entertaining book is about training a rescued donkey named Sherman to be his running partner, or vice-versa. The story evolves into life lessons learned from a myriad of characters: burro racers, "crazy" ladies, Amish people, goats, and of course Sherman, who is the real hero-move over Black Beauty. This book left a warm happiness inside my head and my heart long after I finished it.Maeve Noonan

Good Husbandry: A MemoirGood Husbandry: A Memoir by Kristin Kimball. It has been ten years since her first book The Dirty Life was published. In her second long awaited book, the author writes about the daily challenges she and her husband face living and working on their farm in northern New York. This is an honest account of farm life; raising two little girls while working long hours, managing a diverse group of help, and money-always money. Full of grit and humor, this book is well worth the wait! ~ Suzanne Rice
How to Catch a Mole: Wisdom from a Life Lived in NatureHow to Catch a Mole: Wisdom from a Life Lived in Nature by Marc Hamer. The author’s life has been spent mostly in the natural world, learning what it means to live a mole’s life. This may be the most we have ever known about how this small, velvety, creature really lives, learned from many years being paid to catch them for landowners who found them undesirable. One day, he found that he no longer wanted to kill these elusive, solitary animals. Sprinkled throughout the book are the most beautiful illustrations by Joe McLaren and poems by Hamer. ~ Becky Doherty
The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred TextsThe Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts by Karen Armstrong. Armstrong's endeavor is to broaden and deepen the understanding of the sacred texts from the world's major religions; their origins, and their ancient manner of teachings. By delving into the neurolinguistic science of right/left brain learning, and studying how various societies have changed from ancient to modern learning strategies, Armstrong calls for a reevaluation of our treatment of the texts. Brilliant! ~ Maeve Noonan
The Body: A Guide for OccupantsThe Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson. Bill Bryson has done it again! With his trademark charm and stylistic wit, Bryson offers a unique system-by-system tour of your own body. While his previous foray into science, A Short History of Nearly Everything, offered an expansive look outward, here he focuses inward. With frequent detours highlighting fascinating medical innovations and oddities along the way, he’s able to capture the fullness of the bodily experience in ways both incisive and entertaining. A perfect gift for the curious. ~ Joe Michon-Huneau
Little WeirdsLittle Weirds by Jenny Slate. Do you want to fall in love? Reading this will cause you to do so with a weird and wonderful woman. The world of Jenny Slate is indeed filled with observations that are a little weird, but to view the world through her eyes is a total delight. Laugh-out-loud funny! ~ Becky Doherty
The Hidden World of the FoxThe Hidden World of the Fox by Adele Brand. What do we know about the fox? The author brings us the truth about this beautiful mammal, dispelling many myths along the way. She paints us a full picture of this iconic edgeland dweller, its habits, relationships, and its ability to adapt successfully to our everchanging environment. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a curiosity for foxes, wildlife and nature. ~ Becky Doherty
Year of the MonkeyYear of the Monkey by Patti Smith. There is no better balm for getting unstuck, than to listen to someone clearly enlivened by aging, loss, death, and elections. Patti's global walkabout in Year of the Monkey, a memoir of her life approaching the age of 70, often blurs dream and reality (and I've not worked out the meaning of the candy wrappers yet), but still. This book has got soul. Aside from learning that she likes beans and eggs for breakfast, Patti writes with a raw and compelling lucidity about being, writing, gratitude, and truth. ~ Nancy Scheemaker
Classic Krakauer: Essays on Wilderness and RiskClassic Krakauer: Essays on Wilderness and Risk by Jon Krakauer. Classic Krakauer is an appropriate title in two ways. These collected articles exemplify what I love about Krakauer’s entire oeuvre: his ability to make me care about subjects I otherwise would not have read about, the compassionate lens with which he views his subjects, and the richness of detail that can make topics feel more exhilarating on the page than in actuality. And they’re classic in another way: though they span Krakauer’s early career, they still feel as fresh and relevant today as when they were written. ~ Joe Michon-Huneau