Staff Picks 2019 September

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The Nanny: A NovelThe Nanny: A Novel by Gilly Macmillan. What if you couldn’t trust your own mother? Jocelyn has spent her entire life consumed with disdain and distrust for the woman who sent away her beloved nanny when she was a child. When a body turns up in the lake on their property, she can’t help but think the worst of her mother. Soon, though, all she believes she knows and suspects is called into question as her world is turned upside down by a series of fabulous twists too enticing to spoil. A wonderful thriller which examines the trustworthiness of memory and how much we really know about those who share the intimate moments of our lives. ~ Ashley Castle
The Dearly Beloved: A NovelThe Dearly Beloved: A Novel by Cara Wall. Meet two couples during the 1960s: a proud pastor and his atheist wife, and a skeptical pastor and his devout wife as they go through adulthood trying to find harmony during life’s imbalances. The subject of faith takes a backseat in this touching story that is more about building community and creating and sustaining relationships with people who have different ideologies from one another. ~ Laura Knapp
The Warlow Experiment: A NovelThe Warlow Experiment: A Novel by Alix Nathan. Wealthy landowner and citizen scientist, Herbert Powyss, enthusiastically launches an experiment involving human isolation in the last years of the 18th century. Many unintended consequences result in this fascinating and superbly conceived work of historical fiction. Nathan’s stylistic expertise and attention to detail chillingly renders the darkness of the endeavor. ~ Stan Hynds
Hollow KingdomHollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton. A hilarious take on the zombie apocalypse but told from the viewpoint of a pet crow who believes humanity should be saved. As he ventures out looking for a cure he must figure out how domestic animals fit into the new world order and how to come to terms with being a crow and not, as his heart desires, a human. ~ Ben Parker
The Confessions of Frannie Langton: A NovelThe Confessions of Frannie Langton: A Novel by Sara Collins. Frannie stands accused of the stabbing murders of a mistress lover, as well as her master—a wealthy social climber whose scientific experiments on people of color bring him fame and stature. Highly educated and then used to carry out her master’s medical research, Langton is a searing protagonist who captivates with intellect and elegance as she remembers her Jamaican slavery while struggling desperately to recall one night in England blurred by love, opium, and rage. ~ Nancy Scheemaker
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn HardcastleThe 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. Reminiscent of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, this novel is mind-blowing and truly spectacular. The main character has eight chances to solve the murder by spending the same day in a different character's body. Will keep you guessing! ~ Cassidy Washburn
Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1)Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1) by Evie Dunmore. This delightful debut romance is set in Oxford. The heroine joins the first class of women students and becomes an accidental activist in the women’s suffrage movement. Incredibly well-researched, with a lovely romantic arc—you’ll be so happy you gave this author a try and will find yourself eagerly awaiting her next book. ~ Rachel Person
She Would Be King: A NovelShe Would Be King: A Novel by Wayetu Moore. An incredible debut novel blending history with magical realism to tell the story of Liberia’s creation. With unforgettable characters and an even more unforgettable narrator, you will not be disappointed. "If she was not a woman...she would be king." ~ Cassidy Washburn
The Outsider: A NovelThe Outsider: A Novel by Stephen King. A grisly, unspeakable murder. A seemingly innocent baseball coach. Two stories intertwined in one. Evidence places him at the scene. His incontrovertible alibi places him elsewhere. What sort of monster is capable of committing such heinous acts? Perhaps one of Stephen King’s darkest, twisted, creepiest novels, it latches onto you with a steely grip within the first few pages and refuses to let go until the very end when a twist drops so severely that it leaves you stumbling to make sense of it. ~ Angela Turon
The World Pushes Back: PoemsThe World Pushes Back: Poems by Garret Keizer. Even if you don’t read much poetry, this is a collection of gorgeously lyrical, subtly political, and occasionally humorous poems that you will surely enjoy. Touching on subjects ranging from history to religion to the art of poetry itself, this book by a Vermont author has something to pique anyone’s interest. ~ Ramsay Eyre
The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and MeditationsThe Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison. This is a vast compilation of the Nobel Prize-winning author’s essays, speeches, and meditations, showing her visionary facets, her bold scope exploring the world that long feted her. Ranging from considerations of art culturally forming societies, with special reflections on literary visions, to lectern discussions on “black matters” and making up her lifetime’s history in poignant, compelling essays confronting what it has meant to be alive. The collection not only reaffirms Morrison’s star on the literary canon, but explores the possibilities for living our differences toward the same illuminant end. ~ Ray Marsocci
Opium: How an Ancient Flower Shaped and Poisoned Our WorldOpium: How an Ancient Flower Shaped and Poisoned Our World by John H Halpern and David Blistein. Opium and its many offspring, including morphine, heroin, and chemically created concoctions like OxyContin, have seduced, enchanted, enthralled, and destroyed millions. The authors pull opium up by its roots, revealing that its centuries-long potency, allure, and potential for healing have repeatedly been dwarfed by its addictive power of destruction. ~ Mike Hare
For the Good of the Game: The Inside Story of the Surprising and Dramatic Transformation of Major League BaseballFor the Good of the Game: The Inside Story of the Surprising and Dramatic Transformation of Major League Baseball by Bud Selig. Long-time Milwaukee Brewers owner and long-time Commissioner Bud Selig spins a conversational yarn about baseball's on-field and off-field strikeouts and home runs. Drug use, labor disputes, ownership squabbles, and legal and financial headaches occupied much of Selig's tenure, but he makes a pitch that baseball still deserves its title as the national pastime. ~ Mike Hare
Women's War: Fighting and Surviving the American Civil WarWomen's War: Fighting and Surviving the American Civil War by Stephanie McCurry. This is a story that needed to be told. A major new work of Civil War history, this volume does not only challenge conventional assumptions about women in the Civil War, but dispels the notion that a "woman's role" is limited to the sidelines in any war. This ought to be required reading for any history buff! ~ Ramsay Eyre
Peace, Love, Goats of Anarchy: How My Little Goats Taught Me Huge Lessons about LifePeace, Love, Goats of Anarchy: How My Little Goats Taught Me Huge Lessons about Life by Leanne Lauricella and Alli Brydon. So much inspiration is packed into this little gem of a book! At times heartbreaking, but always heartwarming, Leanne Lauricella relates beautifully moving stories of the remarkable little goats that she rescues and the lessons that they teach her every day about life. Need a new perspective on life? I highly recommend this book. ~ Linda Then
The Last Palace: Europe's Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary HouseThe Last Palace: Europe's Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House by Norman Eisen. Eisen is uniquely qualified to write this book, as U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, he was one of the most recent occupants of the palace. Eisen weaves an incredible story of the palace and its occupants, from Ashkenazi to Hollywood royalty, Nazis, Communists, heroes, villains, and victims. The book covers the 1920s through the Velvet Revolution to the present. This book is fascinating, insightful, and timely. ~ Maeve Noonan
A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden by Daylight: (A True Crime Fact Account of the Lizzie Borden Ax Murders)A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden by Daylight: (A True Crime Fact Account of the Lizzie Borden Ax Murders) by Victoria Lincoln. No one will ever know exactly what happened on a blisteringly hot August morning in 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts when Andrew Borden, a prominent local businessman, and his wife were hacked to death in their modest home on Second Street. Author Victoria Lincoln had a better pedigree than most for making an informed speculation. She knew the prime suspect. Lincoln believes that the sharply drawn layers of Fall River’s social strata played a major role in precipitating an event that only assumed lethal proportions after a psychotic episode during which Lizzie succumbed to temporary madness. By far the best researched, most intelligently constructed book on this fascinating subject. ~ Alden Graves