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Staff Picks

Here are some of the books library staff members have been reading and listening to.

Kathy Carroll, Development Officer

The Fever Tree  by Jennifer McVeigh


fever treeSet in South Africa in the latter part of the nineteenth century, this novel was a wonderful find for the highly engaging story, strong writing, and the stark beauty of the landscape invoked throughout. After the sudden death of her father, Frances Irvine leaves England and sails for Cape Town to join her future husband, Edwin Matthews, an aspiring young physician. Thus begins a remarkable journey as poignant as it is personal.

This is a story of self-discovery, courage and commitment set amidst South Africa’s Gold Rush as both Frances and Edwin struggle to overcome numerous external challenges and harrowing episodes. In the end, their principles, dedication to hard work and belief in each other creates a new beginning.


Amy Lappin,  Libraries Deputy Director 

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

vacationersA well-written beach read. An extended family endures 2 weeks together on the Balearic island of Mallorca while trying to deal with (and hide) varying problems. The story is enjoyable and the setting sublime!




Me Before You (Audiobook)   by    Jojo Moyes
me before you Many people have recommended this novel of the exceptionally ordinary Louisa Clark who takes a job as a personal aide to Will Trainor, former jet-setter now paralyzed after a traffic accident. The story is engaging, funny and heartbreaking. I would like to put in a plug for the exceptionally well done audio version which really brings it to life.



Philip Wiebkin, Library Substitute

    norman betterThe Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the fall of Anglo-Saxon England

by  Marc Morris

A riveting and authoritative history of the single most important event in English history: the Norman Conquest.  I thought I knew a lot about the Battle of Hastings, William the Bastard, Edward the Confessor, Harold and Earl Godwine.  However after reading just a few pages of the fascinating book, I realise I know very little.  A must read for all early English history addicts!!!


The Pagan Lord by Bernard Cornwell

pagan lord

Bernard Cornwell returns to his epic Saxon Tales saga with The Pagan Lord, a dramatic story of divided loyalties, bloody battles, and the struggle to unite Britain. Uhtred, once Alfred’s great warrior but now out of favor with the new king, must lead a band of outcasts north to recapture his old family home, that great Northumbrian fortress, Bebbanburg. However, at the same moment, Danes in the north, led by Viking Cnut Longsword, stand ready to overrun the rest of England in the to gain the Crown of England for himself.  This is Bernard Cornwell at his best.  A fantastic read.  You won’t put this one down!


Cheryl Saunders, Library Assistant

Hand of Brick: a Look Back at the Densmore Brick Company

densmore Story of the Densmore Brick Company of Lebanon, NH. This DVD contains local history of where much of Dartmouth College beautiful brickwork originated and the men who made the bricks. You may see your neighbors interviewed as they regale working conditions, camaraderie, and history of brick making in New Hampshire.


Carolyn Crocker, Book Discussion Leader and Library Clerk

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

boys in the boatA many-layered story of young men coming of age in the Depression, the villains aiding Hitler’s rise, the charisma of great coaches and craftsmen, the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”: the University of Washington’s crew team’s unexpected triumph at the 1936 Berlin-Olympics. Knowing this outcome in no way diminishes the compelling suspense that enthralls the reader from the first page– even one with zero interest in athletic competitions!


    Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks

JeevesIf you love P.G. Wodehouse, you’re in for a treat with this “homage”. Without sinking either to plagiarism or parody, Faulks extends the beloved Jeeves/Wooster saga to a happy end and hits every chime, yet keeps it fresh and surprising. Absolutely top-hole!





Sean Fleming, Libraries Director

My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind by Scott Stossel

my age of anxiety

Think you’re having a bad day? If you typically don’t have to grapple with the intense anxiety that Scott Stossel has to contend with, count yourself lucky. His anxieties manifest themselves in many different ways, and the drugs he takes, prescribed and unprescribed, are almost as numerous. The book is well written, although I was more engaged when I read about his experiences than when I was reading about the history of treating anxiety and depression, which often go hand in hand.



Marilyn Breselor, Library Substitute

The Position by Meg Wolitzer

the position

My favorite  Wolitzer novel–about a couple who write a “Joy of Sex”-type book illustrated with pictures of themselves, and its life-long impact on their children.





Susanne Collins, Young Adult Librarian

Code Name Verity  by   Elizabeth Wein


In a compelling work of historical fiction, two young women become involved in the resistance to Nazi occupied France during World War II.  Once captured, one of the friends writes a confession of her activities in the Resistance. n an attempt to get a stay of execution.  This is a gripping page-turner and one of the best young adult books I have read in a long time.




Pegasus—Robin McKinley

pegasusAn unforgettable tale of unbreakable friendship, mythical creatures and courtly drama destined to become a classic.






    Emily Zollo, Library Substitute

ocean gaimanThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman


Back in his hometown for a funeral, the narrator remembers events from his childhood that he had long forgotten, including how he stumbled into a world of magic and the supernatural right in his own backyard.  A wonderful fairytale for grown-ups by master storyteller Gaiman.


Abby Walsh, Library Substitute                     

The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth     Divergent-trilogy


The dystopian world seen through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior is captivating.  This series is a well needed fix after finishing The Hunger Games.  I’m looking forward to the movie, Divergent, coming out in March.


Chuck McAndrew. Library IT Assistant

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the   Making of the Oxford English Dictionary   by Simon Winchester

prof & mad

This fascinating book tells the story of the making of the Oxford English Dictionary.  This mammoth project aimed to define every word in the English language and provide a reference to the earliest known usage of each word.  The professor set out to organize this nation wide effort, but he would have never been successful without the help of the madman!





The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway

goneawaySet in a post-apocalyptic world this novel follows the story of a group of ex-special forces soldiers turned truckers. This science-fiction/military thriller/comedy/kung-fu novel moved into my top-ten of all time list immediately.






Patti Hardenberg, Library Technical Assistant

The Spiral Staircase: my climb out of darkness  by Karen Armstrong

spiral In 1962, at age seventeen, Karen Armstrong entered a convent, eager to meet God. After seven brutally unhappy years as a nun, she left her order to pursue English literature at Oxford. But convent life had profoundly altered her, and coping with the outside world and her expiring faith proved to be excruciating. Her future seemed very much in question until she stumbled into comparative theology. What she found, in learning, thinking, and writing about other religions, was the ecstasy and transcendence she had never felt as a nun.

          Goin’ Someplace Special  by Patricia McKissack

mckissackThe author tells an autobiographical story about living in segregated 1950s Nashville. As a young African American girl, she braves a series of indignities and obstacles to get to one of the few integrated places in town. Can you guess which building is her “someplace special”?




Francine Lozeau, Library Substitute

One Dog and his Boy  by Eva Ibbotson



Hal, a lonely boy, and Fleck, a lonely dog, are perfect for each other. Hal, after all, has only ever wanted a dog.  Hal’s parents will give him anything except a dog. Children who have had a dog or really wanted one will enjoy this story. Both human and canine characters are great!

New Hampshire students in grades 4-6  will be voting for their favorite Great Stone Face book in April.   This book could be the winner!


Olive MacGregor, Library Substitute

Nothing daunted:  the unexpected education of two society girls in the West
by  Dorothy Wickenden


In 1916 Dorothy  Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood, two adventurous Smith College graduates from Auburn, NY.,signed up to teach for a year in a new schoolhouse on the Colorado frontier.  Almost a century later Dorothy’s granddaughter Dorothy Wickenden found letters home from her grandmother and gained access to more letters from Rosamond.  When she went to Colorado and interviewed relatives of the women’s former students, she was amazed to find what a tremendous influence the two women had had during their year.  This fascinating book is the result.