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Staff Picks

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

Melissa Hutson, Library Substitute

devilThe Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson

Set in 1727, the majority of the story takes place within the walls of the debtors’ prison Marshalsea. Tom Hawkins finds himself locked within Marshalsea for a debt of 20£. Upon his arrival, he learns there is a murderer on the loose and he makes a deal to discover the killer in exchange for his freedom. The author’s research is extensive and the characters are all based on actual people. I don’t usually read mysteries, but the time period drew me in. Excellently written, you feel like you are locked inside with Tom.


Vicky Berdecio, Library Substitute

   under starryUnder the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan

Nancy Horan, author of the New York Times bestseller “Loving Frank”, has written a new novel, this time about the relationship between the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife Fanny.

With carefully researched history, Horan is able to bring these two complex characters to life in a way that is both gripping and enthralling.

    dark&sacredAnd the Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass

Julia Glass has come up with yet another riveting tale, this time about a man’s journey in the search for his biological father. With a complex set of characters, this novel addresses the choices we make as adolescents which shape our futures, the need for forgiveness and the courage we need to face the shadows of our past.



Kathy Carroll, Development Officer

   DrowningRuthDrowning Ruth  by Christina Schwarz

Well-written and expertly constructed, this powerful and multi-layered story draws the reader in and does not disappoint with its unraveling. Ordinary lives are affected and sharply altered by the family secrets at the heart of this narrative, and the characters’ relationships to each other are shaped and changed by those secrets. This book is perfect for transitioning to Fall.



Susanne Collins, Young Adult Librarian

   geminiGemini  by Carol Casella

The plot revolves around an unconscious, unidentified woman being treated in the ICU at a Seattle Hospital. The narrative switches between her fight for life in the present and the story of her life up until that point.  Her doctor, Charlotte Reese, becomes very involved in the care of her patient and the reader soon learns there are more connections between the two women than that of doctor and patient.

“A uniquely involving read” Booklist.



Carolyn Crocker, Book Discussion Leader and Library Clerk

      fall better Falling Upwards: How we took to the air  by Richard Holmes

Much more than a history of ballooning, this documents the many areas of exploration: chemistry, meteorology, topography, –even public relations. science fiction, photography and airmail that ballooning opened up. Fascinating portraits of balloonists and everyone touched by their magic.



     cold songThe Cold Song by Linn Ullman

Guilt and sorrow haunt the landscape of coastal Norway, as guests gather to celebrate Jenny Brodal’s 75th birthday. Layers of family tragedy unfold as another act of violence takes shape. Griefs and dishonesty overlap love, beauty and forgiveness—and no one is innocent. A spellbinding novel.




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.



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.






    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.