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Staff Picks

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

Philip Wiebkin, Library Substitute

     kings curseThe King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory

Margaret Pole’s contented daily life is changed forever when she befriends Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon. After the sudden death of Prince Arthur, Katherine leaves for London a widow, and fulfills her  promise to her husband to marry his brother, Henry VIII. Margaret’s world is turned upside down by the surprising summons to court, where she becomes the chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. But this charmed life of the wealthiest and “holiest” woman in England lasts only until the rise of Anne Boleyn, and the dramatic deterioration of the Tudor court. Margaret has to choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical king, or to her beloved queen; to the religion she loves or the theology which serves the new masters. Caught between the old world and the new, Margaret Pole has to find her own way as she carries the knowledge of an old curse on all the Tudors.  A great easy read and provides an interesting insight into the turbulent and dangerous times of the Tudors

Carolyn Crocker, Book Discussion Leader and Library Clerk 

jane franklin Book of Ages : The life and opinions of Jane Franklin                  by Jill Lepore

Ben’s youngest sister was a well-read, opinionated, feisty woman whose life was as full of sorrow and disappointment as her brother’s full of success. She saved the letters he wrote her over the decades– he, of course, threw hers (mostly) away. Still, Lepore creates a fascinating portrait of an unknown woman and her Revolutionary times– which were more complex than we tend to think.



roz chastCan’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?

by Roz Chast

      A sad but honest account beautifully rendered in graphic novel form: an only child’s journey to her parents’ end-of-life. Pain, horror and grief are seasoned with the humor wrought by frustration and everyone’s bad behavior, as well as the affection and unique history of a family.




Francine Lozeau, Library Substitute

The-Adventures-of-a-South-Pole-Pig-Kurtz-Chris- by Chris Kurtz

May I recommend a family read aloud? Author Chris Kurtz has written a delightful book that will appeal to the whole family. The Adventures of a South Pole Pig-A Story of Snow and Courage introduces Flora, a plucky pig with a lot of heart. You will want to add Flora to your list of favorite story book pigs-Wilbur, Mercy Watson, Babe, Piggie… Check out this Great Stone Face nomination!



    lemoncelloEscape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

This book will bring readers into what James Patterson calls “the coolest library in the world!” Kyle Keeley is not a reader, but he loves games. When he learns that twelve 7th graders will be chosen to spend a night in the library, for fun and games, he wants to win. He soon learns that getting into the library was the easy part! This book will remind you of another story, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and will reference many other wonderful children’s books, including an old favorite of mine From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Enjoy this Great Stone Face nomination!



     counting by 7sCounting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

12 year old Willow just needs to belong. She is starting the year at a new school and hoping to find a friend. When tragedy strikes, things don’t look good for Willow. But Willow is amazing! Without trying, she becomes the agent to enable all the characters to change their lives as she begins to heal. I enjoyed the way the story was told, the strong characters and the just-right ending. This book will be a compelling contender for the Great Stone Face Award!




Melissa Hutson, Library Substitute


The 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.




Amy Lappin,  Libraries Deputy Director 



The Vacationers by Emma Straub

A 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

Me Before You (Audiobook)   by    Jojo Moyes

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.







Cheryl Saunders, Library Assistant


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

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”?





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.