Staff Picks

H is for Hawk

Summary: 
An unusual woman—a Cambridge academic who has better connections with birds, especially raptors than people—responds to her photojournalist father’s sudden death in an unusual way: by training a goshawk and channeling T. H. White. An odd, but very moving account of grief.

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Mrs. Queen Takes the Train

Summary: 
A delightful romp, illustrated with photographs, in which ER II tries to pull herself out of the doldrums, with yoga and a solo trip to Scotland, much to the consternation of her staff and courtiers, who must protect her from MI5—among others… A treat for Anglophiles.

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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1)

Summary: 
I really enjoyed this book, in particular the main character Flavia de Luce. She is an amazing bright 11 year old, who has a superior chemistry knowledge way beyond her years. She is also quite a sleuth of the "Miss Marple" or "Hercule Poirot" type. The story is set in the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak.

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Life After Life

Summary: 
A National Public Radio review of the author's newest book and now New York Times best seller, God in Ruins, compelled me to seek out the prequel, Life After Life. The creative telling of an imaginative and poignant individual and family story does not disappoint, and you are indeed drawn in from the first few pages. Key twentieth century historical events are at the center of this novel, and serve as the backdrop for the fascinating coming of age of the heroine and on through to her final life's chapter.

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Inside the O'Briens

Summary: 
If you were gripped by "Still Alice" or "Left Neglected" you will definitely enjoy reading this latest novel by Lisa Genova. In the same manner that she was able to describe what it is like to experience Alzheimer's disease from the inside, in this new book Genova tackles Huntington's disease. HD is a lethal neurological disease with no treatment or cure, with a 50 percent chance of being inherited by the next generation. This novel tells the poignant story of a close-knit Irish Catholic family struggling to cope with this devastating reality.

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And the Dark Sacred Night

Summary: 
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.

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The Dream Lover

Summary: 
The prolific writer Elizabeth Berg has created a new work, this time a historical novel about the nineteenth-century French writer George Sand. Sand was a passionate, independent person, a woman who fought fiercely against the conventional rules of a patriarchal society. Writing in the first person, Berg is somehow able to inhabit the mind and heart of this brilliant woman and re-create the relationships she had with such famous people as Fredric Chopin and Victor Hugo.

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Bad days in history : a gleefully grim chronicle of misfortune, mayhem, and misery for every day of the year

Summary: 
National Geographic contributor and author Michael Farquhar uncovers an instance of bad luck, epic misfortune, and unadulterated mayhem tied to every day of the year.

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Everything I Never Told You

Summary: 
The novel, set in Ohio in 1977, examines the effect 16-year old Lydia's death has on her family as they try to search for answers. Was it an accident? Murder? Suicide? Did any of them know Lydia as well as they thought they did? Switching between the past and present, family dynamics are viewed from the perspective of each member of the interracial Lee family. How did they get to this point? What affect do parental aspirations have on children? Can we shape our children into the people we wish we could have been? Moving and well written. Would make an excellent choice for a book group.

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Boy, Snow, Bird

Summary: 
Race, gender and identity are refracted through the mirror of the Snow White and Rose Red story, played out in the mid-20th century. A family—wife and mother Boy, stepdaughter Snow, and daughter Bird – struggle to find themselves and fulfill their promise in a society where “passing” was much more than mere appearance. A complex and richly magical novel.

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