Staff Picks

They May Not Mean To, But They Do

Summary: 
Once again, Cathleen Schine has come up with a thoroughly engaging book,this time about a close-knit Jewish family based for the most part in New York City. This story covers three generations, from Joy, an 86-year-old matriarch, to her son and daughter and their children. Written in poignant language, Schine deftly tackles the topics of aging, illness, and even death, all the while maintaining a light touch, a sense of humor, and much compassion. This is a highly enjoyable novel.

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The Confessor

Summary: 
Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon , #3 begins with murder in Munich, an art restorer in Venice and a priest in the gardens of the Vatican, who is troubled about the things he had discovered, the enemies he would make, the journey before him. Men would surely die, and he wished another could take it for him. But he knew that was not possible.. The art restorer is forced to leave his Bellini and find the murder victim's killer: As the tale unfolds,the journeys of all three men come together, following a trail of long-buried secrets and unthinkable deeds, leaving each one forever changed. And with them, the lives of millions . . . This another riveting thriller from Mr. Silva, placed in the setting of the Vatican's inaction and shameful facilitation of the rounding up of the countless Jews in Europe during the Second World War. I was unable to put this book down!

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One more thing: stories and other stories

Summary: 
B.J. Novak (best known for his work on the US version of The Office) brings you a collection for short stories. The stories are witty and can range from "dirty" jokes told in just a few sentences to quirky philosophical narratives expanding over several pages. If you're looking for a laugh and a quick read, Novak knows how to deliver.

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Dark Matter

Summary: 
Jason Dessen made some choices in his life. Not bad choices, but choices that took him away from becoming the academic superstar he could have been. Or did he? Dark Matter explores the impact of even our smallest decisions. One route chosen and another left behind. Or do the worlds left behind continue to exist on another plane? This mind-bender is a fun & suspenseful ride. I would never describe myself as a fan of science fiction, but I could not put this page-turner down.

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At the Edge of the Orchard

Summary: 
Once again Tracy Chevalier, New York Times bestselling author of "Girl with a Pearl Earring", has come up with a winner. In this new novel she explores the period of history covering the American frontier. Beginning in 1838 she describes the life of a family living in the swamps of northwest Ohio struggling to survive as they plant an apple orchard. The story then fast-forwards to 1853 as the youngest son of the family strikes out on his own to explore the wilds of California. There he eventually begins working for a naturalist who sells plants from the new world to be shipped back to the gardeners of England. This novel is a beautifully written tale which keeps the reader riveted with its excellent characterizations, dialogue, and descriptions of the landscape. One is naturally transported back to that time and place in a way that can be called almost magical.

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I Let You Go

Summary: 
Two British readers balance the characters’ narratives and the police procedural as the case involving a hit-and-run accident unwinds. The plot is compelling, but the characterizations are superb. The inner workings of a CID team and the personal lives of the detectives, as well as the psychology of the suspect and others all ring true.

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The Association of Small Bombs

Summary: 
The deadly blast of the terrorist sends widening ripples of destruction. The random innocents—two 12-year-old Hindu brothers who die, and their Muslim friend who survives, their families, are forever altered and sucked into the vortex of violence—as the perpetrators themselves had been, that spreads and spreads. A tragic, illuminating novel. “What was a bomb, really? A means of separation, of opening. A factory of undoing. It took the violent forces of civilization and applied them to the very opposite aims with a childlike glee. A bomb was a child. A tantrum directed at all things. A wail of a being that hadn’t got its own way. The choice of suicide over defeat.” p. 267

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Warriors of the Storm

Summary: 
The latest tale from Bernard Cornwell in his saga of the birth of England, continues with Uhtred of Bebbanburg controlling Mercia from the Roman fortress, that is Chester. Enemy forces are gathering to conquer the island nation for themselves. Northmen allied to the Irish, by the fierce warrior Ragnall Iverson, joined by the Northumbrians look to be an overwhelming force. Despite this threat, Edward, King of Wessex and Aethelflaed, Queen of Mercia are reluctant to move out of the safety of their own kingdoms. It falls, therefore, upon Uhtred to act. However Uhtred's daughter is married to Ragnall's brother, who is under siege in Ireland, as he later discovers by Ragnall's forces. Uhtred, has decisions to make between family and loyalty, and between personal ambition and political commitment. The action does not cease, and the final page, as with any Cornwell novel, always arrives too soon.

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Vanessa and Her Sister

Summary: 
This historical novel covers a seven year period beginning in 1905 in London, at the start of the famous Bloomsbury group. Written in the first person as a series of journal entries, this book covers the relationship between the writer Virginia Woolf and her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell. Woven throughout the story are letters, postcards and telegrams which embellish and bring to life the many other writers and artists who met to discuss literature, art and politics. It is a well-written novel and a totally engaging read.

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Mothering Sunday

Summary: 
This small slim novel, set on one day in 1924 from a vantage point of more than 70 years in the future is called a "romance"-- but of the two love affairs the housemaid "Jane Fairchild" experiences, the one with books and imagination is the most enduring, however formative the first conventional one that forms the plot. Beautifully written, full of life. 'Words were like an invisible skin, enwrapping the world and giving it reality. Yet you could not say the world would not be there, would not be real if you took away the words. At best it seemed that things might bless the words that distinguished them, and that words might bless everything." p.129

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