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Staff Picks

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

Vicky Berdecio, Library Substitute

:                                  Leaving Time  by Jodi Picoult

leavingIf you are a fan of Jodi Picoult’s novels, you will most likely enjoy reading her latest book. Like her earlier novel “Lone Wolf” which involved extensive research into the behavior of wolves in the wild, “Leaving Time” weaves together a mother-daughter relationship with a study of elephants- especially their extraordinary intelligence and capacity to feel grief.
Along with these insights into animal behavior, Picoult has once again developed some full, complex characters as well as including her classic signature thrilling surprise ending.




   beingBeing Mortal: Medicine and What  Matters in the End  by Atul Gawande

In his nonfiction book,  a practicing surgeon,examines contemporary end of life care. From the loss of quality of life in hospitals, nursing homes, and even assisted living facilities, Gawande questions the way modern medicine approaches aging and death.
Using extensive research, as well as examples from his own life and family, the author explores varieties of hospice care which offer a more humane model, a way that treats the human spirit with dignity and respect.


Philip Wiebkin, Library Substitute

    10661066: The Year of the Conquest by David Howarth

David Howarth has written a uniquely interesting and scholarly treatise on 1066, documenting the year as well as scholarly sources allow. He then adds his own insightful views of events and minds of the major protagonists, Harold Godwin and William the Duke of Normandy.  Where sources contradict he adds his own balanced thoughts and opinions. I enjoyed this book immensely, gaining a better understanding of why events played out the way they did and how the state of minds of Harold and William lead to the outcome that saw the last successful invasion of England.




    cleeseSo Anyway by John Cleese

This book is probably one of the most enjoyable books I have read in years. I found the first third of the book insightful as I began to understand a little more about him as an individual and what made him the way he was later in life. John Cleese writes the way he speaks and it was a pleasure to read. The rest of the book was a read through memory lane as I remembered all the shows and comedians and writers that he worked with. I had to put this book down only because I was crying so hard with laughter.  I have to admit that I’m now quite sad to have finished.



Carolyn Crocker, Book Discussion Leader and Library Clerk 



       stuffStuff Matters: Exploring the marvelous materials that shape our man-made world

by Mark Miodownik

Forget “marvelous”! A book that can enchant someone whose Waterloo was high school chemistry is “miraculous”!  Miodownik makes materials science personal, meaningful, and understandable, opening up the wonder of the manmade world we live in, from steel to chocolate, the pencil in your hand to the stardust of outer space, from human scale to nano and atomic, His humorous and imaginative writing makes  it all fascinating.





    unknown AmsThe Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

An eye-opening novel –a reminder that Latino culture is not monolithic: many voices, many stories, many countries of origin, and many reasons for emigrating. The central story of the Mexican Riveras provides a window on the circumstances of all those who come in contact with them, the particular and the universal mingling seamlessly.  A timely novel.





   sidneySidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie

An old-fashioned-flavored mystery in which Our Hero the vicar and his Backgammon & Drinking Pal the policeman solve a variety of crimes and muse on the meaning of faith and life– with possibly a love interest or two—in a quaint Cambridgeshire village. PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery is good, but print is better!






 Sean Fleming, Libraries Director

The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community

by Marc J. Dunkelman


The author addresses concerns Americans have about our future, including the notion of American exceptionalism, and our country’s future prosperity and place in the world. The author attributes our sense of malaise to the erosion of middle-ring relationships,much of which are community and/or volunteer associations, such as Rotary Clubs and volunteer fire departments. He makes a compelling case that our more peripheral relationships are the cause of the withering away of the sense of local community in America.




Arlene Guest, Library Substitute


    brightwellMurder at the Brightwell by  Ashley Weaver

Set in England in the 1930’s among the well-to-do set, this first novel by Ashley Weaver seamlessly intertwines mystery and romance along with witty dialog and memorable characters.  If you enjoy not-too-violent mysteries with an intelligent, complicated, and engaging female protagonist, “Murder at the Brightwell” will leave you hoping the author is already busy working on the sequel!







Kathy Carroll, Development Officer

       i always loved you I Always Loved You  by Robin Oliveira

This is a marvelous book chronicling the complicated and often tempestuous relationship between artists Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas. The writing is strong, and family dynamics infuse the telling of the story of the early days of the Impressionist movement. With several noted artists of the period at its center, the tale is essentially about the transformative power of deep connections in our lives.





Olive MacGregor, Library Substitute

Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer

5 days left

Mara Nichols, a successful lawyer with a loving family and supportive co-workers, is suffering from a progressive disease which is starting to show disturbing effects.
Scott Coffman is a middle school teacher who is completing a year of foster parenting an eight year-old boy whose mother will soon be released from prison.  He is heartbroken at the thought of losing Curtis, but his wife is looking forward to more privacy as they await the birth of their first child.
Although Mara and Scott live far away from each other,  they belong to the same online group where they pour out their concerns in late night sessions.
This is Timmer’s first book,and I hope it isn’t her last.  It has had excellent reviews.



Abby Walsh, Library Substitute                     

      mrmercedes_us_coverMr. Mercedes by Stephen King

This book kept me up at night both from fear and yearning to know the end.  We know who the culprit is from the beginning.  He is as terrifying as Buffalo Bill in the movie Silence of the Lambs.  The cat and mouse game between Detective Bill Hodges and sociopath, Brady Hartfield, is intense and gripping up until the very last page of the story – an ending that forced this reader to make sure all our doors were locked.




Amy Lappin,  Libraries Deputy Director 

      The Secret Place by Tana French (audiobook)

tana audioExcellent narration drives the latest Tana French audiobook. This is the fifth in the compelling Dublin Murder Squad series. When a new clue from an unsolved murder at an elite boarding school is dropped in Det. Stephen Moran’s lap, he sees it as his ticket out of cold cases and onto the murder squad. Of course, the murderer has other plans. One doesn’t need to have knowledge of the previous titles to enjoy this book.



Chuck McAndrew, Library IT Assistant

    whiskeyWhiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer

Three deeply flawed characters battle substance abuse, mental illness, and terrifying global conspiracies in this dystopian techno-thriller. As Joseph Heller said in Catch-22, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”





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.




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.




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.




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.



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”?