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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

                                                       The Churchill Factor
by boris_churchillBoris Johnson   

This book is a tour-de-force, just like the subject Winston Churchill. Boris Johnson, Mayor or London, celebrates the singular brilliance of one of the most important leaders of the twentieth century.

Fearless on the battlefield, Churchill had to be ordered by the king to stay out of action on D-Day; he pioneered aerial bombing and few could match his experience in organizing violence on a colossal scale His maneuvering positioned America for entry into World War II. He was a trailblazer in health care, education, and social welfare, though he remained incorrigibly politically incorrect. He is proof that one person—intrepid, ingenious, determined—can make all the difference. A MUST read!!!

Kathy Carroll, Development Officer

       arsonist The Arsonist  by Sue Miller

Against the back drop of a series of summer fires in a fictional New Hampshire town, a mother and daughter each work through changes and transitions in their lives. The story unfolds as they come to terms with what is most important for personal happiness and fulfillment. The writing is strong, and the title only somewhat misleading. Themes of community, one’s sense of place, and what connects us to each other will both surprise and draw you in.

Francine Lozeau, Library Substitute

    doerrAll the Light We Cannot See  by Anthony Doerr

This story takes place in France and Germany leading up to and including World War II. And what an amazing story! It is well written and powerful. In a nutshell there are radios, a blind French girl, an orphaned German boy, a diamond (with a possible curse!), the invasion of Paris and moral choices. You might want to add your name to the list of patrons waiting to read this book!

Marilyn Breselor, Library Substitute

by Amy Bloom
Away is about a young Russian immigrant woman’s odyssey, early in the 20th century, to reunite with her lost daughter. I read much of it standing up, and was haunted by it long after I’d finished it. It is pitch-perfect and concise, a book that anyone can enjoy, but very few could write.

Katrina McCurley, Library Substitute

boys in the boatThe Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics   Daniel James Brown
This story of the University of Washington crew team that won Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics will leave readers mesmerized and inspired. Despite knowing the outcome from the very first chapter, Brown will have you sitting on the edge of your seat until the very end. The grace and power of rowing is on display within this true tale of perseverance, hope, and trust set against the backdrop of the Great Depression and the reign of Hitler.

Amy Lappin,  Libraries Deputy Director 

     As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust  by Alan Bradley

       chimney When I read Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, the first in Bradley’s Flavia de Luce mystery series, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I wondered how Bradley could keep a cozy with an 11-year old sleuth from getting too precious. Seven books into the series, Flavia de Luce remains anything but precious. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust finds Flavia in Canada at Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy, the boarding school her mother Harriet attended as a girl. Not in residence for 24 hours, Flavia is thrilled when a mummified body comes tumbling from her fireplace. Our sleuth has more than a few mysteries to solve as she finds her way in new surroundings. Delightful!

Abby Walsh, Library Substitute    

100 days100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake
food babeThe Food Babe Way by Vani Hari
unjunkUnjunk Your Junk Food by Andrea Donsky

The challenge to eat healthy and save money is not mine alone. The following resources have helped me understand the big picture when it comes food production and sourcing;identify the healthy and not-so-healthy ingredients; enjoy the sweet and salty without guilt; and plan meals and shop for my family of five while staying within our monthly budget.
The good news?  Lebanon Libraries own all three.

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.

Carolyn Crocker, Book Discussion Leader and Library Clerk 

    swimmerThe Swimmer by Joakim Zander

Ripped-off-the-headlines espionage as it shatters the lives of three millennials– orphaned Klara—an EU politician’s assistant, Mahmoud –a striving academic with a checkered past, and George– a high-flying lobbyist, all of whom are drawn into a tangle of CIA and security services, none of which can be trusted. Behind it all, the swimmer, an old spy with deep guilt and deep connections. Fascinating and compulsive reading.

      shadow catcher Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: the epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan

The amazing accomplishment of a man with a Big Idea– to capture a vanishing way of life in 20 monumental volumes in the first third of the 20th century– came at a huge cost. But the passion, ingenuity, dedication and sheer adventure shine through the hard facts, thanks to writing that sparkles.

   how to be both How to be Both  by Ali Smith

A grieving teenaged girl ponders dualisms—her memories of her dead mother more vivid than her own actual life, her ambivalent emerging sexuality, art and reality, death and life. The few surviving works of an little-known Renaissance painter link her to his similarly ambiguous life, and forge a conduit to her survival. A remarkable and inventive novel.

“ It is subtle and at the same time the most unsubtle thing in the world, so unsubtle it’s subtle. Once you’ve seen it, you can’t not see it.” p. 142

 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!

Olive MacGregor, Library SubstituteFive 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.

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.”

Susanne Collins, Young Adult Librarian


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.

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”?