Staff Picks - August 2017

    • Magpie Murders
      Anthony Horowitz

      This fiendishly brilliant, riveting thriller weaves a classic whodunit worthy of Agatha Christie into a chilling, ingeniously original modern-day mystery. Masterful, clever, and relentlessly suspenseful, Magpie Murders is a deviously dark take on vintage English crime fiction in which the reader becomes the detective.

    • Al Franken, Giant of the Senate
      Al Franken

      In this candid personal memoir, the honorable gentleman from Minnesota takes his army of loyal fans along with him from Saturday Night Live to the campaign trail, inside the halls of Congress, and behind the scenes of some of the most dramatic and/or hilarious moments of his new career in politics.  Has Al Franken become a true Giant of the Senate? Franken asks readers to decide for themselves.

    • The Alice Network
      Kate Quinn

      Outstanding fictional account of the real-life Alice Network, women spies in World War I who were tough and determined to defeat the Germans.  The story centers on Eve Gardiner, a young woman trained to spy on the Germans, and Charlie St. Clair, a young post-WW II woman, pregnant, lost, and finding her direction. The two meet and the book alternates chapters as Charlie is set on finding her cousin, Rose presumed dead after the war, while Eve's story of the Alice Network unfolds. A compelling blend of historical fiction, mystery, and women's fiction, Quinn's complex plot and engaging characters have something to offer just about everyone.

    • Patriotic Treason: John Brown and the soul of America
      Evan Carton

      John Brown was a pivotal figure in the fight to end slavery in pre-Civil War America. Carton’s well-researched biography looks beyond the ‘madman” and “religious fanatic” labels that have often been used to diminish him. What separated Brown from most other white abolitionists was his complete and utter devotion to the cause, no matter the cost to himself and his family. He was also the rare white person who truly regarded blacks as equals, and treated them as such. This is an illuminating book about an important but often forgotten figure in U.S. history.

    • The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.
      Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland

      A captivating and complex near-future thriller combining history, science, magic, mystery, intrigue, and adventure that questions the very foundations of the modern world.  It features snarky interoffice memos, the return of witches (and magic), interfering government policies and time travel -- what more could you want in a fun summer read?

    • We Need to Talk About Kevin
      Lionel Shriver

      Another great fiction read  from older titles still to be enjoyed at the library. This book looks at a school shooting from the perpetrator’s mother’s point of view. What does it look like to raise a psychopath from birth? It starts slow and dreamy; really giving you the feel of unreality that would come about from such a trauma. This is a new twist on the thriller genre: steady build, beautifully written language, epistolary style. There's also a terrific film made of this book, which is at the library too. - Dawn

    • A Lifetime of Wisdom: embracing the way God heals you
      Tada, Joni Eareckson

      The author recalls the bitterness and despair she felt after the diving accident that left her paralyzed, and relates how God changed her and gave her the wisdom to live her life victoriously in spite of the challenges she faced.

    • What We Find
      Robyn Carr

      Join Robyn Carr, a New York Times bestselling author, as she explores the healing powers of rural Colorado in a brand-new story of fresh starts, budding relationships and one woman's journey to finding the happiness she's long been missing.

    • My Cubs: a love story
      Scott Simon

      The host of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, and in this book he chronicles his adolescence in Chicago as a die-hard fan to tell the story of the relationship between the team and the neighbourhood and city, and how the condition of Cubness has both charmed and haunted the lives of so many fans. From theories and curses to jinxes and myths, Simon chronicles how a team of loveable losers inspired such fervour and dedication from their fans, and how their 2016 win transcended sports to become an underdog narrative for the whole nation. 

    • Etiquette & Espionage: finishing school, book the first
      Gail Carriger

      Sophronia’s curiosity and boyish behavior gets on her mother’s nerves. When Miss Geraldine visits and offers to accept Sophronia into a quality finishing school for young ladies, her mother eagerly sends her off. Once they arrive at the school, Sophronia is thrown into an adventure as the school does not seem to be a normal finishing school. Instead, the professors, an assortment of werewolves and vampires, are teaching the girls valuable espionage skills along with their etiquette classes. This book is the first in a series of teen books. It is exciting and fast paced with likeable characters. There is steampunk themed adventure with some historical fiction and fantasy mixed in as well. - Katy

    • Palimpsest
      Catherynne Valente

      It’s not often that I would describe an author’s writing as sumptuous but there is just no other word that fits this book. Evocative, erotic, and lush also come to mind. This fantasy takes place both in modern day reality and in a dreamlike world called Palimpsest, which can only be visited by sleeping with someone who has already been there. It follows four eccentrics who are desperate to find a way to stay in the city and the struggles and connections that they each face. Valente’s prose is dense (not a light beach read) but the book is so beautifully written, and the premise is so fascinating that I was thinking about the story long after I finished it. – Cat

    • Goodnight From London
      Jennifer Robson

      It is the summer of 1940 and American journalist Ruby Sutton has gotten the opportunity to write about the war in the thick of it, London. However, it is more than she bargained for. The Blitz begins to rain down on the British people, and Ruby must find the iron will to remain an unbiased observer. This is an immersive story of women journalists and WWII Britain. The story draws you in and transports you to an explosive time in world history. - Sarah L.

    • The Mothers
      Brit Bennett

      Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett's mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret as high school is ending for Nadia.  The three involved in the secret, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey, become adults but they are still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer. They're caught in a love triangle and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt in this surprising story.

    • The Lost Book of the Grail
      Charles C. Lovett

      Arthur Prescott, an English professor and old book enthusiast, enjoys spending time with the ancient manuscripts of the Barchester Cathedral library, working on a guidebook to the cathedral, and nurturing an obsession with the Holy Grail. His world is turned upside down when Bethany Davis, a beautiful young American, arrives to complete the digitizing of the library's manuscripts. Initially at odds, they later discover they're kindred spirits and join forces to track down an ancient manuscript telling the story of the cathedral's founder and the ties between the cathedral and the grail itself. I often describe Lovett as Dan Brown for bookish people and this story is no exception. It's an excellent combination of mystery, great characters, and wonderful settings. - Amanda

    • Queen of Hearts: the crown
      Colleen Oakes

      The first novel in Colleen Oakes's young adult epic, imaginative series tells the origin of one of the most infamous villains--the Queen of Hearts. This is not the story of the Wonderland we know. This is a Wonderland where beneath each smile lies a secret, each tart comes with a demand, and only prisoners tell the truth.

    • It's Not Easy Bein' Me: a lifetime of no respect but plenty of sex and drugs
      Rodney Dangerfield

      "When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them". Anybody can repeat a Rodney Dangerfield joke, but nobody can tell one like the man himself. That's because his humor is drawn from a life so hard that the only way to survive was to laught at it. In this biography he comes clean (even if he still works blue) about his brutal life and the unlikely triumph he made out of it. Wild, hip, and hilarious, reading this book is like having a front-row seat at the ultimate Dangerfield performance, where the jokes come at a hundred miles an hour and the outrageous stories go on forever.

    • The Chilbury Ladies' Choir
      Jennifer Ryan

      As England becomes enmeshed in the early days of World War II and the men are away fighting, the women of Chilbury village forge an uncommon bond. They defy the Vicar's stuffy edict to close the choir and instead "carry on singing," resurrecting themselves as the Chilbury Ladies' Choir. This is an enchanting ensemble story that shuttles from village intrigue to romance to the heartbreaking matters of life and death, Jennifer Ryan's debut novel thrillingly illuminates the true strength of the women on the home front in a village of indomitable spirit.