Staff picks for March 2014!

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Marie’s picks!! 

The Invention Of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd is my favorite book of 2014 thus far.  Inspired by a true story, this historical novel follows the lives of a slave and her mistress, who also happens to become an abolitionist and suffragist, through the 1800s.  Bright writing and even pacing make this a great read.

I hesitate to put The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon on this list based on title alone after another bitterly cold and windy spring day in late March.  However, I did enjoy the story in this chilling mystery-horror crossover.  Linking the present to the early 1900s with a diary that chronicles a way to keep the dead alive, this story follows a teenager’s haunting search for her mother in present-day rural Vermont.

Taking place in turn-of-the-century Manhattan, The Golem And The Jinni by Helene Wecker tells the stories of a Jewish golem and an Arabian jinni separately exploring their new home in New York.  Eventually, the stories merge together leading to a suspense-filled ending. I enjoyed following this inventive story that reads like historical fiction with a hint of fantasy.

Robin Oliveira’s I Always Loved You is another work of historical fiction that I enjoyed. Taking place in Belle Epoque Paris, the story follows Mary Cassatt’s life, focusing on her relationship with fellow artist Edgar Degas.  Cassatt’s interactions with the other artists of the time period hum in the background and add to the creative atmosphere of this novel.   

 

Chip’s Picks:

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon Chip describes as the best book he’s read since Harry Potter! 

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

Dawn’s Picks:

How does  tragedy and time affect a person’s memories?  This was the premise in The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene that I loved.  When I got to the half way mark in the book, I stopped and said WOW.  So far it is my best book of 2014! Can’t wait to see what others think of this book. 

Loved, loved, loved the beautifully written novel Benediction by Kent Haruf.  Not much happens in this book but it is about life’s everyday rewards and struggles.  It takes the ordinary and makes it special and memorable.   Another book that I just thought was so beautifully written is Alice McDermott’s Someone.  These two books have been passed to many people!

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh is a well written and suspenseful novel that deals with the mystery of two women, one who was murdered and one who disappeared.  This is McHugh’s first novel and I will be sure to be on the lookout for her next one!

Wiley Cash hooked me with A Land More Kind than Home so I couldn’t wait to pick up his latest This Dark Road to Mercy.  Great story and an emotional ride. He is an author that is now on my ‘must read’ list. 

A few other titles that I’ve read: 

The Silver Star by Jeanette Walls

Orange is the new Black by Piper Kerman (I had to read this after being obsessed with the NETFLIX series!)

Golden State by Michelle Richmond

The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna

 

Let us know what you’ve been reading!! 

 

 

January STAFF READS

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I have to admit, I’ve been a little lazy with posting our staff picks on our blog and I truly apologize for that!! Sometimes time just seems to move so quickly… especially over the holidays! Hope everyone had a very happy holiday season. Here are quite a few books that we’ve read… check them out!!! Happy reading! ~ dawn

Marie’s January Staff Picks

The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie (Alan Bradley)
This is an older title and is first in a mystery series revolving around an eccentric eleven year old girl named Flavia De Luce. The newest Flavia mystery just came out.

Etiquette & Espionage (Gail Carriger)
This young adult title was enthusiastically recommended by a library patron. I found it to be a fun, fast moving steampunk adventure of manners.

The Rosie Project (Graeme Simsion)
I listened to the audio edition and enjoyed the Australian accent in this offbeat love story.

Want Not (Jonathan Miles)
In this darkly humorous book, a pleasing jumble of eccentric characters connect in surprising ways.

The Circle (Dave Eggers)
A young woman demonstrates where technology and social networking can take society in this horrifyingly true-to-life fictional account.

The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt)
This beautifully written book is worth the time commitment!

Mercy Snow (Tiffany Baker)
Magical realism creeps into this haunting story set in a mill town in New Hampshire. The ending could have been more complete, but, all in all, the story pulled me along.

Sheila’s Picks

Sheila has two new young adult novels to recommend that adults will want to take a look at. For those who like sci-fi thrillers try MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza, Sixteen year old, MILA finds out that she is actually an android with human cellular function and her Mom is actually one of her creators. Face paced, sci-fi thriller that pulls you into the inner dilemmas that an android with humanity deals with while she grows. For those who enjoy Maine based fiction try Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian. Tom Bouchard, rising senior at Einnston, finds himself doing community service and becoming changed in the process when both the soccer team and the children at the community center become the focal point of a community racial protest. Padian does an amazing job of creating realistic characterizations of high students and the conflicts that arise when Somalian immigrants must learn the “American Way” in a small Maine community.

The one “adult” novel Sheila has read lately was The Rosie Project and her response to that little gem was: “ Loved, loved, loved it! As a huge fan of the TV show “The Big Bang Theory” and all things psychological, this was right up my alley! Enjoyed the perspective, humor and the reality of sorts.”

Dawn’s Picks

The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt)
A long book at 700+ pages but with all the hype about it, I just had to read it. Overall a very good story that I can see being translated for the big screen at some point. Would love to go and see the actually “Goldfinch” painting now!

The Circle (Dave Eggers)
Wow. Loved this book but also scary. This is one of those books that it’s hard to stop thinking of, as it deals with technology and social media. Get off Facebook and put down your smart phone and then read this…..

The Rosie Project (Graeme Simsion)
I have been passing this book out to everyone and one patron described it as a ‘light delight’. I agree. Just a wonderful, laugh out loud quick read.

Once We Were Brothers (Ronald H Balson)
Didn’t think it was the best written story, but the concept of the story was intriguing. Ben Solomon accuses one of the richest, most philanthropic men in Chicago of being the Nazi, Otto Pietak. It’s called a legal thriller but my favorite part was going back and forth in time to WWII with the main character, Ben.

Here are a few other titles that I enjoyed:
Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell)
Never Look Away (Linwood Barclay)
Too Close to Home (Linwood Barclay)
Between a Mother and her Child (Elizabeth Noble)
Where the Moon Isn’t (Nathan Filer)
Help for the Haunted (John Searls)

Marie’s STAFF PICKS

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Bootstrapper by Mardi Link is a memoir telling of a recently divorced woman’s fight to save her farm and support her three children. I found it funny at times and a satisfying read.

Starting with a “Hello Kitty” lunchbox found on the coast of British Columbiam, A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is a metaphysical exploration that spans continents and time. The lunchbox contains a diary written by a troubled young woman in Japan and propels the novel into many intriguing layers.

Solidly written suspense novel  Anonymous Sources by Mary Louise Kelly is more than meets the eye. A suicide investigation by journalist Alexander James turns out to be more than she thought. Twists abound!

Massacre Pond by Paul Doiron is the fourth in a series that takes place Downeast Maine and is based very loosely on Maine newspaper headlines. The main character, Mike Bowditch, seems to have a bit more common sense than in the previous three books.

I consider A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra to be one of the best books of 2013 that I have read. This heartbreaking and beautiful novel takes place in war torn Chechnya and is about what it means to survive and be alive.

Kingdom Of Strangers by Zoe Ferraris is a well written mystery set in Saudi Arabia.  This series always takes me to a totally different place, especially in regards to the way women are treated. This title is available on the Library’s Kindles.

Sheila’s Picks……

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Sheila’s nonfictions reading choices this month were all memoirs of sorts that expanded her understanding of complexities of human behavior.  All three books have stuck with her for various reasons.

 

In The Spark:  a mother’s story if nurturing genius Kristine Barnett, shares  the amazing and inspiring story of her son Jacob Barnett.  Kristine was a day care provider whose teaching philosophy spurred on the breakthrough for her son Jacob who had been diagnosed with severe autism.   Jacob eventually attended college at age 9 and became a doctoral research assistant at 14. 

 

My Dyslexia by Philip Schultz provides an adult perspective on learning at age 64 that he has dyslexia.  This would be a supportive read for adults who are coming to grips with the same issues.

 

Where the Peacocks sing: a  palace, a prince and the search for home, by Alison Singh Gee is an enjoyable read of her personal trek from being a Chinese American living in city life in Hong Kong to meeting and marrying an Indian prince whose’s family legacy demands a whole new set of skills.

 

Beach Reads

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So what is a “beach read”? What is it that makes it different from a book that you read any other time of the year? Does it have to be a book where the story takes place in the summer? Is it light reading? Fluff books??  Dawn just read “A Hundred Summers” by Beatriz Williams and the cover screams ‘beach read’ so she brought it home and read it in two days.  Was it the best book she ever read?  NO NO NO  Not by a long shot, but the story moved along quickly and even though it was predictable and sappy it was great for a beautiful summer weekend in August at the lake. 

Marie’s picks!!

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Marie’s Staff Picks June 2013

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

An inventive story with great characters.

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

This is the 2013 Pulitzer Winner for fiction and is a strange, haunting and transporting work that takes place in North Korea.

Le Road Trip by Vivian Swift

The author included her sketches along with her observations in this fun book about traveling in France.

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

In this historical novel set in Belle Epoque Paris, three sisters try to make a living on their own.

Nine Mile Bridge by Helen Hamlin

Published in 1945, this is a biographical work of a woman’s time spent living in the Allagash during the 1930s.

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin

This is my favorite book of the last six months. It has great characters, a grounding story and beautiful writing.

The Good House by Ann Leary

I listened to this on audio and loved the reader’s take on the main character. 

The Art Forger by Barbara Shapiro

I learned a lot about forging works of art and liked the underlying mystery that involved the Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum in Boston.

 

 

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