Staff Picks

Published on Friday, November 26, 2010

book cover, EmbersI read a certain book several years ago that continues to haunt me. It is called Embers by the Hungarian author Sandor Marai.

It haunts me because it is really all about one brief moment when a decision is made, most likely based on love, that changes three peoples' lives forever. It is particularly rich because of the intersecting themes--friendship, romantic love, loyalty and the passage of time. It is a deep and moving book that anyone could relate to on some level.

Published on Friday, August 13, 2010

book cover, MakersCory Doctorow's novel is a hysterical post-cyberpunk satire of the tumultuous relationship between technology, the world economy, postmodernism and corporate America. 

In a future that could be five minutes from now, a Silicon Valley journalist, two hacker engineers working in a Florida junkyard, and a mildly insane business tycoon change the world economy, build up massive fortunes, then lose it all within a decade; and all this comes before they create a new series of rides made from the hollowed-out remains of malls and Walmarts across the country, and launch a new cottage industry--in litigation against supermassive corporations. 

Published on Friday, June 25, 2010

book cover, No Great MischiefAlstair MacLeod's novel contrasts Alexander MacDonald’s semi-charmed life with the lives of his less fortunate older brothers who are forced to fend for themselves when their parents perish on the ice in an accident near their home in Nova Scotia. 

MacDonald escapes a desperate life of working in the Canadian uranium mines like his kin, and is now a successful dentist.  He reflects on his life, home and family history while on a trip to Toronto to look after the needs of his aging alcoholic brother.

Published on Friday, May 28, 2010

book cover, Marcelo in the Real WorldFrancisco X. Stork's beautifully written, poignant novel is the irresistible story of a 17-year-old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Experiencing life from Marcelo’s perspective, the reader is transported into a unique way of thinking, offering a rich and textured view of a figure with “disability.”

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Published on Thursday, April 29, 2010

book cover, American BrutusMichael Kauffman's exhaustively researched and well-written examination of John Wilkes Booth, the conspiracy he hatched and the terrible crime he committed.

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Published on Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In this work of historical fiction by Judith Merkle Riley, Genevieve is a crippled, educated young woman taken in by Madam Montvoison (a real-life figure) who sets her up as a fortune teller.

Experience the intrigue surrounding King Louis XIV’s court in 17th-century Paris. Riley incorporates authentic historical details, humor and romance.

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Published on Friday, March 12, 2010

book cover, Merle's DoorThis is a beautifully written account of the relationship between author Ted Kerasote, an award-winning nature writer, and Merle, the big golden lab mix who adopted him on a camping trip and returned with him to back-country Wyoming. 

Recommended by Ellsworth, Young Adult Division, MLK

Published on Wednesday, February 24, 2010

book cover Claudette ColvinAs a teen, Claudette Colvin sparked the protest that led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and desegregation of public facilities by refusing to relinquish her seat to a white woman. Phillip Hoose has written a compelling account of a teenager who stood up and spoke out for her beliefs, leading the way for more familiar bus boycott leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. 

Recommended by Micki, Children and Youth Services

Published on Thursday, February 18, 2010

A classic novel from the 1940s with a modern “edge.”  W. Somerset Maugham, perhaps better known for his weightier tome, Of Human Bondage, writes here about an idealistic World War I soldier who abandons the love of his life in order to journey to India to find himself spiritually.  Though set mostly in Paris, the novel’s depiction of economically depressed America will reverberate with readers of today.  For those who prefer strong character development and good writing over action-packed plots, a great choice to read.

Recommeded by Wendell, Sociology Division, MLK

Published on Monday, February 15, 2010

book cover City LifeFirst published in 1995, Witold Rybczyinski examines the development of North American cities and offers comparisons with their older European counterparts. City Life is highbrow without being academically dry, yet somewhat chatty whilst staying on course. If you are a serious city-lover, read this book and other Rybczynski writings.

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