Staff Picks

A Terrible Country

Summary: 
Russian-American Andrei returns to Moscow in 2008 to escape his failing academic career and to take care of his failing grandmother, while his older brother’s Russian businesses and properties also fail. This portrait of Russian society captures the complexities that baffle the expat, and the misunderstandings that jeopardize relationships new and old. The novel is illuminating, funny, and affecting--Russian joyful sadness prevails.

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The Looking Glass War

Summary: 
This is unlike any of LeCarre's books I have read before-- a plot devoid of unexpected twists and turns, daring chases, thrilling fight scenes. Instead it focuses on rivalry between two intelligence units and planned action in South Germany. It would have been an easy job for the Circus: a can of film couriered from Helsinki to London. In the past the Circus handled all things political, while the Department dealt with matters military, but the Department has been dead since the War, its resources siphoned away. Now, one of their agents is dead, and vital evidence verifying the presence of Soviet missiles near the West German border is gone. John Avery is the Department's younger member and its last hope. Avery must infiltrate the East and restore his masters' former glory. John le Carré depicts a hopeless, grey world; reality in which man is just a pawn in the other’s game and promises are easily broken: totally depressing, but thoroughly absorbing. Again, he brilliantly doesn't spell out the ending, but you just know in your mind it's the worst possible outcome. I was emotionally spent after I had finished this book....Just brilliant!!!!!!

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The Life List of Adrian Mandrick

Summary: 
A hopeful and funny and poignant novel about extinction: the dying of species (and a 6-page memoriam to Native American tribes), the planet, family love, the nervous system of an opiate addict. Birds are the sustaining force for Adrian Mandrick, anesthesiologist, father, husband, son-- and he has buried the origin of his passion so deep he can hardly live at all.

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The Glitch

Summary: 
Tech company glass-ceiling buster Shelley Stone is living her most efficient life, gulping the challenges of marriage, parenthood, tasteful luxury home-staff management, with the help of her wearable personal assistant, her company’s product, the Conch. This novel captures the zeitgeist wittily in its own lingo as Shelley’s life deconstructs. Wry, entertaining and too true.

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A Death of No Importance

Summary: 
An historical, suspenseful mystery, this is the author's debut adult novel. I thoroughly enjoyed both the mystery itself along with the intimate look at NYC at the time of the Gilded Age for some, extreme poverty for others and the mix of the classes and mores of the time. This is a complex mystery solved by a very smart, observant woman of the time with many unexpected twists including the ending.

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The Eagle Has Flown

Summary: 
The last in the Liam Devlin series continues the story of the first book The Eagle Had Landed. Paratroop officer Steiner survived "Operation Eagle", and is now a POW somewhere in London. Himmler wants him back, ordering his top espionage agents to take charge of the perilous rescue mission. IRA assassin Liam Devlin, who is hiding out in the bars of Lisbon, playing piano, is persuaded to return to Britain in an attempt to effect the escape of German soldier Kurt Steiner from the Tower of London and return with him to Berlin. One more time Jack Higgins provides us with a fantastic tale of action and death, with sufficient twists and turns to keep the reader turning the page until the very end. A thoroughly riveting read..........

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Goodbye, Vitamin

Summary: 
Dumped by her fiancé, depressed millennial Ruth quits her job and heads home for a year to mind her father’s descent into Alzheimer’s. His record of her early childhood matches her diary of their days together in a poignant, often funny, meditation on memory and presence.

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Clock Dance : a novel

Summary: 
The prolific writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Tyler has come up with a new novel. The story of a woman named Willa begins in 1967 when she is a young schoolgirl, then fast-forwards to 1977 when she is in college. Then the narrative moves to 1997 when she is a young widow coping with the loss of her husband in a car accident. Then in 2017, at the age of sixty, she is longing to become a grandmother. How she finds a new family in Baltimore is the kind of story Anne Tyler tells best.

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A Red Herring Without Mustard

Summary: 
This is yet another charming and delightfully amusing tale featuring the clever and unflappable eleven-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce. This precocious young chemist with an amazing knowledge of poisons always finds herself in the midst of murders and other misdeeds in the hamlet of Bishop's Lacey. This mystery begins with a Gypsy fortune-teller, a missing baby, and a corpse in Flavia's own backyard. All the while Flavia sorts through all the red herrings to solve these crimes, she delights in exacting revenge on her two hateful sisters, Feely (Ophelia) and Daffy (Daphne). I thoroughly enjoy reading these lighthearted tales of mayhem and revenge. Flavia is hilarious!

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Young Bloods

Summary: 
The first book in the Revolutions series looks at the early life of Arthur Welsey and Napoleon. Europe in the late eighteenth century was a tumultuous place, with war and rebellions breaking out on many fronts. Young Arthur Wesley (later Wellington) and Napoleon Bonaparte grow up worlds apart yet both immersed from youth in a culture where a military career is a natural choice for men of ambition. While Wellington is blooded in Ireland and Flanders, Napoleon is caught up in the dramas of the French Revolution and war with Prussia, Britain and Holland. This is well-written book shifts from the life story of one to the other seamlessly, developing the characters of both men, their thoughts and ambitions in life and careers. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Even though it is over 500 pages in length, I could not put it down. On to the next in the series……….

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