Staff Picks

The Blue Between Sky and Water

Summary: 
The heartbreaking story of a family of Palestinians, from 1948 to the present, as the Naqba reverberates through the generations. The portrayal of family life, the mystical connections over time, space, and beyond death, the life in Gaza and of an emigre to America and his granddaughter may be a bit idealized. But the novel offers a rare view of the conflict and the tragedy. Illuminating.

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Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

Summary: 
Award-winning marine conservationist and ecologist Carl Safina has written a new book. In it he brings together extensive scientific research and field observations expressed in an accessible story-telling voice. He focuses on three main species: free-living elephants in Africa, the wolves re-introduced to Yellowstone Park, and killer whales (a.k.a orcas) of the Pacific Northwest. Safina's words offer us an insider's view into the lives and minds of many creatures, shedding a brilliant light on their capacity for perception, thought and emotion. His work compels us to re-evaluate how we interact with them, as well as redefining our place as humans within the circle of life.

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Stuff Matters: Exploring the marvelous materials that shape our manmade world

Summary: 
Forget "marvelous"! A book that can enchant someone whose Waterloo was high school chemistry is "miraculous"! Miodownik makes materials science personal, meaningful, and understandable, opening up the wonder of the manmade world we live in, from steel to chocolate, the pencil in your hand to the stardust of outer space, from human scale to nano and atomic. Miodownik makes it all fascinating.

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The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

Summary: 
Part memoir, part self-help, Amanda Palmer takes you into her crazy, colorful world where she's gone from being a busker on the streets of Boston to giving a TED talk that has reached millions. Amanda shares her insight on how to be vulnerable, how to build a community, and how to (you guessed it) ask. She delves into her personal life, exposing her struggle to accept help and find a sense of independence in her relationship with author Neil Gaiman. Know that you don't have to be a fan of her music to appreciate the care and wisdom Amanda Palmer displays in her book.

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A Briefer History of Time

Summary: 
This is Professor Hawking’s response for readers who have asked for a more accessible formulation of its key concepts—the nature of space and time, the role of God in creation, and the history and future of the universe. If this is a simpler version, of his first book, then I am awestruck by this man's intellect and ability to put such concepts into print. His ability to describe his ideas and concepts in terms that the non-science person might grasp is amazing. I have science degrees and had to reread several sections, to even begin to grasp his ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will probably read this book again, if only to maybe understand a little more. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has any curiosity for even a glimpse of an understanding of our incredible universe.

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The Passenger

Summary: 
In a departure from her quirky Spellman Files series, Lutz has written a darker suspense novel. Who is Tanya? Why is she really on the run? Is the narrator reliable? The plot twists and turns to a satisfying end. Recommended for readers who enjoyed Gone Girl, Girl on a Train, and the latest Caroline Kepnes novels. An entertaining weekend read.

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Cats on the Job

Summary: 
The full title of this book says it all...: Cats on the job: 50 Fabulous Felines who purr, mouse and even sing for their supper. Each of the fifty working cats featured in this fun book includes a full-page color portrait and a job description that would make any kitty proud. From bookstore cat, to library cat, to hospice cat ...their resumes are quite stellar. If you are looking for a collection of entertaining tails...ooops! tales, then this is a book for you!

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Weathering

Summary: 
A grandmother, mother, daughter, estranged each from the other, are stranded in a decrepit, isolated house by a river as the year plunges autumn through winter. Pepper, the 6-year-old sees a watery old woman; her mother Ada converses with her; and Pearl the grandmother flows through their lives, having been ashes scattered into the river in the first chapter. A lyrical ghost story about the ties that bind-- family and place.

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The Truth of all Things

Summary: 
A series of diabolical murders in Portland,Maine in 1892 are linked to the Salem witch trials. A policeman, a librarian, and a half-Abenaki /half blue-blood sleuth are on the case! Lots of local interest and history.

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Gratitude

Summary: 
In the final publication by the prolific writer Dr Oliver Sacks, a series of four short essays entitled "Gratitude", he reflects on his life and work with touching candor. In these essays he openly addresses the end of life in a highly moving manner. To sum up this collection in his own words, he writes:"Above all, I am a sentient being, a thinking animal on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure." With such a point of view, nothing more needs to be said, does it?

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