Staff Picks

Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Summary: 
Nancy Horan, author of the New York Times bestseller "Loving Frank", has written a new novel, this time about the relationship between the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife Fanny.With carefully researched history, Horan is able to bring these two complex characters to life in a way that is both gripping and enthralling.

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Luther The Calling

Summary: 
: A brilliant crime novel and prequel to the acclaimed BBC series by the show’s creator and sole writer Meet Detective Chief Inspector John Luther. He’s a murder detective with an extraordinary case-clearance rate. He’s obsessive, instinctive, and intense. He seethes with a hidden fury that at times he can barely control. Sometimes it sends him to the brink of madness, making him do things any other detective wouldn’t and shouldn’t do. Luther: The Calling, the first in a new series of novels featuring DCI John Luther, takes us into Luther’s past and into his mind. It is the story of the serial killer case that tore his personal and professional relationships apart and propelled him over the precipice—beyond fury, beyond vengeance, all the way to the other side of the law. Luther: The Calling is a compulsively readable and intense. So intense that I had to put it down to gather my feelings. If you enjoyed the BBC series, you must read this book!!

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Dark Fire

Summary: 
This second book in Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series delves again into the dark and superstitious world of Cromwell's England. Shardlake is asked to help a young girl accused of murder. She refuses to speak in her defense even when threatened with torture. But just when the case seems lost, Thomas Cromwell, the Henry VIII's feared vicar general, offers Shardlake two more weeks to prove his client’s innocence. In exchange, Shardlake must find a lost cache of "Dark Fire," a legendary weapon of mass destruction. A great period murder mystery!!

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How to Be Both

Summary: 
A grieving teenaged girl ponders dualisms—her memories of her dead mother more vivid than her own actual life, her ambivalent emerging sexuality, art and reality, death and life. The few surviving works of an little-known renaissance painter link her to his similarly ambiguous life, and forge a conduit to her survival. A remarkable and inventive novel. “ It is subtle and at the same time the most unsubtle thing in the world, so unsubtle it’s subtle. Once you’ve seen it, you can’t not see it.” p. 142

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Murder at the Brightwell

Summary: 
Set in England in the 1930’s among the well-to-do set, this first novel by Ashley Weaver seamlessly intertwines mystery and romance along with witty dialog and memorable characters. If you enjoy not-too-violent mysteries with an intelligent, complicated, and engaging female protagonist, “Murder at the Brightwell” will leave you hoping the author is already busy working on the sequel!

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The Vanishing Neighbor

Summary: 
The author addresses concerns Americans have about our future, including the notion of American exceptionalism, and our country’s future prosperity and place in the world. The author attributes our sense of malaise to the erosion of middle-ring relationships,much of which are community and/or volunteer associations, such as Rotary Clubs and volunteer fire departments. He makes a compelling case that our more peripheral relationships are the cause of the withering away of the sense of local community in America.

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Bitter Greens

Summary: 
The plight of women– in Renaissance Venice and 18th century Paris is fleshed out in this retelling of Rapunzel, and of the life of the French author who first told it. As 200 years had not wrought much change for the characters, the modern reader wonders how far we’ve advanced since then, as this tale enchants and resonates. Luxuriant writing.

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Butterflies in November

Summary: 
Cast adrift in warming Iceland by both lover and husband, a thirty-ish diffident narrator, takes on her friend’s special-needs child, wins two lotteries, and sets off on the Ring Road. Landscape, events, cuisine, and characters are weird and weirdly compelling, funny and touching, like butterflies in November. Complete with recipes.

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Norwegian by Night

Summary: 
“Couldn't put it down” doesn't begin to describe this wonderful book. Serious thought, indelible characters, and beautiful writing perfectly paired with a thriller’s pace and the mandatory “shattering conclusion.” Dementia, grief, war crimes, police procedure, family love, memory, politics intertwine—and it’s laugh-out-loud funny too!

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Unlikely Friendships

Summary: 
What do an iguana and a house cat have in common? An owl and a spaniel? A rabbit and a guinea pig? According to Jennifer Holland, senior writer for National Geographic Magazine, these creatures are examples of animals who have formed what she calls interspecies friendships. This book tells the simple stories of 47 different instances of these relationships, with beautiful photographs that clearly illustrate the tales of this unique and remarkable bonding.

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