Staff Picks 2010

The Tale of Halcyon Crane: A Novel By Wendy Webb Cover Image
ISBN: 9780805091403
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
(This book cannot be returned.)
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - March 30th, 2010

A deliciously creepy ghost story set on a fictional island in Lake Superior The first novel by Webb, a Duluth resident.           Carol & Alene

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium Series #3) By Stieg Larsson Cover Image
Not available
ISBN: 9780307269997
Published: Knopf - May 25th, 2010

Lisbeth Salander is back, her fierceness and survivalist instinct renewed in this third and final book in Larsson’s Millennium trilogy. More than ever, it looks like Salander is caught between a rock and a hard place. While she fights for her life in the hospital, only a few doors down from her father, her mortal enemy (who she almost, but not quite, managed to kill), trusty friend and journalist Michael Blomqvist and Salander’s posse of computer anarchist friends work hard on her behalf to prove her innocence in the three killings for which she is wanted.                      Eva, Carol, & Kathy

The Mapping of Love and Death: A Maisie Dobbs Novel By Jacqueline Winspear Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061727689
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Published: Harper Perennial - February 22nd, 2011

The newest in the marvelous Maisie Dobbs mystery series.                           Carol

The Help By Kathryn Stockett Cover Image
ISBN: 9780425232200
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Published: Berkley - April 5th, 2011

The first novel by Kathryn Stockett is about African American maids in 1960 Jackson, Mississippi. Her writing is smooth, fresh and poetic. Add to this a lovely complexity – nothing is simply black or white in Stockett’s world - and you have a book which is almost impossible to put down. This is a reading club book if I ever saw one, and a joyfully good read that leaves you thinking.               Eva (& Carol--and it's finally in paperback!)     

A Fierce Radiance: A Novel By Lauren Belfer Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061252525
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - March 29th, 2011

I loved this riveting account of the development of antibiotics during WWII, which was overlaid with a fictional love & suspense story.                                 Alene

Purge By Sofi Oksanen Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802170774
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Published: Grove Press, Black Cat - April 6th, 2010

In Purge, Finish writer Oksanen gives us a new angle on WWII atrocities. Oksanen reveals a torn Eastern Europe where some people committed horrible acts during the war just to survive, and others committed horrible acts because they could. Now, in present day Estonia, those actions resurface. Oksanen’s writing is strong and the mystery plot keeps the readers on their toes, but Purge also leaves the readers feeling they have learned something very important.                      Eva

Little Bee: A Novel By Chris Cleave Cover Image
ISBN: 9781416589648
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Published: S&S/ Marysue Rucci Books - February 16th, 2010

The synopsis on the book tells you nothing, and I don’t think I’ll tell you much more, other than this is an excellent read about a young Nigerian refugee and the British couple she encounters.

I Thought You Were Dead By Pete Nelson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616200480
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Published: Algonquin Books - March 22nd, 2011

A moving story about a man and his dog Stella, who is currently the best thing in his life and offers him advice as he navigates his shaky mid-life.

The Passage: A Novel (Book One of The Passage Trilogy) By Justin Cronin Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345504968
Availability: Backordered
Published: Ballantine Books - June 8th, 2010

This big book is a little sci fi, a little fantasy, and a lot thriller, covering 100 years time.  You start with a virus which might cure diseases and be the fountain of youth—and, of course, the military has other plans for it.   Add a young girl whose destiny is to save the world, a caring FBI agent, and a group of survivors in a FEMA encampment and you’ll be up late reading the first in a planned trilogy.                           Carol

South of Broad: A Novel By Pat Conroy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385344074
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Press Trade Paperback - May 4th, 2010

Conroy’s writing is always rich and atmospheric, and in South of Broad, Charleston, S.C. is as much a character as the people.  And Leopold Bloom King is a most engaging character. The story moves from Leo meeting his quirky group of friends in high school to 20 years later, when tragedy brings them together again.                  Carol

The Cradle: A Novel By Patrick Somerville Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316036115
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Published: Back Bay Books - April 12th, 2010

This is Green Bay native Somerville’s first novel and it arrived to critical acclaim.  A pregnant wife sends Matthew off to find her old cradle, and he finds much more than he bargained for.  A moving story of what it means to be a family.                      Carol

The Elegance of the Hedgehog By Muriel Barbery, Alison Anderson (Translator) Cover Image
By Muriel Barbery, Alison Anderson (Translator)
ISBN: 9781933372600
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - September 2nd, 2008

This is possibly the best book I have read all year. While the beginning – a young child contemplating her impending suicide because the world is rotten –may not sound uplifting, the book is lovely, positive, and  restores your faith in humanity.                              Eva (& Carol)

The Forgotten Garden: A Novel By Kate Morton Cover Image
ISBN: 9781416550556
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Published: Washington Square Press - February 16th, 2010

A little girl is left on a ship bound for Australia in the early 1900’s and is adopted by the port master when no one claims her.  As an adult she learns of her mysterious beginning and sets out to find out who her parents are.  The storytelling shifts back and forth in time and from one voice to another, including her granddaughter, who gets caught up in the mystery.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home By Rhoda Janzen Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780805092257
Availability: Out of Print
(This book cannot be returned.)
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - April 13th, 2010

Janzen leaves her husband and returns to her Mennonite family to regroup.  Moving and funny—I would like to hang out with the author.                         Carol

Juliet: A Novel By Anne Fortier Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345516114
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - July 26th, 2011

Another protagonist with mysterious origins, Julie, tells this fun story of historical fiction, a current day mystery, and romance. Julie may be related to the historical Giulietta, who was the basis for Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, and that may also put her life in danger. Most of the action takes place in Italy, whether in the present or the 1300’s . Carol

Freedom: A Novel By Jonathan Franzen Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780312576462
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Picador - September 27th, 2011

Franzen presents a new family drama. And as in The Corrections, he builds a truly believable world where we can all identify with his oh so flawed characters. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

The Likeness: A Novel (Dublin Murder Squad #2) By Tana French Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143115625
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - May 26th, 2009

This is her second mystery, set in Ireland, and again featuring Cassie Maddox.  An intriguingly different mystery, and customers tell me I must now read her first—Into the Woods.           Carol

Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life By Kim Severson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594485022
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 1st, 2011

I enjoy a good memoir and Spoon Fed is just that. Severson is the food editor with the New York Times, and in her memoir she describes how 8 cooks saved her life. Spoon Fed has a local flavor, since the author has relatives in the Cumberland area and also spent summers there.                  Kathy

My Spiritual Journey By Dalai Lama, Sofia Stril-Rever Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062018090
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Published: HarperOne - October 4th, 2011

Here the Dalai Lama shares the very beginning of his life journey, how he came to be selected as the great spiritual leader of his country, the horrific massacre by the Chinese and his subsequent exile. Beautiful and thought provoking. Eva

Still Alice By Lisa Genova Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439102817
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery Books - January 6th, 2009

An incredibly moving and very readable novel about early onset Alzheimer’s. It is a scary prospect for all of us, but in the end, Alice is still there.                Carol & Kathy 

The Cookbook Collector: A Novel By Allegra Goodman Cover Image
Not available
ISBN: 9780385340861
Published: Dial Press Trade Paperback - July 12th, 2011

In the San Francisco area we find two sisters who couldn’t be more different—one is at the head of a new dot-com about to go public at the height of the boom, the other is a student at Berkley involved in a movement to save the giant Redwoods. And then there’s the cookbook collection that becomes available to her boss at a  used bookstore.  This does all come together in showing us how important it is to hold onto what is real in a rapidly changing and sometimes virtual world.                            Carol

Sarah's Key By Tatiana de Rosnay Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312370848
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - September 30th, 2008

A historical novel about the Velodrome de Hiver roundup of families in Paris. This is the story of one child survivor and a present day journalist covering the not so well known atrocity—a riveting read.   Kathy

Russian Winter: A Novel By Daphne Kalotay Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061962172
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Published: Harper Perennial - April 5th, 2011

A rich book about Russian ballerinas & other artists during the Stalin era. The telling of their story in Moscow alternates with a major auction of the jewelry collection of Nina Revskaya, who defected to the West, and with a Harvard professor’s search for his parents (which seems to be a theme in my reading this past fall!).                                         Carol

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery By Alan Bradley Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385343497
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bantam - January 19th, 2010

This mystery is quirky & darkly comic in the way only British mysteries seem to be.  It introduces the precocious 11 year old sleuth/ chemist Flavia, who could be the child of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. When her father is implicated in a murder, she sets out to investigate.  Who knew philately could be so dangerous—the postage stamp as early terrorist weapon?                                       Carol