Staff Picks 2012
Ivey’s first book is magical! I concur with Robert Goolrick, the author of A Reliable Wife, “if Willa Cather & Gabriel Garcia Marquez had collaborated…The Snow Child would be it.”
I loved this story of Bit, a boy who grows up on a commune in upstate NY—he is a character who will stay with me. And Lauren Groff’s writing is beautiful. She is now on my list of must read authors.
This is engrossing historical fiction about four women and the Masada in 1st century Judea. Carol
What a beautiful, moving story of a lawyer who disappears from his upper class life in NYC and his daughter who tries to discover what happened to him in his native Burma.
The author uses the language of flowers to convey the life of the instantly lovable and complicated Victoria.
Just in time for Olympic Fever—the story of Olympic bicyclists in London. This is from the author of Little Bee. And it is completely different and completely engaging—Cleave is simply a great writer.
Carol & Eva
Strayed’s excellent memoir of her struggles after her mother’s death. She was on a self-destructive path until she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone, with almost no experience.
A great story moving between 1962 Italy and present day Hollywood. Humor, love, Richard Burton, and superb writing make for a very smart beach read.
Gone Girl is a great read that will grab you on the first page and keep you reading through many plot twists and turns.
Lisa & Carol
Excellent for Downton Abbey fans. A wealthy Jewish girl in 1938 Vienna escapes the approaching war by becoming a servant in an English country house.
Wahls talks about, yes, growing up with two moms, but also about what his church meant to him, what it was like with a mom fighting MS, and how being an Eagle Scout helped make him the man he is today. A well-written lovely book about the struggles of a young man defined by much more than growing up with two moms.
Superb biography of Cleopatra and of the time in which she lived.
I loved this book about the joy of consciously weaving gratitude and grace into every day.
Social comedy at its best. A disastrous wedding weekend full of upper class East Coast angst and scenes that had me laughing out loud. The “Father of the Bride” genre needs to make room for Winn Van Meter.
A spare moral story, which is a favorite of one of my favorite authors—Ann Patchett.
A real departure for James. It’s still a murder mystery, but she has set it in Darcy & Elizabeth’s Pemberly, six years after their marriage in Pride & Prejudice.
It’s been a long time since Kingsolver has written a novel like this. It’s about global warming and monarchs, but really about one woman’s life and marriage in remote Appalachia, and all that the monarchs bring to it. Carol
A dystopian tale of a pilot and his dog, living at an abandoned airfield 9 years after a plague has wiped out most of the population. Carol
It is difficult to even pinpoint what The Thursday Night Men is about, but it grabs you at the very first page and does not let go. Out of maybe one hundred men meeting weekly to share life’s romantic tribulations, we follow three men whose lives intertwine at what to all of them are important turning points. The writing is lovely and surprising and the story seeped in philosophy. Eva & Carol
A lovely, bittersweet, and fascinating memoir by journalist Marton, who was married to Peter Jennings, and then to Richard Holbrooke, the great love of her life. Carol
Irish immigrant Lavinia is orphaned on her trip to America and placed in the care of the ship’s captain and his slaves. Growing up as a servant, Lavinia struggles with the definition of family and how to accept her adult role away from those she holds dearest. Lisa
Another great entry in the Cork O’Connor series.
While questioning the state of her middle-aged marriage & searching the internet, Alice decides to enroll in a marriage study. She is “wife 22”, and starts having feelings for “researcher 101”. Perfect summer mid-life chic lit.
Carol & Lisa
I listened to this riveting thriller in the car. Kate and her family move to Luxembourg for her husband’s new job. All is not what it seems, especially given Kate’s own mysterious & secret past. Carol
In 1920’s England, Sarah Piper is approached by two ghost hunters to investigate the haunting of a barn. This just creepy enough story is also about the effects of WWI on the ghost hunters, who were soldiers in that war. Carol
This is a fascinating novel encompassing 6 stories in as many time periods as well as literary genres. It is, among many other things, a story of where the human quest for power can lead. The ingenious storytelling links many of the characters through time and brings it from 1850 into the future and back again. Carol
A poignant weaving of a mother and son's lifelong love affair with books, their life stories, and their conversations in the last years of her life. Carol
Wichita housewife Cora agrees to chaperone wild 15-year-old Louise Brooks (a real life silent screen star) for the summer of 1922 in NYC. She has her own reasons for doing so. This is Cora’s story, and it is captivating. Carol
Pulitzer winning journalist Keller’s first novel is not only a page-turner, but a smoothly paced and well written one. A small West Virginia mountain town is plagued by crime related to prescription drugs. When three old men having coffee in a local diner are shot dead, the local district attorney and her daughter are both pulled into the gruesome crime. Eva