Staff Choices

Posted by SherriT on 01/19/19
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Lyndsay Faye's book The Paragon Hotel begins in the year 1921 with a young, white Alice “Nobody” James running from her ties in NYC and from the mafia. Aboard a train bound for Portland, she befriends a black Pullman porter named Max who finds her story, life and run-ins captivating. Once in Portland, he takes her to The Paragon Hotel, an all-black residence in the city. Alice soon comes to realize that the crime on the west coast is just as troubling as the east coast when she discovers her new city is a stomping ground for the Klu Klux Klan. As a woman running from the New York mafia, she finds herself a new family of sorts and learns about the many faces of evil and love.

This was a compelling and entertaining historical fiction story about a difficult time in America's past told by a perceptive and likable main character. With a cast of colorful, tenacious supporting characters and a narrative so full of friendship and love, mystery and intrigue, this book is sure to be your first hit of 2019.
Posted by Lucy S on 01/17/19
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Maurice Swift wants to be a writer, but he doesn’t have an original idea in his head. He goes about achieving this fiercely desired stature of novelist by shallowly playing up his good looks, targeting those he feels will help him in a calculating and unscrupulous way. Men and women fall into his orbit as he insinuates himself into their lives. He is ambitious, self-absorbed, secretive and devious with detestable motives. How author John Boyne’s storyline unfolds is well-written, filled with wry wit and clever dialogue with an unlikeable main character who lacks decency and morals. Lured into the story, I kept wondering how his twisted masquerade would end. 
 
A Ladder To The Sky at 362 pages runs a little long but it certainly captured my attention with hints of The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith.
 
 
Posted by jlasky on 12/31/18
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 Based in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood in 1985, Chicago author Rebecca Makkai tells a heartbreaking story about the AIDS epidemic. Working with a paired storyline thirty years later in France, Fiona, a woman in grief has been an intimate witness to the losses through her beloved brother and his friends. A photographer from that social circle, comes back into her life as she  is trying desperately to find and save her estranged daughter.
The richly developed characters in The Great Believers, will make you want to turn back time and guide them to a different ending. The staggering number of those who were lost, and what could have been will stay with you long after you finish the book.
Posted by Alisa S on 12/26/18
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It is always a pleasure to discover a new mystery series that is not only well plotted but features engaging characters, and
The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan, while only first in a planned series, holds much promise. This debut, set in both gritty Galway and the more bucolic Irish countryside, follows police detective Cormac Reilly as he tries to unravel a cold case involving a suspicious death that haunts him years later. 
McTiernan, a former Irish lawyer now residing in Australia, has drawn comparisons to fellow Irish crime writer Tana French. The Ruin, with its complex characters, page-turning mystery, and evocative sense of place,  proves that McTiernan is worthy of this comparison. 
Posted by Lucy S on 12/20/18
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Entrepreneur, author and independent shopkeeper Lisa Ludwinski is making a difference at Sister Pie Bakery located within Detroit, a city that has been buffeted with financial and community woes. Her business model is worthy of admiration. She follows a triple-bottom-line business ethic of working to support her employees, the environment and the economy including a “pie-it-forward” program. A deep sense of place and pride is felt through the beautifully photographed pages. Each recipe has a narrative of how it came to be.

Check out Sister Pie if you would like to experiment with new savory and pastry recipes with unusual flavor combinations and to be encouraged to use good quality ingredients. I made the buckwheat chocolate chip cookie recipe without telling my family it was gluten free – no complaints were heard. A wonderful example of someone following their passion, translating it into a successful career.
Cookbooks
Posted by SherriT on 12/07/18
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It is that time of year again! Time for binge watching the Hallmark Channel Christmas movie lineup. If you are like me and love the guilty pleasure of knowing there is a happy ending with a kiss under the mistletoe, than you will love Karen Schaler’s book, Christmas Camp.

Workaholic Haley Hansen's idea of a perfect Christmas is a trip to the Caribbean with her sunscreen in one hand and her laptop in the other. She is determined to focus on her career and make partner at the advertising agency where she works. In order to do this she needs to land the coveted Tyler Toys' account. The problem is Tyler Toys represent traditional Christmas values, so as research she goes to Christmas Camp to find her holiday spirit.

Upon arrival at the camp, Haley immerses herself in all things Christmas. Because she must have that certificate, Haley reluctantly participates. However, with the help of Jeff Jacoby, who is son of the camp owner, and the other guests, she slowly discovers the Christmas spirit. Jeff is your classic strong, male character, handsome and closed off. Haley and Jeff’s banter makes for a funny and cute story that was easy to follow and even easier to fall in love with.
 
This delightful story is light and entertaining and definitely puts you in the Christmas spirit!
 
Posted by bpardue on 12/06/18
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Can is considered one of the core "krautrock" bands emerging from Germany in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Their contemporary influence can't be overstated--namechecking Can gives musicians instant hipster chic. One band, The Mooney Suzuki, went so far as to name itself after two of the group's legendary singers. All Gates Open is really two books in one. In the first, Rob Young pens a highly-detailed standard history of the group, tracing the four core members' origins in the classical, jazz and avant-garde music scenes of the 1960s, through the legendary periods with singers Malcom Mooney and Damo Suzuki brought into the fold, on to their expanded lineup of the late 1970s with ex-members of Traffic. Each album and tour is dissected and analyzed, all against the backdrop of the band members' personal relationships and business dealings. It's a dense read, but one that fans will enjoy. The "second book" is really an extensive set of interviews and essays, mostly centering around keyboardist/composer Irmin Schmidt, the group's one surviving founding member. I found this a bit less essential, but will still be valuable to in-depth fans.
 
Posted by Alisa S on 11/26/18
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A sweet and serendipitous tale of love at first sight, One Day in December by Josie Silver is sure to please fans of contemporary romance novels. Laurie first spies Jack on the street from a fogged up window of a London doubledecker. While she is sure they had a meaningful connection in that split second, he seems lost to her forever once the bus pulls away. But fate brings them together in the most awkward of ways, and the novel follows their star-crossed relationship over ten years, as the rigors and realities of adulthood further complicate their lives.
 
This book is a light read that is perfect for the hectic holiday season. 
Posted by Lucy S on 11/16/18
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What does it mean to be an exile? What weight does it carry? How much of your identity is wrapped around a place? Next Year in Havana is both the title of this book and a toast, a wish for the future, spoken by those who have left and hope to return.
 
Forced to flee in 1959, the Perez family came to the United States when the political tides shifted in Cuba. Told in two timelines. In the present day, the main character, Marisol, travels to Cuba to bring her grandmother’s ashes home. As she explores Havana and the surrounding countryside she uncovers a treasure trove of family history. Written with nostalgia, pride and hope intermingled with romance, high society life, rebellion, and secrecy. 
 

Author Chanel Cleeton grew up on family stories of her own family's departure from Cuba. This story provides an intriguing viewpoint of a country located only 90 miles away.

 
Posted by jlasky on 11/14/18
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Joseph, a college student at UC Berkeley, receives a mysterious package from Cairo, the home of his birth father. Although he was raised in the states by his Jewish mother, he spent several summers in Cairo traversing a completely different culture and lifestyle with his Muslim relatives.

The package leads him on an adventure that peels back the rich history of his ancestors on both sides. Going back a thousand years, the Muslim men in his family kept watch over the sacred Ezra Scrolls in a small synagogue in Cairo, the same synagogue where his parents met. The story is helped along by two British sisters at the end of the 19th century, who travel to Egypt to rescue sacred texts.

In “The Last Watchman of Old CairoMichael David Lukas weaves a remarkable tale of various traditions, cultures and religions through the centuries. Vivid scenery, mysticism, love, devotion and richly developed characters make this a tale you will find hard to put down.
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6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
The Library offers various venues in which patrons can contribute content that is accessible to the public.  These include, but are not limited to, blogs, reviews, forums, and social tagging on the Library’s website and catalog.  Any instance in which a patron posts written or recorded content to any of the Library’s venues that are accessible to the public is considered “patron-generated content” and is subject to this policy.
 
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