Staff Choices

Posted by SherriT on 03/16/18
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The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen is an angst driven, clever, gripping, suspenseful and not your typical domestic psychological thriller novel.
The book starts readers off by introducing them to Vanessa, the wife that was. Vanessa is struggling to recover after her marriage and losing all that she once had all the while worrying and wondering what her husband is now doing. Then we meet Nellie, the wife that will be. Whom do we root for? Whom do we hate? As we dive into these characters feelings will form and thoughts on how the story will go will pop into your head but whatever you think you know, think again. With so many twists, it  keeps readers on their toes and guessing until the very end.

That is about all I can say without introducing spoilers. Believe me; you do not want to know what is coming. Just start reading and enjoy the ride, and try to keep up. Nothing is obvious. You will say "Whoa!" aloud and go back several pages to try to figure out why you did not see that coming.

This is a well-written, fast-paced story that will keep you guessing all the way to the epilogue. Fans of the psychological thriller – you do not want to miss this one!
Posted by jonf on 03/13/18
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 Scott Kelly's account of his life as an astronaut and his ultimate adventure, his one year in space on the International Space Station is an exciting and educational story of life in space. Kelly recounts his time in zero gravity spent with two Russian cosmonauts and an array of European astronauts. He tells of the hardship of zero gravity on the human body and the stress of living in confined quarters for long periods of time.
Kelly also explains the trials of being isolated from family and friends. He was  on a different mission when his twin brother's wife Gabby Giffords was shot and he felt helpless. There was also fascinating research done on him and his identical twin Mark. This book is filled with adventure, hardship and human resilience, and how much humans can endure.
Kelly took an amazing path to becoming an astronaut. After being a less than stellar high school student, his life changed when he read the book The Right Stuff. From then on his dream was to become a test pilot and astronaut. This is a tale of dreams come true.
Posted by NealP on 03/13/18
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Nick Offerman’s Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers hilariously assesses twenty-one historical figures, and his own personal heroes, ranging from George Washington and James Madison, to Eleanor Roosevelt and Willie Nelson.  Well-researched and just plain funny, Offerman maintains that “gumption” remains a guiding force in the lives of America’s most notable achievers.
The title of his series of essays examines how these individuals showed “gumption” or “a willingness, even hunger, for one’s mettle to be challenged” by working hard to accomplish their goals.  Offerman’s admiration for hard work is on display throughout the book, “I am always hugely inspired (and personally relieved) to learn of the hard work that was required of any of my heroes before they could arrive at the level of mastery for which they ultimately garnered renown.”
Using famous, as well as more obscure historical figures, Offerman injects humor into history, which makes the book an entertaining, and educational read.  Throughout the book, Offerman portrays perseverance, discipline, curiosity, diligence, idealism, intelligence, and courage as admirable traits – traits that are good for individuals, as well as for our country.
Posted by julieo on 03/12/18
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Sherman Alexie is the critically acclaimed author of poetry, essays and books- including The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. All of his writing centers around his experiences as a child growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation.
Sherman Alexie’s memoir You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me is both a heart wrenching and heartwarming memoir about the author’s complicated grief over his mother’s death; a mother he deeply loved, and at times hated.
No matter one’s culture, the maternal bond is central, and Sherman Alexie lays bare the contradictions in his relationship through prose and poetry.
There’s plenty of heartbreak in this memoir, but there’s a whole lot of humor, too. One of the most beautifully written books I’ve read, and definitely the best memoir I’ve read. I loved it from beginning to end.
Posted by BARB W on 03/12/18
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Peach, by debut author Emma Glass, came just at the right time. With the advent of the #MeToo and the Time’s Up movements, we can no longer pretend that these unspeakable acts occur outside our circle of family and friends. The victims now have faces, voices, and the contemptible perpetrators have been unmasked. Fewer secrets, greater revelations.

With Peach, Emma Glass exposes another layer of this immense problem, the vicious act itself, difficult to describe and impossible to forget. We experience Peach’s assault in a visceral way as she relives this horrific moment repeatedly. Glass never holds back in her startlingly brutal language. If we thought it was easy to forget how it feels to be violated, Peach reminds us of every painful, degrading moment. Glass is a master of descriptive language, and Peach’s inner dialog is disturbing and relentless.

It is sometimes difficult to hear the unfiltered truth. It is even more difficult to figure out how to put one foot in front of the other and look for normal. Check out a remarkable story from this innovative author.
Posted by BARB W on 03/09/18
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Although I have not yet read The River of Consciousness, author Oliver Sacks is a man I wish I could meet. Sadly, he died in 2015, but left behind an astonishingly diverse body of work. He was a neurologist; the book and film Awakenings derive from his experiences. He was also a writer, weightlifter, passionate motorcyclist and a perennial student of life. His memoir, On the Move, will tell you all you need to know. There is a quote by another famous author, Jack Kerouac, which sums up my admiration for Oliver Sacks. “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars”. Perfect summation of the brilliance of Oliver Sacks.
Posted by Lucy S on 03/08/18
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Rebirth is a novel of reconciliation and forgiveness. The book is not a memoir but is inspired by author Kamal Ravikant’s own experiences.
Amit is a young man who feels adrift after his estranged father dies. After fulfilling his father’s last wish to take his ashes to India, Amit takes some time away from work.

Troubled, Amit decides to walk the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain. This has been a trail for pilgrims since medieval times. One definition of pilgrim is one who journeys in foreign lands, a wayfarer. The route stretches over 500 miles and comes together at the tomb of St. James. Amit walks alone and with others he meets on the trail; almost all of them are trying to heal or to get away from life as it is.
I found this book inspiring as the people on the trail are actively seeking to come to grips with grief, to better understand themselves, to forgive, to find answers and to learn. At only 230 pages long, it is a quick read and, I think, can appeal to any reader. No need to be religious to gain insight from the book.

Those who read Walking to Listen by Andrew Forsthoefel may also enjoy Rebirth.

Posted by Lucy S on 02/21/18
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Yejide is a woman planning to travel back home to attend her father-in-law’s funeral. The story quickly jumps back to the time when Yejide and Akin are a newly married couple desperate to have children. Yejide is crushed when Akin’s family foists a new wife into their lives—in this story, this is permitted in Nigerian culture. Yejide herself grew up with four step-mothers but does not want to continue this tradition. Unsettling twists and turns reveal themselves when the chapters shift points of view for each main character. No one is quite as they seem and each are complicit in ways I did not expect.

Debut novelist Ayobami Adebayo has written a book about a family that covers multiple issues and a wide range of emotions: happiness, grief, hope, anguish, deception, naivety, loss, loneliness, mourning, compassion and new beginnings. Read Stay with Me if you would like a glimpse into another culture’s customs and discover that love and family are universal desires.
Stay with Me was shortlisted for the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and has a very satisfying, deserving conclusion.
Posted by BARB W on 02/19/18
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In 2017, the world lost a gifted artist, Sam Shepard. Some remember him for his many film and television roles, or as a screenplay writer for both of these mediums.

All true, but the core of Shepard’s work and deep impact will be the legacy of the forty-four plays, two novels and several short story collections he created. His last work, the short novel Spy of the First Person, was published on December 5, 2017, and is a memorable final gift from this immensely talented man.

Spy of the First Person is quintessentially Shepard and intensely personal to his struggle as he neared the end of his life. These characteristics of human uncertainty make the story relevant to everyone: the memories we have created, the paths we have pursued, and the people who went there with us. The lonely narrator becomes both the observer and the participant.

Shephard’s style is sparse, precise and affectingly significant in this beautiful read. Please try this, or one of his other rewarding works.
Posted by Katie M on 02/12/18
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The cookie of the moment is the Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread, a recipe featured all over Instagram and various food sites, created by Alison Roman, author of Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes. The shortbread recipe is as spectacular as the online hype and you can find it in her book, which also contains many other excellent recipes and loads of inspiration. Roman’s book is well-written and straightforward, with relatable writing and down-to-earth recipes and instructions.
With a focus on fresh ingredients, there are many great-looking recipes, for everything from Shrimp in the Shells with Lots of Garlic and Probably Too Much Butter to Paprika-Rubbed Sheet-Pan Chicken with Lemon, desserts like a classic Lemon Shaker Tart and Brown-Butter Buttermilk Cake, and a whole section on Savory Breakfasts, all with quick and easy instructions. Roman’s book is a fun read, filled with beautiful pictures, and will probably make you want to spend loads of time in the kitchen, or at the least, spend time reading her gorgeous cookbook!
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