Staff Picks

The Power of Habit

The Power of Habit Book Cover

From individuals to organizations thousands of habits are performed daily and unconsciously. The Power of Habit explores the science behind habits, their profound consequences, and how to change them. This book is well researched and Duhigg’s journalistic style creates an interesting easy read.

The Cove

The Cove Book Cover

Located in the rugged Appalachias of North Carolina, the cove is a dark forbidding place that is shunned by the local townsfolk. Laurel Shelton is a young woman who lives within its shadow and is thought to be a witch. She lives there with only her brother Hank who has just returned from France during WWI missing his right hand. The story begins with the arrival of a mute stranger to the cove and develops as their lives become entwined in the issues of friendship, loyalty, and love.

The Watery Part of the World : a novel

The Watery Part of the World : a novel Book Cover

This novel begins in 1813 when the daughter of Aaron Burr, enroute to meet her father in New York, is shipwrecked on an island off the coast of North Carolina. The story spans 150 years of the island and the intricate love stories that evolved there concerning the three main characters: two sisters and the black man who takes care of them. It’s a heartbraking novel about what we’ll sacrifice for love and what we won’t.

The Shoemaker’s Wife

The Shoemaker’s Wife Book Cover

The Shoemakers Wife is a touching tale of two hardworking and determined young Italians who are destined to be together. However, one incident after another keeps the two people apart, and their journey is finding the right place and the right time to connect. This is great historical fiction that takes you into the lives of various people who are trying to survive and make something for themselves in the early 1800s.

The Unseen

The Unseen Book Cover

U.S. Marshal Kelsey O'Brien and Texas Ranger Logan Raintree are brought in to assist with the investigation of a serial killer in San Antonio. As they learn more it becomes clear that both have been selected for their abilities to communicate with the dead. The murders seem to have a connection with the Alamo and an incident that occurred at a historic hotel in the early 1800’s. As Kelsey and Logan investigate they receive some clues from apparitions. Graham does a superb job of interweaving Texas history, a romance, a modern day murder investigation, and some paranormal activity to create an interesting and absorbing tale.

Stieg Larsson : The Real Story of the Man Who Played With Fire

Stieg Larsson : The Real Story of the Man Who Played With Fire Book Cover

Pettersson begins with Larsson's childhood in rural Sweden, his love of reading as a child, and his early career in journalism. He explores how Larsson's commitment to left-wing causes, social injustice, and work as an anti-fascist activist influenced his Millenium Trilogy. I found Larsson a very interesting and dedicated person, and this book has inspired me to read Larsson's novels.

The Snow Child

The Snow Child Book Cover

Homesteaders in the Alaskan wilderness in the 1920's, Jack and Mabel live a quiet life of hard work and routine. They are still longing for a child and one snowy evening build a child out of snow. The next morning the child is gone but tiny footprints leading into the woods remain. The story develops with sightings and encounters and turns into a magical and meaningful tale of love and transformation.

The Ninth : Beethoven and the World in 1824

The Ninth : Beethoven and the World in 1824 Book Cover

Beethoven's 9th Symphony remains one of the most precedent-shattering and influential compositions in the history of music. It amazed and confused listeners at its premier in Vienna yet became a standard for subsequent generations of creative artists. The author treats this subject as part biography, part history, and part memoir - and explores the amazing talent of a composer who was already deaf but could produce such a masterpiece. Not an easy read but worth the effort.

City of Thieves

City of Thieves Book Cover

Set during the Siege of Leningrad in WWII, City of Thieves is narrated through Lev, a young man caught looting a dead German soldier and his friendship with Kolya, a deserter of the Red Army. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are sent on an impossible mission to find two dozen eggs in Leningrad for the wedding of a colonel’s daughter. This journey of Lev and Kolya’s is one of humor, adventure, and tragedy as it keeps the reader guessing as to what Lev and Kolya will go through next in their mission to not only find two dozen eggs but save their lives as well.

The Cruelest Miles

The Cruelest Miles Book Cover

This is one of the best books that I have read recently. It is the true story of an outbreak of diptheria in Nome, Alaska in 1925. During winter, Nome is completely isolated from the rest of the world, the only access is by dog sled over hundreds of miles of frozen tundra, across mountains and water. In order to get the life-saving serum to Nome's dying children, a relay of mushers and dog teams is organized to transport the medicine, at great danger to the men and dogs involved. It is an amazing and heart-warming tale of man's and dog's courage in the face of almost unimaginable conditions.