Staff Picks

The Golem and the Jinni

The Golem and the Jinni Book Cover

The golem and the jinni are two mythical creatures. Chava, a golem, is a creature made of clay and brought to life by an evil rabbi. Ahmad is a jinni, a creature born of fire and trapped for 1000 years in a copper flask. He is accidentally released in late nineteenth century New York City. While this may sound sort of strange, it is a wonderful story of two strange people who look like normal humans, become friends and help each other when no one else will. It is very well written and you care about these characters from the very first page. You come to the end too soon and will wish that there was more to read of Chava and Ahmad.

Women of the Frontier

Women of the Frontier Book Cover

"16 Tales of Trailblazing Homesteaders, entrepreneurs, and rebel Rousers" so says the by-line in this book. A wonderful and well written book of the women who helped shaped the west with their stories. The book also recounts the major impact pioneers had on those who settled into the new regions of American. These woman possessed a strong spirit in relocating from their comfy surroundings to the wild west of the unknown regions such as the Mexican & Oregon territory. As you read amongst the pages you will come to know Sarah Winnemucca who fought the Government over the treatment of American Indians and many more women whose tales of courage will amaze the reader. You will not find these stories in your History classroom!

Ladies Night

Ladies Night Book Cover

A great summer read , full of adventure and revenge sprinkled with humor. The author has great character development along with a good story line. I found myself laughing outloud with some of the character’s madcap revenge techniques. The reader will not be disappointed with this latest Andrews book.

Dead Ever After

Dead Ever After Book Cover

If you have been following Charlaine’s character Sookie Stackhouse in the last 12 books, you know she is one gifted Lady who finds herself in all kinds of supernatural situations. This is the final chapter in this series. The author gives Sookie an appropriate closure to certain situations with some of the other characters . Some people may not like how she ended the book, however, Sookie appreciates the people who have stood by her and helped her through some horrific events.

The Zookeeper’s Wife

The Zookeeper’s Wife Book Cover

The Zookeeper’s Wife is a World War II story about two Polish zookeepers, Jan and Antonina Zabinski. Each person blessed with special gifts that keep the Warsaw Zoo thriving during times of peace, as well as wartime. As the war changes the lives of many, the zoo is also changed. As the majority of animals are lost to death and greed, Jan and Antonina use the zoo’s losses to save the lives of the Jewish people being persecuted. People are hidden in the zoo’s enclosures, and given names that correspond with the enclosures previous inhabitants. A touching read about the hardships and perseverance one family encountered during WWII.

This Magnificent Desolation

This Magnificent Desolation Book Cover

How do you write a book that is both sad and wonderful? O'Malley has done this in a way that is mesmerizing in plot and almost poetic in his writing style. It takes place in an orphanage in northern Minnesota and details the life of a boy named Duncan who was left there by his mother during the worst blizzard of the century. As the story develops we come to know his mother, a lounge singer in San Francisco, and her boyfriend, a Vietnam vet who works as part of a tunneling crew beneath the bay. Another interesting aspect is Duncan's reliance on a transistor radio that broadcasts the voices of Apollo mission astronauts who never came home. This novel deals with memory, imagination, friendship, and love on many levels.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nothing Gold Can Stay Book Cover

This is a book of short stories of the Appalachian region that Rash is known for. Spanning the time of the Civil War until the present day, these are stories of hope, tenderness, fear, and violence, all written with elements of raw truth and emotion.

Mom & Me & Mom

Mom & Me & Mom Book Cover

Maya Angelou once again does not disappoint. She continues her series of auto-biographies with an incredibly well written book about her relationship with her mother. She writes with such eloquence and ease that I did not want to put the book down. The book illustrates the hardships in their relationship with respect and love and at the same time entertains.

The River Swimmer

The River Swimmer Book Cover

A book of 2 novellas, I preferred the second – The River Swimmer – which is the story of an Upper Peninsula of Michigan farm boy who is irresistibly drawn to swimming as an escape and way of coping with the injustice and pressure of coming of age. There is also a mystical element involved provided by the Native American woman who raised him. The other novella entitled The Land of Unlikeness deals with a 60yr old art history academic who returns to his family’s Michigan farmhouse to visit his aging mother. This triggers a renewal of what he holds dear and restores his lost love of painting. Both stories written in Harrison’s definitive style, fans should be pleased with this latest work.

The Orchardist

The Orchardist Book Cover

This is a stunning and captivating novel on many levels. The story takes place in the Pacific Northwest in the early 20th century. A young man who has lost the rest of his family starts an orchard and finds solace in the quiet life of the land he cultivates. Two teenage girls appear and steal his fruit from the local market and later appear at his orchard. Starving, scared, and very pregnant, he takes them in. He learns of the unspeakable cruelty and misfortune the girls have endured and vows to protect them. This starts an irrevocable course that disrupts the harmony of his ordered life. Many interesting characters and life lived in a natural world of early America. If you liked Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier you will love this one.