Staff Picks

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.

The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault In Our Stars Book Cover

A fast paced novel not to be missed! Award-winning-author, John Green beautifully and honesty confronts mortality and the in between moments that is our humanity. Laugh, cry, and see the color ‘orange’ in whole new way.

May We Be Forgiven

May We Be Forgiven Book Cover

George Silver is a successful TV executive with a beautiful wife, two kids and a house in the suburbs. His underachieving older brother Harry is a Nixon scholar. George’s murderous temper, held in check until now, results in acts of violence so shocking that lives are changed forever. Murder, sex and parenting and guilt are dealt with under an umbrella of dark humor and you realize just how fragile life as you know it really is. I found it very difficult to put this one down.

A Week in Winter

A Week in Winter Book Cover

Maeve Binchy’s storytelling techniques are wonderful and well known by her peers. This book is her last one as she died last July and after reading it, I think it is one of her best stories. “A Week in Winter” is about Chicky Starr who comes home from America with her secrets. She decides to renovate an old stone house by the Atlantic Sea into a welcoming and comforting small hotel with the help of some of her friends and relatives. I found myself immersed into the main story and liking all of her characters to the point where I could not put down the book. For those of you who enjoyed “Circle of Friends” , this is a must read as the characters are enchanting. “A Week in Winter “ is truly a nice read.

The Cat’s Table

The Cat’s Table Book Cover

The story is told in the voice of an 11yr old boy as he boards a ship in Colombo bound for England. At mealtimes he is seated at the “cat’s table” – as far from the Captain’s Table as he can be. Here he meets 2 other boys and a group of “insignificant” adults. As the narrative moves between the decks and holds of the ship and the boy’s adult years it tells a story that is entertaining, mysterious, magical, and heartfelt. Ondaatje’s style is innovative and emotional and leaves you with a feeling of experiencing something amazing. (I listened to some of the book on audio which is read by the author who really makes you feel like you are witnessing the story.)

On extinction : how we became estranged from nature

On extinction : how we became estranged from nature Book Cover

This book takes a look at how we’ve become estranged from nature and the cultural shifts that led to a dramatic rise in extinctions. The author travels to several different areas of the world that have been touched by extinction and traces the mindset that caused the destructiveness. She also proposes a path of redemption.

The Aviator’s Wife

The Aviator’s Wife Book Cover

This is the story of Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She was the shy daughter of a diplomat, a graduate of Smith College and the wife of Charles Lindbergh. From Charles' famous exploits to the kidnapping of their infant son through the reclusive life they were forced to live because of being hounded by the press, this is a fictionalized but fascinating account of Anne's life and how she dealt with all of it. Anne was an accomplished pilot herself and the first female licensed glider pilot, but first a wife and mother and this eventually brought her into conflict with her husband. A very readable book which brings to life a very interesting historical couple.

In the Kingdom of Men (Large Print)

In the Kingdom of Men (Large Print) Book Cover

Gin was raised in backwoods Oklahoma by her fundamentalist Christian grandfather. She escapes by marrying hometown hero, Mason McPhee. He takes a job with an oil company in Saudi Arabia and Gin's life changes in ways that she could not have foreseen. This is an interesting picture of an expat's life in Saudi Arabia in the late 60's. Ultimately, can you go home again and do you want to?

Me Before You

Me Before You Book Cover

Will had the perfect life - young and attractive with a great job, beautiful women and fantastic, extreme vacations. One rainy day, he has a tragic accident that leaves him a quadriplegic. Louisa has lived her whole life in a small town and seems content with her limited horizons. When Louisa comes to work for Will as a caretaker, both of their lives will change forever. He has given himself 6 months before he will commit suicide. Louisa is determined to make him change his mind. But... can she and should she?