Staff Picks: November 2011

Nightwoods : a novel

Nightwoods : a novel Book Cover

Written by the author of Cold Mountain, this novel takes place in the same area of N. Carolina but in the early 1950's. Living in an abandoned rural lodge, Lure is a young woman suddenly in the position to raise sister's young twins. Neither of them has spoken a word since witnessing their mother's brutal murder. Their father is aquitted and released from jail and the novel becomes a story of suspense. Frazier has a powerful ability to depict sights and sounds of the Carolina backwoods and uses fire and water as important themes. Nightwoods moves quickly to a satisfying conclusion.

Life and Death in Shanghai

Life and Death in Shanghai Book Cover

Life and Death in Shanghai is Cheng’s first-hand account of her life during China’s Cultural Revolution. It is a haunting narrative of Cheng’s years of imprisonment for being wrongly accused of being an imperialist spy. During her imprisonment, Cheng never gave up and never gave in to lies and false denunciations. Her story is heartbreaking, courageous, and unforgettable.


Leviathan Book Cover

If you are curious about the steampunk genre-this is a classic example. This book takes place during World War I as Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated and the world goes to war. That is when the story takes a twist into an imaginary world. The conflict is between the Clankers, who create machines that run on steam, and the Darwinists, who create new species. Prince Aleksandar, whose people turn against him after his parents’ assassination, is a Clanker. He meets Deryn Sharp, a girl disguised as a boy working for the British Air Service. She serves on the Leviathan, a massive airship that crashes in Switzerland where the two teens cross paths. The story is exciting all the way to the end, when you will be left wanting to know what happens next.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

The Witch of Blackbird Pond Book Cover

This is the story of Kit Tyler, a teenager struggling to fit into her community in the year 1687. After her grandfather dies, she must move from Barbados to the Colony of Connecticut to live with her aunt’s family. She is regarded suspiciously by the members of the Puritanical community, because she swims, and is headstrong. She befriends a Quaker woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond and soon the community suspects Kit may be a witch. The story brings the historical period of witch hunts to life, but it is also a story of love and family.