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Staff Recommendations:

Bookjacket for  All quiet on the western front Bookjacket for  All the light we cannot see Bookjacket for  Bad feminist Bookjacket for The baker's secret Bookjacket for  Catherine the Great Bookjacket for  Cold earth Bookjacket for  Commonwealth : a novel Bookjacket for  Dark road home Bookjacket for The dead zone Bookjacket for  Disaster Falls Bookjacket for The girl on the train Bookjacket for  Glow of death Bookjacket for The hearts of men Bookjacket for  Hillbilly elegy Bookjacket for  In Farleigh Field Bookjacket for The kept woman Bookjacket for  LaRose Bookjacket for  Manitou Canyon Bookjacket for  Racing the devil Bookjacket for The twelve tribes of Hattie Bookjacket for The Underground Railroad Bookjacket for  When breath becomes air Bookjacket for  When the music's over Bookjacket for  Where the dead lie Bookjacket for The widow's house

Bookjacket for  All quiet on the western front

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All quiet on the western front All quiet on the western front / Erich Maria Remarque ; translated from the German by A. W. Wheen

 An important one to re-read if the last time you did so was in high school or college! Somehow our human species keeps repeating history and wars arrive with different decades and centuries but the names and weapons are the only thing that seems to change. The thing that remains is the experience of horrors and essential comraderie of the frontline soldier, many who too soon move from childhood to adulthood on the battlefield. So meaningful and always timely to read of Remarque's fictional World War I  and 19 year old German soldier, Paul.

Try "Sunrise Over Fallujah" by Walter Dean Myers for a similar read in a modern day setting. A teen read.

DVD, Audio book/CDeBook

Recommended by Amy (4/17)


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All the light we cannot see All the light we cannot see / Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. This is some of the most exquisite writing I've ever read. Marie-Laure is a 16-year-old blind girl living with her father, a master of locks working at the Paris Museum of Natural History. In his spare time Marie-Laure's father carves an intricate map of the surrounding neighborhood so that she can navigate the streets around her with a measure of independence. In Germany an orphan named Werner and his sister Jutta grow up with nothing to look forward to until a Nazi officer discovers that Werner is a master of wiring and electricity. Werner is sent to a tough military academy and ultimately to the Russian front and lastly to St. Malo, the city where Marie-Laure is living through a horrific bombardment towards the end of World War II in Europe. Doerr has done a brilliant job of re-creating that era in this novel. I couldn't put it down; the imagery was poetic and anything but dull.

eBook, Audio Book/CD, eAudiobook, Español, Large Type

Recommended by Sue-Ellen (5/17)


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Bad feminist Bad feminist / Roxane Gay

In her collection of essays, writer Roxane Gay discusses the issues of feminism and racism in modern America and pop culture. She opens up about her own personal experiences with growing up as a black woman of Haitian descent in the United States, her academic journey to becoming a professor in English, and her relationships with men, family, and friends. Her essays shed light on problematic books such as Fifty Shades of Grey, the misconstrued nature of black roles in Hollywood movies, and the many misconceptions that follow feminism in this day and age. Throughout it, though, Gay reminds the reader that she is a bad feminist- but one who is willing to face the truth about such and continue to fight for the rights of all who find themselves marginalized in this society.

eAudiobook

Recommended by Melissa N. (4/17)


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The baker's secret The baker's secret / Stephen P. Kiernan

On June 5, 1944, as dawn rises over a small town on the Normandy coast of France, Emmanuelle is making the bread that has sustained her fellow villagers in the dark days since the Germans invaded her country. In the years that her sleepy coastal village has suffered under the enemy, Emma has silently, stealthily fought back. Each day, she receives an extra ration of flour to bake a dozen baguettes for the occupying troops. And each day, she mixes that precious flour with ground straw to create enough dough for two extra loaves-contraband bread she shares with the hungry villagers. Under the cold, watchful eyes of armed soldiers, she builds a clandestine network of barter and trade that she and the villagers use to thwart their occupiers.

But her gift to the village is more than these few crusty loaves. Emma gives the people a taste of hope-the faith that one day the Allies will arrive to save them.

 

Recommended by: Becky (5/17) -- The best book I've read so far this year.


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Catherine the Great Catherine the Great / Robert K. Massie

Nobody writes about Russian history and royalty more compellingly than Robert Massie; his biographies of "Nicholas and Alexandra" and "Peter the Great" are exceptional. He may have outdone himself with this biography of Catherine of Russia, an obscure German princess who eventually wielded absolute power as the longest-ruling female monarch of Russia. Massie creates a riveting picture of the intricacies of the Russian court as well as an engrossing glimpse into the way Catherine ruled. She wore the role of an amiable despot and depended heavily on her favorites like Orlov and Potemkin. Massie deftly reveals the real woman behind the façade. This is one of the best biographies I've ever read.

Audiobook/CD, eBook

Recommended by Sue-Ellen (4/17)


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Cold earth Cold earth / Ann Cleeves

In the dark days of a Shetland winter, torrential rain triggers a landslide that crosses the main road and sweeps down to the sea. At the burial of his old friend Magnus Tait, Jimmy Perez watches the flood of mud and water smash through a house in its path. Everyone thinks the home is uninhabited, but in the wreckage he finds the body of a dark-haired woman wearing a red silk dress. Perez soon becomes obsessed with tracing her identity and realizes he must find out who she was and how she died.

Recommended by: Becky (5/17)


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Commonwealth : a novel Commonwealth : a novel / Ann Patchett

Two families, the Cousins and the Keatings, are changed forever when Bret Cousins arrives uninvited to the Keating family's christening of their newest child. Attractions happen, families split, a new family is formed with the unsettled children as fallout. The story covers the next five decades of the two families and those associated with them, culminating with a famous author writing a novel based on the family's story as told to him by one of the daughters (talk about airing your dirty laundry!). This family drama jumps forward and backward, but is logical and most of all, believable.

eBookAudioBook/CD, eAudioBook, Large Print

Recommended by Karen 4/17


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Dark road home Dark road home / Anna Carlisle

The summer after Gin Sullivan graduated from high school, her sister Lily disappeared. In the ensuing twenty years, Gin has become an accomplished medical examiner in Chicago, Illinois. Then she gets a phone call from her former boyfriend, Jake. Some hikers have discovered a body and the police think it is Lily. Gin has carefully distanced herself from everyone in her hometown but now she returns and immerses herself into discovering the truth behind Lily's death. Anna Carlisle's debut novel maintains a fine edge of suspense and her characters instantly involve the reader's sympathy and interest. Expertly written.

Large Type, eAudiobook

Recommended by Sue-Ellen (4/17)


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The dead zone The dead zone / Stephen King

Twenty-something Johnny Smith is a popular high school teacher who finds himself on an unusual date with the love of his life. Hours later, he becomes the victim of a horrific car accident and wakes up from a coma four to five years later. Johnny soon discovers that much has changed, including his new-found ability to predict future events and to see into other's minds by way of touch. Despite wanting to return to a "normal" life, evil forces are among local and political events that soon beckon Johnny to their side.

Paperback, DVD, eAudiobook, Audio book/CD, eBook

Recommended by Melissa N. (4/17)


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Disaster Falls Disaster Falls / Stéphane Gerson

"A haunting chronicle of what endures when the world we know is swept away. On a day like any other, on a rafting trip down Utah's Green River, Stephane Gerson's eight-year-old son, Owen, drowned in a spot known as Disaster Falls. That same night, as darkness fell, Stephane huddled in a tent with his wife, Alison, and their older son, Julian, trying to understand what seemed inconceivable. 'It's just the three of us now,' Alison said over the sounds of a light rain and, nearby, the rushing river. 'We cannot do it alone. We have to stick together.' Disaster Falls chronicles the aftermath of that day and their shared determination to stay true to Alison's resolution. . . . Disaster Falls is a powerful account of a life cleaved in two--raw, truthful, and unexpectedly consoling"--

Recommended by Erin (3/17)


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The girl on the train The girl on the train / Paula Hawkins

Everyone has a past - and each character in this story will leave the reader guessing about a missing persons investigation. With sharply drawn characters and a plot full of intrigue, this book is a page-turner to the end.

DVD, Audio Book/CD, eBook, eAudiobook, eVideo, eBook in German

Recommended by Sue-Ellen (5/17)


Bookjacket for  Glow of death

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Glow of death Glow of death / Jane K. Cleland

For antique lovers and readers who love a well-written cozy mystery, there is no more engaging writer than Jane Cleland. Josie Prescott owns a thriving antique and appraisal business. She visits the house of a wealthy couple to appraise a Tiffany lamp. Ava Towson seems excited to learn that Josie believes the lamp to be genuine since it will fetch at least a million dollars at auction. After Josie completes her appraisal and returns the lamp, she is stunned to learn a few days later that Ava has been murdered. She is even more aghast when she sees Ava at the crime scene because this Ava is not the person she met and the Tiffany lamp is not the same one she appraised. This series features enormously appealing characters with a lot of interesting information about antiques, appraisals, and auctions. Irresistible.

Recommended by Sue-Ellen (4/17)


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The hearts of men The hearts of men / Nickolas Butler

"The Hearts of Men" chronicles the times of several different characters' experiences at Camp Chippewa in Wisconsin from 1962 to 2019. Thirteen year-old Nelson Doughty is the prominent character, whose boyhood promptly ends one summer with a series of eye-opening events during camp and at home. From there, the story looks at the lives of others that are deeply influenced by Nelson on and off of the campgrounds.

Recommended by Melissa N (4/17)


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Hillbilly elegy Hillbilly elegy / J.D. Vance

J.D. Vance narrates Hillbilly Elegy; he does a creditable job of reading his own work. Vance details his experiences growing up as a member of the working class poor in Kentucky and Middletown, Ohio. His self-described hillbilly childhood was horrific at times: his mother consistently cycled through drugs, men, and homes. Vance was fortunate because his grandparents loved him and showed him the value of education. Vance served a tour of duty as a Marine and afterwards attended college at Ohio State University and then completed law school at Yale. Vance is at his best when describing the events of his childhood, what he learned from them, and how they impact his adult life. This is one of the most interesting audiobooks I've listened to this year.

Book, eBook

Recommended by Sue-Ellen (5/17)


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In Farleigh Field In Farleigh Field / Rhys Bowen

World War II arrives at the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate and MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with investigating at the same time one of the daughters takes a secret job at Bletchley Park.

Hopefully this is the first in a series.

Recommended by: Becky (4/17)


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The kept woman The kept woman / Karin Slaughter

Slaughter returns to her Georgia Bureau of Investigation series and once again focuses on detective Will Trent. Will is called to the scene of a bloody murder at an Atlanta warehouse; the victim is a bent ex-cop. The amount of blood suggests another victim at the scene who has lost so much blood that s/he won't survive for long. Then a clue appears that will prove devastating to the entire structure of Will's life. Slaughter keeps the suspense--and pace--ratcheted up in this engrossing thriller.

Audiobook/CD

Recommended by Sue-Ellen (5/17)


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LaRose LaRose / Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich is one of my favorite authors and her latest novel, LaRose, is nothing less than exceptional. When Landreaux Iron goes hunting one day in North Dakota, he mistakes a young boy for a deer and consequently kills him. He offers the boy's parents his own young son in atonement. The story follows the aftermath of the families affected by this tragedy.

Audio Book/CD, eBook

Recommended by Melissa N. (5/17)


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Manitou Canyon Manitou Canyon / William Kent Krueger

Cork O'Connor hates the month of November: his wife, father, and best friend all died violent deaths during November. Just days before his daughter's wedding, Cork is asked to re-investigate the strange disappearance of a wealthy tycoon by his grandchildren. He accepts, knowing it will be a quick trip. Unfortunately people responsible for the man's disappearance have other ideas. This is the 15th book in this series and Edgar Award winner Krueger creates a fascinating, seamless blend of Native American mysticism and suspense played out against the allure of Minnesota's boundary waters.

Audio Book/CD, eAudiobook, eBook

Recommended by Sue-Ellen (5/17)


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Racing the devil Racing the devil / Charles Todd

Just before the horrific Somme offensive of World War One, a group of English officers are sharing a makeshift meal and drinks at the front before going into action the next day. None of them know one another but they discover a shared passion for motorcars. Even though none of them expect to survive, they promise that any survivors will meet each other a year after the fighting stops and race their motorcars from Paris to Nice. But one person has a secret and starts killing off the other men. This is some of the finest writing in this 19 book series by the mother-son team of Charles Todd and it's top-notch suspense.

Recommended by Sue-Ellen (3/17)


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The twelve tribes of Hattie The twelve tribes of Hattie / Ayana Mathis

The story of an African American family held together with a mother's grit and monumental courage.

Audio Book/CD, eBook

Recommended by Erin (5/17)


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The Underground Railroad The Underground Railroad / Colson Whitehead

Cora is a slave who works on a large plantation in Georgia. When one of the owners decides to make her his mistress, she flees with another slave, Caesar. Unfortunately they encounter slave hunters and in the ensuing melee, Cora kills a young white boy. Whitehead writes about an actual underground railroad complete with tracks and engineers. No matter where Cora and Caesar stop, they encounter brutality and myriad dangers; one of the most feared slave hunters in the South is hot on their heels. Bahti Turpin narrates this audiobook and she does a spectacular job. The language glistens but this is a tough book to listen to because of its frank descriptions of violence. It is extremely well-written and deserves all its accolades.

Large Type, eBook, Audiobook/CD

Recommended by Sue-Ellen (4/17)


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When breath becomes air When breath becomes air / Paul Kalanithi ; foreword by Abraham Verghese

"At the age of 36, on the verge of a completing a decade's worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi's health began to falter. He started losing weight and was wracked by waves of excruciating back pain. A CT scan confirmed what Paul, deep down, had suspected: he had stage four lung cancer, widely disseminated. One day, he was a doctor making a living treating the dying, and the next, he was a patient struggling to live. Just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined, the culmination of decades of striving, evaporated. With incredible literary quality, philosophical acuity, and medical authority, When Breath Becomes Air approaches the questions raised by facing mortality from the dual perspective of the neurosurgeon who spent a decade meeting patients in the twilight between life and death, and the terminally ill patient who suddenly found himself living in that liminality. At the base of Paul's inquiry are essential questions, such as: What makes life worth living in the face of death? What happens when the future, instead of being a ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present?  Paul Kalanithi passed away in March 2015, while working on this book"-- From Publisher

From Erin: At the intersection of professional accomplishment and a terminal diagnosis, the author finds himself questioning his profession and life decisions. A compelling, searing, and honest account of one man coming to terms with his cancer as a doctor, a patient, and a father.

eBook, Audiobook/CD

Amazing! 

Recommended by Amy and Erin  (5/17)


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When the music's over When the music's over / Peter Robinson

DCI Alan Banks is now Supterintendent Banks and he is put in charge of a high-profile rape investigation that is decades old. One of the victims in the case is now a well-known poet and her rapist was a popular celebrity from the 1960s. DS Annie Cabot is investigating the murder of a young teenager left to die in a remote area. Both Banks and Cabot find their investigations hampered by misdirection and cover-ups from people with more authority. Peter Robinson's books are strongly plotted and character-driven while his use of language is complex and descriptive. This is one of my favorite police procedural series because of its excellent, absorbing writing and high quality.

Audio Book/CD

Recommended by Sue-Ellen (4/17)


Bookjacket for  Where the dead lie

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Where the dead lie Where the dead lie / C.S. Harris

London, 1813. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is no stranger to the dark side of the city, but he’s never seen anything like this: the brutalized body of a fifteen- year-old boy dumped into a makeshift grave on the grounds of an abandoned factory. One of London’s many homeless children, Benji Thatcher was abducted and tortured before his murder—and his younger sister is still missing. Few in authority care about a street urchin’s fate, but Sebastian refuses to let this killer go unpunished. Uncovering a disturbing pattern of missing children, Sebastian is drawn into a shadowy, sadistic world.

Recommended by: Becky (4/17) 


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The widow's house The widow's house / Carol Goodman

Carol Goodman doesn't have many equals when it comes to creating richly atmospheric, suspenseful novels. Novelist Jess Martin and his wife Clare have moved from New York City to Clare's hometown in upper state New York. Clare hopes the move will renew Jess's fading writing career and their troubled marriage. A local real estate agent tells them that Clare's former professor is looking for a caretaker for his crumbling mansion, River House. There is something wrong with the house; it oozes disquiet and Clare hears the cries of a baby in the dead of night. A woman once killed herself here and left her baby to freeze to death. Clare is obsessed with finding out the truth but now the ghost has targeted her as its next victim.

Recommended by Sue-Ellen (4/17)

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