Julia's Picks

A former high school choral director from Phoenix, AZ, Julia R.  retired to Raleigh after 38 years of teaching and concertizing.  She loves her new work in her other favorite pasttime. 


The Chilbury Ladies' Choir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101906750
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - February 14th, 2017

“As all of our male voices are gone to war, the village choir is to close. – The Vicar” Thus begins the story of the women of Chilbury, England in the early days of WWII. Follow five of these women through their letters and journal entries through hardship, romance and a bit of a mystery – you will love these women as I did, from the first page. Keep calm and carry on – singing!

The Second Mrs. Hockaday Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781616205812
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Algonquin Books - January 10th, 2017

The difficult position of being a new bride as her husband spends the next two years with the Confederate Army haunts the main character--and the reader! Her pregnancy during his absence, and the mysterious death of the child, provides the backbone of this Civil War era novel. Told entirely through letters and diary entries, this book intrigued me from page one.

Girl Waits with Gun Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544800830
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - May 3rd, 2016

What a fun book! Set in 1914-15 New Jersey, this story, based on true events, enters the lives of three sisters who are trying to figure out how not to be harassed by the local gangster. This involves kidnapping, carrier pigeons, bricks thrown through the windows and pistol-packin’ dames. The heroine actually ends up becoming one of the first female deputy sheriffs. Take this one to the beach with you!

Violins of Hope: Violins of the Holocaust--Instruments of Hope and Liberation in Mankind's Darkest Hour Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062246837
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - August 12th, 2014

Prepare for an emotional journey as the author introduces you to violins that survived the Holocaust, often extending or even saving the lives of their owners. It is a story that deserves attention, and speaks of courageous people who were able to find hope and joy in a time of uncertainty and terror. It is at the same time heart-wrenching and uplifting, and well worth the read.

The Illustrated Man Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451678185
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 17th, 2012

In 1948, Ray Bradbury’s imagination went to work on something that was rare in those days: tattoos, and what would it be like if they were actually living pictures. This collection of short stories is a must-read for anyone with tattoos, or considering tattoos. Warning: it may keep you awake at night!

Love May Fail: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062285577
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Paperbacks - June 21st, 2016

Wisdom and love, success, failure and redemption – all combine in this new novel by Matthew Quick. Beautifully told from the point of view of each of four main characters, we meet flawed human beings, struggling through trials, intersecting with each other to learn life lessons, and ultimately to save each other. This is alternately dark, quirky, mystifying, and uplifting, and ultimately a satisfying read.

Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393352276
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 4th, 2016

This is a story that deserves to be told: FDR’s response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor sets in motion a small force of American planes under the command of Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle on a seemingly impossible mission of bombing Tokyo. James M. Scott has given us a fascinating and readable account of a chapter of WWII not covered in school history classes, yet is as important to the outcome of the war as other more famous events.

The Care and Management of Lies: A Novel of the Great War Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062220516
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - June 30th, 2015

Maisie Dobbs fans will not be disappointed that she doesn't appear in this novel of World War I. Set in England in the early days of The Great War, this gives us an intimate relationship with four characters whose lives are greatly changed by the conflict. Prepare to experience a wide range of emotions as Winspear challenges our preconceived ideas on love, conflict and social beliefs.

How about Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250062420
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - October 6th, 2015

This is an engaging and amusing memoir from the cartoon editor of The New Yorker magazine. Not only do you get a complete picture of the many facets of the cartoon department, but also you get many opportunities to laugh out loud as Mankoff takes you through his life in cartoons. Plus you get tips on how to win the cartoon caption contest.

Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812984323
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade - February 25th, 2014

For anyone interested in a readable introduction to the U.S. Supreme Court, this is the book for you! The first woman appointed to the Court gives historical background and often amusing incidents, as well as up-to-date inner workings of the country’s highest judicial body. She has a unique perspective, setting the stage for other “first” appointees. Her well-written personal approach proved to be a fascinating education for me.

American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143122029
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - September 25th, 2012

United States? Not according to Woodard. Explore the eleven regional nations which make up the United States of America and learn how and why this country developed as it did (and is still doing). As a resident of four of these nations, and having traveled extensively in three others, I was amazed at the conclusions drawn here concerning regional differences that stemmed from initial immigration and remain today. Despite the ease of migration now, those regions maintain their original characteristics. There were many “Aha!” moments for me on such things as voting tendencies, why New York City functions the way it does (so different from upstate New York), and why Portland, Oregon connects to Portland, Maine. This is a fascinating read!

Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World: A New History Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307386267
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - April 19th, 2011

If you thought that America's settlement began with the Mayflower, think again. Nick Bunker treats us to a fascinating background check of those who sailed in 1620 and the myriad reasons for doing so, including the possibility of making a fortune from the already established beaver and cod-fishing trade in North America. This book is an intriguing eye-opener for those of us who, through our high school American History classes, had the impression that religious freedom was the basis of the 17th century emigration to North America.