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René's Picks

René is our extremely busy events coordinator, who schedules author programs and handles advertising.  She even has time to read!

Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250160843
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - May 1st, 2018

This is a fascinating history of death, how it happens and how the definition has changed over time. Warraich, a Duke physician, makes a compelling case for bringing the subject of death into our everyday conversation. The benefit is "resuscitating aspects of death we have lost. Death needs to be closer to home, preceded by lesser disability and less isolation."  We must all confront death; Dr. Warraich offers insights that will allow us to make this more natural and less frightening.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307742483
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 3rd, 2018

There is sometimes no more amazing story than history. This one is about murder and greed; about noble men and villains.  It is a thriller. It is a page turner!
The Osage Indians were fabulously wealthy because of their oil-rich land.  They were also being murdered because of it. Greed, corruption and bigotry ensured that little was done to find the murderers or stop the killings. It wasn't until the fledgling FBI's young director, J. Edgar Hoover, appointed a former Texas Ranger to the investigation that an honest and scientific effort was made to solve the crimes.
Grann (author of Lost City of Z) knows how to tell a story and teach history at the same time.

Putin Country: A Journey into the Real Russia Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250118110
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - March 14th, 2017

Garrels, former NPR reporter and author of Naked in Baghdad, has spent years in Russia talking with people from all walks of life. She illustrates in a deeply personal way the lives of ordinary citizens caught in a changing political landscape. She explores the support that Putin has in spite of his abuse of power.  A timely look at a country that most of us do not understand.

Another Brooklyn: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062359988
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Amistad - August 9th, 2016

Do not be fooled by the length of this book, it is short but powerful.  It brought me right into the world of a young African-American girl and her friends in language that is both compact and lyrical. Publishers Weekly gave Another Brooklyn a well-deserved star review and said: “Woodson…combines grit and beauty in a series of stunning vignettes, painting a vivid mural of what it was like to grow up African-American in Brooklyn during the 1970s…Woodson draws on all the senses to trace the milestones in a woman’s life and how her early experiences shaped her identity.” It is a book that will stay  with me for a long time.

The Guest Room (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804170987
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - October 25th, 2016

If you enjoy a book with unexpected twists and turns, Chris Bohjalian is an author you will want to read. His latest book is about the consequences of a good family man's decision to host a bachelor party for his wilder, younger brother. The story keeps us guessing but also leads us to think about important issues.
It has garnered high praise from both Charles Frazier--- "Pulses quick as a page-turner, but its concerns run deep ..." and Geraldine Brooks ---"Bohjalian’s deftness as a story teller is on full display here." I join them!

Kitchens of the Great Midwest: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143109419
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - June 7th, 2016

Each chapter of this debut novel are like linked short stories following in leaps the life of Eva, born with a rare gift for food. The characters are compelling and the journey into the foodie culture is fascinating. Exotic,delicious dishes are described and also with some silliness. When asked if the ingredients of a woman's bar cookies were locally sourced, she replied "yes, they're from the grocery store just a few blocks from my house."  I will remember these people for a long time!

Circling the Sun: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345534200
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - May 31st, 2016

This is the story of a woman who is strong and fiercely independent, well ahead of her times. As a young child, she is abandoned by her mother and raised on a horse farm by her father and the native tribe in 1920s British colonial East Africa. She grows up with an empowering belief in her ability to survive.  She blazes her own path from an early age with triumphs, scandals,  love and heartache.  This story is based on the life of Beryl Markham, a ground breaking horse trainer and aviatrix and a fascinating woman.

Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062198778
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - February 16th, 2016

For two weeks while reading Epitaph, I lived in 1880s Arizona and came to know the people who lived there. Russell is a master at putting her meticulous research into creating a vivid picture of time and place, and brilliantly bringing into life her characters. This book continues with the story started in Doc, focusing here on Wyatt Earp. There is so much more to this man than we have seen in movies. If you are a fan of westerns you will love this book and if you are a fan of books that completely absorb, Epitaph will more than reward.

Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250105042
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - September 6th, 2016

The account of Dr Tweedy's journey through medical school and his experiences with African-American patients is a story we need to hear because many of us cannot imagine the challenges that face African-Americans every day.  Dr Tweedy courageously brings us into his world and allows us to see it through his eyes.  We can no longer remain in a cocoon of ignorance. Dr. Tweedy puts a compelling face to the issues of health care and race and pleads for better medical treatment and compassion.

City of Women: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780425252963
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - May 7th, 2013

"You avert your eyes enough times, and finally you go blind. You don't actually see anything any longer." Sigrid is forced to look outside of the walls she has put up around herself and must make decisions about what is right, what is wrong and where she will stand. This debut novel is a thriller, a love story, a story of courage and the many unknown heroes who made life and death decisions in the face of the horror that was Berlin in 1943. Gillham's language is stunning  and his characters are real, with all their flaws and all their bravery.  This is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time.

The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316220248
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - June 3rd, 2014

It was known that a transport plane with nurses and medics had crashed in Nazi-held Albania and that they had been rescued.  It was not known what happened in between.  The details of that journey were kept secret until the 1990s when Communism crumbled in Albania and the brave people, who risked their lives to help the Americans, were no longer at risk.  This is a heartpounding story of courage under harrowing circumstances and one that no will forget.

Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101980316
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - February 28th, 2017

Amidst all the noise and anger in society, Krista offers a refuge, an oasis where we can learn the value of listening, and learn to respect and appreciate people and the world around us. She offers a message of hope.
Tippett, Peabody Award-winning radio host of On Being and a National Humanities Medalist, is a master of what she terms ‘generous listening,’ a strong curiosity, and a ‘willingness to be surprised, to let go of assumptions and take in ambiguity.' What better model could we ask for? Becoming Wise is ... “Not light reading, but inspiring reading, for those willing to pull up a chair.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780770436421
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hogarth - February 4th, 2014

I've never before read a book set in Chechnya and I've rarely met characters that seem more real.  The language is beautiful, the plot and characters are masterfully intertwined.  In spite of being set during the harsh realities of war there is humor.  You know how you yearn for that book that you simply love?  This is a book I loved and will remember for a long, long time.

The Winter of Our Discontent Cover Image
By John Steinbeck, Susan Shillinglaw (Introduction by), Susan Shillinglaw (Notes by)
ISBN: 9780143039488
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Classics - August 26th, 2008

The moral dilemmas faced by Ethan Hawley are as relevant today as when this book was written in 1961. How does a good man maintain the high levels of honesty and integrity that he believes in and cope with the pressure from family and society to be successful and prosperous? What lengths can he go to ... will he go to ... to give his family the status and wealth they want and that he once enjoyed? "His dialogue is full of life, the entrapment of Ethan is ingenious, and the morality in this novel marks Mr. Steinbeck's return to the mood and the concern with which he wrote The Grapes of Wrath."

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594632334
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - March 4th, 2014

As in The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Hamid ingenuously uses the 2nd person to bring you straight into the characters' lives.  This is the story of a boy, born poor, who wants more. His road to wealth and love is messy, morally ambiguous and long.  This is a carefully, intelligently, appealingly written story of universal truths.  Do seek out interviews with Hamid, he is fascinating and learning his thought processes made me appreciate his writing even more.

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The Winter Soldier Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316477604
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 11th, 2018

What an appropriate novel to bring us into the midst of war as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWl.  Lucius is a young medical student in Vienna when war erupts.  He wants to practice, not just study, medicine so he volunteers.  Rather than a well-organized field hospital he is posted to a freezing, typhus ravaged commandeered church in a Carpathian Mt valley.  The other doctors have fled.  Remaining is a mysterious nurse named Sister Margarete. What Lucius gets is a crash course in battle wounds and PTSD. "The story that unfolds in this forsaken place is so captivating that you may feel as unable to leave it as Lucius does". - Ron Charles. "The Winter Soldier achieves a deeply affecting balancing act, drawing us into the crushing agony of war while simultaneously stirring our hearts with an inspired and touching love story." - Georgia Hunter.  By the author of The Piano Tuner.

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Night of Miracles: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525509509
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - November 13th, 2018

This is a perfect book for our times when we need an escape from the harshness of the day.  Berg has given us a good story with characters we quickly come to care about.  It is a book with hope and with miracles and happy endings! I really enjoyed it!