Tim's Picks

Staff Pick Badge
The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store: A Novel By James McBride Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593422946
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - August 8th, 2023

Set in 1936 in the rundown Chicken Hill neighborhood in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, Mr. McBride's latest novel chronicles the lives of the African Americans and Jewish immigrants who live there side by side.  When the state comes looking for a young Black deaf boy claiming he must be institutionalized, the community rallies to save the child.  "If you only read one novel this winter, read this one:  McBride is a consummate storyteller and his uncanny ability to draw parallels between 1936 and 2023 is amazing.  This book is a masterpiece.  Highly recommended!"


Staff Pick Badge
The Art Thief: A True Story of Love, Crime, and a Dangerous Obsession By Michael Finkel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780525657323
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - June 27th, 2023

A spellbinding tale of one of the most successful art thieves in history -- Stephane Breitweiser, who (along with his girlfriend) stole more than 300 pieces of art worth an estimated $2 billion.  "I was completely drawn in by this thrilling case study of a truly obsessive personality and his addictive need to steal.  A great read!"


Staff Pick Badge
The River We Remember: A Novel By William Kent Krueger Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781982179212
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - September 5th, 2023

On Memorial Day, 1958, in the small town of Jewel, Minnesota, the body of the wealthiest (and most unpopular) farmer is found in the river.  Solving this mystery falls to Sheriff Dern, as the townspeople point the blame on Noah Bluestone, a Native American war veteran who has returned from Korea with a Japanese wife.  "Mr. Krueger somehow crafts compelling mysteries with an underlying ache and tenderness that makes his books such satisfying reads -- time well spent!"


Staff Pick Badge
The Football 100 By The Athletic Cover Image
$40.00
ISBN: 9780063329096
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - October 24th, 2023

The sports writers at The Athletic have compiled profiles of the 100 greatest players in NFL history, featuring interviews with players and coaches along with biographical backgrounds and statistics.  "I'm a big fan of reference books, and this one allows you to read up on all those sports legends you've heard of but didn't actually know why or what made them legendary."


Staff Pick Badge
Starter Villain By John Scalzi Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780765389220
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - September 19th, 2023

Charlie Fitzer is a divorced substitute teacher who learns that he is the sole beneficiary of his billionaire uncle Jake's evil empire (complete with island volcano lair) and his membership in an alliance of super-villains.  "I love anything written by John Scalzi --  his novels are clever, witty, unpredictable and filled with heart.  And his take on the world of James Bond from Spectre's point of view is a hilarious thrill-ride of a book."


Staff Pick Badge
The Palace: From the Tudors to the Windsors, 500 Years of British History at Hampton Court By Mr. Gareth Russell Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9781982169060
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - December 5th, 2023

This is the story of English royalty and their gorgeous residence, from Henry VIII to Queen Elizabeth II -- but told from the point of view of artisans, servants, courtiers and distinguished guests.  "I loved this richly-detailed and fascinating history -- "if these walls could talk..." and in this book, they do."  (Publication date:  12/5/23)


Staff Pick Badge
Starling House: A Reese's Book Club Pick By Alix E. Harrow Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781250799050
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - October 3rd, 2023

This dark fantasy set in the coal-mining town of Eden, Kentucky gives us Opal, a young woman trying to earn extra cash to send her younger brother away to school.  But when she's hired as house cleaner for the creepy old mansion that is the site of the town's whispers of curses and bad luck, Opal finds herself drawn into something else entirely.  "An excellent example of the Southern Gothic novel -- and I loved Opal's feisty and sharp approach to all she encounters.  You can't help but root for her."


Staff Pick Badge
The Night House: A novel By Jo Nesbo, Neil Smith (Translated by) Cover Image
By Jo Nesbo, Neil Smith (Translated by)
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593537169
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - October 3rd, 2023

Best known for his thrillers, The Night House is Mr. Nesbo's first horror novel -- and it is very creepy and unsettling.  Told in three shape-shifting parts, each one turns the reader's understanding upside down, uncertain about what's real and what's not.  "I found this novel to have an almost perfect structure:  three acts that ended right where I started, as if I was caught in a loop as disorienting as the main character's journey.  This book was an experience."


Staff Pick Badge
A Brief History of Earth: Four Billion Years in Eight Chapters By Andrew H. Knoll Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062853929
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - March 21st, 2023

This slim paperback, written by a professor of natural history at Harvard, looks at the birth and youth of our planet from different eras of Earth's timeline:  chemical, biological, animal, etc, in easy-to-understand language that will appeal to the young scientist as well as adults who simply want to know more about our world.  "An interesting and informative telling of Earth's history that leaves the reader marveling at the miracle of our home."


Staff Pick Badge
Unmasked: Covid, Community, and the Case of Okoboji By Emily Mendenhall Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780826504524
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vanderbilt University Press - March 15th, 2022

In May of 2020, Emily Mendenhall took her family home to Lake Okoboji to visit relatives, as she does every summer.  An anthropology professor at Georgetown University specializing in societies and how they navigate health crises, Ms. Mendenhall decides to look into her own community's handling of the Covid outbreak during those first scary and confusing months of the virus.  I read this to give myself a better understanding of how we as Iowans responded to Covid, even when some reactions seemed baffling to me.  And because of the author's connection to the community, Unmasked is an especially intimate, eye-opening, and nonjudgmental look at those responses.


Staff Pick Badge
Adventures with Dad: Being a Father Is Child's Play By Kenny Deuss Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9789401483735
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Lannoo Publishers - May 31st, 2022

The father of two children under 4, Kenny Deuss was in charge of the kids every Tuesday while his wife was at work.  After getting constant messages from her asking if "everything was okay," he began photoshopping images of the kids involved in very precarious situations.  The popular Instagram account is now in book form, with very funny (and incredibly well-done) fake photos of Mr. Deuss and his children, indulging in activities that serve as hysterical cautionary tales.  A great gift for Father's Day -- especially so for new Dads.


Staff Pick Badge
A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life of the World's Smartest Birds of Prey By Jonathan Meiburg Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781101911549
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - February 22nd, 2022

The amazingly readable story of the caracara, a falcon with the personality of a crow, first noted by Darwin when he was on The Beagle.  Mr. Meiburg takes us on a journey to learn about these strange birds as he travels to remote jungles, educates us on natural history and evolution and provides some wonderful tangents on Darwin and the South American naturalist William Henry Hudson.  But the birds are the stars of the show.  I'd never heard of the caracara and picked this up simply to learn more about them.  It's a highly entertaining and informative read about a truly fascinating bird.


Staff Pick Badge
Beneath the Stairs: A Novel By Jennifer Fawcett Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781982177164
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - March 28th, 2023

A sleepy town in upstate New York.  A house deep in the woods surrounded by rumor, legend and superstition.  Twenty years ago, Clare and her best friend Abby, along with two other girls, dared themselves to go inside the Octagon House the summer before they began high school.  Now, Abby is in a coma and Clare has returned to her hometown to unlock what happened that night so long ago, and why it changed their friendship so dramatically.  A graduate of The University of Iowa's Playwright Workshop, Ms. Fawcett's novel has incredible dialogue, a truly creepy house and layers upon layers of small town secrets and histories.  But what's so interesting about this book is its exploration of the aftermath of a supernatural experience, and its power to change one forever.


Staff Pick Badge
The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming By David Wallace-Wells Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780525576716
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - March 17th, 2020

First published in 2019, David Wallace-Wells gives a no-nonsense look at how our lives on Earth will be changed forever by the end of the century:  more wildfires, more flooding, higher temperatures and less resources.  And perhaps the largest migration of people since WWII.  The news seemed to be all about the war in Ukraine, women's reproductive rights, mass shootings, and midterm elections.  I wanted to read something that put things into perspective for me; that all these struggles would be for naught if the world didn't increase its focus on the great calamity that will befall (but, hopefully, unite) us all, regardless of any other differences.


Staff Pick Badge
The Paris Apartment: A Novel By Lucy Foley Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780063003064
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - February 21st, 2023

Jess left her job in England under less-than-desirous circumstances, so she decides it might be best to go stay with her half-brother Ben at his place in Paris.  But when Jess arrives, Ben is nowhere to be found.  Somebody in the building must know something, and Jess isn't afraid to start asking questions.  What I loved about this thriller was its ability to make me think every single character was a suspect, and the scrappiness of Jess, a woman who's seen her share of hard knocks.  I found it very tough to put this one down.


Staff Pick Badge
The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven By Nathaniel Ian Miller Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316592581
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - October 4th, 2022

A truly wondrous work of historical fiction, Sven leaves Stockholm in 1916 to work at a mining camp on the archipelago of Svalbard, north of Scandinavia and the Arctic Circle.  After an accident, he retreats even further into isolation and becomes a fur trapper, with only a dog for companionship.  But the world has a way of reaching out to us in surprising ways, despite one's physical (or emotional) remoteness.  Mr. MIller's debut novel is set in the harshest of environments but is also a tale of self-reliance, self-discovery and how relationships both sustain and surprise us.  Reading this is a bit like going on a retreat;  but not to worry, reader, you're in good hands.


Staff Pick Badge
The Maid: A Novel (Molly the Maid #1) By Nita Prose Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593356173
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - January 3rd, 2023

Molly Dunn, maid at the Grand Regency Hotel, has her life turned upside down when she discovers a dead body in one of the suites on her cleaning schedule.  When Molly (who has difficulty reading people and navigating social situations) is charged with murder, a group of fellow workers rally to clear her name.  “A completely charming whodunit, appropriate for all readers, with a main character you’ll root for all the way – as well as some gasp-inducing twists at the end!”


Staff Pick Badge
Once There Were Wolves: A Novel By Charlotte McConaghy Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250244154
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - May 3rd, 2022

Inti Flynn and her team of biologists are in Scotland to reintroduce 14 wolves into the Highlands.  But when a local man is found dead, the angry community suspects a wolf.  Or was it simply made to look that way?  "With a compelling and complex heroine, evocative writing of the environs, and a mysterious death, this is a guaranteed excellent read.  This novel has found its way onto my 'best books ever' list."


Staff Pick Badge
Leaving Berlin: A Novel By Joseph Kanon Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781476704654
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - March 1st, 2016

Four years after the end of WWII, the city of Berlin is still divided into sectors and struggling back to life.  Enter Alex Meier, a Jewish writer who fled to America during the Nazi regime but now, recently divorced from his American wife and denied citizenship, finds himself back in Germany.  The CIA has made him an offer:  become a spy for the US and perhaps you can return to the States.  But Alex knows nothing about how to conduct espionage and his very first meeting with a contact goes horribly wrong.  Filled with historical detail as well as artists and intellectuals who actually returned home to East Germany after the war (a wonderfully climactic moment takes place on the opening night of Brecht's Mother Courage), Mr. Kanon writes some of the most exciting post-war thrillers in print.  Listed by NPR, the Washington Post and the NYT Book Review as one of the best books of the year (2015), this is a fantastic read!


Staff Pick Badge
The Miniaturist: A Novel By Jessie Burton Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780062306845
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - June 2nd, 2015

Jessie Burton's debut novel tells the story of Nella Oortman, 18 years old, newly wed in an arranged marriage to an older wealthy merchant, as she arrives in Amsterdam to take up her wifely duties.  But her husband, Johannes, is distant and often away from home, and his spinster sister, cold and pious, unwilling to cede her position as mistress of the house.  When Johannes presents Nella a dollhouse-sized replica of their home as a wedding gift, she orders furnishings for it from a mysterious artist, who begins to send Nella items that she has not requested and which seem to be harbingers of things to come.  Mysterious and suspenseful, readers may recognize echoes of Du Maurier's Rebecca, although I found the book captivating in its details of life in 17th century Holland:  the wealth, the oppressiveness of religion, and society's expectations of women.   Helpful hint:  The prologue should really be an epilogue; ignore it and read it when you've finished.


Staff Pick Badge
Dear Mr. You By Mary -Louise Parker Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501107849
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - June 14th, 2016

In this stunning debut, award-winning stage and screen actress Mary-Louise Parker reveals her talent as a writer of incredible skill and sensitivity.  One part memoir, one part poetry and one part storytelling, Dear Mr. You is a series of letters written to the men (both real and imagined, both known and unknown) who have influenced and impacted her life.  Readers will find themselves struck by Ms. Parker's unforgettable imagery and way with words.  A very good read.


Staff Pick Badge
Tales of Accidental Genius: Stories By Simon Van Booy Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780062408976
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - November 10th, 2015

A new book by Simon Van Booy is always a cause to celebrate, and Tales of Accidental Genius is indeed celebratory.  With just a handful of short stories (and one long story to close the book blossoming out of the previous tale), Mr. Van Booy reminds the reader that no matter one's age, race, habitat or habits, we are all human, and are all attempting to connect -- or re-connect, I should say -- with the world around us and our place in it.  These stories are like beacons in the darkness, and Mr. Van Booy's incredible ability to deliver the most profound observances by way of the simplest of sentences is breathtaking.  Like any master of their craft, he makes it appear effortless.  You'll want to read these again and again -- Simon Van Booy's genius is no accident.


Staff Pick Badge
The Girl on the Train: A Novel By Paula Hawkins Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781594634024
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - July 12th, 2016

Which of us has not noticed the same people every day of our lives and, not knowing anything of their real circumstances, created an imaginary narrative around them to satisfy our own fantasies?  This is certainly the case of Rachel, our protagonist, who sees a couple on their terrace every morning on her commute to work, and builds her own biography of their lives.  When the woman goes missing and is the subject of endless media reports, Rachel feels she knows this woman and tries to help the police with their investigation.  This intriguing premise is the springboard of Ms. Hawkins' fascinating suburban thriller -- a tale told by three women:  Rachel, an alcoholic; Megan, the missing woman; and Anna, who remarried Rachel's husband, Tom, after their divorce.  All three narrators are unreliable, wearing the blinders of their addictions, dissatisfactions, and jealousies.  Full of red herrings, flashes of revelations, and plenty of twists and turns, this is a splendid mystery populated with fascinating characters.  Enjoy!


Staff Pick Badge
The Martian: A Novel By Andy Weir Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780553418026
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - October 28th, 2014

Astronaut Mark Watney was believed to be killed during the sandstorm that forced his fellow crew members to abort their mission on Mars and return to Earth.  But Mark is very much alive, and is now alone in a hostile environment, where air, water, food and finding a way to communicate are his only objectives.  The story is told through Watney's log entries, alongside chapters detailing what's happening back on Earth, as NASA goes from mourning a fallen spaceman to trying to find a way to bring him home.  An exciting debut from first-time novelist Weir, The Martian is a Robinson Crusoe for the 22nd century, filled with science and physics (without leaving the layman reader behind), as well as good old human ingenuity and plenty of well-placed humor to ease the edge-of-your-seat suspense.


Staff Pick Badge
All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel By Anthony Doerr Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781501173219
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - April 4th, 2017

All the Light We Cannot See is the story of two young people -- a blind girl living in Paris with her father, a locksmith for the Museum of Natural History, and a boy who lives with his sister in an orphanage in Essen.  Covering the years of 1934 to 1944, we follow these youths as Marie-Laure flees Paris and the Nazis to the ancient walled city of St. Malo on the Atlantic coast and Werner becomes a member of the Hitler Youth and then a radio engineer in the German army.  Their lives will intersect in an almost inevitable way in this exquisite novel of war, love, hope and dreams.  Lyrical, heart-breaking and stunning.  I can't recall a book such as this, that I was able to see every detail as I read it.  Highly recommended.


Staff Pick Badge
The Farm By Tom Rob Smith Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781455551064
Availability: Special Order
Published: Grand Central Publishing - February 24th, 2015

The Farm, the latest thriller from the excellent Tom Rob Smith, is a fascinating psychological thriller.  Daniel's parents have retired to their newly-purchased farm in Sweden when he receives a phone call from his father saying Daniel's mother has had a nervous breakdown and suffering paranoid delusions.  Shocked by this news, Daniel finds that his mother has just flown to London and is now on his doorstep, claiming Daniel's father is involved in some conspiracy, perhaps even a murder.  Torn between which parent to believe, Daniel listens as his mother presents her "testimony".  The Farm presents us with interesting themes of deception, perception and the puzzling fact that people are often more willing to believe a man before they will a woman.  (Daniel's mother asserts that if this was one hundred years earlier, they would have simply locked her in the attic.)  Fair warning:  allow yourself some time when you begin this book, as it is nearly impossible to stop reading once you start.  And don't miss Mr. Smith's exceptional first novel, Child 44!


Staff Pick Badge
Until She Comes Home: A Suspense Thriller By Lori Roy Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780142180983
Availability: Special Order
Published: Dutton - May 27th, 2014

On Alder Avenue in 1958 Detroit, all seems a perfect picture of the American Dream:  breadwinning husbands work in the auto industry and come home every night to scenes of domestic bliss, where their wives have dinner on the table after a day spent cleaning and cooking.  But tensions simmer right under this pillboxed, buttondowned surface, and when a neighborhood teenaged girl goes missing, the residential community is turned on its head.   Ms. Roy has fashioned an incredible atmosphere of retro America ala "The Donna Reed Show" while at the same time showing the reader the dark complexities of the human soul, no matter how well-constructed the facade.  (By the way, Ms. Roy's first novel, the Edgar-winning Bent Road is also a wonderfully dark portrait of a Midwestern family.)


Staff Pick Badge
Three Graves Full By Jamie Mason Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781451685046
Availability: Special Order
Published: Gallery Books - August 20th, 2013

A year ago, Jason Getty buried a body in his back yard.  Too paranoid to do any yardwork, he finally hires a landscaping company to clean up his front yard only.  But Jason's greatest fear is realized when the crew discovers a body in his yard -- it's just not the one he buried.  From this unexpected beginning, Ms. Mason takes on a wild ride of corpses, confessions, secrets and misassumptions.  Her characters include the bumbling Jason, a grieving girlfriend, a clever sheriff, a bitter twin and one hysterical and heroic German shepherd.  This debut novel is one of the most unpredictable and funniest crime stories I've ever had the pleasure of reading.  Don't miss out on the fun!


Staff Pick Badge
The Silent Land: A Suspense Thriller By Graham Joyce Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307739827
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor - May 1st, 2012

While vacationing at a ski resort in France, Jake and Zoe are caught in an avalanche.  After Jake digs Zoe out, they shakily return to the hotel -- only to find it completely abandoned.  Thus begins this eerie tale by Mr. Joyce, an award-winning fantasy writer from England.  (His next novel, Some Kind of Fairy Tale, is a staff pick of my co-worker, Kathleen.)  The Silent Land is a haunting tale, dense and disturbing, as it explores the territory between the real and the unreal, between life and death -- all with a pervading sense of claustrophobia and suppressed panic.  If Rod Serling had written a love story for The Twilight Zone, it might seem something like this.  A rewarding read that will linger with you long after you've finished.


Staff Pick Badge
White Horse: A Novel By Alex Adams Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781451643008
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria/Emily Bestler Books - December 18th, 2012

There seem to be an abundance of "end of the world" tales lately, but White Horse presents us with a terrifying and intense experience.  A plague has killed off 90% of the population.  The war between China and the US has depleted resources.  Scientific experiments with weather have irreparably damaged the climate.  Of the 10% of humans that survived the disease, half seem untouched while the other half have suffered horrific mutations.  Our heroine, Zoe, guides us through this nightmare of a landscape, alternating her narration between "before" and "after" chapters.  She is determined to stay alive as she works her way from America to Greece, hoping against hope to reunite with her lover before her baby is born.  Fierce, violent, shocking, this is a haunting book.  And even though it's part of a projected trilogy, White Horse has resolution and closure.  An amazing debut from Ms. Adams.


Staff Pick Badge
The Invisible Ones By Stef Penney Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780425253212
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Berkley - December 4th, 2012

With her second novel, Ms. Penney takes us again into the heart of a mystery where the characters have such deep secrets, secrets they've carried for years, and may not ever tell.  The Invisible Ones follows private detective Ray Lovell as he pursues a missing persons case -- a case that is seven years cold, a case concerning a Gypsy girl named Rose Janko.  Set in 1980s England, we are taken into the world of modern-day Gypsies, a world few of us even knew existed.  But how to find someone who has no paper trail, no ID, no address, no governmental records?  Ray may have an edge -- he's half Gypsy himself.  Ray is our narrator, a burden he shares with JJ, the 15-year-old nephew of Rose.  Ms. Penney's skill as a writer sets The Invisible Ones above the ordinary -- along with an ending that is a complete surprise -- and the searing emotional journey of JJ from innocent teen to a young man struggling to find a balance between what he believed and what he now knows.


Staff Pick Badge
Gone Girl: A Novel By Gillian Flynn Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780307588371
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - April 22nd, 2014

Gone Girl is one of those books that manages to be a thrilling mystery as well as a searing comment on our media-driven, reality TV-obsessed society.  When Amy Dunne goes missing from her home, the number one suspect is, of course, her husband, Nick.  The compelling tale is told in the alternating voices of Amy and Nick, the first half of Amy's narration in the form of diary entries.  Gone Girl is the story of a marriage gone horribly wrong, presented to us by characters that have very conflicting points of view, and is also a rarity in the fact that, as more light is shed on the mystery, the suspense only rachets up tighter and tighter until the book's heartstopping ending.  If only Hitchcock were still around to film it!


Staff Pick Badge
The Butterfly Cabinet: A Novel By Bernie McGill Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781451611601
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Free Press - May 1st, 2012

Based on true events, The Butterfly Cabinet is a fascinating tale of Victorian culture and class.  In 1892, Maddie McGlade was a maid for a wealthy family in Ireland.  Her employer and lady of the house, Mrs. Harriet Ormond, was a strict disciplinarian -- so much so that her young daughter Charlotte does not survive one of Harriet's punishments.  In a shocking judicial decision for the times, Mrs. Ormond is sent to Grangegorman Prison.  Fast forward to 1968, and 92-year-old Maddie McGlade is in a nursing home, and wishes to tell the story to Harriet's granddaughter -- the story of what really happened in that house.  Moving between 1968 and Harriet's prison diary from 1892, Ms. McGill's weaves a tale of two completely different women:  an aristocratic Victorian "lady" and a down-to-earth commoner who both had a part to play in the child's death.  Filled with secrets and detail and history, The Butterfly Cabinet is a superb example of great Irish storytelling.


Staff Pick Badge
The Postmortal: A Novel By Drew Magary Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143119821
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 30th, 2011

Mr. Magary's first novel is an excellent look at what happens when science develops a way to prevent aging.  At first illegal and only found via back alley physicians, soon "The Cure" -- a series of painful injections -- is made available to all.  The benefits seem incredible -- eternal youth, diseases associated with old age (such as Alzheimer's) are virtually wiped out, and people have the ability to start their lives over...and over and over again.  But soon serious repercussions arise -- populations explode, resources become scarce, a fanatic religious cult gains power and euthanasia is government sanctioned.  And what makes this novel even more interesting -- as if that was needed -- is its format:  a series of personal blog entries from a computer found in the year 2093.  Part science fiction and part satire, The Postmortal is a thrilling, disturbing and imaginative look at a world completely changed.


Staff Pick Badge
The Cradle: A Novel By Patrick Somerville Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780316036115
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - April 12th, 2010

Even if you missed seeing Mr. Somerville at last summer's book festival, you won't want to miss reading his exceptional novel The Cradle.  Matthew and his wife are expecting their first child, and she wants the antique cradle from her childhood -- the cradle was one of the few items taken when her mother abandoned the family years earlier.  With almost nothing to guide him, Matthew embarks on this quest, which soon becomes something of a Midwestern odyssey.  Ten years later, Renee, a successful children's author, and her husband say goodbye to their son as he is shipped off to fight in Iraq -- an event that launches Renee into much soul-searching and introspection.  Mr. Somerville spins these two seemingly disparate narratives until they collide in a superb example of love, family and forgiveness.  A truly wonderful read.


Staff Pick Badge
Everything Beautiful Began After: A Novel By Simon Van Booy Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780061661488
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - July 5th, 2011

Following his two amazing short story collections, Mr. Van Booy's first novel has arrived!  This tale of three friends in Athens charts the joy and hearbreak of love, and the difficult task of finding the wherewithal to move forward and begin again.  Displaying an uncanny ability to convey emotions, spirituality and humanity within the simplest of sentences, Mr. Van Booy's skill with language and imagery is unparalleled -- this book is so finely written it will leave you breathless.  Highly recommended.


Staff Pick Badge
It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living By Dan Savage (Editor), Terry Miller (Editor) Cover Image
By Dan Savage (Editor), Terry Miller (Editor)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780452297616
Availability: Special Order
Published: Penguin Books - January 25th, 2012

In the wake of an alarming number of suicides commited by gay teens, Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller started a website where people - both gay and straight - could post videos reassuring young homosexuals that life will become easier in the future.  Now, for the first time, the text of these inspiring videos is available in a printed format.  This is one book that belongs in the library of every school, church and community center, and in the office of every counselor, coach, religious leader, teacher, advisor, psychologist, psychiatrist, community leader, principal and anyone else who works closely with youth. 


Staff Pick Badge
The Last Werewolf (Last Werewolf Trilogy #1) By Glen Duncan Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780307742179
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 17th, 2012

If Mary Shelley were still living today -- she'd be 214 years old -- and a group of friends dared her to write another horror novel, The Last Werewolf might be her response.  Glen Duncan's new novel is a thrill ride of a story:  our hero, Jake, is educated, wealthy, sexy, over 200 years old and, oh yeah, a werewolf.  The last of his kind, in fact.  And he's suffering from a bout of ennui that's bordering on severe depression.  Mr. Duncan's book reinvents the werewolf for the 21st century:  Gothic horror meets James Bond.  Fasten your seat belts!  This is unlike anything you've ever read before.


Staff Pick Badge
The Bells: A Novel By Richard Harvell Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9780307590534
Availability: Special Order
Published: Crown - June 28th, 2011

This debut novel from Mr. Harvell is the tale of Moses Froben, from his inauspicious birth as the son of a deaf and mute mother to his rise as a famous castrate in 18th century Vienna.   Moses travels from Switzerland to Austria to Italy as he transforms from peasant to choir boy to opera star, meeting monks, priests and the elite society of Vienna, guided by his remarkable gift for sound.  Fascinating, lyrical, rich in historical detail, I found this book difficult to stop reading -- when I'd finished, I wished there were a few hundred more pages.  Pick this up if you're a fan of historical fiction and/or a music lover.


Staff Pick Badge
The Financial Lives of the Poets: A Novel By Jess Walter Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780061916052
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - September 7th, 2010

Never has being laid off and behind on one's mortgage been as winningly presented as in Mr. Walter's novel.  Our hero, Matthew Prior, is out of work, his marriage is going through a very rough patch, he's in charge of the kids as well as his father (an Alzheimer sufferer), and if he doesn't find some money by the end of the week for his mortgage, he'll lose the house as well.  Funny, sharp, wonderfully written, and with one of the best endings I've read in a long time, The Financial Lives of the Poets will have you feeling better about your own situation in no time at all.


Staff Pick Badge
Union Atlantic: A Novel (Lambda Literary Award) By Adam Haslett Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780307388292
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - February 8th, 2011

Union Atlantic is Mr. Haslett's first novel, following his short story collection You Are Not a Stranger Here, which was a finalist for both a Pulitzer and a National Book Award.  I think it's likely to be the best novel I'll read this year -- filled with characters and a plot that spoke to me about who we are as Americans today, and how we found ourselves in a culture of money, fear and isolation.  In Union Atlantic, a banker is motivated by greed and the desire to keep the astronomical debt his company carries afloat for just one more day -- regardless of the consequences; teenagers do drugs, dream of a future away from their hometown, and struggle to sculpt an identity; and a retiree stages a final hurrah of protest, rekindling the spirit of activism from her youth.  Defining the American psyche unlike any other book I've read recently, Union Atlantic seems like a Great Gatsby for the new millenium.  Highly recommended.


Staff Pick Badge
Land of Marvels (Center Point Platinum Fiction (Large Print)) By Barry Unsworth Cover Image
$33.95
ISBN: 9781602853997
Availability: Special Order
Published: Center Point - February 1st, 2009

On the eve of World War I, in what today would be modern Iraq, an English archaeologist digs in search of an ancient Assyrian tomb, accompanied by his wife, an assistant, and a female grad student.  This quarted is joined by a British major charged with assessing the locals for their military strength and loyalties, an American geologist (pretending to be a historian) searching for oil, and an Arab servant desperate to raise 100 pounds in gold to buy his wife-to-be from her uncle.  Mr. Unsworth has crafted an impressive tale of national pride, generational outlooks, the greed of men and the threat of war as his characters' agendas culminate in a thrilling climax.  Historical fiction at its finest.


Staff Pick Badge
The Good Thief: A Novel By Hannah Tinti Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780385337465
Availability: Special Order
Published: Dial Press Trade Paperback - August 11th, 2009

A rollicking adventure that reminds me of the novels of Robert Louis Stevenson, The Good Thief is the story of Ren, a twelve-year-old orphan.  All he's known of life has been the Catholic monastery and orphanage -- he doesn't remember his parents, or how he lost his left hand.  Things are fairly miserable until a man arrives at the orphanage claiming to be Ren's brother.   Off they go into a world Ren has never experienced, and we follow along their escapades as they travel through mid-19th century New England.  Ren is just about the most charming kid you'll ever meet in a novel, and Ms. Tinti's story has wonderfully Gothic elements.  Funny, suspenseful and mysterious, this book is a guaranteed great read.


Staff Pick Badge
City of Thieves: A Novel By David Benioff Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780452295292
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - March 31st, 2009

Leningrad.  WWII.  A city under siege during  the worst winter in its history.  Two  men -- a naive Jewish teenager arrested for looting and a  wordly lothario in the Red Army arrested for desertion -- are slated for execution, but are given a reprieve if they can locate a dozen eggs for the commanding officer's daughter's wedding cake.  What follows is an odyssey of a budding friendship as these two mismatched men navigate the dangers of a world gone mad.  Cinematic in its scope, and by turns hilarious and horrific, this is a must read.


Staff Pick Badge
The Magicians: A Novel (Magicians Trilogy #1) By Lev Grossman Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780452296299
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - May 25th, 2010

This book is for those readers who grew up with the Harry Potter books and are longing for something more, and for those readers who spent many hours with C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and dreamed of finding a secret doorway into that magical land.  Lev Grossman (the book reviewer for Time magazine) has written a riveting novel of a group of students at a college of magic.  No wands, no owls. These coeds study magic -- and it's hard -- and participate in the typical aspects of collegiate life:  exams, drinking and relationships.  Graduation thrusts them into the real world, accomplished, brilliant, and terribly bored.  Until one member of the group finds an entry into the supposedly fictional world of Fillory, a land from a series of fantasy novels they all read as children.  A truly wonderful novel of the fantasy genre.  Very difficult to put down.