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Staff Picks

august

August

capital

Capital by Peter Bowker

The story is about the interconnected lives of a diverse group of characters linked to a neighborhood street. One day, the street's residents all receive an anonymous postcard through their front doors bearing a simple message: "We want what you have." Who is behind the anonymous hate campaign? And what do they want? As the mystery of the postcards deepens, interweaving stories reveal lives filled with love and loss, fear and greed, fortune and envy, and at its heart, family and home.

Recommended by Sheryl

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good

A Really Good Day by Ayelet Waldman

In an effort to treat a debilitating mood disorder, Ayelet Waldman undertook a very private experiment, ingesting 10 micrograms of LSD every three days for a month. This is the story--by turns revealing, courageous, fascinating and funny--of her quietly psychedelic spring, her quest to understand one of our most feared drugs, and her search for a really good day.

Recommended by Gwen

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young

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Aviva Grossman, an ambitious congressional intern in Florida, makes the mistake of having an affair with her boss--and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the beloved congressman doesn’t take the fall. But Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins: slut-shamed, she becomes a late-night talk show punch line, anathema to politics.

Recommended by Alice

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doctor

Doctor Death by Lene Kaaberbøl

Centered around Madeline Karno, an ambitious young woman eager to shatter the confines of 1890s France, this novel is a gripping mystery that takes the reader on a captivating journey to find the cause behind a series of suspicious deaths.

Recommended by Rebecca

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these

These is My Words by Nancy Turner

A moving, exciting, and heartfelt American saga inspired by the author's own family memoirs, these words belong to Sarah Prine, a woman of spirit and fire who forges a full and remarkable existence in a harsh, unfamiliar frontier. Scrupulously recording her steps down the path Providence has set her upon—from child to determined young adult to loving mother—she shares the turbulent events, both joyous and tragic, that molded her, and recalls the enduring love with cavalry officer Captain Jack Elliot that gave her strength and purpose.

Recommended by Gwen

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golem

The Golem and the Jinny by Helene Wecker

Chava, a golem brought to life by a disgraced rabbi, and Ahmad, a jinni made of fire, form an unlikely friendship on the streets of New York until a fateful choice changes everything.

Recommended by Sheryl

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major

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) leads a quiet life in the village of St. Mary, England, until his brother's death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But will their relationship survive in a society that considers Ali a foreigner?

Recommended by Sharon

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shrill

Shrill: notes from a loud woman by Lindy West

Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible--like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you--writer and humorist Lindy West quickly discovered that she was anything but.

From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up comedians over rape jokes; to her struggle to convince herself, and then the world, that fat people have value; to her accidental activism and never-ending battle royale with Internet trolls, Lindy narrates her life with a blend of humor and pathos that manages to make a trip to the abortion clinic funny and wring tears out of a story about diarrhea.

Recommended by Alice

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stranger

A Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel

In 1986, twenty-year-old Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even in winter, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store food and water, to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothes, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed, but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of the why and how of his secluded life--as well as the challenges he has faced returning to the world.

Recommended by Jeff

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map

A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar

Nidali, the rebellious daughter of an Egyptian-Greek mother and a Palestinian father, narrates her story from her childhood in Kuwait, her early teenage years in Egypt (to where she and her family fled the 1990 Iraqi invasion), to her family's last flight to Texas.

Recommended by Zach

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