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Staff Picks

new  year

January

orphans

When We Were Orphans - Kazuo Ishiguro

Born in early-twentieth-century Shanghai, Banks was orphaned at the age of nine after the separate disappearances of his parents. Now, more than twenty years later, he is a celebrated figure in London society; yet the investigative expertise that has garnered him fame has done little to illuminate the circumstances of his parents' alleged kidnappings. Banks travels to the seething, labyrinthine city of his memory in hopes of solving the mystery of his own, painful past, only to find that war is ravaging Shanghai beyond recognition-and that his own recollections are proving as difficult to trust as the people around him.

Recommended by Annette

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grinnell

Grinnell - John Taliaferro

Before Rachel Carson, there was George Bird Grinnell -- the man whose prophetic vision did nothing less than launch American conservation.

Recommended by Jeff

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Harold

Harold and Maude - DVD

A black comedy about a rich, disturbed, young man, fascinated with death and funerals, who has an affair and a series of adventures with an eccentric and independent 80-year-old woman.

Recommended by Gwen

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bookshop

The Bookshop - Penelope Fitzgerald

In 1959 Florence Green, a kindhearted widow with a small inheritance, risks everything to open a bookshop — the only bookshop — in the seaside town of Hardborough. By making a success of a business so impractical, she invites the hostility of the town's less prosperous shopkeepers. By daring to enlarge her neighbors’ lives, she crosses Mrs. Gamart, the local arts doyenne. Florence’s warehouse leaks, her cellar seeps, and the shop is apparently haunted. Only too late does she begin to suspect the truth: a town that lacks a bookshop isn’t always a town that wants one. (Also available in DVD).

Recommended by Becky

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before

Before We Were Yours - Lisa Wingate

Memphis, Tennessee, 1936. The five Foss children find their lives changed forever when their parents leave them alone on the family shantyboat one stormy night. Rill Foss, just twelve years old, must protect her four younger siblings as they are wrenched from their home on the Mississippi and thrown into the care of the infamous Georgia Tann, director of the Tennessee Children's Home Society. South Carolina, Present Day. Avery Stafford has lived a charmed life. Loving daughter to her father, a U.S. Senator, she has a promising career as an assistant D.A. in Baltimore and is engaged to her best friend. But when Avery comes home to help her father weather a health crisis and a political attack, a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her deeply shaken. Avery's decision to learn more about the woman's life will take her on a journey through her family's long-hidden history.

Recommended by Vanessa

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bone

Bone Box - Faye Kellerman

On a bright and crisp September morning, while walking a bucolic woodland trail, Rina Decker stumbles upon human remains once buried deep beneath the forest grounds. Immediately, she calls her husband, Peter, a former detective lieutenant with LAPD, now working for the local Greenbury Police. Within hours, a vista of beauty and tranquility is transformed into a frenetic crime scene. The body has been interred for years and there is scant physical evidence at the gravesite: a youthful skeleton, a skull wound and long dark strands of hair surrounding the bony frame. As Decker and his partner, Tyler McAdams, further investigate, they realize that they're most likely dealing with a missing student from the nearby Five Colleges of Upstate - a well-known and well-respected consortium of higher learning where Rina works. And when more human remains are found in the same area, Decker and McAdams know this isn't just a one-off murder case.

Recommended by Jan

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help

Help Me! - Marianne Power

For years Journalist Marianne Power lined her bookshelves with dog-eared copies of definitive guides on how to live your best life, dipping in and out of self-help books when she needed them most. Then, one day, she woke up to find that the life she hoped for and the life she was living were worlds apart--and she set out to make some big changes. Marianne decided to finally find out if her elusive perfect existence--the one without debt, anxiety, or hangover Netflix marathons, the one where she healthily bounced around town and met the cashmere-sweater-wearing man of her dreams--really did lie in the pages of our best known and acclaimed self help books. She vowed to test a book a month for one year, following its advice to the letter, taking what she hoped would be the surest path to a flawless new her. But as the months passed and Marianne's reality was turned upside down, she found herself confronted with a different question: Self-help can change your life, but is it for the better? With humor, audacity, disarming candor and unassuming wisdom, in Help Me Marianne Power plumbs the trials and tests of being a modern woman in a have it all culture, and what it really means to be our very best selves.

Recommended by Rita

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sty

Big Sky - Kate Atkinson

Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village, in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son and an aging Labrador, both at the discretion of his ex-partner Julia. It's picturesque, but there's something darker lurking behind the scenes. Jackson's current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, is fairly standard-issue, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network - and back across the path of his old friend Reggie.

Recommended by Stacy

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water

The Water Cure - Sofie Mackintosh

A dystopic feminist revenge fantasy about three sisters on an isolated island, raised to fear men . A haunting, riveting debut about the capacity for violence and the potency of female desire, The Water Cure both devastates and astonishes as it reflects our own world back at us.

Recommended by Lilly

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good

Good Omens - Neil Gaiman

According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.

Recommended by Chelsey

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