Readers Guide


By robin nettles

September 2
September 1
August 4
August 3

September 2 

Lillian Li’s debut, Number One Chinese Restaurant (F), is an exuberant and wise multigenerational read about the complicated lives and loves of people working in everyone’s favorite Chinese restaurant. This novel, both poignant and darkly funny, is an unforgettable story about youth and aging, parents and children, and all the ways that our families destroy us while also keeping us grounded and alive. Book Reporter calls this one, “heartfelt, tender, necessary, and wise."

Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling author Seymour M. Hersh writes an intensely personal, revelatory memoir of a match-less career that has encompassed the most important stories of the last century.  Hersh’s front page bylines in virtually every major newspaper in the free world along with a staggering number of awards, has earned him fame.  Reporter (NF 070.920) is essential reading on the power of the printed word. 

A private plane takes off from London with two passengers aboard only to crash into the icy, blank mountains of the Alps, setting off an investigation that will expose corruption in the most elite financial institutions.  The Banker’s Wife (F), by Christina Alger, takes us inside the secretive and corrupt world of the super-rich and inside the personal lives of three women who struggle to survive its deadly undertow.  This is a “brisk, tense page-turner that will mesmerize fans of international mysteries.” – Kirkus 

The Accidental President (NF 973.918), by A.J. Baime, is the dramatic, pulse-pounding story of Harry Truman’s first four months in office, when this unlikely president had to take on Germany, Japan, Stalin, and the atomic bomb, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Tightly focused and meticulously researched, this read offers vivid details on Truman’s first one-hundred and twenty days and a glimpse into the life of the man.  Truman’s grandson states, “It is hell to be President of the Greatest Most Powerful Nation on the Earth.” 

“My name is Jess Cooper and I am still alive.”  I am Still Alive (YPF), by Kate Alice Marshall, is a heart-pounding story of survival and revenge in the unforgiving wilderness. Jess, still battered from the car crash that took her mother’s life, is sent to live in the remote Canadian wilderness with Carl, the father she barely remembers – and then he is murdered. “With masterful pacing, rich characterization, and a dynamic voice, this book is an engrossing read from a writer to watch.” – Booklist 

Travel writer Porter Fox spent three years exploring 4,000 miles of the border between Maine and Washington, traveling by canoe, freighter, car, and foot.  In Northland (NF 974.000), he blends a deeply reported and beautifully written story of the region’s history with a riveting account of his travels.  Fox captures the majesty of the Northland’s diverse geology, flora, weather, and seasons.  But his greatest accomplishment is that “he uses all of the landscape and history to capture the people of work and live on the border now.” - Peter Geye, Minneapolis Star Tribune 

Also at the Library:
     Sabotage in the Secret City (M) by Diane Fanning
     Tailspin (F) by Sandra Brown

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September 1 

Printer’s Error (NF 002.090)
is a funny and entertaining history of printed books, told through absurd moments in the lives of authors and printers and collected by television’s favorite rare-book expert from HISTORY’s hit series Pawn Stars. Rare-book expert Rebecca Romney and author J. P. Romney take us from monasteries and museums to auction houses and libraries to introduce curious episodes in the history of print that have had a profound impact on our world. Kirkus Reviews comments, Printer’s Error is “a spritely visit to the land of rare books.” 

If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you?  Catherine Steadman’s spellbinding debut, Something in the Water (F), will have you pondering that very question.  With piercing insight and fascinating twists, this novel challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we’re tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.  The New York Times call this one, “a proper page-turner.” 

Writer, sailor, and conservationist Jonathan White travels around the world watching the largest, fastest, and most dangerous tides ebb and flow. In this age of drastic global climate change and sea level rise, Tides (NF 551.464) offers a critical insight into our planet’s future. “A fascinating work of literary nonfiction, rich with characters, stories, and scenes from around the globe,” – Bangor Daily News 

You may not be able to put down Zoje Stage’s chilling debut, Baby Teeth (F). Suzette is a stay-at-home mother desperately trying to connect with her mute seven-year-old daughter, Hannah, but she can’t help but feel despised, manipulated, and frightened by her.  Alex wants to believe his wife’s accounts of Hannah’s cruel and unusual behavior, but Hannah shows him nothing but love. Is Hannah just a typical naughty child or are her subtle acts of cruelty putting Suzette in grave danger. “Stage has convincingly created one of the youngest villains ever, and readers will be unable to resist the urge to meet Hannah.” ?Booklist 

The Moth Radio Hour features real-life stories told in front of a live audience. All These Wonders (NF 791.447)  presents forty-five unforgettable true stories about risk, courage, and facing the unknown, drawn from the very best ever told on their stages.  Carefully selected and adapted to the page to preserve the raw energy of live storytelling, these stories feature voices both familiar and new. As Neil Gaiman writes in his foreword, “the Moth teaches us not to judge by appearances. It teaches us to listen. It reminds us to empathize.” 

Bearskin (F), by James A. McLaughlin, is a powerful and often profound debut. Rice Moore is a troubled man running from the Mexican cartel, trying to escape his past life as a sicario – the most hostile of hitmen. He finds refuge, under false pretenses, as a care-taker for a family-owned nature preserve in the rugged Appalachian Mountains. When Rice discovers a bear carcass denuded of its skin and gallbladder he sets out to find the perpetrator in what Kirkus calls “a very Billy Jack way”. 

Also at the Library:
     If Only (YPF) by Jennifer Gilmore
     Boston Massacre (NF 973.311) by Eric Hinderaker
    Toxic Inequality (NF 339.460) by Thomas M. Shapiro

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August 4 

Never Caught (NF 306.632),
by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, is a powerful story of one of George and Martha Washington’s favored slaves. Ona Judge Staines (1773 – 1848) shared the account of her break for freedom nearly fifty years after the fact in the May 1845 issue of Granite Freeman. When Dunbar unearthed an advertisement for the runaway slave she became determined to tell Ona’s story and shed light on how Washington attempted to recapture his property by whatever means necessary.  "A startling, well-researched narrative that seriously questions the intentions of our first president." – Kirkus Reviews 

If you adored Kate Reddy in Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It, you will laugh out loud at the sequel, How Hard Can it Be? (F). Kate struggles through every crisis known to a higher-income-bracket woman “pushing-fifty.”  Her kids have become teenagers (read: monsters), her husband has quit his job in favor of bicycling and therapy, and Kate is faced with the unthinkable – she must return to the workforce. Will Kate be able to juggle the universe and menopause?  Booklist states, “Pearson writes realism with all the fun of escapism.” 

Freelance journalist Peter Moskowitz takes on the many evils of gentrification in four dramatically different cities – New Orleans, Detroit, San Francisco, and New York.  Moskowitz believes gentrification does not emerge as a product of culture and consumer choices, but is the result of specific political policies, urban plans, real estate decisions, and actions from the heads of corporations which are unfavorable to the poor but beneficial to the rich.  How to Kill a City (NF 307.336) “elucidates the complex interplay between the forces we control and those that control us."?New York Times Book Review 

New York Times bestselling author Tatjana Soli’s historical novel The Removes (F) is told through the actions of three characters: General George A. Custer; his passionate wife, Libbie; and a fifteen year-old girl captured by the Cheyenne. It is a stunning and vivid portrayal of captivity and freedom during the first great settlement of the American West at the height of the 1870 Indian Wars. “This is a western, but a modern one?beautifully detailed and carefully researched.” – Karen Joy Fowler, author and winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award 

Garden Party (F), by Grace Dane Mazur, is a witty novel about two disparate families brought together at a wedding rehearsal dinner. The Cohens, impractical intellectuals, and the Barlows, lawyers steeped in trusts and copyrights, try to put aside their differences over dinner in the garden. Set over the course of a single day and night, this novel weaves an irresistible portrayal of miscommunication, secrets, and the power of love. “Lyrical and charming, this comedy of errors is a delightful summer read.”—People 

Successful hedge fund manager Jonathan Starr moved to a breakaway region of Somaliland with an abstract vision to start a school of science and technology for talented kids. Starr would have to overcome profound cultural differences, broken promises, and threats to his life and that of his staff.  It Takes a School (NF 373.096) details Starr’s against-all-odds story of Abaarso, a school that has placed forty graduates and counting in American universities from Harvard to MIT since its founding in 2009. 

Also at the Library:
     The Bookshop of Yesterdays (F) by Amy Meyerson
     Paradox (F) by Catherine Coulter
     Cast of Falcons (M) by Steve Burrows
     Convergence (NF 509.000) by Peter Watson
     Big Bang in a little Room (NF 523.100) by Zeeya Merali
     Six Encounters with Lincoln (NF 973.709) Elizabeth Brown Pryor

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August 3 

Precision is such an essential component of modern life and existence that we seldom stop to think about it. Bestselling author Simon Winchester’s The Perfectionists (NF and NF audio 620.009) traces the development of technology from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age to explore the single component crucial to advancement—precision—in a superb history that is both an homage and a warning for our future. “Vivid, valuable. . . . An extraordinary, propulsive tale.” – Wall Street Journal

New York Times bestselling author Judith Flanders once again brilliantly fuses mystery with humor in the fourth installment of her critically acclaimed ­Sam Clair series. Prepare yourself for smart characters and witty dialogue in A Howl of Wolves (M). Anyone interested in mysteries and books and humor?and who isn't? ?will enjoy Flanders' latest delightful novel."?Kirkus 

Booker Prize winner and national bestselling author Penelope Lively takes up her key themes of time and memory, and her lifelong passions for art, literature, and all manner of growing things in her philosophical and poetic memoir titled, Life in the Garden (NF 921.000). “Lively is a keen observer and an engaging narrator.” – NPR’s All Things Considered 

In late spring 1969, well-known actress Miranda Schuyler is on the run. She has left behind a troubled marriage to her troubled film director husband in London after her life and career quite literally crash and burn. The only place she can conceivably go undetected by the press is Winthrop Island, to the family home she left years ago. Summer Wives (F), by Beatriz Williams, is a novel that “readers of historical fiction and mysteries, and anyone seeking engaging plot twists will find satisfaction in these pages.” – Booklist 

Journalist George Black takes a lively 1,500-mile journey down the Ganges River capturing glimpses of the lives and cultures of those who live on its banks. On the Ganges (NF 915.410) introduces us to a vivid and often eccentric cast of characters who worship the river, pollute it, and flock to it from all over the world in search of enlightenment and adventure. Black’s wry, humanistic narrative depicts a people riding on the knife’s edge of catastrophe, but still holding out for hope. – Publishers Weekly 

A dazzling tale of intrigue from the writer Library Journal calls “the reigning king of popular literary historical thrillers,” The Dante Chamber (F), by Matthew Pearl, is a riveting journey across London and into both the beauty and darkness of Dante. Expertly blending fact and fiction, Pearl gives us a historical mystery like no other that captivates and surprises until the last page. 

Also at the Library:
     The Lost for Words Bookshop (F) by Stephanie Butland
     A Study in Treason (M) by Leonard Goldberg
     Second Strike (F) by Peter N. Kirsanow
     Chain of Title (NF 330.973) by David Dayen
     True Genius (NF 530.092) by Joel N. Shurkin
     The Gestapo (NF 943.086) by Frank McDonough

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