December 2016 Staff Picks

Our December staff picks make great gifts - for bibliophiles, history buffs, globetrotters, mystery solvers and everyone else on your list.

Books: 
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To the Bright Edge of the World Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316242851
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little Brown and Company - August 2nd, 2016

This is a book to get lost in this winter. Alaska Territory, 1885: follow the expedition of Allen Forrester up the Wolverine River into the vast and forbidding Alaskan interior. The story unfolds through letters exchanged between Allen and his wife, Sophie, as well as journal entries, photographs, and artifacts from the expedition. To the Bright Edge of the World is magically exquisite!

- Recommended by Emily


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Moonglow Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780062225559
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - November 22nd, 2016

Moonglow is a story of a marriage, dishonesty, and the destructive side of technological innovation. A creative look at an interesting historical period in America, Moonglow entertains and enlightens. This is the kind of book where, after you turn the last page, you wonder if you have been holding your breath the whole time.

-Recommended by Ella


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I Will Send Rain Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781627794268
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Henry Holt & Company - August 9th, 2016

Oklahoma, 1934. Annie and Samuel are trying to keep their family together in the midst of the dust. I could recite what happens, but what makes this story special is the writing: strong, devoted characters, poetically drawn.

-Recommended by Ron


The Other Einstein Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781492637257
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Sourcebooks Landmark - October 18th, 2016

Mileva Maric is an intelligent, educated woman whose aspirations were marginalized in favor of her husband, Albert Einstein. According to this historical fiction —which the author has researched through articles and letters between husband and wife— Albert Einstein is hardly the man he is held up to be.

-Recommended by Virgie


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Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780765356154
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tor Books - August 1st, 2006

If you're into the world of English wizardry then Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell should be the next book on your list. It's an award-winning tome set in an alternate 19th-century England in which magical secrets and the ways of wizardry have been nearly forgotten. Like Harry Potter, it's a debut fantasy novel by a female British author, but unlike Potter, this is not a children's book. Rather, it's a fantasy tribute to the works of British authors like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens set in the world in which those authors lived and wrote. (Editorial note: if you can't handle footnotes, this book is not for you).

-Recommended by Adrian


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Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel: Our List of the 500 Best Places to See... Ranked Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781760342777
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Lonely Planet - October 20th, 2015

This book is a great gift for anyone interested in travel. It’s perfect for making a travel bucket list or just for casual viewing on your coffee table. The world’s top 500 sights are ranked and revealed in this awesome book, which includes amazing photos accompanied by a brief summary for each location.

-Recommended by Virgie


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The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs Cover Image
$38.00
ISBN: 9780316118408
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little Brown and Company - September 1st, 2008

The Flavor Bible is an award-winning cookbook that's essentially an encyclopedia of ingredients and recommended flavor pairings. Going beyond common, well established pairings like tomato with basil or rosemary and mint with lamb, it offers flavor pairings recently discovered by America's top chefs. These unlikely combinations —pairings like bananas with parsley or caviar on white chocolate —are included to inspire home cooks to elevate their cooking and break the monotony of serving the same holiday dishes every season.

-Recommended by Adrian


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End of Watch Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781501129742
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner Book Company - June 7th, 2016

End of Watch concludes Stephen King’s masterful mystery trilogy, following retired detective Bill Hodges to the suspenseful finale of Mr. Mercedes and Finder’s Keepers. While detective fiction is a new area of interpretation for Mr. King, he has skillfully crafted an enticing and enigmatic tale intertwined with elements of the inspired supernatural we have grown to love and expect from him. This is great read for any Stephen King fan but also for anyone who enjoys creative and artful storytelling in the mystery genre.

-Recommended by Stacie


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By Gaslight Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374160531
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 4th, 2016

It’s 1885 London, and William Pinkerton, son of the founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, is looking for someone. London is foggy, dark, wet. Gaslights mark the way, and Pinkerton must solve a murder and a mystery that strike at the core of his being. Price writes remarkably descriptive prose. Read the first paragraph of this book and you’ll be hooked.

-Recommended by Ron


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The Trespasser Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780670026333
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - October 4th, 2016

Detective Antoinette Conway is doubly unique on the Dublin murder squad: She's the only mixed-race detective and the only woman. This is a terrific mystery couched in a social, political dilemma. Detective Conway is defensive and guarded, but ultimately proves to be a good detective with a loyal partner after the two close a murder case with many implications.

-Recommended by Kim


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Twenty-Six Seconds: A Personal History of the Zapruder Film Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781455574810
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Twelve - November 15th, 2016

Alexandra Zapruder brings a life to the Zapruder Film that is both revealing and history-shaping. She tells the story of Abe Zapruder, how he came to take the film of Kennedy's motorcade, the decisions he made in the first 48 hours after the assassination, and how filming that event changed his life and molded his family’s lives. While doing so, she also reveals the history of the film itself, reminding us how we were shielded from it, treated to select visions of it, and how those actions shaped our interpretation of what happened, and even our political lives. Thoroughly researched, carefully written, this is a great read.

-Recommended by Ron


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Body of Water: A Sage, a Seeker, and the World's Most Elusive Fish Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781571313522
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Milkweed Editions - October 18th, 2016

The bonefish—elusive and tenacious—is one of the world’s most coveted game fish. Body of Water blends nature writing and memoir, and tells the story of David Pinder, the legendary bonefish guide, a man whose knowledge, skill, and intuition helped build the $150 million/year industry. This book is gorgeously poetic. I recommended it to anglers and anyone else interested in nature and conservation.

-Recommended by Emily


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Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780826317247
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of New Mexico Press - August 1st, 1996

Cultural Anthropologist Keith Basso spent many years trying to understand why certain places, and very specific landscape features, were sacred to the Western Apache: when the features are actively visited, they remind the tribal members of collective memories and stories that teach them the correct way to live. Without these landmarks, the Western Apache will lose their roots, their purpose, and their path. This study might also help readers understand the conflict surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline and the protests at Standing Rock.

-Recommended by Ella


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The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374280093
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Sarah Crichton Books - May 31st, 2016

This powerful book is a “meditation and a manifesto” on public lands: what they mean to us, and how America has shaped and been shaped by these lands. Deeply personal, sometimes discerningly critical, twelve essays—stretching from Grand Teton National Park, to Gates of the Arctic National Park, and south to the Gulf Islands— reveal the beautifully complex natural histories of our public lands and why we must protect them.

-Recommended by Emily


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Riding the White Horse Home: A Western Family Album Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780679751359
Availability: Backordered
Published: Vintage - May 31st, 1994

In her autobiography, Teresa Jordan tells the history of the American West through the story of her family losing Iron Mountain Ranch. The author places western American cultural binaries under the public eye: ranching vs. academia, self vs. place, sense of place vs. sense of profit, individualism vs. community, truth vs. myth, and emotionality vs. stoicism. A must-read for the feminists of the American West.

-Recommended by Ella


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The Nix Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781101946619
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - August 30th, 2016

At 628 pages, The Nix may seem daunting … but this is a page-turner!  A thread of spooky Norwegian folklore winds through this novel, which takes place during the Vietnam student riots in Chicago all the way to New York’s Occupy Wall Street protest. The story follows the strained relationship of a daughter and her father and the daughter’s subsequent abandonment of her own son.

- Recommended by Kim


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A Man Called Ove Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781476738024
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Washington Square Press - May 5th, 2015

Ove, a 59 year-old man just lost his wife and has subsequently turned into a “grumpy old bastard.” On the surface he lives up to this title, until he develops relationships with unlikely characters who, in the end, save him from despair. I grew to love Ove and learned from him that grief is a strange thing!

-Recommended by Virgie


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The Little Paris Bookshop Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780553418798
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Broadway Books - March 22nd, 2016

This is a story about Perdu, a man who runs a floating bookstore on France’s Seine River. He listens to the personal stories of his customers so he can prescribe the perfect book to treat the “afflictions of their souls.” He soon understands that HE is the one who needs some life-adjusting! This book is chock-full of nuggets of inspiration!

-Recommended by Virgie


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Commonwealth Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062491794
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - September 13th, 2016

This is a wonderful story spanning 50 years of a large, blended, dysfunctional family. It’s been said that this novel is “a bit autobiographical.” Determine for yourself which character is Ann Patchett!

-Recommended by Virgie


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Small Great Things Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780345544957
Availability: Backordered
Published: Ballantine Books - October 11th, 2016

An African American labor and delivery nurse is on trial for the murder of a newborn baby whom she tried to save after white supremacist parents requested she not touch the child. This gripping story is based on the true life of a nurse in Flint, Michigan. This white author presents a story depicting what racism looks like, while trying to tell those of us who are not black, what it feels like.

-Recommended by Virgie


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Truly Madly Guilty Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250069795
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - July 26th, 2016

A deft storyteller, Moriarty creates believable, relatable characters. The well-drawn cast here will engage readers and remind them that life halfway around the world isn’t much different from life here: families argue, neighbors meddle and children push boundaries.

-Recommended by Kim


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The Nightingale Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780312577223
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - February 3rd, 2015

This is the compelling story of two French sisters who take different paths to heroism in World War II. Although each sister joins the French resistance in her own way, I consider both of them champions! In my opinion, this book has it all; a compelling plot, history, courageous and resilient characters, and a story so heartbreaking it will bring readers to tears!

-Recommended by Virgie


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@Natgeo: The Most Popular Instagram Photos Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781426217104
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: National Geographic Society - October 25th, 2016

A story in pictures of #wanderlust, #curiosity, #beauty and #marvel. This book compiles some of the best and most beautiful Instagram posts. But if you’re saying to yourself: “Victoria, WHAT is Instagram?” Don’t fret. This book is the internet in printed form, which is a bit ironic, but guaranteed your younger cousin who has 2k social media followers will love it (because millennials love irony).

-Recommended by Victoria