September Staff Picks for All Readers

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” - C.S. Lewis

Swimming with Bridgeport Girls Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451684919
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - July 11th, 2017

Imagine being a gambler, in debt up to your eyeballs.  Imagine, too, losing yourself and the love of your life to that addiction. Or don’t, and read this instead. This book is a caustic, acerbic piece of writing in the Richard Russo mode. Parts of it just had me shaking my head in bewilderment, since I’m not a gambler. But I was able to glean the desperation, the plea for “just once”, along with that wit. Available in hardcover and CD.

-Recommended by Katie D.

The Golden House Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399592805
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Published: Random House - September 5th, 2017

Known for his magical realism (Midnight’s Children, The Satanic Verses, etc.), author Salman Rushdie has made a striking return to realism with The Golden House. It is the story of the Goldens, a mysterious family newly arrived in New York. The narrator, an aspiring filmmaker and neighbor of the Goldens, endeavors to investigate the secretive family and inevitably becomes dangerously embroiled in their lives. Like his other works, Rushdi shows his gift to settle his thoughts upon a city and describe in rich and wonderful prose its history, vivacity, and character. With his extensive knowledge of film, history, and human character, he weaves together a story as multifaceted as the family and city he describes. The result is a luxurious and thoughtful novel with too many wonderful intricacies to fit into this review. If you’re a fan of Rushdie, old movies, or New York City, you’ll love this book.  This is also available as an audiobook.

-Recommended by Will

Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone Cover Image
ISBN: 9780778319993
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Published: Park Row Books - May 16th, 2017

Benedict doesn’t quite understand where his life went wrong. His wife has left him, his jewelry store is just there, and all of the sudden his niece from America has shown up on his doorstep one rainy night. A person the Benedict has never met.

Gemma is a headstrong girl of 16, and from everything that Benedict can get out of her, she seems to have run away from home. This is a wonderful feel good story of how friendship can grow and how you can learn more about yourself when you have someone looking you right in the face. Included are all sorts of gemstones that through time have come to be associated with different properties.

This is for people who like Elin Hilderbrant or Mary Kay Andrews. This is available as an audiobook.

-Recommended by Chris

A Secret History of Witches Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316508551
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Published: Redhook - September 5th, 2017

The Family Orchieres have always been witches, every mother, daughter and granddaughter.  They have faced all the things that witches have faced over the centuries. This is the history of these very powerful women and how through the course of time, they manage to stay a step ahead of all the witch hunters and with each new generation of women comes a new wonder for their heritage. The Secret History of Witches is the tale of five generations of Orchieres. With so much history woven in, and threads of magic dispersed throughout the story, it’s a wonderful read for the fall.  

This is for fans of Discovery of Witches or The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.

-Recommended by Chris

Universal Harvester Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374282103
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - February 7th, 2017

Universal Harvester is what I would describe as Midwest Gothic - Darnielle’s writing invokes a mild sense of doom and creepiness, combined with a dead on description of the habits and visuals of everyday, ordinary, midwestern life. If you grew up in a small midwest town, you will feel an instant kinship with this book - and if you’ve never experienced it, you’ll learn something about that wide swath of America. This book is deeply weird and utterly familiar at the same time, and I absolutely loved it. Darnielle is a prolific song writer too - check out his band The Mountain Goats for more fantastic stories, only these are set to music! Available in an audiobook.

If you like this, you should try: Wolf in White Van (John Darnielle’s debut novel)

-Recommended by Megan

Meddling Kids Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385541992
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Published: Doubleday Books - July 11th, 2017

This book is like a nerdy kid’s candy store - Cantero obviously takes many of his cues from the classic Scooby-Doo tropes, but he mixes it in with subtle geeky references, dark magic, expletives, and an older, more-than-mildly disturbed Scooby Gang. It’s both a gritty reboot and a hilarious ride; Cantero doesn’t take himself too seriously, but the book is filled with enough adrenaline-fuelled moments to keep you racing through the pages!

-Recommended by Megan

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501124372
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - May 3rd, 2016

I’ve noticed this book on the BestSeller table throughout the past year, and decided that since author Chris Cleave will be at Steamboat’s Literary Sojourn this month, I better read it. I’m glad I did!

This historical novel set in London and Malta during WW II is inspired by the lives of author Chris Cleave’s grandparents. London is in turmoil in 1939, at the declaration of war. Some men enlist in the armed services, others stay behind. Some women help the war effort in their own way, while others deny their ability to become involved. This is the story of how war affects a soul, a spirit, relationships, attitudes, convictions. It appears that “war makes us better people, and then tries to kill us!” This is more than just a story! Cleave’s thoughtful insights on everyday life amidst death and war opened my eyes to the extraordinary stressors of war and how it affects the lives of ordinary people. It also left me to ponder the parallel “wars” which go on within our own society. 

-Recommended by Virgie

The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250125088
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Published: St. Martin's Press - September 19th, 2017

Reading the first chapter left me exhausted. How could one family be SO dysfunctional? Was there any possible hope to survive as a family unit? This is the story of a family who has grown into adulthood, with aging parents who are tired. The parents have lived a long time and wonder if “true love was seen only through time and backwards.” Can old griefs, with time, be changed into a feeling of tenderness? As dysfunctional as it appears, I wonder if there is a bit of this peculiar behavior in every family unit as they mature. Also available as an audiobook.

-Recommended by Virgie

See What I Have Done Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802126597
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Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - August 1st, 2017

omeone has killed Father. But who? The bizarre circumstances of Andrew and Abby Borden’s brutal murder in the fall of 1892 shook the nation, and left behind many unanswered questions about the well-respected family. But in this riveting work of historical fiction, Sarah Schmidt delves deeper into the unknown depths of the Bordens - the greed, deceit, and emotional turmoil that plagued this clan. This book takes one of the most intriguing murder cases in American history and turns it into a beautiful, compelling, and intimate narrative.

-Recommended by Marissa

Gluten-Free for Good: Simple, Wholesome Recipes Made from Scratch Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804186322
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Clarkson Potter Publishers - August 2nd, 2016

As much as I love the bounty summer brings, I’m always relieved when fall approaches. From scratch cooking becomes a renewed pastime as it is now cool enough to enjoy the kitchen. Since my health requires gluten-free foods, I’m always excited to see a new cookbook devoted to supporting my endeavor to never lose flavor despite losing the gluten. This cookbook does not fail: the variety of ethnic cuisine inspired flavors from around the globe make this volume a go to for my favorite Middle Eastern, Italian, and Mexican flavor profiles. A good primer on why you will need all those separate gluten-free flours, author Seneviratne brings the strengths of these flours to the foreground to give us, the maker and the taster, the best gluten-free experience possible. Enjoy choosing a new favorite breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert from Gluten-Free for Good. Check out one of my favorite recipes, Roast Chicken with Whole-Grain Sausage Stuffing!

-Recommended by Genevieve

Art of the Pie: A Practical Guide to Homemade Crusts, Fillings, and Life Cover Image
By Kate McDermott, Andrew Scrivani (Photographer)
ISBN: 9781581573275
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Countryman Press - October 4th, 2016

Speaking of gluten-free cooking, it can be quite difficult mastering the art of gluten-free baking. The Art of the Pie is a comprehensive gluten-full and gluten-free pie baking guide. McDermott’s gluten-free pie dough recipes work well at our higher elevation and include great tips to make the handling of said dough easier. There is even a gluten-free vegan pie dough recipe! Her berry pies are scrumptious, as is her savory Cottage Pie. Enjoy picking your newly favorite pie recipes from this delightful volume!

-Recommended by Genevieve

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553447453
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Published: Broadway Books - February 28th, 2017

A fascinating, deep dive into the lives of the oft-ignored inner city poor and the foundational struggle of their existence: stable housing. Desmond follows 8 different people/families and examines the challenges that keep them from finding and keeping long-term, livable rentals. Everything from drugs to children, domestic abuse to family crises, lazy landlords to disabilities can and will be used as a reason to kick out vulnerable renters. What’s worse is that the systems we do have in place to assist low income renters often exclude the very renters who need assistance the most, because of their eviction, arrest, or drug histories. Desmond does a fantastic job of drawing you into the personal stories and emotions behind one of our nation’s biggest problems today.

-Recommended by Megan

Wishtree Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250043221
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Feiwel & Friends - September 26th, 2017

Imagine that a tree can understand what you say. Imagine that a tree can talk to animals, and the only rule it has is to NEVER talk to humans! Meet Red, a wise old tree who has been around for 216 years and has become a good listener as he watches over his neighborhood. Once a year, on ”Wishing Day”, people leave their wishes on Red’s branches. But this might be the last year for wishes, because Red is going to be cut down … soon! When a Muslim family moves into the neighborhood, Red notices discrimination and unrest and knows he has work to do before he leaves the world!

This is a great story for young readers (8-12) about acceptance and living in the world together! It can also be a perfect read-a-loud for younger children. It’s message is tender but very clear!

-Recommended by Virgie

The Last Magician Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481432078
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon Pulse - July 18th, 2017

Esta is not sure about her current mission to go back in time and retrieve a mysterious book called the Ortus Aurea. This is going to be the biggest job that she has ever done, and has to find her way in a time that is not her own, 1900. But if she can do this, then she can leave Manhattan and travel the world.  She just must make sure to keep her feelings in check and not lose sight of her goal. 

-Recommended by Chris

Invictus Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316503075
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 26th, 2017

All Farway wanted to do was explore history.  In 2354, this is possible.  But as Farway goes further and further back, he learns that he is not part of his current time nor of one long ago, and this makes him an anomaly that could change all history. Sometimes it’s nice to read a stand alone and not have to be committed to a series. This is one great stand alone.  I really like Graudins writing. Available in audiobook.

I also enjoyed the Walled City.

-Recommended by Chris

The Suffering Tree Cover Image
ISBN: 9781484726594
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Disney-Hyperion - June 13th, 2017

Any good YA needs a few key ingredients to make it a page turner - relatable issues, a compelling plotline, and (preferably) a swoony love interest. The Suffering Tree has it all, along with sinister townsfolk, arson, mysterious genealogy, magic, and colonial era secrets. From the second I opened this book’s covers, I didn’t want to put it down - it may be a YA, but it deals with some serious issues and doesn’t shy away from tragedy, yet has a satisfying ending.

If you like this, you should try: The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater

-Recommended by Megan

Paper Monsters: Make Monster Collages! Cover Image
ISBN: 9780500650967
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Thames & Hudson - September 5th, 2017

This wonderful book requires your child’s creativity to complete the characters and the story. Utilizing collage, your child will create a new monster with each template, culminating in a classroom full of wonderfully diverse and distinct characters. Paper Monsters is a great activity and storybook for those afternoons inside!

-Recommended by Genevieve

Night Shift Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451481733
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Razorbill - September 5th, 2017

A small but important picture book for children that successfully attempts to explain depression in all of its stages. Using fantastical illustrations that increase in size as the depression worsens, the pictures and minimal use of color help to illustrate the overwhelming illness the young child is experiencing. This book gently offers support as the young child starts to recover, holding onto his or her one feather of hope. Night Shift is a solid and supportive introduction to dealing with the inexplicable.

-Recommended by Genevieve