Staff Picks April 2015

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Now, let's dive into this month's staff picks:

Books: 
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The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir Cover Image
$23.99
ISBN: 9780446409483
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Springboard Press - September 1st, 2009

Virgie's Pick, April 2015: If you’re a parent, especially one with youngsters still in your home nest, or if you’re a grandparent with grandchildren in your life, then READ this book. NOW!

I only wish I had the opportunity to read this rich reminder of what is important in family life BEFORE my children left the nest! Oh well, it’s not too late! I incorporate the wisdom from this book in relating to my grown children and grand-kids.

It’s a gem of a book, meant to be read more than once! I do have to admit I highlighted half of the book – it’s that good!

This would make a PERFECT Mother’s Day gift, for any mother!


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Catch You Later, Traitor Cover Image
By Avi
$16.95
ISBN: 9781616203597
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - March 10th, 2015

Virgie's Pick, April 2015: AVI says, “History is memory researched. Historical fiction is memory brought to live.”

AVI’s new historical fiction for kids brings to life the paranoia of the McCarthy era in the 1950’s.

Virgie's Pick April 2015: Twelve year old Pete is publicly mistreated by his teacher and classmates as a result of the rumor that his dad is a Communist. Pete gets into his “detective mode” to investigate his father’s complicated past, in hopes of finding his informant. The story is full of suspense and is a great introduction to historical fiction for kids.

The story kept me intrigued until the very end!


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The Cuckoo's Calling Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780316206853
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mulholland Books - April 29th, 2014

Syd's Staff Pick, April 2015: I have a deep love for Adichie’s works and showed her TED talk “The Danger of the Single Story” to my writing class last semester, but I was a little concerned going into this novel that it would be similar to Purple Hibiscus or Half of a Yellow Sun, and that I wasn’t branching out enough as a reader.

Well, maybe I’m not branching out enough, but that doesn’t make this book any less phenomenal.

She is witty, intelligent, and sharp as ever but I knew right away that I was in an entirely different story.

It is just as incredible as the critics say, Adichie is the kind of acute intelligence and awareness about the world to which I think we should all aspire.


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Under the Egg Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780803740013
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - March 18th, 2014

Syd's Staff Pick, April 2015: This is a charming read for young adults. Amidst the sea of dystopian, romance, and vampire novels for this age range, this was a nice interruption!

It takes place in NYC with a 12 year old girl who is a little introverted and who’s life is upended when her grandfather suddenly dies. She is left caring for a mother who can’t escape her own brain, as well as the upkeep of her family's home.

One day, as fate would have it, she spills a bottle of alcohol on one of her grandfather’s old paintings to discover a whole new world of secrets. The discovery of this priceless piece of art sends Theo on a journey to find the history and story behind it, and the closer she gets the more questions develop.

Under the Egg is a good mystery and follows an interesting story line with ties to WWII. It is not overly complicated and would be enjoyable to younger readers with interests outside of vampires!


Staff Pick Logo
Junkyard Cover Image
By Mike Austin, Mike Austin (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781442459618
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Beach Lane Books - January 7th, 2014

Syd's Staff Pick,  April 2015: My family and I adore this book!! It is vibrant and fun and whimsy and fabulous!

The Munching Machines are out to save the day (and the environment) in this wonderful story! They find themselves in the middle of a junkyard and they munch, and crunch, and chew and chomp up all of the boxcars and stinky fish oil and toxic waste! These destroyers are then inspired to become creators and turn the whole place into a beautiful park for everyone to enjoy!

This story has great rhythm to it, beautiful pictures, and a fantasic message about turning even the most desolate of places into a place of beauty, health, and FUN!


Staff Pick Logo
Americanah Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307455925
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor Books - March 4th, 2014

Jamie's Staff Pick, April 2015: I have a deep love for Adichie’s works and showed her TED talk “The Danger of the Single Story” to my writing class last semester, but I was a little concerned going into this novel that it would be similar to Purple Hibiscus or Half of a Yellow Sun, and that I wasn’t branching out enough as a reader.

Well, maybe I’m not branching out enough, but that doesn’t make this book any less phenomenal.

She is witty, intelligent, and sharp as ever but I knew right away that I was in an entirely different story.

It is just as incredible as the critics say, Adichie is the kind of acute intelligence and awareness about the world to which I think we should all aspire.


Staff Pick Logo
Hide and Seek: The Architecture of Cabins and Hideouts Cover Image
By Sofia Borges (Editor), Sven Ehmann (Editor), Robert Klanten (Editor)
$60.00
ISBN: 9783899555455
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gestalten - September 4th, 2014

Shannon's Staff Pick, April 2015:An excellent gift to all fans of architecture and the movement of simple living; Hide and Seek showcases modern living in some of the most beautiful places in the world. The cabins and hideaways featured in Hide and Seek embody the simplicity and serenity of excellent architecture. This book is complied of the best “tiny homes” from places such as: Sweden, New Zealand, Spain, and the United States.

Be sure to check out Chapter 4: Open Range.


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Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry Cover Image
By Vern Kousky (Illustrator), Vern Kousky
$16.99
ISBN: 9780399164408
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - February 24th, 2015

Candace's Pick, April 2015: This is a story about Otto an owl who loves poetry. His fellow owls tease him about his love of poetry which sends him on a journey where he finds acceptance and happiness.

It’s a wonderful read about courage and believing in your passion.


Staff Pick Logo
The Rosie Effect Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781476767314
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - December 30th, 2014

Emily's Pick, April 2015: The Rosie Effect is a hilarious, honest, modern love story. Normally, I avoid feel-good romance stories, but I couldn’t put this book down!

Don Tillman is a brilliant, painfully awkward (although always endearing) genetics professor who has planned every detail of his life down to the nanosecond. When Don decides he wants to get married, he endeavors to select a partner using an exhaustive survey that will eliminate all drinkers,
vegetarians and spontaneous non-planning types from his quest, and therefore verify complete marital compatibility. The “Wife Project” is the logical way to choose a life partner, right?

Rosie Jarman is a spontaneous, vegetarian, bartender, and so Don immediately eliminates Rosie as a candidate for the Wife Project. Yet Rosie has a project of her own, the “Father Project,” and as a geneticist, Don agrees to help Rosie identify her biological father.

I thoroughly enjoyed the comedy and surprises this story offers, and the reminder that however logical we may be, love is the strongest, most illogical force out there.

If you’ve already read and loved The Rosie Project, the follow-up, The Rosie Effect, was released on December 30.


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The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062288752
Availability: Special Order
Published: Harper - October 14th, 2014

Emily's Pick, April 2015:

Genoways details the highly industrialized process of how hogs – 60,000 per day- become spam. This is an exposé on the two Hormel packing plants in particular, and the factory farm industrial complex in general, in the vein of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.

I recommend The Chain because it provides a different perspective than other books I’ve read on factory farming, with a focus less on animal welfare and more on human rights issues, especially regarding the labor conditions for the undocumented workers employed in these factories.

This is a confronting read, but worth your time.


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The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780393328646
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 17th, 2006

Emily's Pick, April 2015: This book is an old favorite of mine. Vaillant brilliantly synthesizes environmental history, cultural anthropology, and botany to tell the story of a 300-year old Sitka spruce and a logger-turned-eco-terrorist who felled the golden tree and disappeared into the wilds of British Columbia.