August Staff Picks to Conclude Your Summer

"Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light." - Vera Nazarian

 

 

Books: 
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Silent Hearts: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501181924
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - July 24th, 2018

I haven’t read such a gripping novel about the mid-east since A Thousand Splendid Suns by Hosseini. This story is not for the faint of heart, but IS for those who want to witness strong, modern-day women living in the heart of Afghanistan, shortly after the 9/11 attack in the US. Liv, an American placed in Kabul, works for a non-profit organization, whose goal is to help Afghan women recover from the Taliban years. Farida, an educated woman but recently wed in an arranged-marriage to the son of an opium smuggler, has reluctantly left her family in Pakistan to enter Afghanistan. These two women of polar opposite backgrounds come together when Farida is assigned as an interpreter for Liv. They form a true bond and find that they are not so different after all. The plot is complex, but captivating, one of those  “I can’t put down” books. I learned so much about the culture of a country that has been torn apart by war. I felt the pain of what it means to be a woman in Afghanistan, and in America!

  • Recommended by Virgie


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The Lido Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781501182037
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - July 10th, 2018

I’ve read some heavy titles this summer, so the heartwarming story of The Lido was a perfect antidote for enjoying relaxing, hot summer days! This is an affirming story of working to save an establishment that holds such history and importance in a community. While reading this story, I often thought of the Old Town Hot Springs, and wonder how the community would react if it was about to close its doors!

Kate is a 20 something who’s landed her first job writing for a newspaper in the suburbs of London. Away from her family, Kate is alone and lonely. She feels disconnected from her world and suffers frequent panic attacks. Rosemary is an 86 year old woman, quite established in her community, and considered the “Queen” of the Lido,  the local swimming pool, where she has been swimming for over 80 years! Fate brings Kate and Rosemary together when Kate interviews Rosemary about the closing of the Lido. Together they embark on a campaign to SAVE THE LIDO! Focusing on something other than herself, Kate is saved from her dreary, disconnected life. This is an uplifting story, bringing together individuals who might never become friends if not for the Lido!

  • Recommended by Virgie


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1984 Cover Image
By George Orwell, Erich Fromm (Afterword by)
$9.99
ISBN: 9780451524935
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Signet -

When I first read this dystopian novel in the early 70’s I thought the author’s ideas were a bit bizarre! Rereading it this summer, I fear that some of his ideas are becoming closer to reality!  The story is set in the year 1984, where those in political power control the past and the future through the concept of “Doublethink.” Winston, living in this time filled with fear and hate, where mere thoughts are a crime, begins writing a journal, a risky activity. He was a thinker (a crime in itself) who did not believe the party beliefs; “War is Peace, Freedom is slavery, Ignorance is strength.” Although this novel was published in 1949, it appears to serve as a warning. I no longer think Orwell’s thoughts are strange!

  • Recommended by Virgie


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A Scanner Darkly Cover Image
$13.95
ISBN: 9780547572178
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - October 18th, 2011

This semi-autobiographical book about drug abuse, identity and perception of reality made my brain feel like mush, but regardless, it blew me away. Bob Arctor is an undercover narcotics officer, living amongst a crew of burned out junkies all addicted to Substance D. In this world, the cops are so undercover that their identity is hidden from everyone, including their superiors. Bob is enjoying his contradictory life amongst his work and friends, until he is given a tricky assignment to keep tabs on a new target: Himself. Since he can’t reveal his identity, Arctor must keep up this facade of tracking himself; all the while, Substance D is scrambling his brains, and he can’t quite seem to keep track of who is really is. This book does a wonderful job of humanizing the experience of drug abuse, of making these characters and their experiences relatable. PDK intended this to be a tribute to his misguided and lost friends, and it is a beautiful one.

  • Recommended by Marissa


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The Cabin at the End of the World: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062679109
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - June 26th, 2018

When reading a suspense story, an easy identifier for the quality of the story is how anxious the book leaves you upon being forced to sit it down. Reading parts of this story at work, I’d stop mid sentence to help customers with a pit in my stomach, almost frantic to return to the eyrie story to know what happens next. A book that almost reads itself, I finished it in record time just as Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling, raved. The story starts with a young girl named Wen, the adopted daughter of the young married couple, Eric and Andrew, who is gathering crickets in her yard. The setting, a peaceful cabin out in the middle of the woods by a lake, quickly progresses into a nightmare-scape as four uninvited visitors invade their remote cabin with a message: the world is ending and only they can save it. The Cabin At The End Of The World, forces you to question the sanity of all involved and had me constantly asking, “are they crazy or is this really happening?” A must read for Stephen King fans, the style of writing reminds me of the type of gradual suspense that only a master author can craft. King even calls it, “Tremblay’s personal best. It’s that good.”

  • Recommended by Brett


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Veronika Decides to Die: A Novel of Redemption Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780061124266
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperOne - May 23rd, 2006

How quickly someone can go from being ready to die to truly falling in love with life? Touching on topics like spirituality, the soul, human spirit, following dreams, and the true definition of sanity, Veronika Decides to Die answers just this in way that only Paulo Coelho could. This was one of the more difficult books for me to get started on. As a matter of fact, I began the audiobook of it on a roadtrip and quickly turned it off in favor of finding something more uplifting while being on the road. However, after giving it a second try, this has become one of my absolute favorite novels. In a way that feels completely relatable, Paulo Coelho tells a story of overcoming the darkest night of your life in order to find hope and inspiration. Based on a true story, the book is written about 24 year old Veronika who decides to kill herself. The failed attempt lands her in the notoriously famous insane asylum known as Villette. Upon waking up, she is told that the attempt has damaged her heart and that she only has upwards of a week to live. As a result, Veronika grapples with her own hopelessness facing the inevitability of death. However, through the help of some new, “crazy” friends, she decides that she actually has love and hope for life and wants to live her last few days doing something only a truly insane person would, following her dreams. In a matter of days, she lives out a love story and her dream to be a pianist in such a way that she is able to awaken the desire to live a full life even in the hearts of those most lost. With a surprising twist ending that will have you furious, amazed, and thrilled, don’t miss out on, Veronika Decides To Die.

- Recommended by Brett


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Clock Dance: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525521228
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - July 10th, 2018

Anne Tyler's novel follows the life of Willa Drake throughout the decades as she grapples with her dysfunctional relationships and upbringing, reaching for a semblance of normalcy. Her life flashes before our eyes from selling candy for Orchestra, bringing home her college beau with a sudden engagement, and becoming a widow and remarrying; she simply goes through the motions of life and does what may be expected of any woman. It takes the strange circumstance of her son's ex-girlfriend, Denise, getting shot in the leg, and a call from a stranger to take care of Denise's daughter Cheryl in Baltimore to be the catalyst for change. This pseudo-granddaughter gives her a sense of purpose she hasn't felt in a very long time. Willa finally experiences what may be considered a 'coming of age' where she discovers more about herself and needs. This book is a great one for leisurely reading where you can intermittently think about your own life experiences in conjunction with hers.

  • Recommended by Kim T.


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Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780385523912
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Spiegel & Grau - September 21st, 2010

An extraordinarily fascinating view into a world most of us know little to nothing about, Nothing to Envy explores the realities of this closed-off nation from the eyes of six ordinary citizens who eventually defected to start a new life outside of North Korea. These are their stories of love, loss, fear and courage. Demick shows great care and sensitivity for her subjects, and allows her readers get a real, unfiltered outlook on their experiences living in the totalitarian regime. You’ll not only learn a lot of the history that lead to the creation and construction of North Korea, but also a lot about what life inside is actually like, and how strongly measures are taken to hide the truth about this controversial country.

  • Recommended by Marissa


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Educated: A Memoir Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399590504
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - February 20th, 2018

This is a fantastic read - one of the most personal and interesting memoirs I’ve read. Tara Westover grew up not going to school, not seeing doctors, working in a junkyard and preparing for the end of the world. Her transition from this life to being a college-educated historian is a heart wrenching yet beautiful journey.  In her writing, you can tell that Tara still has so much love, as well as confusion, for her family, and I hope that this isn’t the last we hear from her - her story is not over, you can tell. Emotional and moving, this story of self-invention will inspire you.

  • Recommended by Marissa


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The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780375725609
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - February 10th, 2004

The Chicago World Fair was a stunning event that marked a shift in how the world regarded both America and Chicago, the latter of which was quickly growing from a dirty city known for its slaughterhouses to a sprawling metropolitan area quickly rising to prominence in business and society. Erik Larson covers the remarkable construction of the fairgrounds, built to rival the recent fair in Paris that had unveiled the Eiffel Tower, and some of the insane events that accompanied the resulting influx of visitors to the city - particularly, the sinister actions of one H.H. Holmes, a psychotic serial killer who constructed a hotel designed to lure young women visiting the city to their untimely deaths. Larson has a great storytelling style, narrating the events in such a way that it almost sounds fictional - though you can be assured, every quotation included came from a reliable document. This is a great read for history junkies, particularly if you have an interest in the macabre.

If you like this, you’ll like: The Dollop podcast, In the Garden of Beasts, Killers of the Flower Moon

  • Recommended by Megan


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Going Wild Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780062337153
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - May 2nd, 2017

Life for Charlie is about to take a dramatic change.  She has to move to Arizona. Away from everything, including the snow and now has to be in the heat.  But in the chaos of the move, she opens a package that has a bracelet in it, and she doesn’t know who would send her something.  After putting it on, Charlie starts to feel funny, and then she can run as fast as a cheetah. Who knows what is going to happen next?  This is a fun, fast paced adventure with intrigue on every page.

 

Look for book #2, Predator Vs. Prey  

  • Recommended by Chris


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Camp Valor (The Camp Valor Series #1) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250088246
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - July 10th, 2018

No one knows that Camp Valor exists until one day when you are pulled out of jail to go there.  These people are looking for the delinquents that have caused the most trouble, to send them to this very special camp.  You can wash out at any time and have to go back to jail. But in the end you could end up a very special spy. This is an action packed, fast paced book that leaves you wanting more.  Which there will be.

This is by the author of American Sniper.

 

If you like this you should read:

Michael Vey  by Richard Paul Evans

Riders by Veronica Rossi

  • Recommended by Chris


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Harbor Me Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399252525
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - August 28th, 2018

Six tweens are given a special school opportunity, an experiment of sorts, to go to an abandoned art room for one hour each week, unattended by any adult or teacher, to simply talk to each other. At first they resist this opportunity. It feels too unfamiliar and frightening to let their personal guard down. The ARTT Room (A Room To Talk) experiment evolves into a safe haven for these students, where they become empowered to share their stories, their fears, their issues. The support they receive from each other encourages these students to share their worried minds and hurting hearts. They expose their fears of deportation, immigration, loss of parents, racism, bullying and police brutality. As they share their stories, their bond strengthens. This story does an outstanding job of demonstrating how important peer relationships are to young people. In this crazy, at times unrecognizable world we are living in, we need to harbor each other. We need to be there to listen, to protect, to care for and love each other.

  • Recommended by Virgie


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The Book Thief Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780375842207
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - September 11th, 2007

I am not normally a big reader of YA Fiction, but the premise of this one was too intriguing to pass up: A story of a German town during WWII, narrated by Death. Liesel Meminger has already seen death once by the time she arrives at the home of her new foster family. Himmel Street quickly becomes home to Liesel, with her feisty Mama, gentle papa, and her best friend Rudy (with whom she roams around town stealing food and, of course, books). But the book thief’s life is changed again when a past promise Papa made comes knocking at their door and looking for shelter. This is a beautiful tale of loss, of courage, and mostly, of love. The life of Liesel is told through unique and lovely narration, and I struggled to put it down.

  • Recommended by Marissa


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Lady Thief: A Scarlet Novel Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780802737885
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury USA Childrens - April 14th, 2015

Scarlet, aka Lady Marian, is caught between the love of her life, Robin Hood, and her abusive estranged husband, Gisborne, who has issued an ultimatum - come to court and play the dutiful wife until he can secure the post of sheriff, and the marriage will be annulled. Scarlet is no court lady, preferring to live with her band of outlaws, wearing pants and short hair and teaching the villagers how to fight with knives, but the prospect of an annulment is an offer she can’t refuse. Life at court under Prince John is a nightmare - she’s called names, brutalized by her husband and Prince John, and lives under constant threat of violence that enrages Robin, though he knows Scarlet will do as she will. There’s a secret, though, a secret about herself that Gisborne knows, one that might change the course of Scarlet’s life forever. This is the second novel in a trilogy: the first is titled Scarlet, the third Lion Heart.

If you like this you will like this: Spinning Silver, A Game of Thrones series

  • Recommended by Megan


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The Black Witch: An Epic Fantasy Novel (Black Witch Chronicles #1) Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780373212316
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harlequin Teen - May 2nd, 2017

Elloren Gardner is a young woman who comes from an impressive lineage - her grandmother was The Black Witch, a fearsome magic-wielder who waged bloody war to make the Gardnerian people the dominant ruling power in the land. Elloren is nearly her exact replica, minus one detail: she has almost no magic, which makes it confusing when certain people begin to suspect she will be the next Black Witch. Raised by her uncle in the countryside, Elloren is both excited and nervous when her aunt decides to whisk her away to the city for her debut into society. Her aunt is determined to see her Wandfasted, the Gardnerian equivalent of marriage, but Elloren is headstrong enough to convince her aunt to let her attend University first. There, she is exposed to many different races of magical folk, and her one-sided view of the world begins to change in the charged political atmosphere of the University. This book has gone through some controversy due to its racial and religious content, but in the end I think the author expressed the topics with understanding. It is, as always, up to the reader to decide.

  • Recommended by Megan


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Neck & Neck Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316466745
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - June 5th, 2018

I just love the characters in this book.  Even the balloon!! Leopold is a giraffe. He likes to have all the attention from the kids at the zoo.  But when he meets his match and makes a kid cry, he must learn how not to hurt other people’s feelings and how to be a better friend.  

  • Recommended by Chris


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Don't Eat That Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781101997291
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - June 12th, 2018

In this part of the world where bears are an everyday thing, and the bears will eat anything they can get their hands on, this is the story of what not to eat.  It is funny and the illustrations are wonderful. You just want to see what the bear can eat. So much fun!!

  • Recommended by Chris