May 2015 Staff Picks

We can snow-dance all we like, but we can't guarantee a snowy winter. We're not always blessed with a long hot summer (and for some that is a blessing)! ...But somehow, we can always count on the topsy-turvey weather of spring (a.k.a mud-season) which often locks us indoors on weekends. For that fact, we are immensely grateful because it's one of life's simplest and greatest pleasures to curl up with a good book - for the whole weekend! Without further ado, check-out our favorite books to lose yourself in right now...

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Whispering Shadows: A Novel (The Rising Dragon Series #1) By Jan-Philipp Sendker Cover Image
Special Order Only (subject to availability) - Email or Call for Price
ISBN: 9781476793641
Published: 37 Ink - April 14th, 2015

Virgies Staff Pick, May 2015: This is the first novel in a suspenseful new trilogy. This mystery novel takes place in modern day China, where a retired expat journalist attempts to solve the murder mystery of a young American businessman.

Complicated characters and a love story lurk within the plot. Each character wrestles with their pasts, and the Chinese characters are influenced by the impact of Mao’s China on their pasts.

This story is nothing like Sendker’s, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (one of my favorites) but I enjoyed this thrilling mystery / love story, which references the Cultural Revolution in China.

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Inside the O'Briens: A Novel By Lisa Genova Cover Image
Special Order Only (subject to availability) - Email or Call for Price
ISBN: 9781476717777
Published: Gallery Books - April 7th, 2015

Virgies Staff Pick, May 2015: If you enjoyed Lisa Genova’s novel Still Alice then I’m confident you will love her latest book, Inside the O’Brien’s.

This is a heart-breaking story of how a major illness affects a typical family of six. The O’Brien’s life is turned upside down when they are dealt the “ticking time-bomb” of Huntington’s, a neuro-degenerative disease.

When the father of this family learns he has the same fatal disease that his mother died of, he must tell his children, (who are in the prime of their lives), that they have a 50-50 chance of developing the disease and slowly dying of this incurable inheritance.

It becomes a game of Truth or Dare as the grown children choose to find out if they have the curse or not, and so the story goes as they support and comfont each other.

Lisa Genova, author and neuroscientist, skillfully explores Huntington’s Disease and its implications. The story is powerful and emotional. In my opinion, this is just as good a read as Genova’s Still Alice!

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Our Souls at Night: A novel By Kent Haruf Cover Image
Special Order Only (subject to availability) - Email or Call for Price
ISBN: 9781101875896
Published: Knopf - May 26th, 2015

Virgies Staff Pick, May 2015: This is Kent Haruf’s final book, completed last summer as he was dying. After his death in December, 2014, his wife began editing the final copy, which will be released in May, 2015. What a perfect “twilight of your years” story!

Addie and Louis are 70 year-old neighbors, who have each lost a spouse. Addie, who is lonely and wants someone to talk and confide her feelings to, makes a proposition to Louis; come and sleep with me throughout the nights. Louis accepts the proposition, which got the entire town of Holt, CO buzzing! What becomes of this proposition? Communication, connection and rejuvenation of spirit, at a time in life that could otherwise be very lonely! I LOVED this story!

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We Should All Be Feminists By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101911761
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - February 3rd, 2015

Virgies Staff Pick, May 2015: This very short book, which is a part of the author’s TED Talk took me only an hour to read, but still has me thinking! Written by renowned Nigerian novelist Adichie, the essay discusses how gender inequality is so ingrained in our culture, that we don’t always notice it. Nevertheless, this is a disservice to women as well as men.

Just read this! It is packed with wisdom and just might change the way you view the world!

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We Were Liars By E. Lockhart Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385741262
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Press - May 13th, 2014

Shannon's Staff Pick, May 2015: “No one is a criminal. No one is an addict. No one is a failure.”

These are the three lies that Cadence begins her story with, and there are a many to come. Cadence is a Sinclair, a family of New England royalty that vacations on a private island off of Martha’s Vineyard each summer. The Sinclairs are wealthy, beautiful, poised and athletic.

Cadence reflects on blissful past summers spent with her cousins and Gat, a handsome, charismatic boy filled with passionate beliefs that Cadence begins to fall for. Life becomes imperfect when the Sinclairs return to their regular lives off the island. Family tensions build as Cadence’s grandfather ages, his three daughters fight over his enormous estate, and Cadence suffers an injury on the island that impairs her memory.

Cadence cannot remember what happened the night of her accident and her family won’t tell her. The Sinclairs return to the island a year later, and Cadence tries to piece together what happened the night of her accident, and why her family has changed so much.

I read this book in one afternoon and could not put it down. E. Lockhart builds such a perfectly dysfunctional family drama that keeps you reading as Cadence pieces together her memory.

Full of twists and turns, this book is truly thrilling and unforgettable for all readers.

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One Hungry Heron By Carolyn Beck, Karen Patkau (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Carolyn Beck, Karen Patkau (Illustrator)
Special Order Only (subject to availability) - Email or Call for Price
ISBN: 9781554553617
Published: Fitzhenry & Whiteside - November 10th, 2014

Candace's Staff Pick, May 2015: This is a beautifully illustrated picture book that has poetry, counting, science and much more! It tells the story of a pond and the creatures found there. They are each described so artfully that you imagine them coming to life on the pages. A great book that will have the kids asking to read it over and over again.


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Bear and Duck By Katy Hudson, Katy Hudson (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Katy Hudson, Katy Hudson (Illustrator)
Special Order Only (subject to availability) - Email or Call for Price
ISBN: 9780062320513
Published: HarperCollins - May 12th, 2015

Candace's Staff Pick, May 2015:  I loved this book! This is a sweet story about a bear and a duck that become great friends.

Bear was tired of his life of being chased by bees and sleeping so much. Bear decided that Duck’s life was much more exciting.

The illustrations are magical, especially the facial expressions. It is one of my favorites!

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Butcher's Crossing By John Williams, Michelle Latiolais (Introduction by) Cover Image
By John Williams, Michelle Latiolais (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781590171981
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: NYRB Classics - January 16th, 2007

Logan's Staff Pick, May 2015: Butcher’s Crossing is the story of Will Andrews, a student at Harvard who upon reading the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson drops out of school and heads west to fully immerse himself in the natural world. He winds up in the small town of Butcher’s Crossing and impulsively joins a group of men who are hunting an almost mythical herd of buffalo in the Colorado territory.

With incredibly rich descriptions and whole pages of easily quotable passages, Williams perfected the Western novel.

Perfect for fans of Cormac McCarthy or anyone interested in a literary description of 19th century Colorado.

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The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain #1) By Lloyd Alexander Cover Image
ISBN: 9780805080483
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish - May 16th, 2006

Chris's Staff Pick, May 2015: This book was brought to my attention because of its 50th Anniversary Edition! This is the first book in the series of The Chronicles of Prydain.

Taran has been promoted to assistant a pig keeper, and is in charge of Henwin the pig. She is a very special pig that can see the future! When Henwin runs off, Taran must find her...

Since The Book of Three was first published in 1964, young readers have been enthralled by the adventures Taran and a cast of characters that includes Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli--all of whom have become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain.

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The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die #2) By Danielle Paige Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062280701
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - March 31st, 2015

Chris's Staff Pick, May 2015: Amy thinks that she will never get out of OZ! She tried and failed to kill Dorothy, and is now on the run with her only ally, the mysterious Princess Ozma. She can’t find the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, who she had set out to help. Amy now has to face who is truly wicked: Is it Dorothy? Or is she going down that same dark path?

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The Skunk: A Picture Book By Mac Barnett, Patrick McDonnell (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Mac Barnett, Patrick McDonnell (Illustrator)
Special Order Only (subject to availability) - Email or Call for Price
ISBN: 9781596439665
Published: Roaring Brook Press - April 14th, 2015

Chris's Staff Pick, May 2015: This book is super cute! It’s the story of a skunk and a man in a tuxedo. The skunk follows the man though the city, the opera house, and a fairground, with some very funny episodes along the way. What can the skunk possibly want with this man?

This is the story of two very different creatures that become friends.