May 2016 Staff Picks

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” - Groucho Marx

Books for your enjoyment and education as recommended by our staff.

Books: 
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LaRose: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062277022
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - May 10th, 2016

“Sorrow eats time.
Be patient.
Time eats sorrow.”

This novel introduces five family generations of “LaRose.” The story begins with a disaster: a man has accidentally shot and killed his nephew. Following ancient means of retribution, the father offers his own son, LaRose, to live with his in-laws as a replacement for their dead son.

Set within the Ojibwe culture, the story ties in Ojibwe beliefs, traditions, legends, and mysticism. The story is a reminder of how we're all connected; how actions, even mistakes, ripple through families and communities whether good or bad and that we can choose how to react and how to heal. This story will certainly stay with me for a long time!

-Recommended by Virgie


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The Excellent Lombards Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781455564224
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - April 19th, 2016

The story of the Lombard family is told through the voice of young Mary Francis, who loves the family-run apple orchard she has lived on all her life. This Wisconsin apple orchard, operating through four generations, is a “family affair” that includes three houses and three barns to house the Lombard extended family. Despite the chaos, and sometimes negative feelings resulting from several families running the business, there is an overriding unity of purpose, a sort of reverence for the family history and a love for the land.

As Mary Francis gets older she looks back on the changes that have taken place on the farm and within the family structure. No, the Lombards didn’t always appear excellent, but maybe the ability to navigate a business with family members is what in the end, makes them excellent!

-Recommended by Virgie  


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A Doubter's Almanac Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781400068265
Availability: Special Order
Published: Random House - February 16th, 2016

A mathematical mind proves both enviable and destructive in this epic novel.  Though the heft of the book is intimidating, you’ll soon be carried off into Milo Andret’s story, and the story of the family that surrounds and supports his genius. With many turns, this book explores the depths of an unusual mind and its effect on a rather ordinary family. We are so lucky to have author Ethan Canin coming for Literary Sojourn this year.  For readers of The Goldfinch, this should be the next book on your list.

-Recommended by Jamie


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Milk and Honey Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781449474256
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Andrews McMeel Publishing - October 6th, 2015

Rupi Kaur is bitter. It’s ok to admit. She admits it, too. Her short, biting  poems explore universal, age-old feelings. The book is structured into four parts, taking the reader on a journey through the mind of a 21st-century woman who has experienced love, heartbreak, disdain, physical abuse, hope ... the bitterness and sweetness of life. Most poems have a corresponding hand-drawn illustration. They are rudimentary, yet soulful and relatable - much like her poems.

-Recommended by Victoria


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A Man Called Ove Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781476738024
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Washington Square Press - May 5th, 2015

After watching copies of this book fly off the bestseller table and listening to passionate recommendations from customers, I decided to read this book myself. I’m glad I did!

Ove is referred to as a “grumpy old bastard.” On the surface, he lives up to this title! One soon discovers that he is a 59 year-old man who recently lost his wife, the love of his life. He also lost his job, and does not know how to proceed in his life. All he wants to do is die, but his five suicide attempts are foiled by unusual circumstances.

Against his “grumpy” judgement, Ove 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. I’m keeping my eyes open for Oves that might appear in my own life! I will now have a better understanding!

-Recommended by Virgie


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The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780770436438
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hogarth Press - October 6th, 2015

This book is brilliant. Nine intricately layered short stories offer smoldering political and social commentary about post-Soviet Russia and the dysfunctional legacy of so many years of violence, repression, and sheer  absurdity. The stories move from Leningrad in 1937 to a toxic nickel-mining town in the Siberian arctic, to contemporary St. Petersburg, and to Chechnya. Marra delicately inserts the stories into each other by connecting the characters in unexpected ways. The effect is an original, cohesive work that reads more like a sweeping novel than a short fiction collection. Marra will be featured at the 2016 Literary Sojourn.

-Recommended by Emily


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City of Secrets Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780670785964
Availability: Special Order
Published: Viking - April 26th, 2016

Stewart O’Nan’s City of Secrets is set in 1945 Jerusalem, in the midst of the Israeli uprising against British rule. Brand, a 20 something survivor of the holocaust, has successfully immigrated to Israel.  Befriended by a terrorist cell, he takes on a new identity, Jossi. By day he drives a Peugot taxicab ferrying tourists to the many holy sites, selling outdated film to supplement his income. By night, he waits for coded telephone calls that summon him on missions.

Jossi struggles with the memory of his lost family, of his days, horrors, in the concentration camps. He struggles with newfound love, a love defined and constrained by the larger struggle for independence and its violation of his oath to his wife. He struggles because he is doing things he can’t condone in service of a goal he believes in and desires.

-Recommended by Ron


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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: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Lonely Planet - October 20th, 2015

The world’s top 500 travel destinations are ranked and revealed in this  awesome book, which includes amazing photos of each sight accompanied by a brief summary for each location. Who doesn’t love to dream by looking at sights from around the world? Sometimes these dreams just might come true. They certainly did for me!

This high-quality hardcover book makes 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. This book, which comes with a pull-out world map, is a real bargain!

-Recommended by Virgie


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Seven Brief Lessons on Physics Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780399184413
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 1st, 2016

I read this slim volume in one evening. In seven beautifully concise essays, Rovelli outlines the state of modern physics: what we know, why we know it, and what wondrous questions scientists continue to probe. From the infinitely small, to the infinitely large, Rovelli makes the basics of quantum mechanics and relativity understandable and exciting, even for a layperson like me.

-Recommended by Emily


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You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780762447695
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Running Press Adult - April 23rd, 2013

In this hilariously poignant self-help-esque book, Jen Sincero provides great advice for unleashing the inner beast mode in each of us. Filled with inspiring quotes, sage advice, easy exercises, and the rogue motivational swear word or two, Sincero has put the secret to embracing your full potential right into your hands. This book will change your boring, mediocre life into the adventure you’ve always wanted, just by using “The Force” to kick some serious ass!

-Recommended by Aly


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Amazing Moms: Love and Lessons from the Animal Kingdom Cover Image
$9.95
ISBN: 9781426216671
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: National Geographic Society - March 29th, 2016

Stories of how animal mothers nurture their young are accompanied by beautiful pictures and wise quotes.

This is a great book to give to anyone in your life who is a mother, acknowledging the importance of motherhood.

-Recommended by Virgie


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The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781607748328
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ten Speed Press - March 29th, 2016

I love this book! From the trendy illustrated pictures to the interesting facts and stylish font, this book has it all for kids and adults alike! A great gift book for a fellow animal lover.

-Recommended by Victoria


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Thunder Boy Jr. Cover Image
By Sherman Alexie, Yuyi Morales (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316013727
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - May 10th, 2016

This sweet, funny father-son story explores the question: what’s in a name? Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his father, but he wants his own name, one that celebrates his own accomplishments. Together, the boy and his father pick a name that is bold, bright, and full of love... just like the boy! The illustrations in this book are equally bold and bright. You will love this book.

-Recommended by Emily


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There Is a Tribe of Kids Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781626720565
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Roaring Brook Press - May 3rd, 2016

This is the latest book by Lane Smith, the author of  It’s a Book.  There is a Tribe of Kids has fantastic illustrations that tell the story of a child who encounters all different kinds of groups on his way to find more kids like him. Delightful language makes this a great book for beginning readers. Kids who are not yet reading will also discover much to talk about on each page.

-Recommended by Chris


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The Book with No Pictures Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780803741713
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - September 30th, 2014

I don’t even know where to start. This is the BEST book for reading to children …  EVER! Parents, grandparents, teachers, and even babysitters will need to reunite with their childish sides to help bring this entertaining book to life. In fact, the more childish, immature, and ridiculous, the better! How could a book with no pictures possibly be any fun to read? Crack it open and find out for yourself!

-Recommended by Aly


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The Forbidden Wish Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781595147677
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Razorbill - February 23rd, 2016

This is a different take on the story of Aladdin and the jinni.  Zahra is a jinni and has been in her lamp, removed from this world, for several hundred years. Aladdin is still the street rat, trying to make it in the world.  This is their story, with a twist.

Jessica Khoury is well-known for her intriguing stand-alone books. Each story is unique and well-told.

Other books by her include:
Origin
Vitro
Kalahari

-Recommended by Chris


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Holding Smoke Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781484725979
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Disney-Hyperion - May 3rd, 2016

Smoke is doing time for a crime that he didn’t commit. He now lives at the “Y,” a juvenile detention center in Denver.  But he has one thing going for him: he can leave just about any time he wants... as smoke. What better way to find things to trade, than to reappear with information about other inmates.

-Recommended by Chris
 


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The Rose & the Dagger (Wrath and the Dawn) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399171628
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - April 26th, 2016

The Rose and the Dagger is the conclusion to Wrath and the Dawn.

Shahrzad now has to find a way to help Khalid destroy the curse upon him and prevent war. She must also help Tariq come to terms with her love for her husband. What a wonderful, creative retelling of a classic tale.

-Recommended by Chris


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Ruined Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062396600
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperTeen - May 3rd, 2016

Emelina was a princess until her whole kingdom was destroyed by war. She now has a plan to get revenge, and it is a simple one: save her kidnapped sister and kill the king and his family. But events don’t always go as planned... no matter how simple they are, feelings tend to get in the way.

-Recommended by Chris