September Staff Picks to End Your Summer

"Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book." –Author Unknown

 

 

 

Books: 
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Where the Crawdads Sing Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780735219090
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - August 14th, 2018

Where the Crawdad’s Sing is one of the mostly environmentally rich books I have read in awhile.  While the exquisite descriptions of the marshes, swamps and beaches of North Carolina transport you to place and time, the plot pulls you in a way that makes this book simply unable to put down.  The book begins as a heartbreaking coming of age story about Kya, a young girl who raises herself in the marsh shack she was born into. Kya never stops surprising the reader the whole way until adulthood when a murder mystery unfolds.  Nature becomes her parents, her friends, her family. Nature comes to make much more sense than most people she has encountered. “The Marsh Girl” as Kya in known is vilified by many in town, however she does have a couple of allies that come to her aid.  Because of the time this is set in, beginning in the 1960’s, issues of race and sexism are dealt with in quiet elegance. This book will definitely be on my best reads of 2018 list.

- Recommended by Kim Brack


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The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062870674
Availability: Backordered
Published: Harper - September 4th, 2018

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is the story of Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov.  Like so many people who were sent to death camps, Lale did want ever it took to stay alive.  He become the one who put numbers on all the inmates at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Tätowierer.  These were long hours whenever the trains came in and all the people set to be workers had to have numbers, that way the Nazi’s could keep track of them.  Though once, Lale took that one moment to look up at one young very upset women, to try and calm her. He did the one thing that would either end his life tomorrow or hopefully save someone else.  He had no idea that she would turn into the love of his life. So more than anything the Tattooist of Auschwitz is a love story during such a horrific time.

Morris puts so much depth and feeling into the story that was told to her only after Gita passed away.  She spent years talking to Lale what he experienced and how he helped so many people while in the camp. He was able to use his position as the Tattooist to help many other inmates, including Gita from dying at the hands of the Nazi’s.

- Recommended by Chris


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The Dutch Wife Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780778369769
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Park Row - September 4th, 2018

Ellen Keith writes the story of the Dutch Wife.  While this book is a bit more of a fiction story, there is still so much truth behind the scenes that brings this story to life.  There are three stories that do not seem to blend together until the very end.

Marijke de Graaf and her husband have been arrested in the Netherlands under conspiracy charges of helping Jews.  Each is sent a different concentration camp not knowing what has happened to the other. Marijke is given the choice of either a slow death of hard labor and starvation or to work in the brothels that are being set up as a way to entice the prisoners that are not Jews, to work harder and earn coupons for good behavior.  

This is also the story of Karl Müller, as he comes to  the camp to take over operations. He is as brutal as they come and leaves nothing in his wake to live up to his father’s great expectations.  He also takes advantage for the brothels workers as well.

The third story is of the Argentine Dirty War.   Luciano Wagner is a young man just coming into his own and not sure how to live up to his father’s demands.  Then he is kidnapped and put in prison in Buenos Aires and not sure if he will make it out alive. This war shows so many similarities to World War II and the hardships that people have.

Keith brings all these stories full circle with an ending that you don’t expect.

- Recommended by Chris


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The Hate U Give Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062498533
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - February 28th, 2017

This is the most powerful teen book I have read in a long time.  The events that take place in the book can make so many of the events in the news more real.

Star is growing up in Garden Heights, a black inner city neighborhood but goes to the white preppy Williamson school.   But when her 2 worlds collide because she is a witness to a police shooting Star is not sure how to go back to being able to divide her 2 very different worlds.

- Recommended by Chris


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Do You Believe in Unicorns? Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780763694685
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick - September 4th, 2018

This is a beautifully illustrated book.  Fun to read, especially for those who are learning to read.  It also has so many things that you can talk about for younger children.  It also leaves so much to the imagination and to see if you too Believe in Unicorns.

- Recommened by Chris


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My Absolute Darling: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735211186
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - June 26th, 2018

I’d like to start off with a warning: I read a lot of dark, disturbing, down-right creepy and horrible things. It’s kind of my thing. I can’t even remember the last time a book was so brutal that I had to put it down out of disgust. But I almost did that only about an hour into the audiobook of My Absolute Darling. It is DARK. But I am so glad that I decided to push through and finish it, because the beautifully intricate and raw way that this book is written makes it all so worth it. These characters, primarily Turtle and Martin, are so fleshed-out, so real, and have so much to them. No one is all good or all bad, we are all a constant battle between the two, and the philosophies and ideologies presented through these characters are insanely fascinating. This is an incredible debut novel from Tallent, and I’m excited to see what he releases in the future.

  • Recommended by Marissa


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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

Veronika seems to have it all - intelligence, talent, beauty, a loving family, an array of lovers, a stable job. But the mundane routine of day-to-day life, no matter how pleasant it may seem, has zapped Veronika’s life of all meaning, and she decides that the only great adventure left for her is death. So, she downs a handful of sleeping pills and awaits death’s embrace, fully confident in her decision. However, she awakes a week later in a mental hospital, and learns that she only partially succeeded - while she did not die right away, the pills have ruined her heart, and she has at most a week to live. What follows is a week of re-discovery, as the other patients around her show her the true meaning of sanity, of happiness, and of living. Veronika must reconcile her new-found passion for life and understanding of herself with the decision that she has already made, and the end that awaits her. This book moved me to my core; I loved it deeply and fully. This is one of the most beautiful books that I have ever read.

  • Recommended by Marissa


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Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga: A Strange and Terrible Saga Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780345410085
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - September 29th, 1996

Who better to report the story of the infamous Hell’s Angels than the bizarre and eccentric father of Gonzo journalism? Thompson, while never becoming an Angel himself, spent years delving into the underworld of the motorcycle organization, riding and forming friendship with some of the gangs’ most outrageous members. Through numerous interviews with Angel’s members, members of rival gangs, police officers, other journalists, and more, Thompson brings to life the real tale of the club, humanizing its members and showcasing just exactly who they are, and why they do what they do. Written in 1966, it chronicles the Angel’s at their most influential time in their history. A fascinating read.

  • Recommended by Marissa


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Armageddon in Retrospect Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780425226896
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Berkley - April 7th, 2009

I was raised on Kurt Vonnegut, and don’t know how this book went completely under my radar until now, but I am so thankful to have found it. In the uncertain and turbulent times we are living in, Vonnegut’s sense of humor and ultimate hope for humanity are incredibly reassuring. This collection of posthumously published writings on the concepts of war and peace are full of the dark satire that Vonnegut was known for, but at their core are so full of love and belief in his fellow man. This is definitely a great addition to any Vonnegut fans’ library.

  • Recommended by Marissa


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A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet #1) Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780312367541
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish - May 1st, 2007

I still can’t believe that I waited until now to read this classic story! The Murray family is a little eccentric. Mr. & Mrs. are scientists studying the possibilities of time travel, Sandy and Dennys are quirky and rambunctious twins, Charles Wallace is a quiet child with a lot more power than people think, and then there is Meg, the oldest, who is struggling to find her place in it all. She’s 13, does poorly in school (despite being highly intelligent), and her temper and impatience tend to land her in a lot of trouble. Things have been even worse in the years since Mr. Murray mysteriously disappeared while conducting a top secret experiment. But when Charles Wallace befriends a trio of strange ladies, who are far more than what they seem, Charles, Meg, and their friend Calvin are whisked away on the most extraordinary adventure to save both their father, and the entire universe. If you enjoyed C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia series, you will enjoy this.

  • Recommended by Marissa


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Slade House: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812988079
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - June 28th, 2016

“Tonight feels like a board-game designed by M. C. Escher on a bender and Stephen King in a fever.” So does this book. This spooky little adventure was a blast to read! Slade House is a story in five parts, each taking place nine years apart, about a supernatural set of twins, a peculiar home, and a handful of mysterious disappearances. Author Anthony Doerr described this book as “a reminder of how much fun fiction can be,” and I couldn’t agree more. This is a companion novel to Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks, but can easily be read as a standalone. Do you need a quick, easy read that’s still mentally and imaginatively stimulating? Then this is the book for you!

  • Recommended by Marissa


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Sea Prayer Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780525539094
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 18th, 2018

Sea Prayer is a powerful and creative attempt to honor the thousands of refugees who have lost their lives at sea, after being forced from their home-land by violence and persecution. This short but moving book is one that can be shared and discussed with family and friends, as well as children. The artistic illustrations and beautiful “prayer”  can be read over and over, lest we forget that refugees are ordinary people who are forced into extraordinary plights.

Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns will donate all proceeds of his book to the U.N. Refugee Agency.

Recommended by Virgie


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Saving Winslow Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062570703
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - September 11th, 2018

Ten year old Louie is on a personal mission to care for and save an abandoned, new-born mini-donkey, whom he has named Winslow. Although Louie’s family has warned him that the donkey probably won’t live, Louie proves them all wrong. His determination and love save Winslow! This tender story is one of compassion, friendship and the pain of growing up. If you liked The One and Only Ivan or Charlotte’s Web, I think you’ll enjoy this amazing book.

- Recommended by Virgie


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The Button War: A Tale of the Great War Cover Image
By Avi
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763690533
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick - June 12th, 2018

This is the story of a war, from the perspective of a group of boys living in a remote Polish village. This “gang” of preteens did not understand what a war was, never even seeing an “aeroplane.” The seven friends challenged each other in a competition, which turned into their own sort of war, and they named this competition the “button war.” As their competition progressed, a bully among them appeared and peer pressure became intense. This historical fiction for kids hold a good lesson in what peer pressure looks like, and the damaging effects it has. This is another great story by Colorado’s beloved AVI.

- Recommended by Virgie


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Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062696724
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - September 4th, 2018

It’s a hard enough thing to navigate the teen years, but just imagine this scenario and one’s perspective may change! YaTa is a modern day teen whose dream of higher education is dashed when her village in northern Nigeria is attacked by the Boco Haram, a radical Islamic group. YaTa, along with other girls are kidnapped and forced to give up their “old Life” for a new one.

This historical fiction is based on the 2014 tragedy, when Boko Haram kidnapped 276 Nigerian teens from a secondary school. The author interviewed the girls who escaped and documented the information, resulting in this powerful book.

- Recommended by Virgie


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If You Love Me: A Mother's Journey Through Her Daughter's Opioid Addiction Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781250297341
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - September 4th, 2018

This is one mother’s true story about discovering her daughter’s addiction to opioids, and her rocky journey to support her. Katie was a good kid but her heroin habit has changed her life. At first Maureen (mother) laments missing all the warning signs of Katie’s drug use. Then she looks for someone to blame, and finally sets out to fix the problem. Throughout her journey Maureen realizes that “hope without knowledge is worthless.” She creates a national nonprofit organization, providing support and education for families in a similar situation. I pray my family will never face this experience, but for those families who do, find comfort in knowing that the story of the opioid crisis is out of the shadows. You are not alone. This powerful story takes the “judgement” out of those looking on, and replaces it with commiseration.

- Recommended by Virgie


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Home Fire: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735217690
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 4th, 2018

Faced with a world that increasingly defines itself in black and white terms, Kamila Shamsie dares to write in vibrant color and explore the other side of the story. Home Fire follows a trio of siblings, originally from Pakistan but self-considered Brits. The eldest daughter is hard working and no-nonsense, but her two younger twin siblings - one girl, one boy - long for something different. Haunted by the stigma of their disgraced jihadi father, the boy gets roped into a world of extremism that promises him answers about his family that he just won’t get elsewhere. Shamsie based her novel off of the classic story Antigone, but her retelling of it is fresh, evocative, and begs the question - how far would you go in the name of family?

- Recommended by Megan


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Becoming Belle Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780735214408
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - August 7th, 2018

Isabel Maude Penrice Bilton, a military daughter with a flair for the dramatic, dazzled the London theatrical scene in the late 1800’s and won herself many an admirer. Nuala O’Connor’s account of her is a fictional yet fascinating story of her ascent from mere showgirl to a member of high society, with her fair share of trials and tribulations along the way. Belle’s story is a delightful romp through the bohemian society of the time; from her and her sister Flo’s use of historically accurate slang to the dining fashions of the time to the slanderous newspapers, you can tell that O’Connor put in the research to bring Belle’s world alive. I would particularly recommend this book to anybody interested in history or genealogy - I had a great time looking online at Miss Bilton’s old cabinet cards and seeing what became of her after the events of this book!

  • Recommended by Megan


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The Secret History of the World Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781590201626
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Overlook Press - February 23rd, 2010

Often times we hear people make a passing joke about secret societies, aliens, or the illuminati. Usually these topics are thought of as far from the truth as reserved for nut jobs and conspiracy theorists. However, Mark Booth put together a collection of these little known ideas in a way that is well constructed and excellently cited. This allows you to dive into an alternative history of our reality in a way that doesn’t feel ridiculous or too abstract to believe or understand. In fact, many of the ideas in this book personally resonated with me in a way that history has never before. This is a perfect read for spiritual, history buffs and anyone who feels like what they’ve been taught doesn’t quite line up with the reality of things.

- Recommended by Brett


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The Outsider: A Novel Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781501180989
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - May 22nd, 2018

Remember going to bed afraid of the boogyman under your bed? Stephen King’s, “The Outsider” will give you that feeling again. For about a week after finishing it I would regularly check behind the shower curtain to make sure there was nothing waiting there lurking for me. Terry Maitland is a star baseball coach for a small town in Oklahoma. He’s on the track of taking his current team to the state championships. The only issue is a young boy has been brutally raped and murdered and all evidence points to Terry. However, Terry has a rock solid alibi that proves he wasn’t even in town the day of the murder. How can one man be in two places at once? Which evidence is accurate and which doesn’t add up? What if they both do? Stephen King viscerally shows how fear can spread throughout an entire town and cause hysteria in a way that will feel relatable and satisfyingly disturbing. With a cameo from characters in King’s previous titles, this is a must read for fans of his dark universe.

  • Recommended by Brett


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The Giver Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780440237686
Availability: Special Order
Published: Laurel Leaf Library - September 10th, 2002

Imagine a world where everyone has the same experience. Free of emotions, colors, and lies, the society in, “The Giver” is one of perfect structure and order. However, even in a society free of these things, the leaders are aware that it is important to keep a history of it all. “The Giver” is a thrilling story that follows the life of the boy who is chosen to be the new keeper of all history and given the ability to see reality from a new perspective. What would it be like to be the only person to see color? To feel emotion? To know the truth about the past? Read “The Giver”, and find out. It is an excellent allegory for our times.

  • Recommended by Brett


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Stone Soup Cover Image
By Marcia Brown, Marcia Brown (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780689711039
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Aladdin - August 1st, 1997

Three hungry soldiers decide to stop in a village on their way back home from the war. They were hoping the people would help them with dinner and a place to stay, but they were not met with such hospitality. The villagers, wary of the strangers, hid all their food and pretended that they had no space for the travelers. It took some creativity, but the soldiers were able to coax the villagers into sharing their scarce ingredients with the soldiers for an elaborate village meal with their story about stone soup with the king. They were then welcomed to stay the night, and all was well. I fondly remember this classic story being read aloud in first grade, illustrating the benefits of sharing and cooperation--a lesson to never be forgotten.

  • Recommended by Kim T.


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We Don't Eat Our Classmates Cover Image
By Ryan T. Higgins, Ryan T. Higgins (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781368003551
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Disney-Hyperion - June 19th, 2018

This book, adorably illustrated, begins with Penelope, a young T. rex, starting her first day of school. She has familiar concerns anyone would about their first day. To her surprise, she finds herself in a classroom full of tasty human children. She eats them all because they are delicious, but her teacher demands that she spit them out. Penelope does not understand why they won’t be friends until the classroom goldfish tries to eat her; she realizes that it’s not nice and does not feel good to be eaten! This is an entertaining read to learn to treat others as you would want to be treated.

  • Recommended by Kim T.


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The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780465094646
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Basic Books - April 17th, 2018

If you love animals and interesting facts, you may also like this book! Cooke delves deep into the crazy misconceptions about animals throughout history, and gives you the lowdown about these certain animals. She covers beavers, sloths, hyenas, moose, pandas, and penguins, among others. Did you know that pandas are difficult to sex? I did not know that. One of my favorite facts revolves around castoreum, the secretion of beaver’s anal sacs. The castoreum had been primarily used as a component in vanilla flavoring; it also contributes to the odor and taste of cigarettes. Another entertaining fact is that some penguins practice trading sex for goods like stones to protect their nests. Peruse these pages for your pleasure, you never know when this information might become useful!

- Recommended by Kim T.


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Cherry: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525520139
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - August 14th, 2018

Nico Walker has to serve 2 more years of his 11 year sentence for bank robbery, and is using proceeds to pay back the banks. He presents this book as a work of fiction where none of the people or events ever existed; however, you begin to get the feeling that some of these characters were real with name changes, and that some of the events happened with embellishment. Cherry, I learned, is a slang term for a person in basic training or someone in their first assignment of duty after completing training. We follow *NOT NICO* through his life, starting with his whirlwind romance with Emily, the love of his life. She soon moves away, and his life begins to fall apart. He then joins the army and Emily does not approve, but it’s too late. They secretly marry, with an emphasis on secret--he cannot tell anyone about this. Their relationship deteriorates as he pushes through the daily hazards of being a medic in Iraq. He and his friends watch porn and do whatever drugs they can find to escape their daily horrors, including huffing computer duster. His friends die as the days pass, and he comes home with PTSD. He and Emily become hooked on various pills and heroin, and he begins robbing banks to afford their daily fix. This is a poignant look at the opioid crisis, and the difficulties some war veterans face when they return. This heartbreaking journey is not for the faint of heart.

  • Recommended by Kim T.