Staff Picks by Tag

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Serenade for Nadia: A Novel Cover Image
By ZÜLFÜ LIVANELI, Brendan Freely (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781635420166
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Other Press - March 3rd, 2020

How we influence each other every day! Maya Duran, an Istanbul University administrator, meets Max Wagner, an elderly German Catholic who returns to Istanbul to bring closure to his past. An unexpected story of deep love unfolds amid glimpses of Turkish political, cultural, and religious life. It’s easy to see why Livanelli is one of Turkey’s most popular writers and cultural figures.

Review by Elisabeth

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Deep River Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802125385
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - July 2nd, 2019

Amazing characters and regional history. One of my top 10 books of the year.

Review by Robert

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The Nickel Boys: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345804341
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Anchor - June 30th, 2020

Whitehead lined up the plot of this novel as meticulously as dominos and then with a flick tore everything down in moments.

I sobbed at the end. Read it read it read it.

Review by Allie

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The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics: Feminine Pursuits Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062931795
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Avon Impulse - July 23rd, 2019

This gorgeous book is a historical, Sapphic, friends-to-lovers romance between a tenacious astronomer and a wealthy widow (who happens to be skilled in embroidery). AMAZING COVER ASIDE, this is an excellent "gateway" book for Romance: readers will enjoy how Waite draws parallels between women's experiences in the 19th century and the 21st. 

Our heroines get to work translating a new astronomical text despite rebuffs from London's Scientific Society. As their friendship flourishes and their pursuits war against societal gatekeepers, they ask each other: who determines Art? What is the difference between Scientist and Hobbyist? And best of all -- can ladies have happy endings?

Review by Danielle

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All That Glitters (Enchantée #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250295521
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Flatiron Books - February 5th, 2019

Is it too cheesy to call this enchanting? Ok...maybe. But there is something gripping about this historical fantasy, where the author weaves historically accurate details of revolutionary France with imaginative elements of magic. As main character Camille goes from using white magic to casting darker spells, the lines of morality blur and the world loses it's luster, even from the glittering palace of Versailles.

Review by Candace

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Paris in the Present Tense: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781468316681
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Harry N. Abrams - November 6th, 2018

At heart a "romancer" of the medieval variety, Helprin here delivers with panache a difficult, larger-than-life, great-hearted quest novel.  His trademark penchants for oddball humor and tall-tale adventuring are tightly focused, and perhaps in no other novel does his unabashed devotion to the Ideal and to Beauty shine with more intensity.  Finishing this novel, I was troubled by Helprin's delicate, surgical prick to the heart (and, yes, I knew it was coming). But at the same time, for some hours I floated a few inches above the ground, buoyed by the aesthetic generosity, the irrepressible vision of this novel, the banquet of its gifts.

Review by Adam

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The Mercy Seat Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802129611
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Grove Press - April 16th, 2019

Under the canopy of oppressive heat and humidity, small town Louisiana residents in 1943 brace for an exciting (for some) and horrific (for others) event. Willie Jones, 18, will be executed at midnight for the rape of a white girl. Tensions mount as the narrative moves quietly from one burdened character to another, each playing a role in the condemning of a young man who loved Grace. Resigned to his fate, Willie spends his last month anticipating his death, while his parents, Frank and Elma do the same, knowing their son's innocence will not matter. Heartsick with his options, the prosecuting attorney is forced by Klan members to choose life for his own son, Gabe, or that of Willie Jones. Simply told, this complex web of humanity explodes when the evening takes the worst possible turn!

Review by Jane

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Laurus Cover Image
ISBN: 9781780748719
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Oneworld Publications - September 13th, 2016

Like much great fiction, Laurus compresses a particular vision of human life into the person of a flawed but worthy individual. Here are moments of intense horror, of joy, and of despair. During periods when existence seems to have stalled for our hero--that nothing will ever again improve or change--the reader is led into transcendent meditation and reflection on Time and on the soul's dreadful-and-glorious progress. It is no small bonus that this book is free of trendy political and social agendas and is oblivious to what Owen Barfield termed "chronological snobbery" (the imperious disdain which modernity showers on the "ignorant" past). Finally, this is one of a precious few books which has reinforced my sense that Time is neither linear nor cyclical, but spiraling -- curved in its horizontal direction, but always with an inevitable, vertical tension.

Review by Adam

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Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328567659
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - October 2nd, 2018

At first glance, this is a well researched series about an order of medieval assassin nuns sired by Death Himself, so I was pretty much already sold. But THEN I started reading it, and could not stop. For weeks. I burned through all 3 books (and the related upcoming February 2019 release Courting Darkness) in like a week and a half. 

The series takes place in 15th century Brittany, a time when everyone is at war, the duchy has been inherited by a 12 year old girl, and the Catholic Church chose to actively subsume pagan beliefs in order to gain acceptance among a reluctant populace. It is one of these old pagan gods, Mortain, now considered the patron saint of death, that our heroines worship and struggle and fight for. But they are also fighting for themselves. 

The history is fascinating, the trauma is brutal but very well handled, the romance is the healthy and supportive (but fuuun) kind that you want your teens reading about, and the weapons are historically accurate. Don't you want to read about young women finding self actualization and liberation through violence and subterfuge and epic battles? DON'T YOU?



Review by Anje

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The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom: A Novel Cover Image
Unavailable at this time.
ISBN: 9780385543583
Availability: Unavailable at this time.
Published: Nan A. Talese - July 10th, 2018

12 year-old Aaron Broom, barely surviving St. Louis during The Depression, sees his father taken into police custody as a witness to a jewelry store robbery. With no resources, a police-secured apartment and no way to event visit his father, Aaron relies on Auggie, the street-smart newsboy, and other dubious characters to gather key information. Sleeping in a borrowed hammock in a homeless camp, Aaron approaches a sympathetic lawyer. Immediately engaging, this gem of Hotchner's vividly narrates Aaron's escapades and close calls. In a light, delectable manner, so natural to this storyteller supreme!

Review by Jane