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Moonglow Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062225559
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - November 22nd, 2016

Chabon is excellent, as usual. The grandfather is a wonderful product of his generation, WWII vet, reticent, stoic, grew up tough in South Philly. Knowing his death approaches, he opens up to his grandson in an unprecedented fashion. Thus, Chabon's convention for great storytelling. 

(February 2017)

Cold Mountain Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802142849
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - September 2006

This Civil War novel is full of riveting stories, not the least of which is the love story between Inman and Ada. The writing is spare and lovely. Frazier's first effort won the 1997 National Book Award for fiction. This is the best book I've read in the last year. 

(January 2017)

Orchids for Dummies Cover Image
ISBN: 9780764567599
Availability: Special Order
Published: Wiley Publishing - February 2005

What a great beginner's book! I love orchids and knew next to nothing about them. What I know now is that I could grow many of my favorites if only I didn't live in an apartment with only north-facing windows. 

(January 2017)

All Quiet on the Western Front Cover Image
ISBN: 9780449213940
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - March 12th, 1987

The greatest anti-war novel of all time. Paul was a teenager finishing school when fervor for WWI fired up the German nation. This book is the story of his disillusionment and the horror of his experience after three years of war in the trenches. 

(January 2017)

Of Human Bondage Cover Image
By W. Somerset Maugham, Benjamin DeMott (Introduction by), Maeve Binchy (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9780451530172
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Signet Book - January 2nd, 2007

Fantastic. Philip Carey is an intelligent everyman. He is orphaned as a boy and raised by a cold uncle and his well-meaning but ineffective aunt. Maugham's magnum opus and thinly veiled autobiography, Philip traverses life in search of love, art, and truth. 

(January 2017)

The Optimist's Daughter Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679728832
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books USA - August 11th, 1990

This is considered Welty's masterpiece and won the 1973 fiction Pulitzer Prize. Laurel loses her father, the optimist of the title,Judge McKelva, at the beginning of the book. She returns to their birthplace for the funeral and is lovingly enveloped in the sympathy of the community. Laurel swims in recollections of her father and mother while attemting a reconciliation with her self-centered step-mother. 

(January 2017)

Lab Girl Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101874936
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - April 5th, 2016

The botany is why I read this. Jahren describes her love of things technical and biological from infancy through parenthood. The most amazing passage is from her time on Alex Heiberg Island in Canada above the Arctic Circle. 

(January 2017)

Verklempt Cover Image
By Peter Sichrovsky, John Howard (Translator), Ari Roth (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780983254034
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doppelhouse Press - January 12th, 2016

Sichrovsky is an Austrian Jew and he has written non-fiction previously that studies the guilt of the Holocaust of second generation German and Austrian gentiles and the choices of Jews to return to those countries after escaping the Nazi devastation. Verklempt revolves around these two populations and their interactions in contemporary society. Love, despair, heartache and humor are among other central themes. Completely worthwhile reads. 

(November 2016)

Hidden Order Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476717104
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pocket Books - May 20th, 2014

This became interesting when you finally meet the psychopath killer and from within his mind, you see his psychosis and are present at his murders. Harvath, Thor's hero, disarms the federal reserve, which is insiduously behind the mayhem. 

(November 2016)

Bucking the Sun Cover Image
ISBN: 9780684831497
Availability: Special Order
Published: Scribner Book Company - May 13th, 1997

This is one of the robust Doig novels. Backdrop for the multi-generational saga is the building of the Fort Peck block of the Missouri River, the world's largest Earth-filled damn, in the 1930s. The farming Duff family comes to the dam project as ousted homesteaders and as college-educated engineers. Oft-repeated Doig themes are hark work, Montana spirit, jealousy, nature, hard work, love Scottish forbears, hard drinking, oh, and hark work. 

(November 2016)

Winesburg, Ohio Cover Image
By Sherwood Anderson, Irving Howe (Introduction by), Dean Koontz (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9780451529954
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Signet Classics - November 2005

This classic and influential short story cycle is considered one of the earliest works of Modernist literature. Anderson focuses on the psychological traumas and motivations of the parade of "grotesques" in his portrait of small town America. Winesburg seems to be permeated by isolation and lonliness as each taciturn character in their turn, reveals their heartfelt passions in a moment of vulnerability to George Willard, the young reporter for the town's weekly newspaper. 

(November 2016)

The Phantom Tollbooth Cover Image
By Norton Juster, Jules Feiffer (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780394820378
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House (NY) - October 12th, 1988

A wonderful fantasy about a bored boy named Milo. The tollbooth takes him to the city of wisdom, the foothills of confusion and the mountains of ignorance. Tock, the trusty companion watch dog, protects our hero on his quest to free the princesses, rhyme and reason. Delightful read for any good reader from second to sixth grade. 

(November 2016)

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Cover Image
By Mark Twain, Justin Kaplan (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780140430646
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - February 28th, 1972

An adventure story primarily for children and a social satire for adults. The book is a parody of medieval chivalry and romance, a tirade against social inequality and political injustice, and an attack on superstition and human ignorance. The main target, though, is the idea that material and technological progress necessarily equates to cultural enlightnment. Oh, and it is funny. 

(November 2016)

Death in Venice Cover Image
ISBN: 9780486287140
Availability: Special Order
Published: Dover Publications - August 10th, 1995

These stories are terrific. One could say that Death in Venice was instrumental in introducing conversation about same-sex desire into general culture, mindful of its publication date of 1912 and the phenomenon of a wide open sexuality in Berlin in the 1920s. 

(November 2016)

The Case Against the Supreme Court Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143128007
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - September 29th, 2015

Chemerinsky skewers the U.S. Supreme Court and its decisions. His conviction is that the court has rules on the side of big business and big government almost without exception since its inception. He believes that the court's decisions have responded poorly to wartime crisis and limited free speech and civil liberties under guise of national security and the average citizen has been largely abandoned by the entity specifically charged with their protection. 

(November 2016)

The Book of Tea Cover Image
ISBN: 9780486200705
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dover Publications -

Included in this 1909 gem is some history of tea cultivation, consumption and dispersal around the world. Okakura also rambles on about art, interior design, flower arranging and Eastern religion. 

(November 2016)

The Loved One Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316216470
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - December 11th, 2012

Waugh expertly skewers the ex-pat society of Brits in Los Angeles, the movie industry, the mortuary business and the pet cemetery business most of all. Poor Aimee is the ingenue and sweet virginal make up artist of Whispering Glades (read Forest Lawn) Mortuary. Dennis is our hero poet who woos her while working at the Happier Hunting Ground incinerating Foo Foo, Cuddles and Fido. 

(September 2016)

Crossing to Safety Cover Image
By Wallace Stegner, Terry Tempest Williams (Introduction by), T. H. Watkins (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9780375759314
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Modern Library - April 9th, 2002

Though a fiction, the narrator is conspiciously Stegner, portrayed as a rising novelist and sometime college professor. The gist of the book is the relationship between two young, optimistic couples that entwine through forty years and the accounting of the blows and compromises that life inevitably inflicts. 

(September 2016)

Lady Chatterley's Lover Cover Image
By D. H. Lawrence, Kathryn Harrison (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780375758003
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Modern Library - September 11th, 2001

This notorious novel is as much about politics and social issues as it is about romance and sex. The author uses the class difference between the lovers to highlight the unfair domination of the aristrocracy and the intelligentsia over the working class. Lady Constance also realizes that complete love must blend the mind and the body. This book was the subject of various obscenity trials worldwide upon its publication and translation. 

(September 2016)

The Old Man and the Sea Cover Image
ISBN: 9780684801223
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - May 5th, 1995

Santiago is a hero for all times. He is the champion of arm wrestling in Casablanca, the tragic hero and conqueror of the epic fish and the tender, caring hero and companion of the boy. Classic Hemingway. 

(September 2016)

Howl: And Other Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9780872860179
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: City Lights Books - January 2001

This is the poet's modern classic rant against the military industrial complex. Anger and sadness are most pronounced in Ginsberg's polemic defending the best minds of his generation, as some of those minds crumble into the abyss of mental hospitals and the lost forever. 

(August 2016)

Big Sur Cover Image
By Jack Kerouac, Aram Saroyan (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780140168129
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - June 1992

This is a relatively clear portrait of Kerouac stumbling to his early death from alcoholism. On the Road had hit it big and he is tormented by journalists, curious students and hangers-on. He attempts to clean himself out in a remote cabin lent him by Ferlinghetti. Dreams, paranoia, rants and DT's ensue. 

(August 2016)

Pudd'nhead Wilson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780486408859
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dover Publications - June 28th, 1999

Not a typical Twain humorous piece, though there are humorous passages.Two babes are switched in infancy to protect the slave child from a life of abuse. Tom becomes the spoiled scion of the town's wealthiest citizen. And the story devolves into an explosive courtroom drama. Twain's caustic comment on environment over heredity is irony at its best. 

(July 2016)