Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Staff Recommendation: The World According to Bertie

In this delightful fourth installment of Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series, sly 6-year-old child prodigy Bertie Pollock provides the bulk of the drama as he adjusts to the arrival of his little brother, Ulysses. But don't worry: Smith doesn't forget about his other memorable characters. A thoroughly enjoyable read for both long time fans of Smith or those new to his novels.

The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith

Reviewed by: Jen R.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Staff Recommendation: I Am Not Sidney Poitier

This is the meandering, highly intelligent and highly entertaining story of the life of the curiously named Not Sidney Poitier (who just so happens to resemble the famous actor). Throughout the novel he encounters fictitious representations of myriad people, including Ted Turner and Jane Fonda, and, most interestingly and hilariously, the author himself!

I Am Not Sidney Poitier by Percival Everett
Reviewed by Steph W.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Staff Recommendation: Travel as a Political Act

In this unique book, Rick Steves shares his personal experiences of traveling in Europe, Central America, Asia, and the Middle East. Steves offers a sometimes sobering, sometimes humorous look at how an understanding and respect for foreign ways of life is requisite in our rapidly shrinking world. His perspective is refreshingly unbiased and offers plenty of inspiration.

Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves
Reviewed by Jennifer R.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Staff Recommendation: The Story Sisters

Hoffman’s latest novel wonderfully blends the real and imagined parallel worlds of the three Story sisters. Their invention of a fairyland and fairy language help them struggle through tragic secrets and events. Yet as they grow older and their real world becomes more harrowing, they realize the limits of love, resilience and redemption.

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman
Reviewed by Alyssa

Monday, June 22, 2009

Staff Recommendation: Little Brother

The city of San Francisco is attacked by terrorists in a near future where government surveillance has been raised to a dangerous level. You follow Marcus, a new-age tech-rebel, forced by circumstance to attempt a covert, young-blood rebellion to bring down a corrupt government organization. Smart, relevant, and Neil Gaiman said it was his favorite book this year.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Reviewed by Eric

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Staff Recommendation: Peace, Love, & Baby Ducks

This is a perfect book to take to the beach or to summer camp. It's filled with laughs, boy troubles, peace signs, sisterly foibles, and even a few tears. Carly is a lovable heroine and I thoroughly enjoyed watching her and Anna grow as women and as sisters. Mixing a lot of laughs with some tough decisions, Lauren Myracle is gifted at bringing humor to serious situations.

Peace, Love, & Baby Ducks
by Lauren Myracle

Reviewed by Mandy

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Staff Recommendation: The Angel's Game

Do you long to return to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, where books lost in time live forever? Where books are magical and potentially dangerous for their writers and readers? If you enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind, you'll love this prequel that brings you back to a labyrinthine Barcelona of intrigue, dark secrets, obsession, forbidden love, murder, and madness!

The Angel's Game
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Reviewed by: Alyssa

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Staff Recommendation: Border Songs

The border between Washington State and Canada is crawling with drug smugglers, illegal immigrants and renegade dairy farmers in this slyly humorous satirical novel. Brandon Vanderkool, a slightly autistic, remarkably artistic, innocent border patrol agent, only wants to track birds and build Andy Goldsworthy type sculptures but the criminals keep getting in the way.

Border Songs by Jim Lynch
Reviewed by: Arsen

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Staff Recommendation: Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Green Resource for Every Gardener

I've found everything I need to know about organic gardening in Rodale's incredibly thorough book. Whether I am learning about my favorite perennials or curious about how to make compost tea, I always learn something new when flipping through these pages. For anyone with a green thumb who is looking for the perfect guide, I would highly recommend this book.

Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening by Fern Marsha Bradley
Reviewed by: Liz

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Staff Recommendation: Shortcomings

I loved this graphic novel, and the way it played out like a movie. The drawings are beautiful, and the characters are intriguing and lifelike, if not always likeable. Ben Tanaka is a 30-year-old Korean American who cannot help being dissatisfied with his job, his life, and his relationship, but, his quest to get more out of life seems to lead him back to even more dissatisfaction.

Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine
Reviewed by: Katie

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Staff Recommendation: City of Thieves

Benioff writes about WWII with humor, insight, and a full respect of the history of Russia. Lev, our awkward hero, is caught looting and, instead of being executed, he is sent on an impossible mission to acquire a dozen eggs. During his quest, Lev kills two Germans, is chased by cannibals, meets his future wife, and completely captures the attention and affection of this reader.

City of Thieves by David Benioff
Reviewed by Mandy

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Staff Recommendation: The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet

This beautifully illustrated, highly-intelligent, quirky novel is like no other book I've read or seen! Forget all things normal for awhile and go on a wild adventure with this twelve-year old genius cartographer who jumps a freight train in Montana--destination Washington, D.C., to accept a prestigious science award. Enjoy the journey!

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen
Reviewed by Alyssa

Monday, June 8, 2009

Staff Recommendation: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

As a Marblehead native, I especially enjoyed reading this novel about Salem witches, both past and present. When Connie, a modern-day scholar, discovers an ancient key that hints to the existence of a mysterious spell book owned by her ancestor Deliverance Dane, an accused Salem witch, not only is she haunted by visions of the past, but she develops secret powers of her own.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dance
by Katherine Howe
Reviewed by: Alyssa

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Staff Recommendation: Rooftops of Tehran

Rooftops of Tehran is a novel of deep humanity that falls directly into your heart. Seraji paints a picture of love and hardship in a country on the brink of revolution through the eyes of its youth. This close to home view of the struggle for equality in the middle east will benefit all who desire a deeper understanding of real political crises.

Rooftops of Tehran
by Mahbod Seraji
Reviewed by: Mari

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Staff Recommendation: Shanghai Girls

Pearl and May, two sisters infused with shanghai glamor, have never known poverty or conflict. But their lives are jarred into reality when their father's gambling debts dissolve the family fortune, and they are forced to flee from invading Japanese forces. As their world falls apart, the sisters must suddenly learn to survive in a harsh and unforgiving world.

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
Reviewed by: Mari

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Staff Recommendation: The Strain

If you're still lusting for vampire lore after reading the Twilight saga and The Historian and want to be frightened a la Stephen King and Anne Rice, this book is for you! Co-authored by the creator of Pan's Labyrinth, this first novel in a trilogy opens with a mysterious plane crash at JFK airport that transforms hundreds of "dead" humans into vampires!

The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Reviewed by: Alyssa