Summer Staff Picks
Each summer every staff member on hand selects a few books they think are great summer reads! Our favorites for 2019 are as follows:
The twists and turns of Scottoline’s family thriller After Anna kept me captivated as a reader, spouse and as a parent. This is her best standalone work yet. It is a story of a family torn by the return of the wife’s beautiful teenage daughter, Anna, who is then brutally murdered. I found myself empathizing with Maggie, the wife. She not only lost Anna, but her world was turned upside down by the possibility of her husband being the killer. After Anna kept me guessing about who is telling the truth in this once normal marriage. This page turner proves that not only is Scottoline a master thriller writer, but her dazzling writing also breathes life into her vibrant characters. Not only will Scottoline’s extensive fan base love After Anna, but new readers will enjoy it as well! I cannot wait to put it in their hands!
Dave Walton’s Three Laws Lethal deals with the ethical dilemma software engineers will face in the near future when it comes to self-driving cars. Based in New York City, this fictional study in ethics deals with the challenges two graduate students, and friends, face in dealing with communication between these autonomous automobiles.
One tragic car accident leads to the formation of two separate companies and as their moral compasses point in widely different directions, they frequently find themselves in competition and conflict. It is the perfect book for both science fiction and thriller fans.
I have always enjoyed watching Robin Williams in movies such as Mrs. Doubtfire and Jumanji, and I wanted to know more about what made Robin tick. This book does an incredible job of letting the reader in to discover every aspect of a comedian and actor who felt insecure about his talents, was married three times, battled addiction, loved his three children and died by his own hand after being diagnosed with a brain disorder. He was “once in a lifetime.”
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the debut novel of Scottish author Gail Honeyman. It addresses loneliness, clinical depression, social awkwardness, and trauma – all through the endearing protagonist, Eleanor Oliphant. Although this novel has heartbreaking aspects, it also is hilarious and inspiring at the same time. Being a “cat person” myself, I especially liked Eleanor’s relationship with her cat, Glen. I never anticipated the plot twist at the end. I can’t wait for the movie, due sometime in 2019.
This novel captures the world of the retail book store and being a bookstore owner/bookseller perfectly. It also weaves together a story of love, sadness, mystery, and humor as you follow the lives of A. J. Amelia, Ismay, Maya, and Lambiase. Read it to learn what the one word that matters is. And remember, “a place ain’t a place without a bookstore.”
My tradition used to be to read a Bourdain every summer. It’s been a year since he left us and I’m out of books so I figured it’s time to share my favorite of them all with you, our wonderful customers. While Kitchen Confidential made him famous, it was written before he was the Tony we all came to love and appreciate. Medium Raw was written in the midst of his television/travel fame and explores not only the food world, but the whole world. I can still hear his voice in my head every time I read, and re-read his words. This book is an absolute must-have for every Bourdain enthusiast.
An old smutty favorite, perfect for the beach or front porch, and best paired with a strong drink of which Beethoven would approve.
An Indie Next pick when it was first released, Magnus Flyte’s City of Dark Magic is a delightful romp through time and space with elements of mystery, magical realism, and well, a healthy dose of fun between protagonist & prince.
It combines all of my favorite things in a good book: protagonist with the same name as me, music, Beethoven, Prague, castles, political intrigue, time bending, one just can’t go wrong here!
After two years of reading almost exclusively nonfiction, Lost Queen (and a trip to its magical setting, rural Scotland), broke my fiction dry-spell.
This book is an absolute knockout of a debut – beautiful language, characters and world. I flew through it and later wished I had slowed down and savored it a bit more. To echo the words of the editor, I envy your first reading of this delightful tome and I happily welcome you to the club of people anxiously awaiting the rest of the trilogy!
The Perfect Couple takes us to the island of Nantucket and into the lives of the rich and famous Winbury family as they gather to celebrate their son’s wedding. It quickly becomes apparent that not everything is as it seems behind the mansions closed doors. As the story unfolds, from alternating points of view, secrets are discovered amongst friends and family members. This novel is full of lies, deception, betrayal, infidelity, substance abuse, scandals, and even murder. It’s the perfect book for those who enjoy a light beach read with a hint of mystery.
This book is very entertaining and perfect for all new moms. It’s a humorous fictional account of four women going through the journey of new motherhood. You can feel their excitement and worry and pain as they embark on this new phase of life with their babies and have compassion as they go through sleepless nights, unfaithful husbands and demanding careers.
Dr. Diana Bishop, a descendant of the Salem, Massachusetts witches, went to both Oxford and Yale and is now a well-known researcher in the history of science. She is back at Oxford studying old alchemical texts archived at the Bodleian Library. This novel is amazing; I could not put it down. The characters are interesting and complex, the story is exciting without being too ambitious or overcomplicated.
Around the world, young girls and some women develop the ability to shoot electricity from their hands. Some use their power for good and some use it for evil or revenge. Told from four different points of view, including a young man who witnessed one of the first incidents and a young woman who becomes an icon of the era , The Power is a thrilling exploration of what would happen if women became the alpha sex . It’s framed as a novel within a novel with back matter and documentation of females using their power.
I will forever be indebted to my older brother and his fabulous record collection, as he introduced me to The Clash and The Talking Heads. Ever since, I’ve been in love with the punk sound.
Please Kill Me is the definitive chronicle of punk, told in a series of interviews with the people who lived, breathed, and created the music, fashion, and art. It is a raw and unflinching look at punk from its beginnings and early years to its later years and those influenced by it.
Bernadette Fox is an intelligent, snarky, and loving mother who struggles with everything about her life in Seattle. She hates Galer Street School where her daughter Bee attends, she fights with the other parents, and she’s positive something is amiss with her husband. A few days before Christmas, she disappears from her Seattle home. Normally, the story of a missing mother would not be hilarious, but I laughed my ass off reading this quirky and fun book. While Bee is searching for her mother and developing a plan for finding her, Bernadette is quite possibly finding herself.
A young woman convinces an assisted living facility that she is the daughter of a man who has been acquitted of a terrible murder and suspected in many others. She believes that he can give her answers about her sister’s disappearance. They set out on a 10 day road trip across Texas.
A Texas map marked with three red dots like drops of blood. A serial killer who claims to have dementia. A mysterious young woman who wants answers. What could go wrong?
This is a creative science fiction/historical fiction story set in 2029 Japan and is the story of elderly Sayoko Itou, her son, and two caregivers her son has hired, one a Filipina woman, the other a cutting-edge healthcare robot. Sayoko shares the secrets of her youth during WWII in Japan with the robot in order to get him acquainted with her. Her stories of being kidnapped into slavery by the Japanese government to be used as a sex worker for the Japanese army are gripping. A perfect summer read and potential book club book!
Amber Patterson has her eye on Mr. Parrish, a rich philanthropist. She will stop at nothing to become Mrs. Parrish, even though he is already married. She inserts herself in his life and the twists and turns begin. She wants more from life, everything he can provide her. You will love her journey as she gets everything she desires.
Liv Constantine is the pen name for two sisters who write collaboratively with wonderful results. Look for Liv’s new book, The Last Time I Saw You.
This book combines everything that a good book should include: an immersive 1920s New York setting, magical abilities, and a little bit of the supernatural. Libba Bray has a way of making readers feel like they are in the worlds that she creates. The novel follows a diverse group of characters that you will be sure to fall in love with. The 1920s slang words frequently seen in the book are just an added bonus. This book would be perfect for readers who like their books just a tad eerie.
Anna & Sarah's Pick
This World War II novel was different from all other historical fiction from this time period. It follows two very different sisters in France as they deal with the harrowing effects of the war. It is moving and so beautifully written. The family aspect of this book is by far the best part of it. It shows that no matter how different you may be from your family, they are the only ones you can rely on. This book will make you feel every kind of emotion out there. This book is recommended for readers who love to binge read books, you won’t want to put this one down!
Ruta Sepetys tends to write World War II fiction books, but this one veers away from that, and is instead set in 1950s New Orleans. It follows a girl as she tries to figure out a murder that has recently occurred, and all of the dark events that follow the ordeal, when she should be figuring out if she can get into college. It is a very different type of coming-of-age story. If strongly written characters and a very weird, and interesting setting is your thing, this book would be for you!
A classic mystery with an ending that will shock you no matter how many times you read it, this is Agatha Christie at her best.
When the world’s greatest detective, Hercule Poirot, boards the Orient Express he’s expecting a quiet few days before returning to his most recent case. Little does he know a murderer right is lurking in his train’s coach. And when Mr. Ratchet is found brutally murdered in his cabin it is up to Poirot to find his killer. But as new details about the dead man are uncovered he must decide between justice and doing what’s right.
If you’re looking for a twisty whodunit this book is for you!
Fact and fiction combine in the story of Nefertari, Queen of Rameses the Great. As the last surviving member of the 18th Dynasty, Princess Nefertari is taken in by Seti I and left to run wild in his luxurious court. But when she catches the eye of Crown Prince Rameses and they decide to marry, she is thrust into a dangerous world. As the niece of reviled heretic queen Nefertiti, their marriage is intensely opposed, and Nefertari must fight for the throne and her heart. Amongst war and political intrigue the greatest love story of ancient Egypt is about to unfold.
Get a new look on history you thought you knew!
Enter an alternate Victorian world where time is tangible, which can be fractured—or stopped completely. After surviving a terrible accident, 17-year-old prodigy mechanic Danny is shaken, and when he gets called to Enfield due to 2 o’clock literally disappearing he can’t afford to be. And when Danny meets a strange boy named Colton, things get really complicated. Danny never believed in the old myths of clock spirits and he never expected to fall in love with one. But as Danny and Colton grow closer, bombings hit clock towers across England putting Colton and his tower in danger.
Steampunk fantasy and forbidden romance in this awesome story!
An incredible first-hand account of survival in one of the most uncompromising environments in the world: the summit of Mt. Everest… during a blizzard!
Jon Krakauer was one of the lucky few in his party to make it down from the mountain on that disastrous trip. Here he recounts how an already near-impossible feat—climbing the tallest peak in the world—turned into a flat-out disaster.
Intense, riveting, harrowing. A must-read for thrill-seekers, adrenaline junkies and armchair adventurers of all ages.
Ever wondered how a zombie apocalypse would play out from start to finish? Look no further!
Told in the voices of the survivors—soldiers, scientists, civilians—this is a complete account of the outbreak, epidemic and (spoiler!) eventual recovery from a worldwide zombie epidemic.
Max Brooks’s epic horror masterpiece is an endlessly inventive, incredibly nuanced and highly enjoyable read. Perfect for a day at the beach, a trip to mountains or even just lounging poolside!
Anna, Mary & Pam's Pick
Join Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young, a thirty-something professional couple from NYC as they travel to Singapore to attend the wedding of Nick’s best friend. During this whirlwind trip, Rachel meets Nick’s family who, unbeknownst to Rachel, are the Singapore elite. Adventure and unexpected family drama meet Rachel at every turn and she must decide whether to remain with Nick or resume her simpler life in NYC.
Mary & PK's Pick
Can you even imagine spending 27 years in the Maine woods, sleeping in a tent even in the bitter winter? Michael Finkel’s Stranger in the Woods tells the story of Christopher Knight, who did exactly that. Somewhat of a “Boo Radley” and following principles found in the Art of War this true hermit and master thief managed to not only stay alive, but healthy. Reading material was more important than food to him. If he wasn’t discovered and arrested, I’m pretty sure he would still be there.