August 2019

Barb:

Bridget:

  • “After Emily”, by Julie Dobrow, the true life story of a mother and daughter, Mabel and Millicent Todd, and their relentless work to publish Emily Dickinson’s poetry despite familial resentment and greed.

Jeanine:

Kathleen:

  • “Killing with Confetti” by Peter Lovesey – In the latest Peter Diamond mystery, Diamond is reluctantly assigned to protect guests at a crime boss’ daughter’s wedding. Bath only looks calm and peaceful to tourists. Its reality is as sordid an underworld as in any major city. There’s nothing like a sizzling crime for hot summer reads.

Katie:

Kim:

Michele:

Michelle:

  • Palaces for the People” by Eric Klinenberg – a thought-provoking read on how social infrastructure – defined as community spaces such as parks, libraries, etc – can help solve societal challenges by bridging the ever-increasing divisions among us.

Sophie:

Sudie:

This book packs a huge punch—Dr Ayaz Virji is a doctor, a father, a deeply faithful Muslim, and an American. Tired of working in a busy city hospital on the East coast, he decides to move to a small town in Minnesota, where doctors are in short supply. He takes a position at a local hospital and moves across the country with his wife and their two children. After a short period of adjustment to small town America, they find themselves thriving in the community.  

And then things change.   After the presidential election in 2016, he and his family experienced anti-Muslim remarks and direct threats to their lives. Virji wanted out, and planned to leave the country. But in 2017, just as he was lining up a job in Dubai, a local pastor invited him to speak at her church and address misconceptions about what Muslims practice and believe. That invitation has grown into a well-attended lecture series that has changed hearts and minds across the state, while giving Virji a new vocation that he never expected.

The searing, honest narrative offered by this courageous man uncovers the human consequences of our toxic politics, the power of faith and personal conviction, and the potential for a renewal of understanding in America’s heartland–and beyond. 

July 2019

Barb:

  • “Warcross” by Marie Lu – young adult fiction. A bounty hunter hacks into a virtual video game and gets chosen to play in the game and sleuth around for the creator. Full of excitement and intense moments. You’ll be routing for the ‘good guys’ all the way through and also be confused of who the ‘good guys’ really are!

Bridget:

  • “Zero Waste Home” by Bea Johnson is your complete guide to almost never recycling anything!  Bea has done a lot of research and work and includes all kinds of tips, recipes and websites.  Hailing from France she lived the American Dream and then decided she wasn’t happy and resurrected her French roots.

Jeanine:

  • “How to be Less Stupid About Race” by Crystal Marie Fleming – A harsh, in your face wake up and smell the coffee info on the systematic racism in America –in the past and continuing today.
  • “When All Is Said” by Anne Griffin – Over the course of an evening in a small Irish town, 84 year-old Maurice Hannigan raises his glass 5 times to toast the five people who have meant the most to him. Through these stories – of unspoken joy and regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden, a fierce love that never found its voice – the life of one man will be powerfully and poignantly laid bare.

Kathleen:

  • “The Sentence is Death” by Anthony Horowitz – Anthony and the brilliant private detective Daniel Hawthorne return in the second book of the series. Horowitz dreams of solving a brutal murder himself (he is a crime writer after all) but the murder of a prominent divorce lawyer with an expensive bottle of wine exposes life-threatening secrets. Like its prequel, “The Word is Murder”, the book is great on audio.

Katie:

  • “Because of the Rabbit” by Cynthia Lord
  • “Sweety” by Andrea Zuill – This is my FAVORITE picture book for 2019 (so far). Sweety, a positively lovable naked mole rat, doesn’t quite fit in with the kids at school. Her own grandmother calls her, “a little square peg.” Sweety collects and identifies fungi for fun, uses interpretive dance as her medium of choice for class reports, and she is in pursuit of a friend. Surely there are others out in the world who share her unique interests! “Sweety” is a charming story about family, friendship and embracing all of the wonderful quirks that make each person (or mole rat) special. A “must read” for kids AND adults!

Kim:

Michele:

“The Lost Girls of Paris” by Pam Jenoff

“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

Michelle:

  • “Firefly Lane” by Kristin Hannah – Though I didn’t realize it at the time, this is the first book in a trilogy; book #1 is the *perfect* summer read and I’m already looking forward to book #2.  Follow two best friends – Kate and Tully – from the time they meet at age 14 through the following 30 years of their lives.  Hannah is a fantastic storyteller.  Her characters are fully-fleshed to the point where the reader feels as if they really know them and truly cares how their lives unfold.  If you want a story that will draw you in and allow you to escape in someone else’s story for a while, FIREFLY LANE is your book.

Added bonus: earlier this year Netflix announced a 10-episode series of Hannah’s book. 

Sophie:

Sudie:

  • “The Victory Garden” by Rhys Bowen – Set in England in 1918, in the last days of WWI, this is not a typical Rhys Bowen mystery (though there is a murder that needs solving!)  The 21-year-old protagonist, Emily, is still at home with her parents, feeling trapped by her clinging mother and strict father.   All are grieving for her brother, who has been killed in the war. Wanting to do more for the war effort than convention and her parents allow and encouraged by a handsome wounded Australian pilot recovering next door, Emily enlists as a “land girl.” She is sent to “garden” the formerly grand estate of the formidable octogenarian Lady Carlton, and an unexpected friendship develops…  There’s history, romance, a little mystery, and nice twist at the end of this book. It’s a pleasant and satisfying story for a summer day.

June 2019

Barb:

Bridget:

  • “Murder in Time” by Julie McElwain – This is part of a series with the 4th installation due in July.  Time travel, crime and 19th century fun facts.  I am anxious for July.

Jeanine:

  • “How to be Less Stupid About Race” by Crystal Marie Fleming – A harsh, in your face wake up and smell the coffee info on the systematic racism in America –in the past and continuing today.
  • “When All Is Said” by Anne Griffin – Over the course of an evening in a small Irish town, 84 year-old Maurice Hannigan raises his glass 5 times to toast the five people who have meant the most to him. Through these stories – of unspoken joy and regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden, a fierce love that never found its voice – the life of one man will be powerfully and poignantly laid bare.

Kathleen:

  • “The Word is Murder” by Anthony Horowitz – (also great on audio) Horowitz, the real-life creator of Foyle’s War and modern Sherlock Holmes novels, puts himself in this murder mystery caper as a slightly clueless Watson to the brilliant detective Hawthorne.

Katie:

  • “Saving Winslow” by Sharon Creech – A charming story about friendship, love and letting go.

Kim:

  • “Rules for Visiting” by Jessica Francis Kane – This is a delightful book about self-discovery through reconnecting with old friends.

Michele:

Michelle:

  • “Feast Your Eyes” by Myla Goldberg – I cannot begin to say how much I loved this book. Its unusual format…its quirky characters…its fully-fleshed narrative. And its ending. I will be going to work with puffy eyes today – that’s all I’m saying. Thank you Myla Goldberg for a devastatingly beautiful book. It was worth the wait.

Sophie:

Sudie:

  • “The Victory Garden” by Rhys Bowen – Set in England in 1918, in the last days of WWI, this is not a typical Rhys Bowen mystery (though there is a murder that needs solving!)  The 21-year-old protagonist, Emily, is still at home with her parents, feeling trapped by her clinging mother and strict father.   All are grieving for her brother, who has been killed in the war. Wanting to do more for the war effort than convention and her parents allow and encouraged by a handsome wounded Australian pilot recovering next door, Emily enlists as a “land girl.” She is sent to “garden” the formerly grand estate of the formidable octogenarian Lady Carlton, and an unexpected friendship develops…  There’s history, romance, a little mystery, and nice twist at the end of this book. It’s a pleasant and satisfying story for a summer day.

May 2019

Barb:

  • “One of Us is Lying” by Karen McManus – A young adult novel: Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars. Following four teens who meet in detention when the mystery starts.

Bridget:

Jeanine:

  • “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay  –  I revisited an oldie!  Set during World War II, this book is a powerful look at racism and class bias as Peekay, an English boy in South Africa, travels through the land of tribal superstition and modern prejudice. Through his journey, he finds strength making him a symbol of belief in oneself.

Kathleen:

Katie:

Kim:

  • “The Widows of Malabar Hill” by Sujata Massey. This mystery, set in India in 1920, appeals on so many levels; the setting (Bombay and Calcutta) is exotic, the culture fascinating, and the characters are compelling. This book will transport you to another era and a different country, while engrossing you in a mystery with a strong protagonist who is India’s first female lawyer.

Michele:

Michelle:

  • “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens.  I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to the hype and I have to say….it was the hype and then some.  I loved this story for many reasons, not the least of which were the echoes of Harper Lee in the storyline.
  • “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean.  While it’s a fascinating foray into the great fire of the Los Angeles Central Library and the man suspected of causing it, it’s also – as one reviewer put it – a love letter to libraries.

Sophie:

Sudie:

  • “A Well-behaved Woman” by Therese Anne Fowler – “A Well Behaved Woman” gives us a glimpse into the Gilded Age and the very wealthy families who gave the era its name.   Alva Smith still had her good name but not much else when she married into the wealthy Vanderbilt family.  She soon became a force to be reckoned with. Because she took a backseat to no man, she found herself in roles women typically did not fill at the time. She helped design her mansions, she was on the front lines of the charities she supported, and most of all, she does not turn a blind-eye to her husband’s infidelity—she bucked convention and divorced him.  Lovers of historical fiction will enjoy this well -written, well-researched and insightful novel.

April 2019

Barb:

  • “I Have the Right To” – a memoir by Chessy Prout. I had such raging emotion at the injustice of her St. Pauls school administrators, her friends, social media backlash and the justice system. I was even mad at myself for initially doubting the victim but then saw how wrong I was.

Bridget:

  • WHOLE 30″ by Melissa Hartwig, have you tried it? You are gluten, dairy and sugar free for 30 days. Lots of recipes and tips and there is also a cookbook in this series. It transformed the way I thought about food!

Jeanine:

  • “Circe” by Madeline Miller   “In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves”
  • “Winter Garden” by Kristen Hannah    Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. When their father fails ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now offers no comfort to her daughters

Kathleen:

  • “Women Rowing North” by Mary Phipher. Phipher, whose best-selling book on raising adolescent girls “Reviving Ophelia” is now more than a decade old. writes eloquently about the challenges and possibilities for women entering old age.

Katie:

  • “Fear the Bunny” by Richard T. Morris. Bunnies rule the forest in this amusing version of William Blake’s classic poem. Bunnies, bunnies, burning bright…

Kim: 

Michele: 

Michelle: 

  • “Lilac Girls” by Martha Hall Kelley. A compelling first novel about WWII, told in alternating chapters by three women – a young, Polish teenager, a German doctor, and a New York socialite – whose lives intersect and are forever changed.

Sophie:

Sudie:

  • “The Address” by Fiona Davis Take an iconic apartment building (The Dakota) in New York City, two slices of time in that same city (the Gilded Age and the Reagan era), add a dysfunctional family or two, season with murder, madness and mystery, and you have the recipe for a wonderful read. Fiona Davis’ characters are all fictional, but the setting is very real–the Beatles’ John Lennon lived at the Dakota and was murdered in the shadow of one of its arches. Settle in to enjoy a lively glimpse into a bygone era and get lost in the halls and walls of the Dakota as you imagine how the residents who once called it home lived—and there’s a murder to solve, too!

March 2019

  • Barb:
    “Goldfish Boy” by Lisa Thompson (youth)
    “Educated” by Tara Westover (adult memoir)
    “Cinder” Edna by Ellen Jackson (pic book – celebrating strong girls)
  • Bridget:WHOLE 30″ by Melissa Hartwig, have you tried it? You are gluten, dairy and sugar free for 30 days. Lots of recipes and tips and there is also a cookbook in this series. It transformed the way I thought about food!
  • Jeanine: Inheritance: a Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love” by Dani Shapiro When an Ancestry DNA test, done for fun, reveals that the author’s late/ beloved father is not biologically related to her, an identity crisis and an emotional quest to unravel the secrets of her paternity begins.
    “The Couple Next Door” by Shari Lapena A detective mystery/ thriller When the perfect couple’s baby is kidnapped, suspicion immediately falls on them but the truth is much more complicated than it seems.
  • Kathleen: “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend” by Katarina Bivald Sara, a great book lover, travels from her native Sweden to the wilds of Iowa to visit her pen pal and fellow reader Amy. Finding herself alone in a strange town with people she doesn’t know, Sara decides to repay their kindness by opening a local bookstore in Amy’s memory. A book that will warm the heart of any reader.
  • Katie: “A Whisper in the Snow” by Kate Westerland
  • Kim: “The Overstory” by Richard Powers
  • Michele: “Ghosted” by Rosie Walsh
  • Michelle: “Lilac Girls” by Martha Hall Kelley. A compelling first novel about WWII, told in alternating chapters by three women – a young, Polish teenager, a German doctor, and a New York socialite – whose lives intersect and are forever changed.
  • Sophie: “The Golden State” by Lydia Kiesling.
  • Sudie:“Unmarriageable” by Soniah Kamal

February 2019

  • Barb:
    “Front Desk” by Kelly Yang (middle grade book). So good!
    “Warcross” by Marie Lu (young adult). I think this would appeal to the gamers out there.
  • Bridget
    “When Women Ruled the World: Six queens of Egypt” by Cara Kooney. Does ancient Egypt have anything in common with today’s political scene? Find out as Ms. Cooney draws some startling comparisons.
  • Jeanine
    “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng
  • Kathleen
    “The Eyre Affair” by Jasper Fforde – Literary detective Thursday Next must fight evil if the beloved novel Jane Eyre is to continue to exist. Jane Eyre also stars in Cynthia Hand’s
    “My Plain Jane” as do the Brontes and want-to-be ghost hunters. If earlier classics are more your style, try Hand’s “My Plain Jane” which explores alternative Elizabethan history.
  • Katie
    “A Whisper in the Snow” by Kate Westerland
  • Kim
    “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
  • Michele
    “Ghosted” by Rosie Walsh
  • Michelle
    “Becoming” by Michelle Obama I very much enjoyed hearing about her childhood and family and growing up in the south side of Chicago. It is *wonderful* – particularly because it’s narrated by Obama herself. The tone is conversational so listening to the audiobook felt a little like sitting down and hearing the author just talk about her life.
  • Sophie
    “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee
  • Sudie
    “Unmarriageable” by Soniah Kamal

January 2019

  • Barb:
    “Extraordinary Jane” by Hannah Harrison. When just being you is enough. Enjoy fun and sweet illustrations of circus animals too. “Small as an Elephant” by Jennifer Jacobson. A boy left alone at a Bar Harbor campground tries to make his way to York Wild Kingdom. Written by NH author! “Moxie” by Jennifer Matthieu. I would like to be back in high school to experience this go-getter teen in her fight against football players who think they rule the school.
  • Bridget
    “The Clockmaker’s Daughter” by Kate Morton (audiobook). Time traveling in England during several periods makes Kate Morton a favorite among fellow historical fiction enthusiasts.
  • Jeanine
    “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman
    It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger committed suicide thereby stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. As a seven-year-old his only defense was three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is the ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.
  • Kathleen
    “Wobble to Death” by Peter Lovesey Many of Lovesey’s fans know his Peter Diamond mystery series set in modern Bath, but Lovesey also wrote a series of Victorian era mysteries featuring Inspector Cribb. This novel is set in the world of competitive walking races but all the Cribb mysteries are clever, funny and show Lovesey’s deep knowledge of the Victorian world.
  • Katie
    “Women in science : 50 fearless pioneers who changed the world” by Rachel Ignotofsky. If you enjoyed “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” by Elena Favilli, you’ll appreciate this collection of stories about incredible female scientists.
  • Kim
    “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones. This book appears on many of the Best Fiction of 2018 lists and with good reason. A contemporary story with compelling characters – a good read!
  • Michele
    “Ghosted” by Rosie Walsh
  • Michelle
    “Ike and Kay” by James MacManus
  • Sophie
    “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson: A fascinating and heartbreaking look at the inequalities in the criminal justice system and the hard work to keep people off death row. “The Proposal” by Jasmine Guillory: Starting with a unwanted public proposal at a packed baseball game to an unexpected rebound relationship, this is feminist romance at its best.
  • Sudie
    “Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: the story of Little Women and why it still matters” by Anne Boyd Rioux.
    I still remember sitting with Maman, my grandmother, back in the 1950s, hearing the story of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy for the first time. Later, I read Little Women for myself and loved it. In those days, I felt like Beth, but wanted to be more of a rebel, like Jo. Now, having read Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, I want to reread Little Women one more time.In this short book, the author gives us valuable information about Louisa May Alcott, her most famous book, all the editions and adaptations of Little Women for stage and screen, as well as the views of the book’s fans and foes and the book’s influence on the lives of girls and the women they became. So why does this classic, first published in 1868, still matter in 2018? Read the book and find out. Now, I’m off to borrow a copy of Little Women!

STAFF PICKS FROM 2015 – 2018