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Staff Picks

SEPTEMBER 2021 STAFF PICKS

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While Justice Sleeps Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780385546577
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday Books - May 11th, 2021

Part of me was afraid to read  "While Justice Sleeps," since Stacey Abrams is on my very short list of people that I admire unequivocally. I shouldn't have worried. It's a clever legal/political/medical thriller whose plot points are no more outrageous than James Comey in Attorney General Ashcroft's hospital room, or the sordid sagas of Michael Flynn or Elizabeth Holmes, and the secret  exit deal of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. And let's not mention a pandemic that continues to kill thousands, despite the availability of vaccines.There is not much that Abrams doesn't already know about writing popular fiction (having honed her craft writing romances under a nom de plume), or about politics and business. She was also able to lean on her siblings for expertise: they include doctors and a District Court Judge. I trust that her heroine Supreme Court clerk Avery Keene will be back in another book soon.

Carla


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Bluebird, Bluebird (A Highway 59 Novel #1) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316363273
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mulholland Books - August 28th, 2018

A good mystery must have a well-developed sense of place, and this book exceeds every expectation. It is set in East Texas, a place that has long been considered a law into itself, with its murky bayous and bloodlines, and its only slightly under-the-surface racial tensions that have been simmering for generations. Darrin Matthews, a Black Texas Ranger, currently suspended, is unofficically sent to Lark, a desolate town barely more than a wide spot in the road, to investigate the deaths of a Black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman whose bodies have washed up on the shores of the bayou. 

-Deb


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Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780063027718
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Wave - May 4th, 2021

If I hadn't downloaded the Noom App. out of curiosity first, I would have told you this doctor was crazy.
Once I re-learned how to eat (Real food=more water!) by eliminating nearly all processed food from my diet? My entire relationship with food changed and it changed my life.
This book answers the question: Why did I think the food I was eating was real? & Why was I always hungry even though I was always eating?? Secret: The Processed food industry designed it that way, it is not your fault.

-Shannon


A smorgasbord of history, reportage, and memoir, Pollan’s riveting account of psychedelic research gave me a strange sort of contact high. Learning how therapist-guided trips have made their subjects (including folks struggling with addiction, depression and terminal illness) happier and more open-minded, I felt my own mood lifting, my own curiosity about our species’ great mysteries—what, exactly, is a self? and what, for that matter, is consciousness?--growing with every page. Buckle up for a wild, enlightening ride!

-Sam


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Matrix Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781594634499
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 7th, 2021

 " She rides out of the forest alone. Seventeen years old, in the cold March drizzle, Marie who comes from France."    

The spell these first lines cast over me never let go.

The book is the story of a 12th century nun, based on a historical figure, as she creates an intensely female world of power, wealth, and learning. I came to love these characters: their creativity, their loves and ambitions, their flaws and secrets.

Not only that, but the language...it was so beautiful it seemed to shimmer. Closing the book, I was in awe of Groff. How did she do that?

-Gwen


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A Table: Recipes for Cooking and Eating the French Way Cover Image
By Rebekah Peppler, Joann Pai (Photographs by)
$29.95
ISBN: 9781797202235
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Books - April 6th, 2021

Peppler provides all the recipes you could possibly need to host a dinner party the French way, as well as tips about selecting wine, cooking for a group, stocking your kitchen and more. The photos are gorgeous and the recipes are well-written, making the process of prep, cooking, and assembly a breeze. While most of the recipes are meant to serve a crowd, they are easy to scale down as well. The pork chops with apricot jam, golden raisins, olives, and kale is a particular hit!

-Rachel


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Things Fall Apart: A Novel Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9780385474542
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - September 1st, 1994

Through the eyes of a one of a Nigerian Igbo tribes leader's Okonkwo, and his family, Chinua Achebe depicts the heartrending tragedy of the downfall of a vibrant society at the hands of European colonizers during the 19th century. The first of three novels comprising the African Trilogy, Achebe's work underscores as poignantly today as when it was first published in 1958 the unending need for atonement for the innumerable atrocities committed against the entire continent in the name of imperial conquest. An absolute must-read if you've been considering diving into world literature, but haven't known where to begin. This is your starting point. 

-Ben


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Women Talking Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781635574340
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - March 3rd, 2020

"I spelled my name with rocks in a large green field so that God would find me quickly and my punishment would be complete."

Toews ("Taves") brings her deepest, sharpest humor and sadness to this story of a group of Mennonite women faced with the discovery that ongoing violent attacks on sleeping women and girls, allegedly caused by demons as punishment for sin, are actually assaults perpetrated by the men of their community. Fans of Lucia Berlin and Denis Johnson will appreciate the enchanting speech mannerisms and quirks of Toews' characters, her recognition of the humor found in times of utter devastation, her ability to find the mystical inside the mundane.

-Alia


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A Slow Fire Burning Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780735211230
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - August 31st, 2021

Get ready to have the rug pulled out from under you with this rollercoaster of a who-dun-it. Paula Hawkins has yet again come up with an entangled thriller complete with a bloody murder on page one, and full of creepy people, seemingly normal people, and truly messed up people who fill the pages of this brilliant page-turner. Needing to put all the pieces together in my head, I read it in one day, getting more and more creeped out as the truth started to unravel. Wow! What a thrilled!

-VIck


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A Dream of a Woman Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781551528564
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Arsenal Pulp Press - September 21st, 2021

Wow, I loved these stories. They're gritty, dark, complicated, and tender. At the heart of each one is a trans woman trying to create an adult life, find love, happiness, and stability. But it is hard out there, and Plett so adeptly illustrates how conflicted our feelings and ideas can be. 

Kaitlyn recommends!