Staff Selections

Kathleen

A Thousand Naked Strangers
Kevin Hazzard

This book is a collection of essays by journalist Kevin Hazzard  who took EMT training after 911 and spent ten years doing ambulance work in the bad neighborhoods of Atlanta.  It is deftly written and is in parts exciting, frightening, awe-inspiring, and darkly comic.  A Thousand Naked Strangers is the perfect gift for those in the healthcare industry, and for readers of Mary Roach and people who like medical t.v. dramedies.  This is a really entertaining read!

 

Liz

The Odd Woman and the City
Vivian Gornick

I devoured this sharp, peculiar memoir in a single evening. Gornick, in a voice unlike anyone else’s—funny, incisive, disappointed—describes walks through New York City, conversations with friends and lovers, and “odd women” of literature and history whose lives have not conformed to the conventional patterns of marriage and motherhood. Gornick is as keen a critic as she is a trenchant observer of the daily drama of the city sidewalk, but this book isn’t just smart: it’s dazzlingly alive and deeply moving.

Mary

Beautiful Ruins
Jess Walter

A mysterious young actress with a fatal diagnosis, a hopeful young Italian pensione keeper, a reprobate Hollywood producer and his frustrated assistant, Richard Burton at the beginning of his relationship with Elizabeth Taylor, a post-WWII American soldier trying to write his depression away, a no-longer young musician trying to make a comeback at The Fringe…This richly imagined novel uses shifts in time and place to traverse the fates of its several struggling characters.  Reading it may make you wonder if you have been “pitched” a movie about the Donner party, but a backwater theater stages such a beautiful pivot in the plot…

 

 

Paul

Our Souls at Night
Kent Haruf

The Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, Kent Haruf, died this year leaving with us this last , brief, kind novel about his usual subject, the inhabitants of rural Holt, Colorado as they move through their lives.  One day widow, Addie Moore comes to the back door of widower, Louis Waters with a proposition.  Both of them being old and living by themselves, wouldn’t it be nice if he came to her house and spent the night, not for sex.  For comfort.  After some thought, Louis takes her up on the notion. His acceptance changes the quality of both their lives.  No one could pull this off like Kent Haruf.  A wonderful parting gift to his readers.

Terry

the Ex series
Peter Clines

Super-powered humans turn the Paramount lot into a fortress during a zombie apocalypse. Ernest Cline describes this as "the Avengers meets the Walking Dead." Need I say more?

Tim

The Farm
Tom Rob Smith

The Farm, the latest thriller from the excellent Tom Rob Smith, is a fascinating psychological thriller.  Daniel's parents have retired to their newly-purchased farm in Sweden when he receives a phone call from his father saying Daniel's mother has had a nervous breakdown and suffering paranoid delusions.  Shocked by this news, Daniel finds that his mother has just flown to London and is now on his doorstep, claiming Daniel's father is involved in some conspiracy, perhaps even a murder.  Torn between which parent to believe, Daniel listens as his mother presents her "testimony".  The Farm presents us with interesting themes of deception, perception and the puzzling fact that people are often more willing to believe a man before they will a woman.  (Daniel's mother asserts that if this was one hundred years earlier, they would have simply locked her in the attic.)  Fair warning:  allow yourself some time when you begin this book, as it is nearly impossible to stop reading once you start.  And don't miss Mr. Smith's exceptional first novel, Child 44!