Staff Selections

Jeffrey

Everybody's Fool
Richard Russo

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author returns to Bath, New York (the setting for his 1993 novel "Nobody's Fool") for this rollicking summer read. It's a hilarious novel about working people who you will come to love. There is a bit of a mystery, some infidelity, some violence, and even a loose cobra. Currently one of my favorite books.

Kathleen

Theft By Finding
David Sedaris

Theft by Finding is a curated collection of Sedaris diary entries written between 1977 and 2002.  I've read all his books, and this material still felt fresh for me. I love Sedaris' curiosity about people as well as his outright cattiness and surprisingly chosen moments of compassion.  The diary format makes this particulary fun to read in short bits and the David Sedaris dark humor is all over it.

Liz

The Small Backs of Children
Lidia Yuknavitch

An extraordinary novel, one of the best I've read all year. The often brutal story centers around a girl orphaned in a war-torn Eastern European country, a writer suffering a deep depression after a stillbirth, and the writers' artist friends, who conspire to connect the two. The book's power resides in its stunning language, interesting formal experimentation, and daring exploration of war, art, motherhood, sex, and violence.

Mary

The Purple Swamp Hen & Other Stories
Penelope Lively

For variety and range in the topics, this story collection is a good choice. Lively, known for prize-winning novels, seems to have bundled together odds and ends of ideas from her stores.  The historic volcanic eruption is told from the viewpoint of an ornamental bird in a Pompeii garden.  A biographer interviews old friends of a deceased academic celebrity, producing a life portrait between the lines.  Lively sketches a history of marriage between classes with the lightest touch, which seems to perform the very problem she describes. The book’s variety worked well for itinerant reading: a story can be read during a twenty minute wait, then contemplated during the flight or dental procedure… Lively’s masterful story crafting provides thoughtful company.

Paul

The Life of Elves
Muriel Barbery

Muriel Barbery, author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, has an extraordinary  new novel.  It is a very adult book focused on mythical Faerie and Elven culture, the equivalent of which exists in nearly every world culture.  Just to remind you again, there is nothing in this book to remind you of children’s literature.  It divulges a culture much as Ursula LeGuin does in the best of her books  DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK!

Robert

The Waitress Was New
Dominique Fabre

This is a brief, but beautiful little novel made from the simplest stuff. The narrator is a bartender in late middle age. The suburban bistro he works at is falling apart and over the course of a few days he tries to patch things together. In the process he ruminates over his position and life in general. This is Fabre’s ninth novel but the first in English translation.

Pages

Terry

The Library at Mount Char
Scott Hawkins

I stayed up until 2:30 in the morning to finish this. It’s a hard one to categorize. By turns profoundly disturbing and hilarious and thought provoking, it’s one the most original books I’ve read in awhile.

Tim

The Martian
Andy Weir

Astronaut Mark Watney was believed to be killed during the sandstorm that forced his fellow crew members to abort their mission on Mars and return to Earth.  But Mark is very much alive, and is now alone in a hostile environment, where air, water, food and finding a way to communicate are his only objectives.  The story is told through Watney's log entries, alongside chapters detailing what's happening back on Earth, as NASA goes from mourning a fallen spaceman to trying to find a way to bring him home.  An exciting debut from first-time novelist Weir, The Martian is a Robinson Crusoe for the 22nd century, filled with science and physics (without leaving the layman reader behind), as well as good old human ingenuity and plenty of well-placed humor to ease the edge-of-your-seat suspense.
 

Deb

Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That?
Ina Garten

A new Ina Garten! How great is that and just in time for the Holidays!