Staff Selections


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.


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.


Little Fires Everywhere
Celeste Ng

This novel begins at the end of the story’s events, with the Richardson family standing on the tree lawn in a comfortable neighborhood of Shaker Heights, Ohio, watching their home burn to the ground from a fire set by their youngest child.  Conveniently, the Warrens, tenants of the Richardsons, have just vacated their apartment, so the burned-out family has a place to go.  Though we know the arsonist, the rest of the story is told elliptically, and reads like a who-done-it.  Readers discover that “crazy Izzy” setting fire to their home is arguably not the most destructive act in the flickering enterprises of these families.

Ng’s well-crafted story is partly about growing up and  owning up, and is compelled at its core by opposing views of maternity.  Credible characters experience a gamut of mothering possibilities, and their plausible, tangled experiences provoke reflection on the pressures, needs and nurture of motherhood.  For anyone who’s had a mother.


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!


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.



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.


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.


Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That?
Ina Garten

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


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.