Staff Picks, Customer Clicks and other great reads that might not be on the New York Times Best Seller List.
ANNIE'S SUGGESTS: From J. R.
The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro
Remember the unsolved art theft from the Isabella Stewart Gardenet Museum in Boston? Read a fascinating premise concerning the fate of one of those stolen paintings. Full of art history and painting techniques. Which is the forgery and which is real? 5 Stars
The Remarkable Life of Henrietta Lacks by: Rebecca Skloot
Whatever you do, don't miss this remarkable story about cancer research. Henrietta Lacks was a black woman who developed cancer in the early 1950's. Cells harvested from her tumor have been grown successfully in labs and have been used in cancer research to develope new and better treatments for cancer and vaccines for polio and HIV. The only problem is, nobody told the Lacks family and when they found out years after Mrs. Lack's death they were devestated. This non-fiction book reads like a novel and the technical information is explained in layman's terms. The moral dilemma of cancer research and using tissue samples without a patient's knowledge raises ethical questions. These issues aside, the world would be a less healthy place if not for Henrietta Lacks.
A Reliable Wife by: Robert Goolrick
An historical potboiler. A lonely, wealthy man. A plain woman, a newspaper ad. All is not as it appears. The story begins with a lie. Does it end that way? Well written story about a man who advertises for a reliable wife and the woman who answers the ad. The story takes many twists and turns before a suprise ending.
The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet By: Jamie Ford
Conflicted loyalties and timeless devotion, set in a time and place lost forever. An inside account of the relocation of Americans of Japanese descent during WWII told in painstaking detail with vivid characterizations. A romance, a history, and an education in loyalty all in one. Reveals the damage caused by war to the lives and hearts of individuals as well as all humanity. The friendship between a young Chinese boy and Keiko, his Japanese classmate, developes into a 45 year relationship even though distance and cultures seperate them. Some things go beyond war.
Meaningful quote: "The hardest choices in life aren't between what's right and what's wrong but between what's right and what's best."
The Long Walk Home by: Will North
Sometimes a book comes along that just speaks to us. The Long Walk Home by Will North is just such a book. A tale of grief and hope, love and loss, and a deep seated loyalty to duty. Part love story, part travelogue, we follow Alec as he treks through Wales to scatter the ashes of his late wife on top of a mountain they had climbed years ago. While waiting for fog to clear on the mountain he lodges with a family who run a bed and breakfast and becomes enmeshed in their lives. It's a lyrical story of hope and mid-life love culminating in a Casablanca style ending with a twist.
Time Is A River by: Mary Alice Monroe
Mary Alice Monroe is known mostly for her pleasant novels of the Low Country and her love of turtles. We found Time Is A River to be a change in style and content. The story is woven around a woman who has survived Breast Cancer and has not yet gone forward with her life. Her sister enrolls her in a weekend fly fishing group "Casting for Recovery" for cancer survivors (a real group) in an effort to jumpstart her life. Mia becomes enchanted with the peace of the river and races home to tell her husband of the new interest in her life only to find he has a new interest as well - another woman. Shattered by his betrayal she races back to the river, spends the summer rehabilitating a run-down cabin, and becomes enmeshed in a diary written over 50 years ago by the cabin's former owner. Mia finds the courage to make a new life for herself and learns that joy and contentment are just around the next bend in the river.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by: Kahled Hosseini
Hosseini follows his blockbuster novel The Kite Runner with an equally compelling book which vividly portrays what really goes on in the lives and minds of the very real women behind the burqa. From Kings rule in 1970, to Soviet takeover, years of resistance, and the rise and fall of the Taliban, Hosseini answers many questions for American readers regarding the religion and philosophy of the people of Afghanistan. We know the background from CNN. In simple prose reminiscent of Laura Ingalls Wilder, this book details the people and gives us a glimpse of a part of the world that we only think we know about.
If you only read one book this year it should be A Thousand Splendid Suns.
The Last Templar by: Raymond Khoury
A deadly cat and mouse game with ruthless killers across three continents and eight centuries. Author Khoury sets the stage with a screenwriter's eye in this fast paced thriller that starts with a heist of Vatican treasures on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by sword wielding masked horsemen dressed as Templar Knights . What first seems like a publicity stunt to promote the exhibition quickly turns ugly as the Templars ride their mounts up the steps of the Met leaving death and destruction in their path. Among the missing, an encoder used by the Templars centuries ago to send coded messages. Why did these modern day imposters take the encoder and leave more valuable artifacts behind? Why was the encoder included in an art exhibit?
The investigation that follows draws an archaeologist and an F.B.I. agent into the hidden history of the crusading knights and the lost secret of the Templars.
A rattling good read with much food for thought. A great addition to the Holy Grail story and a wealth of history served up in a palatable and exciting manner.
Suggested for readers of Daniel Silva, Dan Brown, Steve Berry,
Big Stone Gap
Ave Marie Mulligan, a 35-year-old spinster thinks life has passed her by in the sleepy Blue Ridge Mountain town of Big Stone Gap.Suddenly she finds herself juggling two marriage proposals, conducting a no holds barred family feud, planning a life-changing trip to the old country and entertaining Elizabeth Taylor who is on the campaign trail with her husband, John Warner.
Big time eccentrics, small town shenanigans.Comic. Compassionate.Big Stone Gap is the story of a woman who thinks life has passed her by, only to learn that the best is yet to come.
Suggested for readers of Lorna Landvik, Elizabeth Berg, Frances Mayes
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons
By:Lorna Landvik There’s nothing that good coffee, delectable deserts, and a strong shoulder can’t fix.Laughter is the glue that holds the neighborhood book group“Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons” together for 40 years.A bold beginning, second chances, forgiveness, and understanding form the core of this stalwart group of friends.Count your blessings if you have even one friend like these women. Suggested for readers ofElizabeth Berg, Jodi Picoult, Anita Shreve