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Staff Picks
 

Staff Picks

Jump to: Fiction | Young Adult

 

Fiction

 

American Pastoral by Philip Roth
A wonderfully written tale of tragedy, this work explores the nearly horrific dynamics of one New Jersey family.
~ Cary, Reader's Advisory

Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
One of the early novels to explore the emptiness of the burgeoning American middle class. Lewis's satire is a call to avoid the trap of a meaningless life and to achieve a greater self-awareness.
~ Kevin, Reader's Advisory

The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino
A young eighteenth-century Italian baron defies the expectations of his family by choosing to live the rest of his life in the trees. Adventure, love, and even a meeting with Napoleon all fill out the rich existence of a man who goes to extremes to craft a life of his own.
~ Kevin, Reader's Advisory

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
A classic novel of low rent living, New Orleans-style. Ignatius J. Reilly fancies himself as a knight on his own personal quest while living a decidedly average routine amid the streets, bars, and hot dog carts of seemingly 1950's era New Orleans.
~ Kevin, Reader's Advisory

The Correctionsby Jonathan Franzen
A dense novel exploring one quirky, dysfunctional family’s efforts to resolve both personal and familial conflicts.
~ Cary, Reader's Advisory

A Disorder Peculiar to the Country by Ken Kalfus
This ambitious novel tackles a host of serious issues, including the war within a Brooklyn Heights family and the war that begins with 9/11. In the hands of such a skilled writer, the book transcends the macabre subject matter and becomes an honest, beautiful portrayal of the inadequacies of humankind.
~ Summer, Reader's Advisory

Firmin by Sam Savage
No other adult fiction has had a protagonist quite like Firmin. Firmin is a highly intelligent (and wll-read!) rat living abovea bookstore in 1960s Boston. Firmin is a hopeless romantic and has, at times, been so overcome by the great classics of literature, that he cannot stop himself from devouring them, literally. It is a wonderful, darkly comic read with an unforgettable narrator.
~ Summer, Reader's Advisory

The Hard to Catch Mercy by William P. Baldwin
The need to retrieve two of his family's cows leads a young South Carolina boy on his own personal odyssey in 1916.
~ Kevin, Reader's Advisory

High Fidelity by Nicky Hornby
A hilarious novel centered around a London record shop owner’s obsession with relationships and, more importantly, his compulsive obsession with all things rock and roll.
~ Cary, Reader's Advisory

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
A cynic and a man wrongly condemned to death come together and achieve a measure of growth and salvation in this tale that is far more than a prison story.
~ Kevin, Reader's Advisory

Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut
Vonnegut deftly shows why those who take on antithetical roles for the greater good should be careful that they do not end up becoming that which they despise.
~ Kevin, Reader's Advisory

Paint It Black by Janet Fitch
A look at how survivors cope with suicide. Fitch handles the topic without the least bit of sentimentality. Warning: This book will make you want to smoke cigarettes and drink heavily just to give the characters some company.
~ Summer, Reader's Advisory

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
When Rose Clinton arrives at the St. Elizabeth's home for unwed mothers, she appears to have much in common with the other young, pregnant girls. The difference, however, is that she is full of secrets, including the fact that she is married. This multi-generational novel is a fascinating study of the complexities of love.
~ Summer, Reader's Advisory

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
The trials of a rural Minnesota family's faith and morality lead to a redemptive, mystical, and unexpected ending in this well-crafted debut novel.
~ Kevin, Reader's Advisory

Porgy by DuBose Heyward
The premier novel of Charleston's African-American underclass and the everyday struggle to cultivate love and normalcy from the most hard scrabble of existences.
~ Kevin, Reader's Advisory

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow
The beginning of the twentieth century in America is unveiled through the lives of one elite family and their interactions with the most notable figures of the Golden Age.
~ Kevin, Reader's Advisory

Refresh, Refresh: Stories by Benjamin Percy
Following his debut collection, The Language of Elk, Percy crafts a powerful collection of short stories set in Oregon. His skilled storytelling and his gift of characterization make him one of the most unique and dynamic of contemporary writers.
~ Summer, Reader's Advisory

Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard
A page turning must read for fans of darkly comic crime novels, Leonard presents colorful, sleazy characters and complex capers.
~ Cary, Reader's Advisory

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway’s classic tale of expatriates cavorting in Europe. Simply put, a masterpiece.
~ Cary, Reader's Advisory

Three O' Clock Dinner by Josephine Pinckney
A grand view into the lives of the Charleston elite. A great insight into what creates the "South of Broad" mentality by an author who lived among the elite during the 1940's twilight of the Charleston upper class's greatness.
~ Kevin, Reader's Advisory

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
Perhaps better known for its extreme and vulgar content, this semiautobiographical novel is a celebration of the author’s own exploits and mindset.
~ Cary, Reader's Advisory 

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver
Both tragic and funny, these stories are simply too riveting to put down. A must for any short story aficionado!
~ Cary, Reader's Advisory

When the Messenger Is Hot: Stories by Elizabeth Crane
The stories in this collection are refreshing for their offbeat characters and Crane's unique writing style. Crane proves the adage that only before one has mastered the rules of writing can one break them.
~ Summer, Reader's Advisory

The Wishbones by Tom Perotta
Characters hit mid-life crises before even growing up. A page-turner regardless of the complex issues addressed.
~ Cary, Reader's Advisory

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Young Adult

 

Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd
The summer after graduating high school, Dade's life is falling apart. His job sucks, his "sort-of" boyfriend won't acknowledge him in public, and his parents' marriage is disintegrating. A touching and beautifully written story about coming of age, coming out, and coming to terms with the things you cannot change.
~ Andria, Young Adult Department

Enter Three Witches: A Story of Macbeth by Caroline B. Cooney
Though you may know the general plot of Shakespeare’s famous play Macbeth, you’ve never heard it quite like this. This tale of royalty, ambition, love, prophecies, and murder invents new characters and expands existing ones to create a unique story based on “the Scottish play.”
~ Maddy, Young Adult Department

Oddest of All by Bruce Coville
Nine stories with a little bit of everything – humor, fantasy, science fiction, horror. They may be all different genres, but they’re all excellent! 
~ Maddy, Young Adult Department

Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford
Carter is trying desperately to survive his first year of high school, but his ADD, girl-trigged stuttering, maddening sister, and terrible coordination aren’t helping. Told by the hapless protagonist, this hilarious novel will keep you laughing from start to finish!
~ Maddy, Young Adult Department

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Abandoned by her alcoholic mother, 17-year-old Ruby is taken in by the older sister she hasn’t seen in ten years. Suddenly thrown into a preppy private school and fancy neighborhood, Ruby struggles to adjust to her new circumstances and begins to question some of the “truths” she knows about her life.
~ Maddy, Young Adult Department

Zombies Calling by Faith Erin Hicks
Armed with only her wits and a spork, Joss has a plan to keep herself and her roommates alive when their college campus is overrun by the undead: follow the rules of zombie movies! A short and funny graphic novel, this book could help you survive the zombie apocalypse.
~ Maddy, Young Adult Department

Liar by Justine Larbalestier
Can you ever trust a liar? What if she promises that she's telling the truth this time? Micah swears that her lying days are over—but the story she tells about her boyfriend’s murder will keep you wondering just what to believe, up to the very last page...and beyond.
~ Andria, Young Adult Department

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L. A. Meyer
As a penniless orphan on the streets of London, Mary Faber decides to better her circumstances by dressing as a boy and joining the Royal Navy. Little does she know that countless thrilling adventures await her on the high seas... 
~ Maddy, Young Adult Department

Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell
Iris' boring summer suddenly becomes a lot more interesting when she is contacted by the spirit of a boy who disappeared from her sleepy Louisiana town 20 years ago. A perfect southern-gothic ghost story that will make your hair stand on end!
~ Andria, Young Adult Department

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
A thrilling, horrific, romantic adventure about surviving, and finding love, after the zombie apocalypse.
~ Andria, Young Adult Department

Impossible by Nancy Werlin
When Lucy turns 17 she learns that all the women in her family have been cursed to complete three impossible tasks or go insane after the birth of their first child. Her foster parents and childhood friend Zach vow to help her find a way to complete the tasks, but will their love and strength be enough to break the centuries-old curse?  This is a suspenseful fantasy-romance reminiscent of old-fashioned fairy tales.
~ Andria, Young Adult Department

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
Your heart will break for 13-year-old Kyra, forced to choose between the family she loves and the faith she’s been raised with, and basic freedoms most of us take for granted—like what to read and who to marry. A chilling look at life inside a polygamous sect.
~ Andria, Young Adult Department

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