OCTOBER 2018 STAFF READING SUGGESTIONS

THE WITCH ELM
by Tana French

Tana French's first stand alone novel is a dark and compelling read. Toby Hennessy's charmed life in Dublin is upended one night when he is savagely beaten by burglars in his apartment. He is rehabilitating at his uncle's when a body is found in the ancient and beautiful old witch elm tree. Hindered by his damaged memory, Toby begins to question his family and himself with chilling results. If you haven't read Tana French before, now is the time to start. I loved this.
-Lisa Dietrich
HOUSE OF GOLD
by Natasha Solomons
(Releases October 23, 2018)

Not to be missed, this captivating saga of the Goldbaum family, (loosely based on the Rothschilds) the wealthiest and most powerful family in Europe. To retain their power and keep the family ties strong, marriages are arranged, which is how Greta, a rebellious young woman must leave Vienna to marry her distant cousin Albert in England. Greta is lonely and lost, but with the help of a garden softens to her new life and her husband, until World War I threatens to destroy her newfound happiness and the entire Goldbaum dynasty.
-Maxwell Gregory
LOVE IS BLIND
by William Boyd

William Boyd, author of Restless and Any Human Heart sure did write another book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Scottish born Brodie Moncur is a world class piano tuner. He begins his career with a small local business and eventually makes his way to London where he meets and becomes the private piano tuner for John Kilbarron, a fading concert pianist superstar. Brodie accompanies John, his sinister brother and manager, Malachi and John's girlfriend Lika on John's tours throughout Europe and Russia. Eventually Brodie is unable to resist falling for the beautiful, sophisticated Lika. Their love for each other seems cursed from the beginning, yet their lives continue to become more intertwined, secretive and dangerous. I really liked this book. It kept me enthralled from beginning to end.
-Ann Patterson
BAD BLOOD: SECRETS AND LIES IN A SILICON VALLEY STARTUP
by John Carreyrou

This book chronicles the author's investigation and ultimate exposure of perhaps the biggest corporate fraud ever. In 2004, Elizabeth Holmes, at age 19, founded a company based on the promise of easier and faster blood testing, utilizing a drop from a finger prick, which could be read by a handheld device. She raised hundreds of millions of dollars, was lauded by Fortune and Forbes, and became a media darling because of her youth, charm and gender in a male-dominated Silicon Valley. The problem was that the technology didn't work, and she knew it. Carreyrou received a tip from a former employee, and began an extensive investigation resulting in a Wall Street Journal exposé, SEC investigation, and a breathtaking fall from glory. From a valuation of more than $9 billion, by 2017 the company had plummeted to nothing. Despite the fact that I had heard about Theranos, and knew something about how this story ends, I could not put this book down. A fascinating account, and more importantly, a cautionary tale about being dazzled by what we want to believe is true.
-Susan Ross
EVERGREEN TIDINGS FROM THE BAUMGARTNERS
by Gretchen Anthony

Matriarch Violet Baumgartner sends holiday tidings in her annual Christmas letter where everything is rosy with Dear Ed and her daughter Cerise can do no wrong. As Violet sits down to reflect on the past year when everything went awry, she begins to realize that her flawed, dysfunctional family might be more perfect than the fictional one she writes about. A debut novel with a lot of heart! The perfect fall read.
-Laura Capstick
MY FATHER'S WORDS
by Patricia MacLachlan

In her typical, spare storytelling Patricia MacLachlan has crafted a story about grief, resilience and hope. Fiona and Finn's father is killed in a car accident in the first few pages and they take comfort in thinking about his favorite sayings and lessons. Helped along the way by a patient of their father, a neighborhood friend and some dogs at an animal shelter Finn, Fiona and their mother begin to heal. This is a perfect book about grief and death, allowing younger kids to absorb it simply and at their own pace. Dona Nobis Pacem - Grant Us Peace.
-Di Grumhaus
ONE DAY IN DECEMBER
by Josie Silver

The perfect love story. For fans of Love Actually and When Harry Met Sally. Laurie spots the love of her life from the window of a bus one evening. He spots her as well and sparks fly, but he misses the bus. Laurie does eventually find Jack, when he shows up as her best friend's boyfriend a year later. What follows is a decade long friendship that is full of love, longing, heartbreak, romance and ultimately fate steps in with a wild card. One Day in December will have you laughing, crying and hoping that true love will triumph.
-Maxwell Gregory
TRANSCRIPTION
By Kate Atkinson
 
A beautiful new novel by Kate Atkinson is an ethereal tale of a young woman recruited by MI5 in 1940 to spy on suspected German agents in London. A decade later she is working for the BBC when her past collides with her future. Smart, precise and at times funny, this is classic Kate Atkinson.
-Lisa Dietrich
WAITING FOR EDEN
by Elliot Ackerman

This spare, concise novel packs a literary punch in nearly every sentence. Eden is gravely injured during his deployment in Iraq; his best friend is killed. Ackerman's powerful novel opens with Eden in a burn ward back in the States with his wife Mary at his side. Through a very interesting choice in narrator, Ackerman delves into the trio's backstory giving the reader an intimate look at the issues of guilt, longing and loss. Ackerman is a National Book Award finalist; Marine; Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient. You will devour this truly beautiful work.
-Laura Skinner
THE TRAVELLING CAT CHRONICLES
by Hiro Arikawa

Santori and his cat, Nana, journey through Japan together, visiting old friends and uncovering wonderful stories from Santori's childhood. Nana is cool and detached, as a cat should be, but the bond they have is impenetrable. We hear from both Santori and Nana, with Nana's words being funny, razor sharp, and perfectly fitting. Devotion, loyalty and love above all else... this is a story for anyone who has ever truly loved a pet.
-Beth Mynhier
THE LIBRARY BOOK
by Susan Orlean

What began as a visit to the Los Angeles Library with her son soon became an inquiry into the most devastating library fire in US history and the man that may have started it. This engaging book also covers the history of the library, its many interesting librarians, the important role that libraries play in our lives and so much more. Susan Orlean brings her trademark journalistic flair to her latest book and I loved it.
-Di Grumhaus
NOVEMBER ROAD
by Lou Berney

Frank Guidry is just your average mobster, taking care of whatever his boss needs. That is until JFK is shot, Frank's buddies start dropping like flies, and he realizes he might be next. Frank hits Route 66 and heads west, knowing one mistake could cost him his life. Charlotte and her kids are on the road running, too. Paths cross, stories intertwine, and you won't want their story to end! I loved this fast paced read!
-Beth Mynhier
THE KENNEDY DEBUTANTE
by Kerri Maher

Kathleen is often referred to as the "forgotten" Kennedy and this debut novel gives us the fascinating story of a strong, independent woman who endured tremendous sadness in her life. Kick's story begins as she and Rosemary are being presented to the court and continues as she dazzles London society and falls in love with the future Duke of Devonshire, Billy Hartington. The war breaks out and tough decisions have to be made about love, faith and family. I read most everything I can about the Kennedys and this deep-dive into Kick's life was heartbreaking. Loved it!
-Di Grumhaus
A KEY TO TREEHOUSE LIVING
by Elliot Reed

This is a novel that gets under your skin and stays in your head long after you turn the final page. Narrated by an orphaned boy, William Tyce; who lives in the rural Midwest along a river, he tells his story in a unique way, by creating an alphabetical glossary that in effect defines the world he lives in, his adventures and experiences along the way. The glossary is a moving portrayal of a young boy, who is lost and trying to find meaning as he navigates his own way in the world. A memorable debut.
-Maxwell Gregory
YOUNG ADULT & MIDDLE SCHOOL SELECTIONS
MIDDLE SCHOOL:

GRENADE
by Alan Gratz

An authentic story about the battle between the Japanese and the Americans on the island of Okinawa in the final days of World War II. This gripping story is about the experiences of two kids, one American and one Okinawan, fighting their way across the island and the dramatic meeting between the two. Alan Gratz has given us compelling historical fiction in Refugee and Projekt 1065; Grenade is another winner. Definitely for ages 10 and up.
-Di Grumhaus
MIDDLE SCHOOL:

WONDERLAND
by Barbara O'Connor

Rose hasn't ever had a best friend. She knows her mom wants her to join the Magnolia Estates book club and diving team, but the girls in the neighborhood are more interested in the mall and lip gloss than Rose. When Mavis and her mom move into the apartment above the garage so Mrs. Jeeter can help out Rose's mom, Rose and Mavis hit it off. Mavis is outgoing and ready for adventure, Rose is cautious and shy. But the two girls find friendship over figuring out how to help Rose's dear friend Mr. Duffy find happiness again. There's a dog named Henry involved, and he helps this unlikely trio reach the finish line.
-Beth Mynhier
MIDDLE SCHOOL:

WISH UPON A SLEEPOVER
by Suzanne Selfors

I loved this story. Based on the fable of Stone Soup with a Hawaiian twist. Leilani wants desperately to be part of a clique of girls, all named Hailey (all spelled differently). She decides to have a sleepover and creates a list of those invited and a Do Not Invite list. Grandma decides to mail out the invitations for Leilani, but she sends it to the "not invited" list. The people Leilani had issues with come for the sleepover. Grandmother left instructions for the sleepover soup and said it was magical. This results in a scavenger hunt where each person looks for something meaningful to them to add to the soup. What evolves is each person confronts their innermost fears. They each learn a lot about one another and become friends, so the true magic of sleepover soup is friendship.
-Anne Allin
YOUNG ADULT:

BRIDGE OF CLAY
by Markus Zusak

Bridge of Clay is the story of the five Dunbar boys left to raise themselves after their mother dies and their father abandons them. When their father returns to ask whether any of the boys will help build a bridge in the old fashioned way, without mortar, Clay agrees to leave school and work on the bridge. The eldest son, Matthew, narrates the history of the family and how the bridge becomes a path to reconciliation. Clay, the brother who bore the loss of the parents the hardest, is the novel's main focus and an unforgettable character.
-Kathy Petray
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