February 2022 - Staff Reading Suggestions
by Stacy Willingham
Jackie's pick:

When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, her own father had confessed to the crimes and was put away for life.

Now twenty years later, Chloe is a psychologist in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. While she finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to achieve, she sometimes feels as out of control of her own life as the troubled teens who are her patients. So when a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, seeing parallels from her past that aren't actually there, or for the second time in her life, is Chloe about to unmask a killer?
by Darcey Bell
This is one creepy book! An old run down mansion that was a former asylum in upstate New York; an evil minded young realtor; an on the rise Broadway theater producer and his newly pregnant wife looking for a country escape from the city; and the hunky young contractor. It’s all in there and it comes together in a real page turner! Truthfully, this novel has left me wondering!
by Ronan Hession
(Available in Paperback)
A sweet, quiet, absolutely lovely book about two thirty-something friends who still live with their respective parents. They take care of their families, enjoy board games and each other's company. At its heart, this book is a heartwarming celebration of the kind and humble people around us. Just what I needed to read right now.
-Laura S
by Catherine Raven
A layup for all naturalists, but also an engrossing, endearing tale of the unlikely friendship that develops between the author and a winsome fox somewhere in the wilds of Montanawith references to St. Exupery and Melville thrown in for good measure. A delightful read. Highly recommended.
-Susan P
by Allison Pataki
I love historical fiction and have enjoyed Allison’s books in the past. She takes (what we think is) a minor character in history and tells the story of how they have influenced our present world. Filled with period details, I felt as though I was watching it take place in my mind's eye. With so much life to cover, I felt the pace and coverage was appropriate. It was lovely to feel the glamour of her life, but also be exposed to her childhood which gave her roots. Who knew she (MMP) was married four times? With all the focus on Mar-a-Lago the past few years it was so interesting to learn about the woman who envisioned and brought it to life. Of course it’s Allison's imagining of the life, but if you enjoyed her other books, you will this one too.

by Antoine Wilson
I loved this spare story and the way it is told. Once you start reading, there is no stopping! As the conversation between two college acquaintances that run into each other at an airport unfolds, you will find yourself riveted to the narrative. Is his story believable? Can he be trusted? Every word is important, right down to the end!
-Di and staff
by Toni Morrison
Kirsten's pick:

In this 1983 short story—the only short story Morrison ever wrote—we meet Twyla and Roberta, who have known each other since they were eight-years-old and spent four months together as roommates in St. Bonaventure shelter. Inseparable then, they lose touch as they grow older, only later to find each other at a diner, a grocery store, and again at a protest. Seemingly at opposite ends of every problem, and at each other’s throats each time they meet, the two women still cannot deny the deep bond their shared experience has forged between them.
by Stephanie Wrobel

Feeling overwhelmed by a mundane workplace and racked with grief over the death of her mother, Kit makes the radical decision to enroll in a six month program called Westwood. Located on a remote island off the coast of Maine, Kit will forgo possessions, cut ties with the outside world and work on being her “Maximized Self.” Her sister, Natalie, thinks this is a terrible idea. Fast forward six months and Natalie, who has not heard or seen her sister since enrollment, receives a threatening email from Westwood that draws her out to the island to confront her sister. Once she arrives at Westwood, Natalie soon discovers that things are not at all as they seem.
by Jennifer Haigh
Katha's pick:

For almost a decade, Claudia has counseled patients at Mercy Street, a clinic in the heart of the city. The work is consuming, the unending dramas of women in crisis. For its patients, Mercy Street offers more than health care; for many, it is a second chance.

But outside the clinic, the reality is different. Anonymous threats are frequent. A small, determined group of anti-abortion demonstrators appears each morning at its door. As the protests intensify, fear creeps into Claudia’s days, a humming anxiety she manages with frequent visits to Timmy, an affable pot dealer in the midst of his own existential crisis. At Timmy’s, she encounters a random assortment of customers, including Anthony, a lost soul who spends most of his life online, chatting with the mysterious Excelsior11—the screenname of Victor Prine, an anti-abortion crusader who has set his sights on Mercy Street and is ready to risk it all to protect the unborn.
by Lan Samantha Chang
The Chao family has owned the Fine Chao restaurant in a small Wisconsin town for decades. All three sons have toiled under their father's tyrannical reign since childhood. One Christmas morning the patriarch is found dead, and all of the family secrets come bubbling to the surface. The ensuing trial reveals that all of the sons have sufficient motive.  An exploration of family and betrayal, race and assimilation, love and death. An inventive, and at times bitingly funny, retelling of The Brothers Karamazov. I could not put his down.
-Laura S
by Kim Fay
Letters shared between Joan, a journalist from Los Angeles, and Imogene, a food columnist for a small publication in the Pacific Northwest, are the basis of this perfect, gem of a novel set in the 60’s. Although their ages are decades apart, the friendship they forge is utterly charming. A love of food and different cuisines is the jumping off point for Joan and Imogene, but they open up to each other and form a deep and lasting connection over the years. You will “savor" this one and wish the story wouldn’t end!. A #1 Indie Next Pick for February.
by Isabel Allende
I was lucky enough to have my grandmother live to be 96-years-old. Reading Violeta is like sitting down and talking with her about all that she experienced and witnessed in her long life. In a letter penned to “someone she loves above all else,” Violeta recounts her life of nearly 100 years. From her birth in 1920 during a worldwide pandemic, to her elder years, the reader is left to ponder what it could be like to live for a century.

Young Adult Selection

by Ruta Sepetys

Like many of us at the store, I am a huge fan of Ruta Sepetys and have read all her books. She has a gift for shining a light on places and times that readers may not be familiar with. Romania in 1989 and Communist oppression there is the subject in her latest novel for young adults. Fear is everywhere; of the government and especially fear of each other as nobody can be trusted, not even within your own family. Communism is falling in the countries around Romania, will the wave reach the people there and bring the end of their evil dictator? Told through a student’s voice that participates in the revolution, this view on history isn’t to be missed.
-Di and Morley
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