March Staff Favorites 2012

March Staff Favorites 2012

Wild

By: Cheryl Strayed

I fell hard in love with Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, which describes her solitary hike of the Pacific Crest trail when she was 26. What a BRAVE book! I was drawn to it on several levels: first, my own memories of monumentally Stupid Things I Had Done in my 20′s—things that I was lucky to have survived. Second, my love of the wilderness and what it means in my life, how important it is to many of us in centering ourselves emotionally and spiritually. Third, how important “the kindness of strangers” can be in our lives. Fourth, how great the hardships of poverty can be. It is the kind of book that makes you want to call the author up on the phone and say: “Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so brave and so honest in this book.” – Andy

 

Carry the One

By: Carol Anshaw

I think this novel struck more chords in me than almost any other novel I have read. It was as though it were telling my story and the stories of the people closest to me—or if not people close in my actual life, people who became close to me because of how intimately I had come to know their stories. To me, it ranks with Water for Elephants or The Time Ttraveler’s Wife for emotional impact and “must-readness.” These people seem so real to me. And they make me relive my own life while living theirs, with compassion and wonder at the experience, both of the reading and the living. I am totally in love. – Andy

 

Charlotte Au Chocolat: Memories of a Restaurant Girlhood

By: Charlotte Silver

Imagine growing up in the decadent world of the restaurant business. That is exactly how Charlotte Silver spent her childhood, in her mother’s Harvard restaurant, the Pudding. Charlotte retells what it was like growing up in the fantastical land of the dining room and the many personalities that surrounded her youth. Each dish in this book has a story to tell and this little memoir will reveal what happens behind the scenes when the customers aren’t looking. – Amanda

 

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty

By: Joshilyn Jackson

What lengths would you go to in order to keep your family safe? Three generations of Slocumb women are met with this dilemma when every 15 years something bad happens to them. Ginny is caring for her paralyzed daughter Liza and her granddaughter Mosey when a small body is unearthed in their backyard. It turns out to be the real Mosey and who is this other child that Ginny has cared for since she was brought home as a toddler? But Liza is unable to answer their many questions due to her paralysis. As they unravel the story to get to the truth, these women discover the lengths they will go to for love and family. – Amanda and Andy

 

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead

By: Max Brooks

Do you ever lie in bed at night imagining what the world will be like when the zombie apocalypse arrives? Well, if you’re like me, no need to fear: just read this guide and safety is almost guaranteed (but not quite). You will be instructed on the best terrains to relocate to and avoid, what supplies you will need and most importantly what weapons actually work. Remember: it’s never too late to start planning against the undead uprising. – Amanda

 

Wildwood

By: Colin Meloy

It sounds like a Portlandia skit: Portland rock-star writes young adult/fantasy novel set in a mystical woodland realm just south of Portland with illustrations from his wife, a renowned children’s book illustrator. But don’t let that sway your opinion. Wildwood is a fast-paced romp filled with magic, adventure, realism and fun. As is true in his music, Meloy doesn’t “write-down” to his audience—filling the book with plenty of 50-cent words and some morbid, graphic, and just plain weird imagery that might challenge a young reader, but keep an adult intrigued. Last but not least, Ellis’s beautiful illustrations are worth the price of the book alone. Highly recommended! – William

The Count of Monte Cristo

By: Alexandre Dumas

What does one do when wrongly imprisoned for 14 years? Plan the perfect revenge on those who set you up, of course! Edmond Dantes’ chance at happiness is stolen from him when his enemies have him thrown in jail. Edmond reinvents himself as the Count of Monte Cristo and begins to slowly and methodically destroy the lives of the men who betrayed him. Don’t let the size of this book deter you, Alexandre Dumas is a genius with the pen and this is one book you won’t regret reading. – Sally

 

Wonder

By: R.J. Palacio

I don’t read many children’s books but this one really blew me away. It is the story of a ten-year-old boy who is starting school for the first time, of the trials he faces, and his ultimate triumph. This would be difficult for any home-schooled child, but Auggie was born with facial abnormalities that are pretty difficult for most people to look beyond. Told from several points of view, including classmates and his older sister, this one is a MUST READ, in my opinion. – Andy

 

Three Weeks in December

By: Audrey Schulman

This is a true page-turner with two alternating stories of misfit Americans in Africa. The

first is a gifted young scientist sent by a pharmaceutical corporation to find a specific plant that will be made into a wonder drug. The second is a young man sent to build the railroad that will make the colonization of this part of Africa by the West possible. The young woman will learn the lives of mountain gorillas; the young man will be forced to hunt man-eating lions. All of this and the writing is excellent, as well. – Andy

 

Now in Paperback

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larrson

Clara & Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

 

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