Book Lovers Recommendations December 2020 Part II

Recommendations by Sue Lipstein
All The Young Men By Ruth Coker Burks
Arctic Fury By Greer Macallister
Chicken Sisters By K.J. Dell
Dancing in the Mosque: an Afghan Mother
Loved and Wanted: A Memoir of Choice, Children and Womanhood By Christa Parravani
Moonflower Murders By Anthony Horowitz
Old Filth By Jane Gardam
Thirty Names of Night By Zeyn Joukhadar
Where I Come From By Rick Bragg
Wicked Hour: A Natalie Lockhart Novel By Alice Blanchard
All The Young Men
By Ruth Coker Burks
This is the memoir of Ruth, who, in 1986, visited a friend in the hospital and watched how an AIDs patient was being shunned.  When she bravely went to comfort him, word spread that she was willing to care for AIDs patients and she became an early advocate for AIDS patients during a time of misinformation and discrimination.  She became an advisor to then Governor Bill Clinton who looked to her for advice in handling the AIDS/HIV crisis.  An important story.
Arctic Fury
By Greer Macallister
This fictional novel is based on historical events.  It is 1855 and four attempts to locate ships lost in an Arctic expedition have failed.  Now the wife of the lost leader asks Virginia to lead an all female expedition to find her husband.  A year later, Virginia is on trial for the murder of one of the members of her expedition.  What really happened?  A tale of murder and intrigue.
Chicken Sisters
By K.J. Dell’Antonia
This is a debut novel.  Two rival fried chicken joints in a small Kansas town are owned by feuding family members.  A reality TV show called Food Wars decides to pit them against each other.  Long held secrets between the families start to come out.  The author’s fond memories of her childhood in a small  Texas town help the story to ring true.
Dancing in the Mosque: an Afghan Mother’s Letter to Her Son
By Homeira Qaderi
Qaderi gave birth to her son in the middle of the Afghanistan conflict.  But she was not an ordinary Afghani woman-she was an activist, who risked her life to teach women in her country.  In 2015, right before she was to leave for an international conference, her husband suddenly divorced her and because of the laws in her country, she immediately lost custody of her young son and was forced to leave him behind.  This is her love letter to him.  
Loved and Wanted: A Memoir of Choice, Children and Womanhood
By Christa Parravani
Parravani had an abortion at age 20.  She went on to get married, have two children and struggle with her husband to provide for them financially.  At age 40, she had an unplanned pregnancy and had to make some difficult choices that were made even harder because in her home state of West Virginia in 2017, it was not easy to get an abortion. Although she feared that having this child would end her career, she ultimately chose to give birth.  She writes eloquently of the difficulties of women who choose this path, and have to struggle with being underpaid and having to deal with our healthcare system.
Moonflower Murders
By Anthony Horowitz
This is sort of a sequel to “Magpie Murders.”  The editor of the late mystery writer,  Alan Conway, Susan Ryeland, both of whom played a part in “Magpie Murders,” is roped  into a murder investigation which leads her back into looking for clues in her late client’s book.  Horowitz is a master of mysteries within mysteries and his books are great fun.
Old Filth
By Jane Gardam
Gardam is an award winning English author, and although this book was published in 2004, I only just discovered it. Old Filth is a retired judge, living a quiet and boring life in a small English village, having retired from living in Hong Kong.  The author takes us back into his past so we discover what has made him what he is-and she has a wonderful writing style-she is a master of language and subtle plot creation.  This is the first volume of a trilogy.
Thirty Names of Night
By Zeyn Joukhadar
This novel spans three generation of  Syrian Americans.  A young trans boy, who has never felt like he belongs, finds the journal of a Syrian American artist who had disappeared 60 years before.  He finds that her past is tied to his mother’s and grandmother’s past, and discovers the history of queer and transgender people in his community that he had never before been aware of.  
Where I Come From
By Rick Bragg
Bragg is  prize winning columnist and humorist who specializes in the stories about his home area, the South.  This is a collection of columns from Southern Living magazine and Garden and Gun, filled with love and humor.
Wicked Hour: A Natalie Lockhart Novel
By Alice Blanchard
This is the second in a series introducing detective Natalie Lockhart, who was introduced in the book “Trace of Evil.”  Natalie has to find the murderer of a young musician, whose body was found in a trash can during her small town’s celebration of Halloween.  As she digs to find the killer, she discovers that this case may be related to the disappearance of her best friend years ago.  This is a good way to meet a new detective in what promises to be another good detective series.

Book Lovers Recommendations December 2020

Recommendations by Sue Lipstein
Ex Libris By Michiko Kakutani
Girl in the Mirror By Rose Carlyle
Miss Benson
Murder in Old Bombay By Nev March
No Time Like the Future By Michael J. Fox
One Night Two Souls Went Walking By Ellen Cooney
We Keep the Dead Close: a Murder in Harvard and a Half Century of Silence By Becky Cooper
Witch Hunter By Max Seeck
Woman Who Stole Vermeer: the True Story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House Art Heist By Anthony M. Amore
Ex Libris
By Michiko Kakutani
This is your holiday gift to someone special-or yourself.  It is an annotated  list of 100 books from all genres suggested by a former book editor of the New York Times.  Favorite classics, fiction, non-fiction, memoirs-new and old. Find your next read or plan your next year’s book challenge.
Girl in the Mirror
By Rose Carlyle
Trouble ensues when the inheritance of a fortune depends on which sibling in a family can get pregnant first-and that is made all the more complicated when twin sisters have to compete with each other.  What happens if one of them achieves pregnancy and the other does not?  A suspense and psychological thriller.
Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem
By Manda Collins
It is England in 1865 and Lady Katherin, who has become a notorious newspaper columnist, wants to try and solve a murder she has witnessed, only to be thwarted by a real Detective Inspector, who does not want the help of a woman.  She is smart and beautiful; he is handsome and competent.  So will they catch a killer? or each other? or both?
Miss Benson’s Beetle
By Rachel Joyce
A sensible schoolmarm spinster decides to abandon everything and travel with a friend to go on her dream mission-finding the golden beetle of New Caledonia, which may or may not exist.  The journey is not just to New Caledonia, but it is a journey inside our heroine, as she changes her life.
Murder in Old Bombay
By Nev March
An award winning debut mystery.  Two women have fallen to their deaths from the university’s clock tower, and the widower of one does not believe that his wife or her sister have committed suicide.  So he hires a British captain to investigate.  It’s a good chance to learn about old Bombay and enjoy a new writer.
No Time Like the Future
By Michael J. Fox
Well loved Michael J. Fox continues the saga of his life, discussing his decades long struggle with Parkinson’s disease, and his fight to maintain optimism in the face of a disease that will slowly rob him of his movement and his life.  He is realistic about his prognosis but uses what he has-family, a purpose, to keep him going, even though so much of his life has been robbed by this disease.
One Night Two Souls Went Walking
By Ellen Cooney
The moving fictional account of a young hospital chaplain who has to spend so much time ministering to patients in the busy medical center where she works that she has had no time to minister to herself.  We watch her with her patients as she works over the course of one night, and how what she learns from her work can slowly be used to heal herself.  
We Keep the Dead Close: a Murder in Harvard and a Half Century of Silence
By Becky Cooper
Non-fiction that reads like a novel.  As an undergrad at Harvard, Becky Cooper had heard the story of a female graduate student who was murdered in 1969.  Although everyone believed that she had been killed by a professor she was having an affair with, the murder was never solved.  Cooper spends 10 years finding the truth.  She uncovers  a lot about the culture of the time in academia, finds out a few secrets and brings some closure to the life of a woman who died too soon.
Witch Hunter
By Max Seeck
A new Scandanavian mystery writer!  Female investigator Jessica starts investigating a gruesome murder of the wife of a best sellling author.  At first she thinks the murderer is recreating  scenes from the author’s novel, but she soon finds it is even worse than that.  
Woman Who Stole Vermeer: the True Story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House Art Heist
By Anthony M. Amore
The true story of an heiress who pulled off art heists to help fund her political causes.  This fascinating story combines crime, art, politics and history while revealing a complicated, unique woman.

Book Lovers Recommendations November 2020 Part II

Recommendations by Sue Lipstein
Daddy By Emma Cline
End of the Day By Bill Clegg
If I Had Your Face By Frances Cha
Island Child By Molly Aitken
Kingdom By Jo Nesbo
Little Scratch By Rebecca Watson
Night Swim By Megan Goldin
Tsarina By Ellen Alpsten
Woman in the Mirror By Rebecca James
By Emma Cline
Ten stories about ordinary people living what first appears to be very ordinary lives, but then the stories take a switch.  The author wants us to think about what lies beneath the surface of regular people.
Eli’s Promise
By Ronald Balson
This novel spans the course of 25 years, following the life of Eli Rosen and his quest for justice. The novel goes from Nazi occupied Poland to postwar Germany to Chicago during the Vietnam War era.
End of the Day
By Bill Clegg
Several seemingly disconnected stories all come together as Clegg intertwines the lives of multiple characters and then his story reveals their secrets going back fifty years.
If I Had Your Face
By Frances Cha
This debut novel is set in present day Seoul and tells the story of four young women in Korea,  each with different goals and each struggling to achieve them.  Their problems are both unique to life in South Korea, but also relate to the universal problems of all women.
Island Child
By Molly Aitken
The story of Oona is told in this debut novel.  Oona grew up on the island of Inis, a desolate island off the coast of Ireland where life had not changed in years.  Oona dreams of leaving the island, but then, she is forced to flee.  Twenty years later, she is forced to return to try to resolve the problems of her past so she can move on in her life.
By Jo Nesbo
Mechanic Roy is leading a simple life, when his brother, Carl, comes back to their little village with grand plans to build a hotel.  Roy, who has always protected Carl, finds it harder to do now that Carl and his plans have become problematic for him and the town.  It doesn’t help that the town authorities have suddenly started looking into the tragic deaths of their parents that happened years before.
Little Scratch
By Rebecca Watson
This novel is written in a totally unique stream of consciousness form.  The  novel follows the every thought of a woman for twenty four hours.  The unnamed woman tries to go about her usual, boring day although she has recently been the victim of a sexual assault.  Her chaotic thoughts make this a challenging novel to say the least.
Night Swim
By Megan Goldin
Rachel Krall is the host of a very successful true crime podcast.  Now she is anonymously asked to investigate a crime in a small town.  Rachel’s attempts to investigate this crime start to lead to a connection to a mystery from Rachel’s past-the disappearance of her sister 25 years ago.
By Ellen Alpsten
Peter the Great is dying-and his second wife, Catherine, wants to take over his power,  She has to do a lot of plotting, which includes keeping his death secret until she is ready to make her move.  She actually ruled as empress from Peter’s death until her own.
Woman in the Mirror
By Rebecca James
A modern Gothic novel.  In 1947, Alice Miller, a Londoner, accepts a post as governess at Winterbourne, where she is to look after the two children of the owner.  Although everything seems great at first, soon strange happenings start to threaten her sanity and her life.  The scene shifts to present day New York, when art gallery curator, Rachel, is informed that she is actually related to the owner of Winterbourne and is the only heir to the estate.  She excitedly goes to Winterbourne-and of course, problems and secrets emerge.

Book Lovers Recommendations November 2020

Recommendations by Sue Lipstein
American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic By Andrew Cuomo
Book Of Hidden Wonders By Polly Crosby
The Convert By Stefan Hertmans
Finding My Father By Deborah Tannen
Lost Diary of Venice By Margaux DeRoux
Midnight Library By Matt Haig
Queen of Tuesday By Dawn Strauss
She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs By Sarah Smarsh
Snow By John Banville
The Zealot and the Emancipator: John Brown, Abraham Lincoln and the struggle for American Freedom By H.W. Brands
American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic
By Andrew Cuomo
This book goes behind the scenes showing what had to transpire in New York State in order to go from a state with the highest number of Covid cases and deaths to one with one of the  the lowest.  Cuomo wrote this hoping that we can learn from his experience to keep from making the same mistakes again.
Book Of Hidden Wonders
By Polly Crosby
A debut novel.  A young girl living in a crumbling old house with her father in England has to figure out what is real about her life, and what is fiction.  It doesn’t help that her father writes books about her that confuse her even more.
The Convert
By Stefan Hertmans
In the early part of the Middle Ages, a young woman of noble background falls in love with a poor student, the son of a Rabbi.  She leaves her privileged life to be with him, and flees the knights that her father sends in search of her.  She ends up in the south of France, swept into a wave of anti-Semitism during the First Crusade.  A well researched historical fiction.
Finding My Father
By Deborah Tannen
Tannen, using material given to her by her father, sets out to find out about his past after his death.  She is especially intrigued by letters he sent that were written to a woman not his wife.  
Lost Diary of Venice
By Margaux DeRoux
In this debut novel, a Connecticut book restorer is intrigued not only by the book that her customer has brought to her business, but also  by the very handsome customer.  The book turns out to be the lost diary of the relative of the customer, who was in love with a courtesan in Venice in 1571.
Midnight Library
By Matt Haig
What if somewhere in the universe there is a library that holds an infinite number of books and they tell the story of your life, as you have lived it, as well as volumes which tell the story of your life if you had made different decisions along the way?  Would you want to read them?  This is the intriguing premise of this novel.
Queen of Tuesday
By Dawn Strauss
The  fictional story of Lucille Ball, the woman everyone wanted to watch on Tuesday nights during the years her hit show, “I Love Lucy,” was on the air.  Lucy was a ground-breaker, from being the first person to showcase an inter-racial marriage on television, to trying to balance marriage and motherhood while having a full-time job and running a studio.  She was a powerful woman-but she paid a price for her fame and fortune.
She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs
By Sarah Smarsh
This started out as a four part series in a music journal, but it was so popular that the author expanded it into a book.  Dolly Parton rose to fame from poverty-and also took control of her music, her life and her business.  
By John Banville
It is 1957 and a Protestant detective is sent to a wealthy home in Ireland to investigate the grisly murder of a Catholic priest- whose body was found in the library.  All kinds of twists and turns ensue as the body count rises, as does the snow falling outside.
The Zealot and the Emancipator: John Brown, Abraham Lincoln and the struggle for American Freedom
By H.W. Brands
Brown’s fierce morality fueled his hatred of slavery and led him to raid the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry.  In the end, this helped give the new anti-slavery party, the Republican party,  the energy it needed to defeat the Democrats-and put Abraham Lincoln, who did not wish to go to war over slavery, in office.  Two years after John Brown’s hanging, the Civil War started, and although the two men never met, their lives were entwined by history.

Book Lovers Recommendations October 2020 Part II

Recommendations by Sue Lipstein
"Dear Child" - Romy Hausmann
"Devil and the Dark Water" - Stuart Turton
"Hollow Places" - T. Kingfisher
"Invisible Life of Addie LaRue" - Victoria Schwab
"The Lost Shtetl" - Max  Gross
"Jack"- Marilynne Robinson
"Leave the World Behind" - Rumaan Alam
"Night Portrait: a novel of World War II and Da Vinci
"To Tell You the Truth" - Gilly Macmillan
"When We Were Young and Brave" - Hazel Gaynor
Dear Child
By Romy Hausmann
A debut thriller.  A young woman is found who has been living in captivity for 13 years and has given birth to two children.  She claims to be Lena, a  student who disappeared, but Lena’s father does not believe she is his daughter.  So who is she?  Who are the children?  And what happened to Lena?
Devil and the Dark Water
By Stuart Turton
It is 1634 and lots of strange goings-on start happening on a ship bound for Amsterdam including a murder in a locked room.  This is an action filled mystery with a few dashes of horror, occult and paranormal.
Hollow Places
By T. Kingfisher
A science fiction horror story.  Kara, a young divorcee, finds a portal to alternate realities in the wall of her uncle’s house.  This is not just a sci-fi fantasy, but it also a coming-of-age novel.
Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
By Victoria Schwab
In 1714, Addie makes a desperate prayer to be saved from a forced marriage-and ends up making a deal with the devil.  She will never age, and live forever, but will always be forgotten by anyone who meets her minutes afterward.  She will be immortal and invisible.  She lives this way for 300 years, until one day, someone remembers her.  What does this mean?  Will she finally be able to connect to someone and be rescued from her isolation?
The Lost Shtetl
By Max  Gross
Kreskol, a little village in Poland, has been untouched for years.  It was never touched by the Holocaust, or the passage for time.   But when two residents, escape, the village fathers send Yankel, out into the world to find them and bring them back before the outside world discovers Kreskol. Things don’t work out as planned and the little village has to decide what to do next.  Told with love and humor.
By Marilynne Robinson
This is actually a prequel to “Gilead,” her prize winning novel about an aging pastor.  This is about Jack, his son, who has fallen by the wayside.  Jack’s life is made even more complicated because  has fallen in love with Della, his soulmate, who is a black woman.  It is 1957 and  their love is illegal. Robinson is a poetic and sensitive writer, and this is a beautifully written book.
Leave the World Behind
By Rumaan Alam
Amanda and Craig and their two children are vacationing in a remote Long Island cottage when the panicked owners of the cottage, who had been staying in Manhattan, show up at their doorstep because there has been a total black out in the city.  Now, without any means of communication to the outside world and the fear that something cataclysmic has happened, the two families are forced  to see if they can trust each other and  work together.
Night Portrait: a novel of World War II and Da Vinci’s Italy
By Laura Morelli
An historical fiction novel with two narratives.  One is the story of Leonardo DaVinci and the woman who posed for his Portrait of a Lady with an Ermine.  The other narrative occurs years later and concerns Edith Becker, an art curator, who inadvertently helps a Nazi get the DaVinci portrait and now teams up with a handsome  member of the Monuments team to get it back.
To Tell You the Truth
By Gilly Macmillan
Lucy Harper is a best selling novelist.  Now her husband Dan has disappeared.  Years before, Lucy’s younger brother, Teddy, also disappeared and Lucy’s story of what happened kept changing-to her parent’s dismay.  Has she hurt or even killed her husband and brother?  Now is the time for Lucy to tell the truth.  Will she?  Can she?
When We Were Young and Brave
By Hazel Gaynor
A World War II story. 
Elspeth is an Englishwoman teaching in a school in northern China.   When
Japan declares war on England and the US, she is sent to an internment camp where she provides support and instruction to children who have been taken from their parents.  Inspired by true events.

Book Lovers Recommendations October 2020

Recommendations by Sue Lipstein

A Room Called Earth-Madeleine Ryan
All About the Story:  news, power, politics and the Washington Post by Leonard Downie, Jr.
"Atomic Love" - Jennie Fields
"Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett" - Annie Lyons
"Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey"  - Kathleen Rooney
"Dancing with the Octopus" - Debora Harding
"Impersonation" - Heidi Pitlor
"Smallest lights in the Universe" - Sara Seager
"Thursday Murder Club" - Richard Osman
"What You Are Going Through" - Sigrid Nunez

A Room Called Earth
By Madeleine Ryan
This is a debut novel and tells a very simple story.  A young Australian girl goes to a party.  Things appear normal, but when we get inside her mind, see the differences in how she perceives the world, as she is autistic.  The author identifies as neurodiverse herself.
All About the Story:  news, power, politics and the Washington Post
By Leonard Downie, Jr.
Downie is the former executive director of the Washington Post.  He took over after Ben Bradless left, and Downie served from 1991-2008.  He spent 40 years at the Post, working his way up from intern to executive director.  So has lots of stories to tell.
Atomic Love
By Jennie Fields
Rosalind Porter worked as a physicist on the Manhattan Projects and had an affair with one of her colleagues.  Five years later, the FBI approaches her and asks her to spy on her former lover, as they suspect he passed secrets to the Soviets.  Rosalind soon finds she is torn between her old lover and the feelings she has for the FBI agent she is working with.
Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett
By Annie Lyons
Eudora is 85 and feels she is finished with her life and has even made an appointment with a clinic in Switzerland so she can choose to exit the world on her own terms.  Then she meets 10 year old Rose, who is so full of life that she drages Eudora back into the world.  And Eudora starts an unlikely friendship with her recently widowed neighbor.  Will she keep that appointment?
Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey
By Kathleen Rooney
The characters in this novel really existed.  Cher Ami is actually a British homing pigeon who was used during World War I and helped Major Whittlesey, an American soldier, save the battalion he commanded.  The story is told by both man and pigeon, and touches on both war and the challenges Major Whittlesey had as a gay man in the armed forces.
Dancing with the Octopus
By Debora Harding
This memoir deals with the childhood trauma of the author, who was kidnapped and assaulted when she was only 14 in 1978.  Year later, suffering from PTSD, she undertakes a search to meet her attacker and bring closure to her trauma.
By Heidi Pitlor
Allie, a single mother of a four year old, is happy to take on the job of ghostwriting a book about a high profile female lawyer who is considering a run for the Senate. She is also a single mother, raising a young child.  Because Allie has a difficult time getting the lawyer to give her material for the book, she starts to put in details of her own struggles.  Soon she will have to reckon with the impersonation.
Smallest lights in the Universe
By Sara Seager

The author was a MIT astrophysicist with two young children who depended on her husband to keep her grounded at home.  When he dies suddenly and leaves her a widow with two young children at age 40, she has to refocus her life.  No longer can she take solace solely in the stars-she connects to a Widows of Concord group which becomes a life saver.  A life affirming story of survival.

Thursday Murder Club
By Richard Osman
This is the debut of what the author hopes to be a series.  Four retires spend Thursday afternoon in their luxury retirement residence in Kent, England, examining old crime cases-until two new ones fall into their laps.  A fun and well written book.
What Are You Going Through
By Sigrid Nunez
This is not an escapist novel- the narrator, unnamed, as are all the characters, spends a lot of time listening to the experiences of others as she has found that most people want to talk about themselves.  Then a friend pulls her into a life crisis, where she needs to be more than just a passive reactor.  There’s a lot of stream of consciousness in this novel, but from the reviews, it sounds like another thought provoking book-a challenging read.

Book Lovers Recommendations September 2020 Part II

Recommendations by Sue Lipstein
"All the Devils are Here" - Louise Penny
"Anxious People" - Fredrik Backman
"Caste-the origins of our discontent" - Isabel Wilkerson
"Monogamy" - Sue Miller
"Once I was you" - Maria Hinojosa
"One By One" - Ruth Ware
"Tales from the Ant World" - Edward O. Wilson
"Transcendent Kingdom" - Yaa Gyasi
"Twenty Five Great Sentences and How They Got That Way" - Geraldine Woods
"Vesper Flights" -  Helen MacDonald
All the Devils are Here
By Louise Penny
The is the 16th in the Inspector Gamache series.  This one takes place in Paris when a good friend of Gamache’s is killed in what was not an accident, but a deliberate attempt to kill him.  That sets the case in motion as Gamache starts to uncover more secrets
Anxious People
By Fredrik Backman
The anxious people referred to in the title are a group of people at an apartment open house who are taken hostage by a failed bank robber.  Each of them have their own issues and quirks, and are described as “the worst group of hostages in the world.”  A good excuse to get into the character development that Backman is so good at.
Caste: The Origins of our Discontent
By Isabel Wilkerson
Wilkerson writes about caste, which refers to the hierarchy of power in the US that we really don’t talk about, and possibly are not even aware of.  Caste is beyond race or class, but if we don’t recognize it, we can’t work to erase it.  
By Sue Miller
Annie is grieving the sudden death of her beloved second husband. They had had 30 happy years together-or so Annie thought.  She finds out after his death that he had been having an affair in the weeks before his death. 
She  has to grieve while at the same time, pull the pieces of her life together.
Once I was You
By Maria Hinojosa
This highly personal memoir serves as an immigration history as well.  Hinojosa was a baby when her father emigrated from Mexico to Chicago to join the faculty of the University of Chicago.  In 1986, she visited her first immigration detention center and has continued every since to advocate for immigrants.  She is the voice of people who came to America in search of the American dream and found a nightmare.
One By One
By Ruth Ware
Eight co-workers on a company retreat in the Alps find themselves trapped together, isolated in their chalet while cut off from the rest of the world.  There are enough work rivalries as it is, but soon they find that  they have a killer amongst them as well..
Tales from the Ant World
By Edward O. Wilson
Wilson is a two time Puliltzer Prize winner and scientist, who has always been fascinated by ants.  This is a personal account as well as a scientific one.  He has had experience with over 15,000 ant species-however, he writes in this book about only 25 of them.  It’s always fascinating to get a peek into the passions of others, especially when they are such good writers.
Transcendent Kingdom
By Yaa Gyasi
This is a novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama.  The daughter is studying neuroscience at Stanford, using mice to understand depression and addiction, two problems that have plagued her own family.  
Twenty Five Great Sentences and How They Got That Way
By Geraldine Woods
Woods takes sentences from such great writers and speakers as Toni Morrison, Virginia Woolf and Yoda-and reveals the craft that goes into creating a memorable sentence.  For those who admire great writing, this is a different way to look at the craft of writing.  It can also help would-be writers hone their craft.
Vesper Flights
By Helen MacDonald
This is a book of essays that are connected through what the author calls “the eye of the beholder.”  Most of them are tied into the world of science.  The author also used her essays to discuss how important it is to treasure all the species on our planet, not just our own.

Book Lovers Recommendations September 2020

Recommendations by Sue Lipstein

"Daughter of the Reich" - Louise Fein
"Hieroglyphics" - Jill McCorkle
"Hindsight" - Iris Johansen
"In Five Years" - Rebecca Serle
"The Less Dead" - Louise Mina
"Lost Orphan" - Stacey Halls
"Memorial Drive" - Natasha Trethewey
"Party Upstairs" - Lee Conell
"The Patient" - Jasper DeWitt
"Royal Governess" - Wendy Holden

Daughter of the Reich
By Louise Fein
Hetta, a young girl in the 1930’s, is the perfect German child-except that she has fallen  in love with her brother’s best friend from childhood-a Jew.  Slowly Hetta sees that the changes in her German town reflect the changes in German society, and she realizes how the thoughts of her neighbors have been controlled by the party.
By Jill McCorkler
Lil and Frank, now in their 80’s, return to Frank’s hometown to help him put memories of his childhood tragedy to rest.  He becomes involved with a young single mother who is trying to deal with her past as well.  The author writes well-drawn characters, all bound together by past tragedies not of their making.
By Iris Johansen
A renowned investigator is assigned to uncover the murderer of two people who were employed at a school she once attended. She soon finds that the murderers are, in fact, connected to her.
In Five Years
By Rebecca Serle
The book is based on an interesting premise-how differently would you lead your life if you knew the future.  Dannie has the next five years of her life all planned out-except that when she falls asleep and awakens five years in the future, the hour she spends in her future life then changes how she plans her life when she awakens back in the present.
Less Dead
By Louise Mina
Margo Dunlop’s adoptive mother has died, and a way to ease her grief is to try to locate her birth mother-only to find out that not only had her birth mother been murdered years before, but the murderer has never been found. Now  Margo starts getting threatening letters from him.
Lost Orphan
By Stacey Halls
In London, in 1754, Bess returns to the Foundling Hospital where she had left her illegitimate daughter.  Now, with enough money to support the child, she is shocked to find that someone has impersonated her and claimed the child for herself.  Bess crosses paths with a widow with a child that would be the same age as Bess’s daughter, and gets a job as her maid.  
Memorial Drive
By Natasha Trethewey
This Pulitzer Prize winning poet has written the story of her childhood, focusing on the brutal murder  of her mother by her step-father.  But this is also a book about inter-racial marriage during a time it was illegal, and the challenges of growing up as a mixed race child in that kind of atmosphere.
Party Upstairs
By Lee Conell
A debut novel that takes place during one day in an apartment in New York City.  Ruby, the daughter of the building’s caretaker, is forced to come home to live in the basement of their building as she cannot find a job after college.  She is invited to a party given by her childhood friend who lives in the penthouse upstairs.  The difference between two classes of society is reflected in this story told in the voices of Ruby and her father, Martin.
By Jasper DeWitt
Scientific suspense story with a touch of the supernatural.  A young psychiatrist takes a job in a decaying New England state hospital, where he decides to take on the most mystifying case-a forty year old man who has been there since he was 6 years old in solitary confinement.  The new doctor has been warned that every other person who has been in contact with him has either been driven to madness or suicide.  Just what is going on here?
Royal Governess
By Wendy Holden
Historical fiction based on the real life story of Marion Crawford, a spirited young woman who wanted to work with children of poverty, but instead is convinced she can make more change if she takes on the job of raising two  special young girls and gives them a modern education.  She takes on the job of governess-and they just happen to be two young princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret Rose.  Definitely a book for royal lovers.

Book Lovers Recommendations August 2020

Recommendations by Sue Lipstein
"Color of Air" - Gail Tsukiyama
"Cut to the Bone" - Ellison Cooper
"Death Comes To Durham" - Jeanne M. Dams
"Florence Adler Swims Forever" - Rachel Beanland
"Hamnet" - Maggie O
"The Mist" - Ragnar Jonasson
"Mother Land" - Leah Franqui
"Outsider" - Linda Castillo
"Pull of the Stars" - Emma Donoghue
"What You Wish For" - Katherine Center
Color of Air
By Gail Tsukiyama
In 1935, Daniel, a young doctor returns to his native Hawaii after practicing medicine in Chicago.  He returns to a family filled with secrets that slowly unravel against the background of the Mauna Loa volcanic eruption.
Cut to the Bone
By Ellison Cooper
FBI agent and neurologist Sayer  Altair, one of the few black women in this field, is desperately searching for 24 high schoolers whose bus has been hijacked.  Then the first body shows up-and the pressure is on.  The scenes switch from Altair’s investigation to find the hostages, to the hostages themselves, who are plotting an escape.  A page turning thriller.
Death Comes To Durham
By Jeanne M. Dams
Retired American school teacher Dorothy is visiting the historically rich and quaint tourist town of Durham, England, with her husband, a retired English policeman, when the aunt of the friend they are visiting is accused of killing a fellow resident of her nursing home.  The couple are determined to prove her innocence.
Florence Adler Swims Forever
By Rachel Beanland
This family saga, a debut novel, is loosely based on the author’s own family story.  It is 1934 in Atlantic City and Florence Adler is training to swim the English Channel.  In a tragic practice swim, Florence drowns-and her mother decides to keep the death secret from her other daughter, Fannie, who is pregnant and on best rest.  Lots of complications ensue, and there is a tie-in to the tragedy that is unfolding in Germany.
By Maggie O’Farrell
The story of the courtship and marriage of a penniless Latin tutor, who falls in love with an eccentric woman, who knows healing arts and has visions, and what happens when their young son, age 11, dies of bubonic plague.  No matter that the Latin tutor turns out to be Shakespeare-this is a beautiful story that tells us what happens when a couple loses a child.
The Mist
By Ragnar Jonasson
This is the third in the Hidden Iceland series featuring Hulda Hermansdottir.  This novel gives us the background of Hulda’s life while it also involves Hulda in a murder that she tries to solve that brings back her past.
Mother Land
By Leah Franqui
Rachel Meyer has married after a quick courtship and has moved to Mumbai with her Asian-Indian husband.  When her mother-in-law moves in, the two women have to navigate their way between their two cultures and personalities. 
By Linda Castillo
Castillo continues her series starring Kate Burkholder as a former member of the Amish community who now serves as the police chief in a small Ohio town, where she uses her knowledge of the Amish to help solve crimes.  In this case, Kate has to help a former colleague find a safe place to hide. Against  her better judgment,  she involves an Amish widower to help her.
Pull of the Stars
By Emma Donaghue
It is Dublin in 1918, and young nurse Julia finds herself in charge of a ward of pregnant women who are fighting to stay alive during the flu pandemic.  The story takes place over the course of 3 days while 3 women have to take charge of a ward on the verge  of disaster.
What You Wish For
By Katherine Center
Center writes what I call “happy books,” and this one is no exception.  A young librarian in a progressive school has to stand up to the new principal whose beliefs are totally opposite to those of the beloved founder of the school, who has unexpectedly died.  And it’s complicated since she once worked with new guy -and has had a crush on him ever since.

Announcing Curbside Concierge

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After we have made our selections for you we will notify you when they’re ready for pickup. Please allow 2-3 business days for us to get your bundle ready. Happy reading!