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Archived Staff Picks December 2015


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Archived Staff Picks - December 2015

Circling the Sun
By Paula McLain
Recommended by Marilyn

I was excited to read this book as I am drawn to stories that take place in Africa, I was especially

keen to read this book as it takes place in Kenya as I have been there. I could picture the scenery as described by Paula so I did enjoy this book for that reason.

Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman--Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa.

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature's delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it's the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl's truest self and her fate: to fly.

Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLain's powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit. (Amazon review)

This title is available in Regular Print, Book on CD, Downloadable eBook and AudioBook formats.

By: Michael Crummey
Recommended by Robert

Reading a novel set in Newfoundland often gives one the opportunity to immerse oneself in a very foreign part of Canada. Michael Crummey's Sweetland certainly gives you this opportunity.  Sweetland actually has two meanings: it is both a remote island off the coast of Newfoundland and it is also the name of the principal character whose ancestors colonized the island. Both the island and Moses Sweetland have seen better days. Faced by the loss of the fishing industry, each inhabitant has been offered a large sum to leave the island. The catch is that everyone has to depart before any money is delivered. One by one, each resident accepts the offer. Only Moses, a former fisherman and lighthouse keeper, refuses to leave.  Moses is a strong willed and crafty individual who resists the offer and threats by those eager to take the money and run. A lifelong bachelor, Moses tries to hold one to those closest to him. This includes an autistic grandnephew whose closest friend is Moses's long departed brother. When everyone but Moses eventually leaves the island, he must hide and try to survive with only his memories. His connection to the land called Sweetland will not be severed.

Sweetland is the story of a man who loves his island and its inhabitants dearly. When this part of Newfoundland is shorn of its human element, Moses asserts his right to end his life on the island. The reader will be captivated by a man of the 20th century (he does enjoy playing online poker on his computer) who becomes a latter day Robinson Crusoe in the place of his birth. We sense that his story can end in only one manner. Nevertheless, Moses Sweetland is  unforgettable as a representative of a way of life that will never return.  Recommended to those who enjoy literary novels with a strong sense of place and atmosphere.

This title is available in Regular Print, Book on CD, Downloadable eBook and AudioBook formats.

A Beam of Light (Inspector Montalbano:19)
By:  Andrea Camilleri
Recommended by Pauline

When Inspector Montalbano falls under the charms of beautiful gallery owner Marian, his longtime relationship with Livia comes under threat.

Meanwhile, he is also troubled by a strange dream as three crimes demand his attention: the assault and robbery of a wealthy merchant's young wife, shady art deals, and a search for arms traffickers that leads him deep into the countryside, where the investigation takes a tragic turn.

This title is available in Regular Fiction, Book on CD, Downloadable eBook and AudioBook formats.

I've Got Your Number

By: Sophie Kinsella

Recommended by Krista

What do you do when you lose your fiancé's family heirloom engagement ring at a pre-wedding party and then your phone is stolen?  Come clean and tell your fiancé or grab a discarded cell phone from the trash and beg to borrow just until your ring is found.  You choose the latter, of course! That's how we are introduced to the quirky and insecure heroine, Poppy Wyatt.  The phone belongs to successful businessman Sam Roxton's now disappeared personal assistant and Poppy has somehow convinced Sam to let her keep the phone if she agrees to forward all messages.  The antics and sparks fly when she decides she might just answer a few of them plunging herself into Sam's life and him into hers.


This book is a fun standalone novel from Kinsella that shows how connected people can become to their technology and how misunderstandings can easily happen.  I thought the addition of technology provided a fresh perspective and I found the book both entertaining and funny.


This title is available in Regular Print, Large Print, Book on CD and Downloadable eBook formats.

San Andreas 
DVD (2015)
Recommended by Kathy

But the action is bracing, Johnson's performance is solid and, within its extremely narrow parameters, entirely convincing,and Gugino and Daddario are both gritty and attractive.  Glenn Kenny


After the infamous San Andreas Fault gives, triggering a magnitude 9-plus earthquake in California, a search and rescue helicopter pilot (Dwayne Johnson) and his estranged wife (Carla Gugino) make their way together from Los Angeles to San Francisco to save their only daughter.

But their treacherous journey north is only the beginning.  And when they think the worst may be's just getting started.

Review taken from

This title is available in DVD format.

The Library of Unrequited Love 

By: Sophie Divry
Recommended by Rachel


One morning a librarians routine is disrupted by a patron who has been locked in her quiet basement geography section overnight. She quickly begins a conversation with the patron by berating them for allowing themselves to get locked in and it quickly snow balls from there. As the librarian vents about fellow staff, patrons, the Dewey Decimal system and the general quirkiness that is the public library she reveals how alone she is and her quiet love for a researcher named Martin. While bouncing between her clear passion for reading and her theory that at night books plot to take the library over from the readers the author sends the message " What would be the point" of a library "if nobody came along to disturb it?" 


The Library of unrequited love is a short novel written as a soliloquy. It is fast paced read that gives you a small peak at one view behind the scenes of a public library.


This title is available in Regular Print format.

Tricky Twenty-Two
By Janet Evanovich
Recommended by Kim

Something big is brewing in Trenton, N.J., and it could blow at any minute.

Stephanie Plum might not be the world's greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she's being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles h Something big is brewing in Trenton, N.J., and it could blow at any minute.

Stephanie Plum might not be the world's greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she's being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren't adding up, and Stephanie can't shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college - and it's not just Zeta fraternity pranks.

As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard it's good riddance, and the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about finding Linken's killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve.

I always enjoy Janet Evanovich's books.
This title is available in Regular Print, Large Print and Book on CD.

Review from


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