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Archive Staff Picks April 2013


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Archived   Staff Picks - April 2013

The   Light Between Oceans
By: M.L. Stedman
Recommended by Rosemary

The   Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman was a recommendation from a dear,   sentimental friend who knows perfectly well that I don't care for sentimental   books. But it was historical, set in Australia at the end of World War I, and   for that reason, held some promise.
Tom Sherbourne is traumatized after surviving four years on the Western   Front. He returns to Australia and takes a position with the Lighthouse   Service, drawn to the meticulous nature of the work, and its isolation. His   post is on Janus Rock, a fictional square mile of green that "dangled   off the edge of the cloth like a loose button that might easily plummet to   Antarctica." It is a tough lonely post but Tom is content. The closest   community is Point Partaguese, half a day's journey by the supply boat that   comes once a season. There Tom meets and marries Isabel, a lively and bold   young woman unafraid of the challenges of living an isolated life.
The lonely life on Janus may be just the ticket for Tom and his demons, but   it turns out to be less comforting for Isabel, who after two miscarriages and   a stillbirth is experiencing her own trauma. One day, they discover on the   tiny beach, a boat with two passengers, one an infant girl, the other a dead   man. For Isabel, this is "a gift from God" but for Tom it marks the   unravelling of a carefully constructed life. He wants desperately to report   the discovery but Isabel has taken the baby as her own. The consequences of   their actions will reverberate for years to come.
This is a breathtaking and heartbreaking book, beautifully written, that   challenges our very sense of what is right and just. The reader is swept up   in the story of these two compelling characters and makes us think hard about   the moral choices presented.
I will confess to shedding quite a few tears at the end of this story, not   something I do often. A heartbreaking and transcendent novel, highly   recommended.

This   title is available in Book format.

The   Uninvited
By: Tim Wynne-Jones
Recommended by Rachel

Mimi   Shapiro had a disturbing freshman year at NYU, thanks to a foolish affair   with a professor who still haunts her caller ID. So when her artist father,   Marc, offers the use of his remote Canadian cottage, she's glad to hop in her   Mini Cooper and drive up north. The house is fairy-tale quaint, and the key   is hidden right where he dad said it would be, so she's shocked to find   someone already living there -- Jay, a young musician, who is equally   startled to meet Mimi and immediately accuses her of leaving strange and   threatening tokens inside: a dead bird, a snakeskin, a cricket sound track   embedded in his latest composition. But Mimi has just arrived, so who is   responsible? And more alarmingly, what does the intruder want? Part gripping   thriller, part family drama, this fast-paced novel plays out in alternating   viewpoints, in a pastoral setting that is evocative and eerie -- a mysterious   character in its own right.
I have to admit that this is the first memorable Canadian author that I have   read in a long time! I loved the descriptions of the scenery and the realism   of the characters. Best of all I wasn't able to predict the plot twists so I   really enjoyed seeing how it played out.
This title is available in Young Adult Fiction and downloadable Audiobook formats.   
This review is from our website.

The   Pillars of Hercules
By: Paul Theroux
Recommended by Robert

You   may have noticed it on occasion, but this reviewer does not restrict his   reading choices to new releases. While perusing my branch's travel section, I   picked up Paul Theroux's "The Pillars of Hercules: a Grand Tour of   the Mediterranean". The result of Theroux's decision to   travel along the coastline of this sea is a book which chronicles his   adventures as he negotiates his way among the peoples that inhabit these   ancient lands. The author begins his journey at one of the   "pillars", the Isle of Gibraltar. He set off from this vestige of   the British Empire with its old world ways and its protected apes to cruise   along the Spanish and French Rivieras, abhorring tourists and "tourist   places" alike. On numerous occasions, he travels inland, searching for   those towns and villages that capture the spirit of that region. He does not   stray too far from the coast: he realizes that the sea has little effect on the   daily life of those who live inland. Theroux travels by foot, train, bus and   even cruise ship to the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and the coast of   Italy, painting a vivid portrait of the peoples he meets along the way.
Since he is travelling in 1995, the author sees the aftermath of war in the   Balkans and has to evade areas that continue to be dangerous. He visits   ancient sites on the coast of Turkey and senses the simmering animosity which   continues to exist between Greeks and Turks on the isle of Cyprus. Theroux   negotiates his way in the Middle East, gaining insight on the plight of   Egyptians, Palestinians, Syrians and Israelis. Avoiding very dangerous   Algeria, Theroux cruises to Tunisia and ends his trip at the second pillar,   Tangiers. The author makes a point of visiting areas associated with other   travelers such as Homer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Evelyn Waugh,   Carlo Levi and Lawrence Durrell. He also visits with Nobel laureate Naguib   Mahfouz, recovering from an assassination attempt in Cairo and an aged Paul   Bowles in Tangier.
The Pillars of Hercules is more than a sightseeing guide. Paul Theroux   makes a point of visiting out of season and using a variety of means of   transportation to meet as many interesting people as he can. His travelling   companions are sometimes as interesting as the attractions they view. When   one reads an eighteen year old travel book, one gets a picture of what the   Mediterranean areas were going through at that point of history. If you are   interested in learning about the "people" element in world travel,   you will enjoy this book.

This   title is available in Book and Downloadable Ebook formats.

The   Lost Garden
By: Helen Humphreys
Recommended by Yvonne

Written by Canadian poet and author: Helen Humphreys, The Lost Garden   introduces us to Gwen Davis, an introverted horticulturist who leaves London   during the Blitz in 1941 to volunteer as a Women's Land Army supervisor.   While in charge of the Land Girls, growing food (potatoes) for the war   effort; it becomes obvious that Gwen is not a typical heroine nor is this   story about growing potatoes. The story is told in layers flush with   botanical information with themes including longing, loss and love growing   and taking root among the friendships that develop between Gwen, the Land   Girls and nearby Canadian men waiting to be deployed.
Awkward and lonely Gwen reveals all as her story unfolds after her discovery   of companionships with Jane (Land Girl) as well as Captain Raley: but   unremittingly reverts to the comfort of her solitary self-reliance. Some   mysteries develop around characters' pasts, stolen chickens but mostly, Gwen   is trying to learn the secrets hidden in the lost garden. With a leisure pace   the author reveals a poetic but universal tale of love's pursuit, enduring   loss and passionate longing. Extensive descriptions of horticulture, plants   and gardening are weaved throughout the novel, adding a feast for the senses   that allows us, the reader to understand and sympathize with un-heroic Gwen   and her fellow heart-breaking characters.
Not a book to read if you are looking for edge-of-your-seat excitement,   however it is beautifully written, wonderfully descriptive, unexpected story   of love, loss and longing. Fans of historical fiction will be surprised by   the extensive amount of savoury detail Humphrey's is able to give for us, in   what is considered a short historical fiction novel. I suggest you read this   book slowly, let it pull you back in time, behind the yews and into the   hidden garden.

This title is available Book and Downloadable EBook formats.

Written and directed by Nicholas Jarecki
Recommended by Kathy

Gere's   performance in Arbitrage is too good to ignore. Peter Travers - Rolling   Stone.

Arbitrage,   starring Richard Gere (Robert Miller) and Susan Sarandon (Ellen Miller) was   written and directed by Nicholas Jarecki. Gere portrays a hedge fund manager   who is praying that the sale of his company is accomplished before his bad   investment in a mine is discovered by the potential buyers. Complicating his   life and business is a soon-to-be-deceased mistress, an unusual accomplice, a   daughter who serves as his company's Chief Accounting Officer, and a wife who   resorts to blackmail. Posing further difficulties for Miller is NYPD   detective (Tim Roth) who is investigating the death of Miller's mistress,   Julie and who senses there is more to Miller than meets the eye.
Will Miller manage to finagle his way out of his predicament? Watch this   thriller and find out!!

This   title is available in DVD format.

By: Marie Lu
Recommended by Pauline

What   was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation   perpetually at war with its neighbours. Born into an elite family in one of   the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being   groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the   slums, fifteen-year-old
  Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as   malicious as they seem. From very different worlds, June and Day have no   reason to cross paths -- until the day June's brother, Metias is murdered and   Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse,   Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge   Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth   of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their   country will go to keep its secrets. Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance,   this NY Times Bestseller post-apocalyptic novel for teens and older is sure   to move readers as much as it thrills.
  Watch for the sequel, Prodigy (Legend 2)

This   title is available in Young Adult Fiction and Downloadable Audiobook formats.


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