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Archived Staff Picks - April 2020


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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
By:  Gabrielle Zevin
Recommended by Pauline

As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.
We are not quite novels.
We are not quite short stories.
In the end, we are collected works.
A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.
And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn't see coming.

This title is available in Regular Print and Downloadable Ebook formats.


The Wife and the Widow
By:  Christian White
Recommended by Kim

The second standalone thriller from the award-winning author of The Nowhere Child.
Set against the backdrop of an eerie island town in the dead of winter, The Wife and The Widow is an unsettling thriller told from two perspectives:  Kate, a widow whose grief is compounded by what she learns about her dead husband’s secret life: and Abby, an island local whose world is turned upside down when she’s forced to confront the evidence of her husband’s guilt.  But nothing on this island is quite as it seems, and only when these women come together can they discover the whole story about the men in their lives.  Brilliant and beguiling, The Wife and The Widow takes you to a cliff edge and asks the question:  how well do we really know the people we love?
I chose this book from our bestsellers list because the write up intrigued me and let me tell you it did not disappoint, I was hooked from the first chapter.

This title is available in Regular Print Format.
Review from


The Agony of Bun O'Keefe
By:  Heather Smith
Recommended by Rachel 

Newfoundland, 1986. Fourteen-year-old Bun O’Keefe has lived her life in an unsafe, unsanitary house. Her mother is a compulsive hoarder, and Bun has had little contact with the outside world. All Bun knows about life comes from the random books and old VHS tapes that she finds in the boxes and bags her mother has brought home. Bun and her mother rarely talk, so when her mother tells Bun to leave one day, she does. Hitchhiking out of town, Bun ends up on the streets of St. John’s, Newfoundland. Fortunately, she meets  Busker Boy, a street musician who senses her naivety and takes her in. Together they live in a boarding house with: Chef, a hotel dishwasher with culinary dreams; Cher, a drag queen with a tragic past; Big Eyes, a Catholic school girl; and The Landlord, a man who Bun is told to avoid at all cost. 

Touching and realistic, a great Canadian read! 

This title is available in Regular Print and Downloadable eBook formats.


The Other Mrs. Miller
By:  Allison Dickson
Recommended by Krista

I really enjoy psychological thrillers and this one did not disappoint. I love this genre because I love to try to peek under the surface and try to figure out what is happening.  Some are better than others and I thought this one was really good. This book had great twists and was a fast compelling read. It’s worth the read. Give it a try. 

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


A Better Man
By:  Louise Penny
Recommended by June

A Better Man is the last book released by Louise Penny in the Inspector Gamache series.  If you have not read previous books in this series, do not let that deter you from joining in now.  I, myself, joined just 2 books ago to read Glass Houses, which I didn’t love, finding the plot too convoluted and preposterous for my taste.  Why would I persevere, you ask.  The characters!  Even with joining the series late in the game, it took no time at all to get to know and become attached to this cast of most endearing characters!  Despite the fact that I found the plot of Glass Houses untenable, I appreciated Louise Penny’s ability to tell a story and so picked up the next book in the series, Kingdom of the Blind.  The plot seemed to be a little more plausible, and the author was able to bring all of the threads together to weave a workable and satisfying ending.  So here I am reading her latest book in the series, A Better Man, and enjoying it immensely.  The characters and their interpersonal relationships are as engaging as ever.  The setting of Three Pines is again presented so well, you feel as though you’ve been there and perhaps you would like to move there!  The plot is intriguing and extremely well-paced.  I am not hurrying to finish this book, but rather savouring it (and it is taking a lot of will-power to put this book down at times!), as the next book in this series is not due to be published until the Fall.

This title is available in Regular Print, Large Print, Sound Recording, Downloadable eBook and Audiobook formats.


American Dirt
By:  Jeanine Cummins
Recommended by Marilyn

También de este lado hay sueños. On this side, too, there are dreams.
Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.
Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.
Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to? 

This title is available in Regular Print, Downloadable eBook and Audiobook formats.
Review is from


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