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Archived Staff Picks - November 2016


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Archived Staff Picks - November 2016

A man called Ove
by Fredrik Backman , Henning Koch  (Translator)
Recommended by Pauline

 A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.

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

The Family Plot 
By:  Cherie Priest
Recommended by Rachel

Music City Salvage is a family operation, owned and operated by Chuck Dutton: master stripper of doomed historic properties, and expert seller of all things old and crusty. But business is lean and times are tight, so he's thrilled when the aged and esteemed Augusta Withrow appears in his office, bearing an offer he really ought to refuse. She has a massive family estate to unload―lock, stock, and barrel. For a check and a handshake, it's all his.

It's a big check. It's a firm handshake. And it's enough of a gold mine that he assigns his daughter Dahlia to personally oversee the project.

Dahlia preps a couple of trucks, takes a small crew, and they caravan down to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the ancient Withrow house is waiting―and so is a barn, a carriage house, and a small, overgrown cemetery that Augusta Withrow left out of the paperwork.

Augusta Withrow left out a lot of things.

The property is in unusually great shape for a condemned building. It's empty, but it isn't abandoned. Something in the Withrow mansion is angry and lost. This is its last chance to raise hell before the house is gone forever, and there's still plenty of room in the strange little family plot...

This title is available in Regular Print format.
Review from

Lullabies for Little Criminals
by Heather O'Neill
Recommended by Suzanne

This book is not for the faint hearted! It is a gut wrenching story of Baby (yes, that is her given name) born to teenage parents, raised by her heroin addicted father and moved from one desolate apartment to another. The father - daughter relationship is really more like that of two messed up children trying to look out for each other. There are warm moments within this version of a childhood that is her normal but on the whole we are observing a child with next to no parenting literally living on her wits.

The book is set in Montreal but it is as far away from the cobbled streets of Old Montreal or the luxury shopping of Rene Levesque as you can imagine. This is the gritty reality of lower Saint Laurent filled with junkies, prostitutes and gangs. As Baby turns thirteen she catches the eye of a local pimp and her life goes from bad to worse. She oscillates from innocent child to hardened street character and your heart will break for her.

This is a story beautifully told but be prepared to shrink back aghast at what Baby endures. Yet endure she does. A tribute to her resilience and the fact that she can somehow, despite everything, maintain some childhood innocence and optimism.

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

Frog Music
by Emma Donoghue
Recommended by Robert

Readers in the Quinte area should be hearing quite a bit about Irish-Canadian writer Emma Donoghue soon.  Having won the Man Booker prize in 2010 for "Room", Ms. Donoghue's "The Wonder" has been chosen by Quinte area's librarians as the 2016 Tri-County read winner. (I know it's not the Booker but we thinks it's important) However, my interest in historical fiction has led me to another one of her works, the literary thriller. "Frog Music".  Set in the stifling heat of San Francisco during a smallpox epidemic I of 1876, "Frog Music" tells the story of the real life murder of Jenny Bonnet, a mysterious cross-dressing frog catcher for local restaurants. We are first introduced to Blanche, a former French circus star whose life has fallen down to dance hall performing and being pimped out by her French over Arthur. Blanche is literally run over by a bicycle ridden by Jenny.  An unexpected friendship develops between these two women. Jenny goads Blanche into retrieving Blanche's one year old child  P'tit who has been left at a hovel -like boarding house for unwanted children by her lover Arthur.  When Arthur and his cohort Ernest discover this, bedlam occurs and Blanche and Jenny flee to the countryside. While holed up in a room, Jenny is felled by a shotgun blast. A devastated Blanche is convinced that Arthur and Ernest, disturbed by Jenny's new found independence, are to blame.  Nevertheless, we soon learn that things are not that simple and that, as she learns more about Jenny's background, a number of individuals may have wanted her dead. Will Blanche learn the identity of Blanche's killer and will she be able to find the child that she has now learned to love?

When we think of late 19th century San Francisco, we tend to think of gold-enriched prospectors, dandies and dance hall girls.  In "Frog Music", we are introduced to the seedier elements, including the Sino phobic takedown of Chinese businesses, the presence of disease, the existence of death homes for unwanted children and young women forced into lives of despair and depredation. The author has done a superb job of recreating San Francisco of this era and even injects well researched song lyrics.( And by the way; no one was ever convicted for the murder of Jenny Bonnet.) Nevertheless, the end result is an excellent read.

This title is available in Regular Print, Large Print, Audiobook, Downloadable Audiobook and EBook formats.

My Fight / Your Fight   
By Rhonda Rousey
Recommended by Emily

"The fight is yours to win."

In this inspiring and moving book, Ronda Rousey, the Olympic medalist in judo, reigning UFC women's bantamweight champion, and Hollywood star charts her difficult path to glory.

Marked by her signature charm, barbed wit, and undeniable power, Rousey's account of the toughest fights of her life--in and outside the Octagon--reveals the painful loss of her father when she was eight years old, the intensity of her judo training, her battles with love, her meteoric rise to fame, the secret behind her undefeated UFC record, and what it takes to become the toughest woman on Earth. Rousey shares hard-won lessons on how to be the best at what you do, including how to find fulfillment in the sacrifices, how to turn limitations into opportunities, and how to be the best on your worst day.

Packed with raw emotion, drama, and wisdom, this is an unforgettable book by one of the most remarkable women in the world.

This title is available in Regular Print format.

The Race---DVD
Recommended by Kathy

Based on the incredible true story of Jesse Owens (Stephan James ), the legendary athletic superstar whose quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler's vision of Aryan supremacy. "Race" is an enthralling film about courage, determination, tolerance, and friendship, and an inspiring drama about one man's fight to become an Olympic legend.

Also starring Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons, William Hurt and Carice van Houten

This title is available in DVD format.
Excerpt taken from


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