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Archived Staff Picks - Sept 2016


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Archived Staff Picks - September 2016

Before the Fall
by Noah Hawley
Recommended by Marilyn

In the latest by TV writer and novelist Hawley (The Good Father, 2012, etc.), a struggling artist becomes a hero twice--first by saving a young boy's life, then by outsmarting the anchor of a Fox-like conservative TV network.

A small charter plane mysteriously crashes into the water off Martha's Vineyard, leaving only two survivors: the painter Scott Burroughs and JJ, the young son of the network owner who chartered the flight. In a well-turned rescue sequence, Scott braves the waves and sharks and makes dry land with JJ on his back. From there, the book is part whodunit and part study of Scott's survivor's guilt. Flashbacks trace the back story of each doomed passenger: network head David Bateman and his wife, Maggie, who may have had a thing for Scott; financier Ben Kipling, about to be tried for laundering terrorist money; flight attendant Emma Lightner, who recently jilted co-pilot Charlie Busch. While the rescue team works to figure out who crashed the plane, Scott struggles to get his bearings--no small feat when wealthy socialite Layla Mueller is trying hard to get him into bed and when O'Reilly-like anchorman Bill Cunningham is harassing him for an interview.

Like the successful screenwriter that he is, Hawley piles on enough intrigues and plot complications to keep you hooked even if you can spot most of them a sea mile away.

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

Hello, My Name is Doris   (DVD)
Recommended by Kathy

A sharp dramedy focusing on the romantic stirrings of a lonely office worker, played with considerable wit and verve by the 69-year-old Sally Field.  Barry Hertz--The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

When Doris Miller (Sally Field) meets John Fremont (Max Greenfield), her company's hip new art director, sparks fly--at least for Doris. Her first encounter with true romance (outside of the pages of a novel) convinces Doris that she and the mostly unaware John are meant for each other. In the cluttered house she shared with her late mother, Doris mines the Internet for information on her one-and-only, guided by the 13-year-old granddaughter of her best pal Roz (Tyne Daly). When Doris begins showing up at John's regular haunts, she wins over his Williamsburg friends with her eclectic vintage wardrobe, quirky naiveté and unironic enthusiasm for their rooftop knitting circle. Her new life brings Doris a thrilling perspective, but also creates a rift between her and her longtime friends and family, who believe she's making a fool of herself over a guy half her age. Eager for all the experiences she has missed out on, Doris throws caution to the wind and follows her heart for the very first time.

This title is available in DVD format.

They Left Us Everything
By:  Plum Johnson
Recommended by Kim

2016 OLA Evergreen Award Nominee

After almost twenty years of caring for elderly parents--first for their senile father, and then for their cantankerous ninety-three-year-old mother--author Plum Johnson and her three younger brothers experience conflicted feelings of grief and relief when their mother, the surviving parent, dies. 

Now they must empty and sell the beloved family home, which hasn't been de-cluttered in more than half a century. Twenty-three rooms bulge with history, antiques, and oxygen tanks. Plum remembers her loving but difficult parents who could not have been more different: the British father, a handsome, disciplined patriarch who nonetheless could not control his opinionated, extroverted Southern-belle wife who loved tennis and gin gimlets. The task consumes her, becoming more rewarding than she ever imagined. 

Items from childhood trigger memories of her eccentric family growing up in a small town on the shores of Lake Ontario in the 1950's and 60's. But unearthing new facts about her parents helps her reconcile those relationships with a more accepting perspective about who they were and what they valued.

They Left Us Everything is a funny, touching memoir about the importance of preserving family history to make sense of the past and nurturing family bonds to safeguard the future.

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

Review from

By: Tracey Lindberg
Recommended by Pauline  

Monkey Beach meets Green Grass, Running Water meets The Beachcombers in this wise and funny novel by a debut Cree author.

Birdie is a darkly comic and moving first novel about the universal experience of recovering from wounds of the past, informed by the lore and knowledge of Cree traditions. Bernice Meetoos, a Cree woman, leaves her home in Northern Alberta following tragedy and travels to Gibsons, BC.
A wise and funny novel by a debut Cree author, Birdie is a darkly comic and moving first novel about the universal experience of recovering from wounds of the past, informed by the lore and knowledge of Cree traditions.

Bernice Meetoos, a Cree woman, leaves her home in Northern Alberta following tragedy and travels to Gibsons, BC. She is on something of a vision quest, seeking to understand the messages from The Frugal Gourmet (one of the only television shows available on CBC North) that come to her in her dreams. She is also driven by the leftover teenaged desire to meet Pat Johns, who played Jesse on The Beachcombers, because he is, as she says, a working, healthy Indian man. Bernice heads for Molly's Reach to find answers but they are not the ones she expected.

With the arrival in Gibsons of her Auntie Val and her cousin Skinny Freda, Bernice finds the strength to face the past and draw the lessons from her dreams that she was never fully taught in life. Part road trip, dream quest and travelogue, the novel touches on the universality of women's experience, regardless of culture or race.

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

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two
(Special Rehearsal Edition Script)
By:  J.K. Rowling
Recommended by Rachel

Set many years after where the last book leaves off, Harry and Ginny are sending off their youngest son Albus to Hogwarts. The book focuses on Albus and his adventures and struggles of being "The Chosen One's" son. From finding the right friends the second you arrive on the Hogwarts Express to choosing the right house Albus seems to do nothing the way his father did.

It's fast paced spanning over a few years and you will be instantly transported into the magic you've come to expect from a J. K Rowling book. It is definitely different from other Potter stories but never fear it's still a great read.

Although it is a script it does still read like a book so Potter fans who are reluctant to try it will still enjoy the read. (Trust me I wanted to hate it but I Loved it)

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

Mr. Hockey
By: Gordie Howe
Recommended by Robert

Having received this book as a Christmas present a couple of years ago, I finally decided to sit down and read this autobiography of hockey legend Gordie Howe. I certainly did not anticipate Gordie's passing earlier this year. In his introduction, this legend who actually played professional hockey with his sons saw himself as a family man first, then a hockey player. This becomes quite evident as Gordie speaks of his early years in Saskatoon during the Depression, his relationship with a stern Minnesota-born father and a strong German-born mother, and his love for a game played on Prairie ponds. During World War II Gordie's talents were recognized by a New York Ranger scout who sent him to a training camp at the tender age of 15.  Next year, Gordie found himself at Detroit's training camp and soon he was sent to their farm team in Galt, Ontario. While playing there, Gordie avoided school and became a welder on the production of Mosquito bombers. His talented toughness soon attracted the attention of Red Wind brass and his incredible NHL career began.

Gordie speaks of the comradery with other Red Wing players but also of the loneliness affecting a young Prairie boy in a large American city. This was not today's NHL; the dictatorial Jack Adams kept close tabs on these poorly paid youngsters. This alienation was solved when he met and later married Colleen Joffa, his life partner until her sad death in 2009.  This relationship resulted in four kids, two of which, Mark and Marty went on to play professional hockey. While Gordie speaks of his strong relationships with other Red Wings and players from other teams, it becomes clear that his closest ties were to his family. His amazing longevity as a tough and prolific scorer (don't forget the Gordie Howe hat trick- one goal, one assist and one fight) made him Mr. Hockey for all fans. Gordie's exceptional skills gave him the opportunity to play professional hockey with his two sons, Mark and Marty. Gordie speaks of his great affection for his wife Colleen who also acted as his agent and business partner. Her gradual deterioration from the effects of Pick's disease had a profound effect on Gordie's later years.

When reading this book, you get the real feeling that Gordie is speaking directly to you. One senses what life was like in Depression era Saskatoon and as an original six hockey player in the post war years. Gordie comes across as a decent, generous and honest man. On a personal note, I had the opportunity to watch Gordie Howe play twice against 60's era Montreal Canadiens. It was a special experience to watch Rogatien Vachon make his first NHL save, a breakaway of Gordie Howe. The hush in the old Forum was dramatic as most Habs fans feared the inevitable. All hockey followers had an intense respect for one of hockey's greatest. Gordie's book brings back those great memories. Recommended for all hockey fans and those who long for that simpler world of hockey.

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


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