Check It Out Category: Staff Picks

Staff Pick: Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Donna from Fiction/AV/Teen suggests Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Life leads you down strange and winding roads as you begin your adventures into adulthood. In Sourdough by Robin Sloan, Lois Clary is on just such a journey, open to the unknown as she ambles purposefully from the Midwest to San Francisco. Initially she heads to the Bay Area to take a job as a computer programmer at a startup company that makes robotic arms to perform delicate repetitive motions such as cracking eggs. Undeterred by a culture that forgoes food for semi-liquid nutrient supplement packets called “Slurry”, Lois embraces the high tech way of life. But when she finds herself craving a rich, flavorful meal that doesn’t come in a pouch, she begins a relationship with an ancient culture, an enigmatic duo of brothers and a bread recipe that takes on a life of its own.



For other offbeat adventures in the realm of culinary arts or the computer tech scene, try these…

by Doree Shafrir
Mack McAllister has a $600 million dollar idea, but before the ink on Mack’s latest round of funding is dry, an errant text message helps his startup company go viral for all the wrong reasons.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
by Aimee Bender
On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the slice.


Where’d You Go, Bernadette
by Maria Semple
Bernadette Fox is notorious: a fearlessly opinionated partner , a revolutionary architect, a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears…
The Lemon Jell-O Syndrome
by Man Martin
Bone King has no physical impairment, but at times his brain and muscles simply can’t recall how to walk him through doors and is not sure why, until renowned neurologist Arthur Limongello offers a diagnosis as peculiar as the ailment…
Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore
by Robin Sloan
After a few days on the job, Clay Jannon discovers that Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest.

Nancy’s Pick: The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman

Nancy Staff Pick photoIn The View from Penthouse B, recently widowed Gwen-Laura moves in with her sister, recently divorced Margot. They take in a newly unemployed young gay man to help with the rent, and it’s fun to see the roommates support each another as they navigate New York City following their personal setbacks. Elinor Lipman’s novel is a charming, light read brimming with optimism, even as it explores themes of grief, forgiveness, and financial challenges.

Andrea’s Pick: City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

Andrea's staff pick photoNahri knows better than anyone that there’s no such thing as magic. She uses sleight-of-hand and misdirection, not real magic, to con her customers.

What Nahri knows, however, is called into question when she accidentally summons an ancient djinn warrior. The djinn tells her of Daevabad, the legendary city of brass that holds the key to Nahri’s past. City of Brass will sweep you away with Nahri and her djinn companion, across scorching deserts and dangerous mountains, to the mystical city and the secrets within its walls.

Cathleen’s Pick: Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn

Cathleen staff picks photoIt’s a hard fall from corporate mogul to sanitorium resident, but Henry Dunbar brought this on himself. In a play for adoration, he gave up control of his company, and now those he rewarded have left him with nothing. Both clever re-imagining of King Lear and contemporary morality tale, Edward St. Aubyn’s Dunbar exposes the heart of a once-heartless man.

Staff Pick: Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

Patty from Administration suggests Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova:

Inside the OBriens book coverAre you looking for an easy read that you won’t be able to put down? My recommendation for you is Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova.

It’s a beautifully written story about what it is like to be diagnosed with a fatal degenerative disease: how you react, how you move forward, how the medical costs are crippling, and how the disease impacts everyone around you. It’s an emotional read that takes you from despair to hope and humor as you consider your own immortality.

Joe O’Brien, our main character, is a Boston Police Officer: he’s funny and he’s “real”! His view of a cop’s world in the years since the Boston Marathon bombing is enlightening to the struggles of all of those who serve. You’ll also see the internal turmoil of Joe’s friends, his wife, and his four adult children, all of whom may face the same fate as their father.

Hollywood is going to be releasing the movie of this beautiful story later this year, but I strongly encourage you to read the book first! You will cry, but you’ll laugh too, and gain a true understanding of Huntington’s Disease and others illnesses like it.

For more heartfelt, thoughtful stories of characters confronting life-altering challenges…

Partial History of Lost Causes book coverA Partial History of Lost Causes
by Jennifer DuBois
When her father succumbs to Huntington’s disease, Irina discovers a letter he wrote to an internationally renowned chess champion and political dissident, whom she decides to visit in Russia.
Sweetest Hallelujah book coverThe Sweetest Hallelujah
by Elaine Hussey
In 1955 Betty Jewel is dying of cancer and struggling to find someone to care for her daughter. With no other solution available, she takes out a want ad seeking a loving mother to take her place when she’s gone.


Mimi Malloy at Last book coverMimi Malloy, At Last!
by Julia MacDonnell
When Mimi’s MRI reveals her brain is filled with black spots, the prospect of living out her days in an “Old Timer’s facility” starts to look like more than just an idea at the top of her eldest daughter’s to-do list.
Did You Ever Have a Family book coverDid You Ever Have a Family
by Bill Clegg
In a devastatingly beautiful debut, survivor June struggles to accept unthinkable loss, and the entire community reels from the threads that extend both before and after the tragedy.
My Sisters Keeper book coverMy Sister’s Keeper
by Jodi Picoult
Conceived to provide bone marrow for her leukemia-stricken sister, teenage Anna begins to question her moral obligations and decides to fight for the right to make decisions about her own body.



Donna C’s Pick: The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues by Edward Kelsey Moore

Edward Kelsey Moore’sPicture of Donna C. new book, The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues, picks up with the Supremes still persevering through the reappearance of an absent father, the scars of infidelity, and an unexpected wedding, all while laughing and keeping each other (mostly) sane. The literal and figurative ghosts of the past stay with these best friends as they meet every Sunday in Earl’s cozy diner.

Evan’s Pick: Brick

Picture of EvanIn the film Brick, you follow Brendan, a high school loner turned hard-boiled detective, who ends up a bit over his head investigating the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend. The byzantine social structures and confusing slang of high school meld perfectly with the tropes of classic film noir in this smart, witty, and twisty genre mash-up. It’s also the first feature film written and directed by Rian Johnson, who helmed the recent Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Donna S’s Pick: Midsomer Murders

Picture of DonnaMidsomer Murders, a British series available on DVD, started in 1997 and is still running now in 2017. It is based on Caroline Graham’s Inspector Barnaby mysteries.. The settings are contemporary and quaint villages in the English countryside. Each episode has several murders, interesting characters and keeps you guessing who is the villain is till near the end.