Allison's Recommendations


Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Area X has claimed the lives of members of eleven expeditions. The twelfth expedition consisting of four women hopes to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.


How not to kill your houseplant : survival tips for the horticulturally challenged by Veronica Peerless

Do you have a "black thumb? Does just looking at plants cause them to wither and die? Peerless offers advice on keeping houseplants alive, even if you're horticulturally challenged. She shows you how to create an oasis of happy flourishing houseplants, and even give suggestions for different areas of your house.


The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Forging a powerful bond in the mid-1970s that lasts throughout subsequent decades, six individuals pursue challenges into their midlife years, including an aspiring actress who harbors jealousy toward friends who achieve successful creative careers.


Mad enchantment : Claude Monet and the painting of the water lilies by Ross King

Claude Monet is perhaps the world's most beloved artist, and among all his creations, the paintings of the water lilies in his garden at Giverny are most famous. Seeing them in museums around the world, viewers are transported by the power of Monet's brush into a peaceful world of harmonious nature. Monet himself intended them to provide "an asylum of peaceful meditation." Yet, as Ross King reveals in his magisterial chronicle of both artist and masterpiece, these beautiful canvases belie the intense frustration Monet experienced at the difficulties of capturing the fugitive effects of light, water, and color. They also reflect the terrible personal torments Monet suffered in the last dozen years of his life. Mad Enchantment tells the full story behind the creation of the Water Lilies, as the horrors of World War I came ever closer to Paris and Giverny, and a new generation of younger artists, led by Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, were challenging the achievements of Impressionism. By early 1914, French newspapers were reporting that Monet, by then 73 and one of the world's wealthiest, most celebrated painters, had retired his brushes. He had lost his beloved wife, Alice, and his eldest son, Jean. His famously acute vision--what Paul Cezanne called "the most prodigious eye in the history of painting"--was threatened by cataracts. And yet, despite ill health, self-doubt, and advancing age, Monet began painting again on a more ambitious scale than ever before. Linking great artistic achievement to the personal and historical dramas unfolding around it, Ross King presents the most intimate and revealing portrait of an iconic figure in world culture--from his lavish lifestyle and tempestuous personality to his close friendship with the fiery war leader Georges Clemenceau, who regarded the Water Lilies as one of the highest expressions of the human spirit.


A story lately told : coming of age in Ireland, London, and New York by Anjelica Huston

The actress and director shares the first half of her unconventional life, from her childhood in Ireland and her teen years in London to her coming of age as a model and budding actress in New York.


The strays by Emily Bitto

On her first day at a new school, Lily befriends one of the daughters of infamous avant-garde painter Evan Trentham. He and his wife are trying to escape the stifling conservatism of 1930s Australia by inviting other like-minded artists to live and work at their family home. Lily becomes infatuated with this wild, makeshift family and longs to truly be part of it. As the years pass, Lily observes the way the lives of these artists come to reflect the same themes as their art: Faustian bargains and spectacular falls from grace. Yet it's not Evan, but his daughters, who pay the price for his radicalism. An engrossing story of ambitions, sacrifice, and compromised loyalties. -- from Affirm Press.


Submarine by Joe Dunthorne

Oliver Tate, a precocious fourteen-year-old boy growing up in Swansea, Wales, is determined to accomplish all of his goals, from losing his virginity before his fifteenth birthday to uncovering the secrets his parents, neighbors, and girlfriend might be hiding.

Debby's Recommendations


None yet.

Hobbes' Recommendations


Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

No summary available.


The diamond age ; or, Young lady's illustrated primer by Neal Stephenson

No summary available.


House of leaves by Zampano

No summary available.


Beloved by Toni Morrison

No summary available.


The Sisters brothers by Patrick deWitt

When a frontier baron known as the Commodore orders Charlie and Eli Sisters, his hired gunslingers, to track down and kill a prospector named Herman Kermit Warm, the brothers journey from Oregon to San Francisco, and eventually to Warm's claim in the Sierra foothills, running into a witch, a bear, a dead Indian, a parlor of drunken floozies, and a gang of murderous fur trappers.


White tears by Hari Kunzru

Two ambitious young musicians are drawn into the dark underworld of blues-record collecting while navigating the fallout of a scam involving one's claim that a viral video of an unknown singer is a long-lost recording of a famous blues musician.


1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

An ode to George Orwell's "1984" told in alternating male and female voices relates the stories of Aomame, an assassin for a secret organization who discovers that she has been transported to an alternate reality, and Tengo, a mathematics lecturer and novice writer.


The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

An exquisitely talented young British author makes her American debut with this rapturously acclaimed historical novel, set in late nineteenth-century England, about an intellectually minded young widow, a pious vicar, and a rumored mythical serpent that explores questions about science and religion, skepticism, and faith, independence and love. When Cora Seaborne's brilliant, domineering husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness: her marriage was not a happy one. Wed at nineteen, this woman of exceptional intelligence and curiosity was ill-suited for the role of society wife. Seeking refuge in fresh air and open space in the wake of the funeral, Cora leaves London for a visit to coastal Essex, accompanied by her inquisitive and obsessive eleven-year old son, Francis, and the boy's nanny, Martha, her fiercely protective friend. While admiring the sites, Cora learns of an intriguing rumor that has arisen further up the estuary, of a fearsome creature said to roam the marshes claiming human lives. After nearly 300 years, the mythical Essex Serpent is said to have returned, taking the life of a young man on New Year's Eve. A keen amateur naturalist with no patience for religion or superstition, Cora is immediately enthralled, and certain that what the local people think is a magical sea beast may be a previously undiscovered species. Eager to investigate, she is introduced to local vicar William Ransome. Will, too, is suspicious of the rumors. But unlike Cora, this man of faith is convinced the rumors are caused by moral panic, a flight from true belief. These seeming opposites who agree on nothing soon find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart--an intense relationship that will change both of their lives in ways entirely unexpected. Hailed by Sarah Waters as "a work of great intelligence and charm, by a hugely talented author," The Essex Serpent is "irresistible. you can feel the influences of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, and Hilary Mantel channeled by Perry in some sort of Victorian seance. This is the best new novel I've read in years" (Daily Telegraph, London)"-- Provided by publisher.


The heavenly table by Donald Ray

It is 1917, in that sliver of border land that divides Georgia from Alabama. Dispossessed farmer Pearl Jewett ekes out a hardscrabble existence with his three young sons: Cane (the eldest; handsome; intelligent); Cob (short; heavy set; a bit slow); and Chimney (the youngest; thin; ill-tempered). Several hundred miles away in southern Ohio, a farmer by the name of Ellsworth Fiddler lives with his son, Eddie, and his wife, Eula. After Ellsworth is swindled out of his family's entire fortune, his life is put on a surprising, unforgettable, and violent trajectory that will directly lead him to cross paths with the Jewetts. No good can come of it. Or can it? In the gothic tradition of Flannery O'Connor and Cormac McCarthy with a healthy dose of cinematic violence reminiscent of Sam Peckinpah, Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers, the Jewetts and the Fiddlers will find their lives colliding in increasingly dark and horrific ways, placing Donald Ray Pollock firmly in the company of the genre's literary masters.-- Amazon.com


True grit by Charles Portis

No summary available.


The mercy of the tide by Keith Rosson

Riptide, Oregon, 1983. A sleepy coastal town, where crime usually consists of underage drinking down at a Wolf Point bonfire. But then strange things start happening--a human skeleton is unearthed in a local park and mutilated animals begin appearing, seemingly sacrificed, on the town's beaches. The Mercy of the Tide follows four people drawn irrevocably together by a recent tragedy as they do their best to reclaim their lives--leading them all to a discovery that will change them and their town forever. At the heart of the story are Sam Finster, a senior in high school mourning the death of his mother, and his sister Trina, a nine-year-old deaf girl who denies her grief by dreaming of a nuclear apocalypse as Cold War tensions rise. Meanwhile, Sheriff Dave Dobbs and Deputy Nick Hayslip must try to put their own sorrows aside to figure out who, or what, is wreaking havoc on their once-idyllic town.


The goldfinch by Donna Tartt

"The author of the classic bestsellers The Secret History and The Little Friend returns with a brilliant, highly anticipated new novel. A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend's family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld. Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America, and a drama of almost unbearable acuity and power. It is a story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the enormous power of art"-- Provided by publisher.


The secret history by Donna Tartt

Richard Papen, a talented but feckless undergraduate at a private liberal arts college, falls in with a glamorous clique of Classics students. He lies to them about his background, not realizing that they are lying to him, too. Before long, Richard finds himself involved in an ugly, frightening conspiracy that leads to blackmail and murder.


You bright and risen angels by William T. Vollmann

No summary available.

Kirsten's Recommendations


Riot days by Maria Alyokhina

"A Pussy Rioter's riveting, hallucinatory account of her years in Russia's criminal system and of finding power in the most powerless of situations. In February 2012, after smuggling an electric guitar into Moscow's iconic central cathedral, Maria Alyokhina and other members of the radical collective Pussy Riot performed a provocative 'Punk Prayer,' taking on the Orthodox church and its support for Vladimir Putin's authoritarian regime. For this, they were charged with 'organized hooliganism' and were tried while confined in a cage and guarded by Rottweilers. That trial and Alyokhina's subsequent imprisonment became an international cause. For Alyokhina, her two-year sentence launched a bitter struggle against the Russian prison system and an iron-willed refusal to be deprived of her humanity. Teeming with protests and police, witnesses and cellmates, informers and interrogators, Riot Days gives voice to Alyokhina's insistence on the right to say no, whether to a prison guard or to the president. Ultimately, this insistence delivers unprecedented victories for prisoners' rights. Evocative, wry, laser-sharp, and laconically funny, Alyokhina's account is studded with song lyrics, legal transcripts, and excerpts from her jail diary -- dispatches from a young woman who has faced tyranny and returned with the proof that against all odds even one person can force its retreat."--Publisher description.


Fun home by Alison Bechdel

Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian house, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. Their relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescense, the denoument is swift, graphic, and redemptive.--publisher's description.


Brown girl in the ring by Nalo Hopkinson

A fantasy novel of urban decay whose heroine turns to Afro-Caribbean magic to help a boyfriend escape gangs. The gangs are enforcing a contract to produce a human heart for transplant, even if the boyfriend has to kill for it. The setting is a futuristic Toronto.


Falling in love with hominids by Nalo Hopkinson

"In this long-awaited collection, Hopkinson continues to expand the boundaries of culture and imagination. Whether she is retelling The Tempest as a new Caribbean myth, filling a shopping mall with unfulfilled ghosts, or herding chickens that occasionally breathe fire, Hopkinson continues to create bold fiction that transcends boundaries and borders."--Back cover.


The new moon's arms by Nalo Hopkinson

First it's her mother's missing gold brooch. Then, a blue and white dish she hasn't seen in years. Followed by an entire grove of cashew trees. When objects begin appearing out of nowhere, Calamity knows that the special gift she has not felt since childhood has returned-her ability to find lost things. Calamity, a woman as contrary as the tides around her Caribbean island home, is confronting two of life's biggest dramas. First is the death of her father, who raised her alone until a pregnant Calamity rejected him when she was sixteen years old. The second drama: she's starting menopause. Now when she has a hot flash and feels a tingling in her hands, she knows it's a lost object calling to her. Then she finds something unexpected: a four-year-old boy washes up on the shore, his dreadlocked hair matted with shells. Calamity decides to take the orphaned child into her care, which brings unexpected upheaval into her life and further strains her relationship with her adult daughter. Fostering this child will force her to confront all the memories of her own childhood-and the disappearance of her mother so many years before.


Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson

As the only one in the family without magic, Makeda has decided to move out on her own and make a life for herself among the claypicken humans. But when her father goes missing, Makeda will have to find her own power--and reconcile with her twin sister, Abby-if she's to have a hope of saving him . . .


Their eyes were watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

No summary available.


The fifth season by N. K. Jemisin

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman's vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world's sole continent, a great red rift has been been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries. But this is the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes -- those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon -- are feared far more than the long cold night. Essun has remembered herself, and she will have her daughter back. She does not care if the world falls apart around her. Essun will break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.


The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

"Essun--once Damaya, once Syenite, now avenger--has found shelter, but not her daughter. Instead there is Alabaster Tenring, destroyer of the world, with a request. But if Essun does what he asks, it would seal the fate of the Stillness forever. Far away, her daughter Nassun is growing in power--and her choices will break the world"-- Provided by publisher.


The stone sky by N.K. Jemisin

"THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS... FOR THE LAST TIME. The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women. Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe. For Nassun, her mother's mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed. The remarkable conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season"-- Provided by publisher.


The inheritance trilogy by N. K. Jemisin

The Inheritance Trilogy omnibus includes the novels: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms, The Kingdom of Gods, and a brand new novella set in the same world: The Awakened Kingdom. Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.


The changeling by Victor LaValle

"The wildly imaginative story of one man's thrilling odyssey through an enchanted world to find his wife, who has disappeared after having seemingly committed an unforgivable act of violence, from the award-winning author of The Devil in Silver and Big Machine"-- Provided by publisher.


Essex County by Jeff Lemire

Presents the award-winning trilogy of graphic novels set in an imaginary version of the author's hometown, and reveals the problems and issues the families within the community face.


Who fears death by Nnedi Okorafor

Born into post-apocalyptic Africa to a mother who was raped after the slaughter of her entire tribe, Onyesonwu is tutored by a shaman and discovers that her magical destiny is to end the genocide of her people.


Akata witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Twelve-year-old Sunny Nwazue, an American-born albino child of Nigerian parents, moves with her family back to Nigeria, where she learns that she has latent magical powers which she and three similarly gifted friends use to catch a serial killer.


The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

A young witch-to-be named Tiffany teams up with the Wee Free Men, a clan of six-inch-high blue men, to rescue her baby brother and ward off a sinister invasion from Fairyland.


Cannery row by John Steinbeck

Unburdened by the material necessities of the more fortunate, the denizens of Cannery Row discover rewards unknown in more traditional society. Henry the painter sorts through junk lots for pieces of wood to incorporate into the boat he is building, while the girls from Dora Flood’s bordello venture out now and then to enjoy a bit of sunshine. Lee Chong stocks his grocery with almost anything a man could want, and Doc, a young marine biologist who ministers to sick puppies and unhappy souls, unexpectedly finds true love. Cannery Row is just a few blocks long, but the story it harbors is suffused with warmth, understanding, and a great fund of human values.


All the crooked saints by Maggie Stiefvater

Here is a thing everyone wants: a miracle. Here is a thing everone fears: what it takes to get one. Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado, is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars. At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo. They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.--Provided by Publisher.


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Nineteen-year-old returning champion Sean Kendrick competes against Puck Connolly, the first girl ever to ride in the annual Scorpio Races, both trying to keep hold of their dangerous water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.


The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Though she is from a family of clairvoyants, Blue Sargent's only gift seems to be that she makes other people's talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the expensive Aglionby Academy, she discovers that he has talents of his own--and that together their talents are a dangerous mix.


Notes to boys : (and other things I shouldn't share in public) : a mortifying memoir by Pamela Ribon

"Notes to boys is a mortifying memoir from bestselling author and tv/film writer Pamela Ribon. Miserably trapped in small town Texas with no invention of the internet in sight, Ribon spent countless hours of her high school years writing letters to her (often unrequited) crushes. The big question is: Why did she always keep a copy for herself? Wince along with Ribon as she tries to understand exactly how she ever thought she'd win a boy's heart by writing him a letter that began: "Share with me your soul," and ends with some remarkably awkward erotica. You'll come for the incredibly bad poetry, you'll stay for the incredibly bad poetry about racism"--P. [4] of cover.

Lisa's Recommendations


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

A Victorian governess's love for her mysterious employer is threatened by the tragic secret of his mansion.


61 hours by Lee Child

A tour bus crashes in a savage snowstorm and lands Jack Reacher in the middle of a deadly confrontation. In nearby Bolton, South Dakota, one brave woman is standing up for justice in a small town threatened by sinister forces--and Reacher will risk his own to save her from a coldly proficient assassin who never misses.


Never go back by Lee Child

Former military cop Jack Reacher makes it all the way from snowbound South Dakota to his destination in northeastern Virginia, near Washington, D.C.: the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. The old stone building is the closest thing to a home he ever had. Reacher is there to meet, in person, the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner, so far just a warm, intriguing voice on the phone. But it isn't Turner behind the CO's desk. And Reacher is hit with two pieces of shocking news, one with serious criminal consequences, and one too personal to even think about. When threatened, you can run or fight. Reacher fights, aiming to find Turner and clear his name, barely a step ahead of the army, and the FBI, and the D.C. Metro police, and four unidentified thugs. Combining an intricate puzzle of a plot and an exciting chase for truth and justice, the author puts Reacher through his paces, and makes him question who he is, what he's done, and the very future of his untethered life on the open road. -- From book jacket.


Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

No summary available.


Raven black by Ann Cleeves

No summary available.


The innocent by Harlan Coben

No summary available.


The book of joy : lasting happiness in a changing world by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Two leading spiritual masters share their wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity, sharing personal stories and teachings about the science of profound happiness and the daily practices that anchor their emotional and spiritual lives.


Cold MountainCharles Frazier by

Sorely wounded and fatally disillusioned in the fighting at Petersburg, Inman, a Confederate soldier, decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains and to Ada, the woman he loved there years before. His trek across the disintegrating South brings him into intimate and sometimes lethal converse with slaves and marauders, bounty hunters and witches, both helpful and malign. At the same time, Ada is trying to revive her father's derelict farm and learn to survive in a world where the old certainties have been swept away.


Norse mythology by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he presents his fashioning of the primeval Norse myths into a novel, which begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds, delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants, and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly recreating the characters--the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendencey to let passion ignite their actions--and making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.-- adapted from author website.


Night road by Kristin Hannah

After a string of foster homes and the death of her heroin-addict mother, Lexi Baill is taken in by a newly discovered great-aunt who lives a spartan life near Seattle. Lexi soon meets Mia and her loving twin brother, Zach. The friendship flourishes, and Mia's mother draws Lexi into the family circle. A slowly growing attraction between Zach and Lexi begins, but then Lexi, Mia, and Zach collectively make a bad decision that results in a tragedy with extreme repercussions.


Before the fall by Noah Hawley

On a foggy summer night, eleven people--ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter--depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs-the painter-and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family. With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members--including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot--the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage. Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.


It by Stephen King

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they were grown-up men and women who had gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them could withstand the force that drew them back to Derry, Maine to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name.


Into thin air : a personal account of the Mount Everest disaster by Jon Krakauer

A history of Mount Everest expeditions is intertwined with the disastrous expedition the author was a part of, during which five members were killed by a hurricane-strength blizzard. When Jon Krakauer reached the summit of Mt. Everest in the early afternoon of May 10, 1996, he hadn't slept in fifty-seven hours and was reeling from the brain-altering effects of oxygen depletion. As he turned to begin his long, dangerous descent from 29,028 feet, twenty other climbers were still pushing doggedly toward the top. No one had noticed that the sky had begun to fill with clouds. Six hours later and 3,000 feet lower, in 70-knot winds and blinding snow, Krakauer collapsed in his tent, freezing, hallucinating from exhaustion and hypoxia, but safe. The following morning he learned that six of his fellow climbers hadn't made it back to their camp and were in a desperate struggle for their lives. When the storm finally passed, five of them would be dead, and the sixth so horribly frostbitten that his right hand would have to be amputated. Krakauer examines what it is about Everest that has compelled so many people - including himself - to throw caution to the wind, ignore the concerns of loved ones, and willingly subject themselves to such risk, hardship, and expense. Written with emotional clarity and supported by his unimpeachable reporting, Krakauer's eye-witness account of what happened on the roof of the world is a singular achievement.


A game of thrones by George R.R. Martin

A tale of court intrigues in the land of Seven Kingdoms, a country "blessed by golden summers that go on for years, and cursed by cruel winters that can last a generation." Treachery, murder, incest.


John Adams by David McCullough

No summary available.


Big little lies by Liane Moriarty

Follows three mothers, each at a crossroads, and their potential involvement in a riot at a school trivia night that leaves one parent dead in what appears to be a tragic accident, but which evidence shows might have been premeditated.


Still life with crows by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

When the farm community of Medicine Creek, Kansas, is terrorized by a series of disturbing murders, FBI agent Pendergast discovers a link between a moonshine operation and an unsolved killing from more than 150 years earlier.


The lost city of the Monkey God : a true story by Douglas Preston

Since the days of Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. In 1940 journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City-- but then committed suicide without revealing its location. In 2012 Preston joined a team of scientists using classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. They found evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization-- and returned carrying a horrifying, sometimes lethal-- and incurable-- disease.


Naked in death by J.D. Robb

Three young women have been brutally murdered. After 10 years on the New York City police force, Lieutenant Eve Dallas knows better than to become emotionally involved with her work. But the prime suspect is a suave, sophisticated Irish billionaire with a mysterious past and she finds herself powerless to resist his charm.


The lovely bones by Alice Sebold

No summary available.


Me talk pretty one day by David Sedaris

No summary available.


Naked by David Sedaris

No summary available.


When you are engulfed in flames by David Sedaris

Once again, David Sedaris brings together a collection of essays so uproariously funny and profoundly moving that his legions of fans will fall for him once more. He tests the limits of love when Hugh lances a boil from his backside, and pushes the boundaries of laziness when, finding the water shut off in his house in Normandy, he looks to the water in a vase of fresh cut flowers to fill the coffee machine. From armoring the windows with LP covers to protect the house from neurotic songbirds to the awkwardness of having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a sleeping fellow passenger on a plane, David Sedaris uses life's most bizarre moments to reach new heights in understanding love and fear, family and strangers. Culminating in a brilliantly funny account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking, David Sedaris's sixth essay collection will be avidly anticipated.--From publisher description.


Dress your family in corduroy and denim by David Sedaris

No summary available.


Ask me : 100 essential poems by William Stafford

No summary available.


Candide : or, Optimism by Voltaire

No summary available.


The Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

No summary available.


The underground railroad by Colson Whitehead

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. Their first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. Like the protagonist of Gulliver's Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey -- hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day.

Matthew's Recommendations


The long way to a small, angry planet by Becky Chambers

"When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn't expecting much. The patched-up ship has seen better days, but it offers her everything she could possible want: a spot to call home, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy and some distance from her past. And nothing could be further from what she's known than the crew of the Wayfarer."--Page [4] of cover.


A man without a country by Kurt Vonnegut

No summary available.


The best of Connie Willis : award-winning stories by Connie Willis

A fan's collectible anthology by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame inductee contains each of the author's ten Nebula Award- and Hugo Award-winning tales.


Robots vs fairies edited by Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe

It's the ultimate death match between the mechanical and the magical! When the lasers cease firing and the fairy dust settles, who will triumph in these epic battles between the artificial and the supernatural? Choose a side....


The unnoticeables by Robert Brockway

"From Robert Brockway, Sr. Editor and Columnist of Cracked.com comes The Unnoticeables, a funny and frightening urban fantasy. There are angels, and they are not beneficent or loving. But they do watch over us. They watch our lives unfold, analyzing us for repeating patterns and redundancies. When they find them, the angels simplify those patterns and remove the redundancies, and the problem that is "you" gets solved. Carey doesn't much like that idea. As a punk living in New York City, 1977, Carey is sick and tired of watching strange kids with unnoticeable faces abduct his friends. He doesn't care about the rumors of tar-monsters in the sewers or unkillable psychopaths invading the punk scene--all he wants is to drink cheap beer and dispense ass-kickings. Kaitlyn isn't sure what she's doing with her life. She came to Hollywood in 2013 to be a stunt woman, but last night a former teen heartthrob tried to eat her, her best friend has just gone missing, and there's an angel outside her apartment. Whatever she plans on doing with her life, it should probably happen in the few remaining minutes she has left. There are angels. There are demons. They are the same thing. It's up to Carey and Kaitlyn to stop them. The survival of the human race is in their hands. We are, all of us, well and truly screwed"-- Provided by publisher.


Reincarnation blues by Michael Poore

Reincarnation Blues is more than a great love story: Every journey from cradle to grave offers Milo more pieces of the great cosmic puzzle--if only he can piece them together in time to finally understand what it means to be part of something bigger than infinity. As darkly enchanting as the works of Neil Gaiman and as wisely hilarious as Kurt Vonnegut's, Michael Poore's Reincarnation Blues is the story of everything that makes life profound, beautiful, absurd, and heartbreaking. -- amazon.com.


Kings of the wyld by Nicholas Eames

"Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best -- the meanest, dirtiest, most feared crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld. Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk - or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay's door with a plea for help. His daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy one hundred thousand strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for. It's time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld"-- Provided by publisher.


Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

No summary available.


Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams

No summary available.


Who in hell is Wanda Fuca? by G.M. Ford

Leo Waterman, a Seattle private detective, is hired by elderly mobster Tim Flood, who wants Leo to find his granddaughter and bring her home safely.


The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

When Cody Pritchard is found shot to death near the Cheyenne reservation in Absaroka County, Wyo., everyone believes he died in an accident. But two years earlier, Cody was one of four high schoolers convicted of raping a young Native American girl. All were given suspended sentences, and when another of the four turns up dead, sheriff Walt Longmire believes that someone is out for revenge.


Fluke, or, I know why the winged whale sings by Christopher Moore

No summary available.


The truth : a novel of Discworld by Terry Pratchett

No summary available.


Going postal : a novel of Discworld by Terry Pratchett

Arch-swindler Moist von Lipwig never believed his crimes were hanging offenses until he found himself with a noose around his neck, dropping through a trap door, and falling into ... a government job? Getting the moribund Postal Service up and running again, however, may be an impossible task. Worse, the new Postmaster could swear the mail is talking to him... Worst of all, it means taking on the gargantuan, money-hungry Grand Trunk clacks communication monopoly and its bloodthirsty piratical head, Mr. Reacher Gilt. But it says on the building: NEITHER RAIN NOR SNOW NOR GLO M OF NI T...inspiring words (admittedly, some of the bronze letters have been stolen), and for once in his wretched life Moist is going to fight. And if the bold and impossible are what's called for, he'll do it - to move the mail, continue breathing, get the girl, and deliver that invaluable commodity that everyone requires: hope.


Night watch : a novel of Discworld by Terry Pratchett

No summary available.


Johnny got his gun by Dalton Trumbo

A soldier who was horribly wounded and disabled in World War I struggles to understand his experiences.


Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office e-mail, but they still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper and baring their personal lives like an open book. When Lincoln applied to be an Internet security officer, he hardly imagined he'd be sifting through other people's inboxes like some sort of electronic Peeping Tom. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can't bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can't help but be entertained and captivated by their stories. But by the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late for him to ever introduce himself. After a series of close encounters and missed connections, Lincoln decides it's time to muster the courage to follow his heart, even if he can't see exactly where it's leading him.


One for the money by Janet Evanovich

Out-of-work Stephanie Plum blackmails her bail bondsman cousin into giving her a try as an apprehension agent. Her first case involves tracking down a former vice cop on the run from a charge of murder one, a man who also happens to be her former lover.

Rachel's Recommendations


Band of brothers : E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest by Stephen Ambrose

No summary available.

Crochet one-skein wonders : 101 projects from crocheters around the world by Judith Durant and Edie Eckman

More than 100 crochet patterns organized by fiber weight.

Artisan bread in five minutes a day : the discovery that revolutionizes home baking by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois

No summary available.

Bright lights, big ass : a self-indulgent, surly ex-sorority girl's guide to why it often sucks in the city, or, Who are these idiots and why do they all live next door to me? by Jen Lancaster

Jen Lancaster shares her humorous views of life in the city, recounting some of her most memorable experiences living in Chicago and explaining why city life is nothing like what it is portrayed as on television.

All together dead by Charlaine Harris

No summary available.

The midwife's tale by Sam Thomas

It is 1644, and Parliament's armies have risen against the king and laid siege to the city of York. Even as the city suffers at the rebel's hands, midwife Bridget Hodgson becomes embroiled in a different sort of rebellion.

The happy hooker : stitch 'n bitch crochet by Debbie Stoller

No summary available.

Thug Kitchen : eat like you give a f*ck : the official cookbook

"Thug Kitchen started their wildly popular web site to inspire people to eat some Goddamn vegetables and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Beloved by Gwyneth Paltrow ("This might be my favorite thing ever") and named Saveur's Best New Food blog of 2013--with half a million Facebook fans and counting--Thug Kitchen wants to show everyone how to take charge of their plates and cook up some real f*cking food. Yeah, plenty of blogs and cookbooks preach about how to eat more kale, why ginger fights inflammation, and how to cook with microgreens and nettles. But they are dull or pretentious as hell--and most people can't afford the hype. Thug Kitchen lives in the real world. In their first cookbook, they're throwing down more than 100 recipes for their best-loved meals, snacks, and sides for beginning cooks to home chefs. (Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos? Pumpkin Chili? Grilled Peach Salsa? Believe that sh*t.) Plus they're going to arm you with all the info and techniques you need to shop on a budget and go and kick a bunch of ass on your own.This book is an invitation to everyone who wants to do better to elevate their kitchen game. No more ketchup and pizza counting as vegetables. No more drive-thru lines. No more avoiding the produce corner of the supermarket. Sh*t is about to get real. "-- Provided by publisher.

Call the midwife : farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth

The Call the midwife trilogy is comprised of Call the midwife (not included here, c2002), Shadows of the workhouse (not included here, c2005), and Farewell to the East End (this book, c2009). Together, this series chronicles Jennifer Worth's career as a midwife from start to finish, from her arrival in the war-scarred Docklands as a wide-eyed trainee, to the demolition of the tenements and subsequent closure of Nonnatus House. It provides a fascinating snapshot of social history, documenting the East End in the days when there was a real sense of community, when times were tough but there was plenty of good humour and neighbourly support to help the inhabitants through the harsh economic climate. The book also enables readers to follow Jennifer's personal story, as she discovers the amazing resilience of a population still bearing the scars of war, and the vibrant community of nuns with whom she lives and who teach her the skills of midwifery. In stories that are funny, disturbing and moving in equal measure, we meet prostitutes and abortionists, bigamists and mischievous nuns, and see Jennifer earn the confidence of people whose lives are often stranger than fiction.

Teena's Recommendations


Botanicum by Kathy Willis

Showcases dozens of full-color plants from around the world in a gallery format, complemented by identification information and brief descriptions.


Most dangerous : Daniel Ellsberg and the secret history of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin

On June 13, 1971, the New York Times announced the existence of a 7,000-page collection of documents containing a secret history of the Vietnam War. Known as The Pentagon Papers, these documents had been commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Chronicling every action the government had taken in the Vietnam War, they revealed a pattern of deception spanning over twenty years and four presidencies, and forever changed the relationship between American citizens and the politicians claiming to represent their interests. Sheinkin tells how Daniel Ellsberg risked everything to expose the government's deceit.

Terrell's Recommendations


Silk by Alessandro Baricco

No summary available.


City of thieves by David Benioff

Having elected to stay in Leningrad during the siege, 17-year-old Lev Beniov is caught looting a German paratrooper's corpse. The penalty for this infraction (and many others) is execution. But when Colonel Grechko confronts Lev and Kolya, a Russian army deserter also facing execution, he spares them on the condition that they acquire a dozen eggs for the colonel's daughter's wedding cake. Based on the life of the author's grandfather.


Death comes for the archbishop by Willa Cather

No summary available.


The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

No summary available.


The game of kings by Dorothy Dunnett

In 1547 Scotland has been humiliated by an English invasion and is threatened by machinations elsewhere beyond its borders, but it is still free. Paradoxically, her freedom may depend on a man who stands accused of treason. He is Francis Crawford of Lymond, a scapegoat nobleman of crooked felicities and murderous talents, possessed of scholar's erudition and a tongue as wicked as a rapier. In The Game of Kings this extraordinary antihero returns to the country that has outlawed him - to redeem his reputation even at the risk of his life.


A time of gifts : on foot to Constantinople by Patrick Leigh Fermor

The author presents a chronicle of his journey, at the age of 18, on foot across central Europe, through the Lowlands to Mitteleuropa, to Teutonic and Slav heartlands, through the baroque remains of the Holy Roman Empire, up the Rhine, and down to the Danube, capturing an unrecoverable time in Europe before the devastation of World War II.


Neuromancer by William Gibson

The Matrix is a world within the world, a global consensus- hallucination, the representation of every byte of data in cyberspace . . . Case had been the sharpest data-thief in the business, until vengeful former employees crippled his nervous system. But now a new and very mysterious employer recruits him for a last-chance run. The target: an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence orbiting Earth in service of the sinister Tessier-Ashpool business clan. With a dead man riding shotgun and Molly, mirror-eyed street-samurai, to watch his back, Case embarks on an adventure that ups the ante on an entire genre of fiction.


Blue highways : a journey into America by William Least Heat Moon

No summary available.


The dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

A tale inspired by the tragic first-century massacre of hundreds of Jewish people at Masada presents the stories of a hated daughter, a baker's wife, a girl disguised as a warrior, and a medicine woman who keep doves and secrets while Roman soldiers draw near.


Survival lessons by Alice Hoffman

One of America's most beloved writers shares her suggestions for finding beauty in the world even during the toughest times.


The fifth season by N. K. Jemisin

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman's vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world's sole continent, a great red rift has been been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries. But this is the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes -- those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon -- are feared far more than the long cold night. Essun has remembered herself, and she will have her daughter back. She does not care if the world falls apart around her. Essun will break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.


This is your brain on music : the science of a human obsession by Daniel J. Levitin

Explores the relationship between the mind and music by drawing on recent findings in the fields of neuroscience and evolutionary psychology to discuss such topics as the sources of musical tastes and the brain's responses to music.


Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Henry VIII's challenge to the church's power with his desire to divorce his queen and marry Anne Boleyn set off a tidal wave of religious, political and societal turmoil that reverberated throughout 16th-century Europe. Mantel captures the internecine machinations of the times from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, the lowborn man who became one of Henry's closest advisers.


Charming Billy by Alice McDermott

The late Billy Lynch's family and friends have gathered at a small Bronx bar to comfort his widow and eulogize Billy, revealing the details of his life.


Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

THE FIRST RULE about fight club is you don't talk about fight club. Every weekend, in the basements and parking lots of bars across the country, young men with whitecollar jobs and failed lives take off their shoes and shirts and fight each other barehanded just as long as they have to. Then they go back to those jobs with blackened eyes and loosened teeth and the sense that they can handle anything. Fight club is the invention of Tyler Durden, projectionist, waiter, and dark, anarchic genius, and it's only the beginning of his plans for violent revenge on an empty consumer-culture world.


God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

No summary available.


Black diamond by Martin Walker

In the wake of attacks on local Asian vendors and an increase in black-market ingredients that threaten the Dordogne's lucrative truffle trade, Chief of Police Bruno finds the case taking a personal turn when one of his hunting partners, a former high-profile intelligence agent, is murdered.


Alif the unseen by G. Willow Wilson

In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients, dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups, from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the State's electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. Then it turns out his lover's new fianceé is the head of State security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground. When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen.


The butterfly mosque by G. Willow Wilson

Documents the author's conversion from all-American atheist to Islam, a journey marked by her decision to relocate to Cairo, romance with a passionate young Egyptian, and her efforts to balance the virtues of both cultures.


Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs entered domestic service in 1910 at thirteen, working for Lady Rowan Compton. When her remarkable intelligence is discovered by her employer, Maisie becomes the pupil of Maurice Blanche, a learned friend of the Comptons. In 1929, following an apprenticeship with Blanche, Maisie hangs out her shingle: "M. Dobbs, trade and personal investigations." She soon becomes enmeshed in a mystery surrounding The Retreat, a reclusive community of wounded WWI veterans.