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Staff Reads

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Beginning in this issue, Hannah J. will be contributing her reads to the newsletter. Hannah is a long-time staff member, but you most likely have never met her. Hannah is our webmaster, taking care of both and She also whips our newsletter drafts into the finished format which you receive each month. Over the years, both Jen and Sally have developed friendships with Hannah. Although they’ve never met her in person, they know she’s a reader, and are happy to have her join the rest of the staff in contributing her reads.

Hannah J's Picks



by Haruki Murakami

This book takes the reader down an urban rabbit's hole, to a strange, magic world with two moons and two finely drawn protagonists. When a book is this involving, I love that it's very long. And the book's design adds so much! (The translucent cover on the hard-bound version is especially appealing.)


by Jennifer Donnelly

My favorite way to learn about a place is through good fiction: this book introduced me to modern and revolutionary Paris. Reading it made me want to visit the catacombs! This is another novel written for Young Adults that is also a great read for their elders.


Steve Jobs
by Walter Isaacson

I love my Mac but hear bad things about Apple in China, so I wanted to know who Jobs was. Isaacson describes an Ayn Rand character with a dash of Ahab. He had surprising roots and tragic flaws (or he might have survived his cancer). Bill Gates is a more admirable citizen but I bet a book about him would be a lot less of a page-turner!

Jamie's Pick


Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed

Strayed is a great read for the reader looking for a story of personal triumph. Cheryl's mother died at an early age. After going her separate way from other family members, Cheryl felt lost and disconnected. While standing in line at an REI store, she saw a book about the PCT, the Pacific Coast Trail, and thought she could hike the trail without a problem. Cheryl was completely over-packed and under-prepared for the trek. Yet, along the way, she met amazing people, had amazing experiences, and found personal strength and triumph on the journey. The paperback of Wild is scheduled for release later this month.

Hannah  E's Pick



by Karen Russell.

This book is amazing!

Lacy's Picks


Nicole of Prie Mer
by Robin Hardy
Book #1 in the Latter Annals of Lystra series.

This book is a continuation of the story that began in the Annals of Lystra trilogy, and I was ecstatic to learn Robin Hardy had continued building upon this wonderful world. In this book, Nicole, the daughter of a respected tailor in the country of Prie Mer, befriends the Chataine Renee of Lystra and is invited to spend the summer at the Lystran palace. Soon after she arrives, she meets Commander Ares of the Lystran army and he seems to take an interest in her. While she is flattered by his attentions, she soon realizes that there is something the royal family is keeping secret, and Ares may be more than he appears.



Safe Haven
by Nicholas Sparks

Sparks definitely knows how to write an engaging story!



The Tutor's Daughter
by Julie Klassen

Klassen’s books are well written and her characters are realistic. She has the talent to evoke just the right emotions in her readers to keep them turning page after page. Once I dive into one of her stories, I have a hard time putting the book down.

Gail's Picks


Remarkable Creatures
by Tracy Chevalier

Chevalier, the author of The Girl with the Pearl Earring, is noted for good historical fiction. This novel is set in England about the turn of the century. Three sisters have come on hard times and learn to cope in different ways. The title refers to the fossils they find on the beach. Chevalier lives up to her reputation with this fine book.



The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess and one Extraordinary Girl's Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster
by Tim Crothers

This inspiring true story begins in the largest slum in Kampala, Uganda. Robert Katende believes if he can teach street kids the game of chess they can also learn to compete in their world. A must read.

Jen's Picks


The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow
by Rita Leganski

I am in love with so many things about this book! I love the setting: New Orleans and its melting pot of spiritual beliefs (Catholicism, voodoo, and so on). I love the variety of characters (self-centered/borderline evil grandmother, a dead but loving father, a mysterious and oh-so-damaged villain (or is he?), children endowed with the supernatural). I love the writing ("...Bonaventure Arrow could hear flowers grow, a thousand shades of blue, and the miniature tempests that rage inside raindrops...") But most of all, I love Bonaventure. Good luck convincing my heart that he's fiction. This book was released in paperback last week.


Still Life
by Louise Penny

It's so fun to find a new mystery series—and this one was recommended by a customer! The place where the mystery is set is new to me, yet familiar (Ontario), the characters are well-drawn, the story is good, and the writing is great! I'm reading this book by listening to the audio, and ooh-la-la is it enjoyable!

Sally's Pick


Here's a playlist of rock and roll classics inspired by Ordinay Grace.
Thanks, Simon & Schuster!


Ordinary Grace
by William Kent Krueger

For a number of years, William Kent Krueger has been the bestselling author at both Beagle Books & Bindery and Sister Wolf Books. Over the last couple of years, he’s been telling us about a book he was been working on—a mystery of sorts, but not part of the Cork O’Connor series. It’s a story that’s been tugging at him for a number of years, begging to be written.

The book, Ordinary Grace, will be released later this month—and it’s wonderful! It’s set in southern Minnesota in 1961, although the events are told from the main character’s perspective forty years later. That summer, tragedy descended on the family of 13 year old Frank Drum, and he struggled to make sense of what happened and what it meant. It’s part mystery, part a coming-of-age story, and it’s Krueger at his finest.

We are thrilled that Krueger will visit both stores this spring to sign the book!

Customer Review by Kathy B.


Drunken Botanist
by Amy Stewart

Jen recently asked a customer to review an advance copy of a book. She received this handwritten note:

Dear Jen,
You could not have found a better book for me than The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart.
I find Amy's approach to the topic of mixology to be delightfully informative, light-hearted enough for a quick read, and sufficiently in depth for the scholar. Any person who is curious, has an interest in botany, plants, booze, and who doesn't necessarily have time to read from cover to cover would enjoy this book. I highly recommend the recipes to mixologists and hostesses, the subject detail to historians and botanists and the book in general to the curious and those drawn to unusual topics.

Kathy B.

The book will be released later this month.

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