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Jen Jen's Picks


Orange is the New Black
by Piper Kerman

I'm enjoying this insider’s look at what it's like to be in a women's prison. It's a lot different than the men's prisons you see on TV shows! It's also made me think about the U.S.'s correctional system and its efficiency (or lack thereof.)



How About Never—Is Never Good for You?
My Life in Cartoons

by Bob Mankoff

Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor of The New Yorker, has put together one fun memoir! Part text, part cartoons, and some photos, Mankoff walks us through his life, mostly his career, thus far. A former psychology grad student, Mankoff has been able to tap into and exploit what most of us find funny and put that to the page in cartoons. Mankoff is the originator of the now-famous quip, "How about never—is never good for you?"



The Nerd script
by Larry Shue

I'm looking forward to working on another production at Long Lake Theater in Hubbard this summer! I'll be stage managing/assistant directing The Nerd, so I’m immersed in it these days.



The Unwinding
by George Packer

The Current Events book group is finishing up this book this month. Packer demonstrates what he calls "the unwinding" of the U.S. through the life experiences of real Americans, from struggling single parents to Washington insiders.

Sally Sally's Picks


The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

I’m in love! This is THE book for people who love bookstores, books, and reading. That’s us, right? Fikry is the cantankerous and recently widowed owner of Island Books. In the midst of his grief come Amelia, a publisher’s sales rep, the theft of a rare book, and an abandoned child. The events which follow endear A.J. and the other characters to the readers. The book is a romantic comedy, a spiritual journey, and (in the chapter openings) a collection of short story criticisms. It’s charming without being saccharine, and as accessible to book lovers as it is to booksellers. Get yourself a copy!


The Bosnia List
by Kenan Trevincevic

The author was 11 when his secular Muslim family fled ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and emigrated to the U.S. 19 years later, when he and his family return to Bosnia for a visit, he brings a list of 12 things he wants to do. The book alternates between present and past, showing the losses of war and exile. Kenan returns home with a new list, which reflects the healing he experienced through his visit.



Shotgun Lovesongs
by Nickolas Butler

This is the story of four childhood friends from a small town in Wisconsin, now in their 30s. Each narrates a portion of the book, as does the wife of one of them. The book is about friendship, love, betrayal—and it’s wonderful! When I finished reading it, I pressed it on my husband, Bob. He reads SciFi almost exclusively—but he’s been drawn into this book. Here’s a link to a clip of the author talking about the book, and it’s worth sitting through the commercial which precedes it.

Ann Ann's Picks


Eat Move Sleep
How Little Choices Lead to Big Changes

by Tom Rath

Tom Rath has taken a large amount of research and distilled it into action steps that are easy to achieve. This readable book contains many ideas in the areas of food choice, physical activity and sleep habits that can be easily incorporated into peoples’ lives.  I would recommend this book to anyone interested in improving their overall wellness.


This Dark Road to Mercy
by Wiley Cash

Wade Chesterfield gave up his parental rights when his two daughters, Easter and Ruby, were very young. When their mother dies, he decides that he wants another chance at being part of their lives. Wade has made a number of mistakes in his life that greatly complicate the situation. This story is filled with a suspense that made me want to keep on reading. It ended in a way that was satisfying but still has me speculating.

Emily Emily's Pick


The Language of Flowers
by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

They say April showers bring May flowers and it certainly did in my last month’s Book Club choice. Through her emotional message of adoption, foster homes, emancipation and homelessness, Vanessa weaves a beautiful story of resilience and courage through all of life’s thistles. We follow Victoria’s journey as a foster child in and out of dozens of homes leading up to her final emancipation on her 18th birthday. Throughout her journey we begin to understand Victoria through the language of flowers. Beautifully woven into the story are different types of flowers and the messages they send modeled after the Victorian era. “If a man gave a young lady a bouquet of flowers, she would race home and try to decode it like a secret message. Red roses mean love; yellow roses infidelity. So a man would have to choose his flowers carefully.”  This is a beautiful, quick and informational book. You can’t help but fall in love with Victoria and root for her as she navigates her new found freedom through the language of flowers.

Ann Gail's Picks


Sonoma Rose
by Jennifer Chiaverinni

This novel is part of the elm Creek Quilts Series. The author incorporates a quilt pattern into each story. Not only for quilt lovers, Sonoma Rose is a fast paced story of prohibition days in California. Vineyard owners must decide to try their  best to make a living off their land in ways other than making wine or succumb to the temptation of selling illegally. A side of prohibition I hadn't thought of before. Oh yes, there's some romance too.


To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian
by Stephan E. Ambrose
The author wrote more than 25 works of history. Many were best sellers including Undaunted Courage about Lewis and Clark. Ambrose writes about U.S. history and makes it come alive and never boring. I feel like I had a good review of historical events from Washington to modern day times. I'm almost ready to go on Jeopardy!

Hannah Hannah's Picks


Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
What if you could skip about in past versions of your life, not exactly remembering what happened last time but sometimes flashing on details, experiencing a premonition or déjà vu that compels you to try to change events? Could you keep the dark from falling? A girl in England tries to navigate her family safely through both World Wars. I listened to the audio, and was fascinated.


by Marilynne Robinson

If you have had an elder in your family who grew up in a small 19th century American town, someone who speaks with the authority of the scriptures and many years of experience, and with humor, humility, and wit, you will be grateful for the way Robinson catches this wise voice. And then the plot thickens: I cried.



by Marilynne Robinson

If I convinced you to read Gilead, I imagine you’ll want to read Home. It’s the same story, the same events in the small Iowa town, but told from the perspective of the other aging minister’s family. (It hasn’t won the Pulitzer like Gilead, but it did win the Orange Prize, a prestigious United Kingdom award.) (Be sure to read Gilead first.)


Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
by Robin Sloan

The book’s About the Author reads: “Robin Sloan grew up in Michigan and now splits his time between San Francisco and the Internet.” The ladders to the mysterious, stories-high shelves teeter into a strange, fanciful world. Very fun. Spoiler alert: read this in bed and then look at it when you turn the lights out. The cover art is perfect, but only then.

Iain Iain's Pick


Across the Universe
by Beth Revis

Across the Universe is a book set in the near future, with humans sending out the first spaceship designed to travel to a new world. Amy is one of the passengers, cryogenically frozen for the trip. However, one day she is unfrozen and is forced to survive on the ship until it reaches its new home. A great read for young adults!

Mariah Mariah's Pick


The Maze Runner
by James Dashner

The Maze Runner is the first book in a trilogy. The plot centers around Thomas, a teenage boy who is brought to an unfamiliar place called the Glade with no memories of his previous life. He, along with others, attempts to figure a way out of the Glade, which is a giant maze with apparently no exit. I especially recommend this book to young readers who enjoy dystopian science fiction.

Tammi Tammi's Pick



Last Light
from the Restoration series by Terry Blackstock

What would you do if none of the world’s power was available? Do you know how it would actually affect you? This series of four books starts off with a bang… planes falling out of the sky, cars quitting mid-freeway, no phones, nothing! The series is about how one family coped with the world changing in an instant. Reverting back to trading eggs for milk, a cow for a goat. Hoarding all your belongings, creating things that get you by, people stealing and even killing because they are so scared of what lies ahead. Whom do you trust? What happens to your faith? You’ll start one book and won’t be able to stop until the end of the fourth book. My favorite series by far! Have fun!

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