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Jen Jen's Picks


Tell the Wolves I’m Home
by Carol Rifka Brunt

I’ve been meaning to read this for months on Gail’s recommendation. I’m loving the voice of the narrator, young June grieving the death of her Uncle Finn. It’s the 1980s and Finn died of AIDS. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about the disease and a lot of frustration mixed in with the family’s grief.


Braiding Sweetgrass
Robin Wall Kimmerer

Author Robin Wall Kimmerer is the winner of this year’s Midwest Bookseller Awards in the nonfiction book category. The essays in Braiding Sweetgrass combine science and indigenous knowledge of the natural world. Kimmerer has a generous, gentle way of sharing her knowledge. I’m looking forward to presenting her with the award!

Sally Sally's Picks


The High Divide
by Lin Enger

In 1886, Ulysses Pope leaves his family with no explanation. His wife, Gretta, and sons soon follow his trail. Only near the end of the book does the reason for Ulysses’ quest become clear. It’s novel about returning home after war, redemption, and the love of family. I think it is quite wonderful. I hope you’re join me in meeting Lin Enger on November 8 at Bella Caffé.





The Signature of All Things
by Elizabeth Gilbert

For many years, I’ve attended a fall reading retreat sponsored by the Minnesota Women’s Press and led by the remarkable Glenda Martin and Mollie Hoben. I’m in the midst of reading four books for this year’s retreat. The first,book The Girl who Sang to the Buffalo by Kent Nerburn, is the final book in the trilogy which began with Neither Wolf nor Dog. Nerburn, the Indian elder Dan, and other people from Dan’s reservation travel into the painful past on their way to visit an Ojibwe elder. The book shows relationships between whites and Native Americans, as well as aspects of native spirituality.

bookThe second book is The Orphan Train, historical fiction by Christina Baker Kline. An elderly orphan train rider and a teen age girl who is helping her clean out her attic form an unlikely friendship, and share their stories with each other.

Another book is also historical fiction. It’s The Dovekeepers, by Alice Hoffman, and is the story of four of the women who were present at Masada, the hilltop fortress in which Jbookews held out against the Romans 2,000 years ago. I’d previously read each of these books. Although I generally don’t reread books, I’m enjoying doing so with these three.

The fourth book I haven’t read, and waited until now to start to it will be fresh in my mind for the retreat. That book is The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ve heard so many good things about it that I’m looking forward to it! I love the writing so far.

Al Al's Picks


Edge of Eternity
Ken Follett

Edge of Eternity is the third novel in the Century Trilogy. The books covers the 1960s through the 1980s. His characters, who are American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh, are developed as believable, likable individuals. Readers sympathize and identify with them as they deal with the complex and frightening problems of that tumultuous period of history.


Field of Prey
John Sandford

Field of Prey is Sandford’s latest novel in the popular Lucas davenport series. In this book, Lucas investigates a crime that will leave the reader breathlessly awaiting the climax. The book’s antagonist is one of the most chilling characters Lucas has faced in this outstanding mystery series. Davenport continues to be one of the most complex and interesting heroes in this genre.

Ann Ann's Pick


Leaving Time
By Jodi Picoult

Fans of Jodi Picoult will not be disappointed in Leaving Time. The story is told by Jenna, whose early childhood was spent on an elephant reserve with her researcher parents.

When Jenna is very young, her mother disappears. She spends her childhood with her grandmother, and as a young teen decides to go in search of her mother. She convinces a detective who is familiar with the case and a psychic who has lost credibility to aid her in her quest. Leaving Time combines interesting characters, surprising twists, and fascinating information about elephants. It is a suspenseful and satisfying story.

Ann Gail's Picks


Mary Coin
by Marissa Silver

Dorothea Lange, a photographer documenting the depression, took a photograph of a young migrant mother. The picture, known as Migrant Mother, became very well known.  The author builds a very believable story about the photographer and Mary, the subject of the picture, weaving it in with a present day professor of cultural history who finds secrets of his own family. Another great historical fiction novel.


Her Sister's Shadow
by Katherine Britton

This is a story of misunderstandings between sisters which leads to estrangement between them. Finally a phone call from the eldest, Bea, brings them back to the family homestead in New England.  The truth comes out about the man Bea married and the secret Lilli carries about this same man, that she also loved.  A good quick read about the bonds that sometimes break between sisters.

Hannah Hannah's Picks


The Long Way Home
by Louise Penny

Just perfect. Armand Gamache and the other beloved characters are in a less frantic situation. The mystery unfolds across new parts of Canada, and introduces a variety of perspectives about art along the way. I wonder if this will be the last in the series. How can you follow redemption?


The Round House
by Louise Edrich

Joe, a 13-year-old Ojibwe boy, finds out that his mother has endured a violent rape near the beginning of this absorbing novel. It isn't just a "who done it," but also deals with issues such as “what to do about it?"  "who will truly recover?"  and “is vengeance ever the answer?” Joe will stay with me for a long time.


Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer

Feiffer has done it again: he's broken into yet another new sphere with spectacular results. The story in this noir graphic novel kept me turning pages even though the brilliant drawings made me want to linger. No one can put more energy and personality into a gesture drawing!

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