Staff Picks April 2014

By: Gates, Robert Michael, 1943-
The former Secretary of Defense and director of the CIA recounts his service under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, describing his roles in such major events as the Bin Laden raid, the Guantánamo Bay controversy and the WikiLeaks scandal.
By: Williams-Garcia, Rita.
A sequel to One Crazy Summer finds the Gaither sisters returning to Brooklyn, where they adapt to new feelings of independence while managing changes large and small, from Pa's new girlfriend to a very different Uncle Darnell's return from Vietnam.
By: Cassella, Carol Wiley
A medical mystery wrapped in a contemporary love story, GEMINI is a stand out new novel from the Cassella, a practicing M.D. and author of the national bestseller OXYGEN. Think Jodi Picoult meets Abraham Verghese
By: Schaffert, Timothy.
From the critically acclaimed author of The Coffins of Little Hope, a new novel depicting a tragic love story set amid the fanciful inventions, gothic amusements, spiritualists, flimflam men, and other crooked characters who populated the 1898 Omaha World's Fair
By: Paton, Alan.
A novel depicting the racial ferment in the beautiful country of South Africa in 1948.
By: Ibbotson, Eva.
A century after a yeti captures Lady Agatha Farlingham and takes her to a hidden valley to raise his motherless children, tourism threatens their peaceful existence and young Con and Ellen take these educated and civilized yetis across Europe to Lady Agatha's home in England.
By: Gilbert, Elizabeth, 1969- author.
Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker--a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction--into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist--but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life. he story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists,adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who--born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution--bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas.
By: Hill, Kirkpatrick.
Winning the hearts of two tough gold miners who raise her near an Eskimo village in 1920s Alaska, young orphan Bo thrives amid the daily activities of both cultures before seeing a first airplane, encountering a bear and meeting a mysterious lost little boy.
By: Ford, Jamie, author.
Confined to Seattle's Sacred Heart Orphanage during the Great Depression, Chinese-American boy William Eng becomes convinced that a certain movie actress is actually the mother he has not seen since he was seven years old, a belief that compels a determined search for answers. By the award-winning author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.
By: Morton, Kate, 1976-
Abandoned on a 1913 voyage to Australia, Nell is raised by a dock master and his wife who do not tell her until she grows up that she is not their child, a situation that causes her to return to England and eventually hand down her quest for answers to her granddaughter.
By: Cooper, Helene.
A New York Times special correspondent presents a full-length memoir based on her acclaimed "African Odyssey" cover story for The Wall Street Journal, in a personal account that traces her childhood in war-torn Liberia and her reunion with a foster sister who had been left behind when her family fled the region.
By: Milner, Greg.
A history of recorded music reveals the behind-the-scenes processes through which recorded sound is captured and produced, in a chronicle that also covers major recording achievements, the innovators who influence the way music is experienced, and the current debate about faithful versus transcendent recording practices.
By: Greene, Graham, 1904-1991.
I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused," Graham Greene's narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous "Quiet American" of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas. As young Pyle's well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But Fowler's motives for intervening are suspect, both to the police and himself, for Pyle has stolen Fowler's beautiful Vietnamese mistress. Originally published in 1956 and twice adapted to film, The Quiet American remains a terrifiying and prescient portrait of innocence at large. This Graham Greene Centennial Edition includes a new introductory essay by Robert Stone.
By: Williams, Nathan, 1986-
Shares recipes and profiles of tastemakers who cook in the understated, unfussy style featured in the quarterly journal Kinfolk.
By: Vickers, Salley.
Working as a cleaner in the famed medieval cathedral of Chartres for more than 20 years, Agnès Morel profoundly transforms local lives by performing small tasks and using her subtle influence until an accidental encounter reveals tragic incidents from her youth, causing her to be targeted by mean-spirited gossips. By the author of the best-selling Miss Garnet's Angel.
By: Terry, Teri.
Although Kyla has recovered some of her memories, she is not sure how they all fit together, whether she was really a terrorist, or why she is able to remember anything at all from before she was "slated"--but she is determined to find the answers.
By: Sandberg, Sheryl.
The Facebook CEO and "Fortune" top-ranked businesswoman shares provocative, anecdotal advice for women that urges them to take risks and seek new challenges in order to find work that they can love and engage in passionately.
By: Bradley, C. Alan, 1938- author.
A latest entry in a best-selling series of mysteries finds young chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce using her knowledge of poisons and indefatigable spirit to solve a dastardly crime on the English countryside while learning new clues about her mother's disappearance. By the author of The Red Herring Without Mustard.
By: Wallace, Danny.
After an all-too-brief encounter with a girl on the street who leaves behind a disposable camera, failed journalist Jason Priestly, at the urging of his socially awkward best friend, sets out to find the woman of his dreams.
By: Payton, Brian, 1966- author.
Desperate to understand the war that claimed the life of his brother, journalist John Easley heads to Alaska to investigate the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands, while his wife is forced to reimagine who she is and what she is capable of doing after he disappears.
By: Bauermeister, Erica.
Meeting with her five close friends to celebrate her recovery from cancer, Kate announces that she will take up white-water rafting if each of them will also do something that equally terrifies them, a challenge that results in a tattoo, a bread-baking endeavor and a reconciliation. 35,000 first printing.
By: Smith, April, 1949-
An emotionally-charged, brilliantly realized novel set in the 1930's about five American women--Gold Star Mothers--who travel to France to visit the graves of their WWI soldier sons: a pilgrimage that will change their lives in unforeseeable and indelible ways. The women meet for the first time just before their journey begins: Katie, an Irish maid from Dorchester, Massachusetts; Minnie, wife of an immigrant Russian Jewish chicken farmer; Bobbie, a wealthy Boston socialite ; Wilhelmina, a former tennis star in precarious mental health; and Cora Blake, a single mother and librarian from coastal Maine. In Paris, Cora meets a journalist whose drug habit helps him hide from his own war-time fate--facial wounds so grievous he's forced to wear a metal mask. This man will change Cora's life in wholly unexpected ways. And when the women finally travel to Verdun to visit the battlegrounds where their sons fought as well as the cemeteries where they are buried, shocking events -a death, a scandal, a secret revealed--will guarantee that Cora's life and those of her traveling companions will become inextricably intertwined, and only now will they be able to emerge from their grief and return home to their loved ones. This is a timeless story set against a footnote of history: little known but unforgettable.