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Staff Picks

April

April

coroner

The Education of a Coroner by John Bateson

In the vein of Dr. Judy Melinek's Working Stiff, an account of the hair-raising and heartbreaking cases handled by the coroner of Marin County, California throughout his four decades on the job--from high-profile deaths to serial killers, to Golden Gate Bridge suicides.

Recommended by Gwen

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tribe

Tribe by Sebastian Junger

Draws on history, psychology, and anthropology to discuss how the tribal connection--the instinct to belong to small groups with a clear purpose and common understanding--can satisfy the human quest for meaning and belonging.

Recommended by Karel

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dust

La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman

When Malcolm finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust, he finds himself embroiled in a tale of intrigue featuring enforcement agents from the Magisterium, a woman with an evil monkey daemon, and a baby named Lyra.

Recommended by Alice

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river

A River Runs Through It by Norman MacLean

From its first magnificent sentence, "In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing", to the last, "I am haunted by waters", A River Runs Through It is an American classic. Based on Norman Maclean's childhood experiences, A River Runs Through It has established itself as one of the most moving stories of our time; it captivates readers with vivid descriptions of life along Montana's Big Blackfoot River and its near magical blend of fly fishing with the troubling affections of the heart.

Recommended by Ted

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midnight

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.

Recommended by Annette

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lincoln

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son's body. Willie finds himself in a strange purgatory-- the bardo-- where ghosts commisserate quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance... and where a struggle erupts over his soul.


Set over the course of that one night and populated by ghosts of the recently passed and the long dead, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief, the powers of good and evil, a novel - in its form and voice - completely unlike anything you have read before. It is also, in the end, an exploration of the deeper meaning and possibilities of life, written as only George Saunders can: with humor, pathos, and grace.

Recommended by Sheryl

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pearl

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

Fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in a hospital not knowing how she was injured, and soon befriends Euan McEwen, the Scottish Traveller boy who found her, and later, when a body is discovered, she experiences the prejudices his family has endured and tries to keep them from being framed for the crime.

Recommended by Alice

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crow

As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman

A queer, black teenager finds herself stranded in a dangerous and unfamiliar place: an all-white Christian youth backpacking camp.

Recommended by Zach

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affluence

Affluence Without Abundance by James Suzman

A vibrant portrait of the "original affluent society"--the Bushmen of southern Africa--by the anthropologist who has spent much of the last twenty-five years documenting their encounter with modernity. If the success of a civilization is measured by its endurance over time, then the Bushmen of the Kalahari are by far the most successful in human history.

Recommended by Jeff

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dry

The Dry by Jane Harper

A small town hides big secrets in The Dry. After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke's steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn't tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead. Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there's more to Luke's death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

Recommended by Ted

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child

The Child by Fiona Barton

The author of the stunning New York Times bestseller The Widow returns with a brand-new novel of twisting psychological suspense. As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it's a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby? As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss. But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn--house by house--into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women--and torn between what she can and cannot tell.

Recommended by Sheryl

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nebraska

Nebraska - DVD

After receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, a cantankerous father thinks he's struck it rich, and wrangles his estranged son into taking a road trip to claim the fortune. Getting waylaid in the father's hometown in Nebraska, the son tries to reconnect with his impenetrable father.

Recommended by Rebecca