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Staff Picks

February

February

Beekeeper

The Beekeeper of Aleppo - Christy Lefteri

Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo--until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all, they must journey to find each other again. Moving, powerful, and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo brings home the idea that the most ordinary of lives can be completely upended in unimaginable ways.

Recommended by Annette

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Catch

Catch and Kill - Ronan Farrow

In 2017, a routine network television investigation led Ronan Farrow to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood's most powerful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth, and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, from high-priced lawyers to elite war-hardened spies, mounted a secret campaign of intimidation, threatening his career, following his every move, and weaponizing an account of abuse in his own family. All the while, Farrow and his producer faced a degree of resistance they could not explain -- until now. And a trail of clues revealed corruption and cover-ups from Hollywood to Washington and beyond. This is the untold story of the exotic tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability, and silence victims of abuse. And it's the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement.

Recommended by Becky

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Copper

American Copper - Shann Ray

As Evelynne Lowry, the daughter of a copper baron, comes of age in early 20th century Montana, the lives of horses dovetail with the lives of people and her own quest for womanhood becomes inextricably intertwined with the future of two men who face nearly insurmountable losses—a lonely steer wrestler named Zion from the Montana highline, and a Cheyenne team roper named William Black Kettle, the descendant of peace chiefs.

Recommended by Lilly

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Giver

The Giver of Stars - Jojo Moyes

Set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond, from the author of Me Before You and The Peacock Emporium.

Recommended by Rita

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Ready

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

The world has turned into a bleak place, but luckily there is OASIS, a virtual reality world that is a vast online utopia. For protagonist Wade Watts, OASIS beats passing the time in his grim, poverty-stricken real life. Along with millions of others, Wade dreams of finding three keys left behind by James Halliday, the now-deceased creator of OASIS. The keys are rumored to be hidden inside OASIS, and whoever finds them will inherit Halliday's fortune.

Recommended by Chelsey

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Talking

Talking to Strangers - Malcolm Gladwell

In this thoughtful treatise spurred by the 2015 death of African-American academic Sandra Bland in jail after a traffic stop, New Yorker writer Gladwell (The Tipping Point) aims to figure out the strategies people use to assess strangers-to "analyze, critique them, figure out where they came from, figure out how to fix them," in other words: to understand how to balance trust and safety. He uses a variety of examples from history and recent headlines to illustrate that people size up the motivations, emotions, and trustworthiness of those they don't know both wrongly and with misplaced confidence.

Recommended by Stacy

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Vesuvius

The Shadow of Vesuvius - Daisy Dunn

When Pliny the Elder perished at Stabiae during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, he left behind an enormous compendium of knowledge, his thirty-seven-volume Natural History, and a teenaged nephew who revered him as a father. Grieving his loss, Pliny the Younger inherited the Elder's notebooks-filled with pearls of wisdom-and his legacy. At its heart, The Shadow of Vesuvius is a literary biography of the younger man, who would grow up to become a lawyer, senator, poet, collector of villas, and chronicler of the Roman Empire from the dire days of terror under Emperor Domitian to the gentler times of Emperor Trajan. A biography that will appeal to lovers of Mary Beard books, it is also a moving narrative about the profound influence of a father figure on his adopted son. Interweaving the younger Pliny's Letters with extracts from the Elder's Natural History, Daisy Dunn paints a vivid, compellingly readable portrait of two of antiquity's greatest minds.

Recommended by Jeff

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