Nick's Picks of Nick's Picks
ALCATRAZ vs THE EVIL LIBRARIANS by Brandon Sanderson* On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry receives a bag of sand which is immediately stolen by the evil Librarians who are trying to take over the world, and Alcatraz is introduced to his grandfather and his own special talent, and told that he must use it to save civilization.
THE AMAZING ADVENTURES of KAVILIER and CLAY by Michael Chabon Chabon deservedly won a Pulitzer prize for this novel which takes us into the world of comic book pioneers in the "golden age of comics" in the early 20th century. With a novel-within-a-novel Chabon explores the tumultuous world of 1930's urban America and Europe through the eyes of his real life and comic protagonists.
BONE FIRE by Mark Spragg* The inhabitants of Ishawooa, Wyoming have enough to contend with on a daily basis, from runaway children to Lou Gehrig's disease, even before a teenager is found dead in a meth lab and motorcycle rallies and rodeos fill the tiny local jail. Moody and beautifully written.
BOY IN THE WATER by Stephen Dobyns An atmospheric mystery set in a private boarding school in upstate New Hampshire.
BREATH: an interpretation of the “Pied Piper of Hamelin Town” by Donna Jo Napoli
CLOSE RANGE by Annie Proulx A collection of Proulx's short stories featuring "Brokeback Mountain" and much more great writing.
DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP by Willa Cather A classic. Spare, moving and thoughtful look at the old Southwest.
DESERT by J.M.G. LeClezio (Translated from the French) After being driven from their land by French colonial soldiers in 1909, Nour and his people, "the blue men" must search for a haven out of the desert that will shelter them. Interspersed with the story of Nour is the contemporary story of Lalla, a descendent of the blue men, who lives in Morocco and tries to stay true to the blood of her ancestors while experiencing life as a modern immigrant.
FAMILY DANCING by David Levitt A collection of Levitt's first (and I consider very best) writing, featuring contemporary middle class families in an age of cultural and personal change.
THE FULL CUPBOARD of LIFE by Alexander McCall Smith*
GAS CITY by Loren D. Estleman The saga of a slowly fading midwestern city where the local chief of police, the local crime boss and a high ranking church official all struggle to make sense of the modern world which has moved beyond their understanding. A sad but beautifully told tale of life for many in the contemporary world.
HERCULE POIROT mysteries by Agatha Christie*
HIDDEN MOON: an Inspector O novel by James Church* His best novel featuring Inspector O who finds his career as a detective in Pyongyang, North Korea, a life filled with as much obfuscation as mystery. A many sided look into what life might be like for the citizens of contemporary North Korea.
IN THE COUNTRY OF MEN by Hisham Matar A story that shifts between adult exile and youthful wonder and confusion this tale, set in contemporary north Africa, explores the confusing world of adults (men) in a family that seeks answers to questions about freedom in politics as much as in their family. A thoughtful and strong read.
LITERATURE OF THE AXIS OF EVIL: contemporary writing from Iran, Iraq, North Korea and other labeled enemy nations of the US. Fascinating, translated THE MOONSTONE by Wilkie Collins
MOVING HOUSE: stories by Pawll Huelle
MURDER ON THE APPIAN WAY: a novel of ancient Rome by Steven Saylor *
OBEDIENCE by Will Lavender
THE SHADOW YEAR by Jeffrey Ford
SHERLOCK HOLMES mysteries by Arthur Conan Doyle*
SILVER STALLION: A novel of Korea" by Junghyo Ahn Over 60 years ago war broke out on the Korean peninsula engulfing both North and South Korean troops along with American and members of the United Nations Armed Forces. In "Silver Stallion" the war is seen and experienced through the eyes of Korean villagers.
WHEN WILDFLOWERS DIE, a Phoebe Siegel mystery by Sandra West Prowell*
THE WRIGHT 3 by Blue Balliett
*Part of a series of books by this author
ALONE IN THE KITCHEN WITH AN EGGPLANT: confessions of cooking for one and dining alone by Jenni Ferrari-Adler
DANCING IN THE DARK: A cultural history of the Great Depression by Morris Dickstein
THE DEEP: life in the deep oceans by Claire Nouvian
FEDERAL WRITER’S PROJECT travel guides to the States of America from the 1930’s and 1940’s
A GIRL NAMED ZIPPY: growing up small in Mooreland, Indiana byHaven Kimmel
GRANT AND TWAIN: The story of a friendship that changed America by Mark Perry
LAFAYETTE LEADERSHIP PROFILES: local men and women share their stories in how they came to a lifetime of service* by Lillian price, Jan Mattew, Debbie Lowe and Nancy Kleckner
IN EUROPE: travels through the the 20th Century by Geert Mak
READING THE OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 pages by Ammon Shea (OED: Oxford English Dictionary)
RUNNING WITH SCISSORS: a Memoir by Augusten Burroughs
SHAKESPEARE (a biography) by Michael Wood
ULTRA MARATHON MAN: Confessions of an all-night runner by Dean Karnazes
WHY CATS PAINT and WHY PAINT CATS by Burton Silver and Heather Busch
*includes a short biography of this author