FALL STAFF PICKS:
Circe by Madeline Miller: Mythology from the gods’ and goddesses’ points of view – especially the multi-faceted story of the goddess, Circe. – Davonne’s pick
The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni: Sam Hill always saw the world through different eyes. Born with red pupils he was called “Devil Boy” by his classmates. Due to his mother’s ideology Sam believes that God sent Ernie Cantwell, the only African American boy in his school to be the friend he desperately neeed…and that it was God’s idea for Mickie Kennedy to storm into Our Lady of Mercy like a tornado and upright every rule Sam had been taught. Forty years later Sam is a small-town eye doctor and no longer sees that anything was by design, especially the tragedy that caused him to turn his back on everything in the life he has known. Now as he looks back on his life Sam embarks on a journey that will take him halfway around the world, and in this way Sam finds out what truly matters. – Pam’s pick
Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey: A great story about the healing power of friendship and the importance of our chosen family. Great characters in Gray and Diana. I loved Gray but Diana was so many people I have known. Another winner from a fresh new voice in Southern fiction. –Leanne’s pick
Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich: A dystopian, futuristic novel in which evolution reverses itself, as newborn babies and other creatures seem to become more primitive. Martial law ensues as the protagonist seeks freedom and her Ojibwe biological family and heritage. – Davonne’s pick
A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende: provided me with a better understanding of the Spanish Civil War, a conflict that I admit I have found confusing. In this novel a young medical student marries the pregnant girlfriend of his brother who was killed fighting the fascist forces of Francisco Franco. Theirs is a saga of love, war and politics that spans countries, continents and decades. Ultimately, it is a story of hope and endurance from a master storyteller. – Beth’s pick
Plover Pilgrimage by Cari Noga: A little gem of a book (50 Pages) about a 12yr old boy with autism and a passion for all things avian. On the remote beaches of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Robby, his parents, and a park ranger discover the magic in a rare bird and in a rare boy. Plover Pilgrimage is excerpted from a full-length novel, Sparrow Migrations and contains illustrations by Glenn Wolff of Traverse City. – Pam’s pick
From a Wooden Canoe by Jerry Dennis: The subtitle from this wonderful book by well-known Traverse City author Jerry Dennis is “Reflections on Canoeing, Camping, and Classic Equipment.” In this collection of stories he pays tributes to things worth keeping, from wooden canoes to pocket knives to cast iron skillets. I enjoyed his style of writing with insight and humor. As the book jacket states: “this is a book to be treasured, to be read on winter evenings and rainy afternoons, to be kept handy on a cabin shelf.” – Pam’s pick
Magnolia Table, Volume 2: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines: Beautiful photography and delicious sounding recipes come together for the second volume in the Magnolia Table collection. I did find this one lacked the personal stories and inspiration behind the recipes that marked the first volume, but still a delight to flip through. – Leanne’s pick
Some Glad Morning: Poems by Barbara Crooker: When Elizabeth Berg recommends an author, I tend to listen. This slim work of poetry reminds us that beauty can be found in the unexpected and simplest of places.
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon: Is it true, the one and only original twinkling of creation was the big bang? Maybe. However, even some physicists speculate there might others, or one before the aftermath of the big bang we live in…point being there is nothing new under the sun.
With the building blocks of this universe unleased, everything is built upon what has come before…nothing is original. Austin Kleon helps artists and everyone who wants to tap their creative spirit find expression by understanding and embracing the work of others. Kleon celebrates the remixing of what others have done to build something new. One can use Legos to build what is shown on the box that they came in, but they can also be used to build something unique and even one of a kind, using the same blocks everyone else uses. It’s not about what’s been done or what you know…it’s about what you come to find out and seeking to express it; making something you as the artist want to see or experience and others might like to perceive also. Kleon also gives practical advice on living the “artist” life. He encourages would-be-artists to be wise and avoid the life of the “starving artist” by planning, preparing and building a platform from which you can let your imagination, creativity, and passion be the “big bang” of your life experience. – Dwain’s pick
Untamed by Glennon Doyle: When my millennial-aged daughter tells me she has found a book that she thinks all women (and men, too!) should read, my ears pick up. I listened to the audio version of this memoir by activist, feminist, and inspirational speaker Doyle, who explores her journey from self-loathing through her search for perfection and then to finding and listening to her untamed inner truth. All the while I listened (Doyle herself reads the book on audio) I wanted to be underlining passages, so I bought a hard copy from my local bookstore. I had not even opened it before I gave it away to a friend, who began underlining and sharing her own insights with me. All I can say is that I agree with my daughter’s assessment. A great pick for book discussion groups. (PS: I bought another copy for myself!) – Beth’s pick