Ann W.'s Picks

Forgiveness 4 You (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9781468310238
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Overlook Books, 3/2015

In FORGIVENESS 4 YOU, Ann Bauer delivers a modern take on an ancient practice:  the forgiveness of sin.  Advertising tangles with absolution when ad exec Madeline Murray finds herself confessing to a lapsed Catholic priest in a bookstore.  The encounter creates the spark for a new venture:  the forgiveness business.  The comfort of religion without the work.   Watching an ad campaign take shape, we get intimate glimpses of the endless possibilities for guilt, shame, remorse that haunt people’s lives.  Bauer draws her distinctive characters with wit and compassion and lets them loose in a story that has a lot to say about what redeems us.


ISBN-13: 9780307271037
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Knopf, 3/2015

THE BURIED GIANT by Kazuo Ishiguro reads like a fable.  But don’t let that put you off reading this compelling and darkly beautiful book.  A mysterious memory-stealing mist settles over the barely civilized land where children dragged off by dragons are a fact of life.  An elderly couple, Axl and Beatrice, know that they have lost memories of their life together.  When their community denies them a candle for comfort in the darkness, they set off to find comfort with their son in a neighboring village.  Devastated by long war and ancient hatreds, the world is a fearsome and dangerous place.  Axl and Beatrice rescue a boy considered cursed by a dragon’s bite and travel under the protection of a local warrior and for a time, King Arthur’s aging dragon slayer, Sir Gawain.  The Boston Globe calls it “a saga of revenge wrapped around a story about love.”  Inventive and artfully constructed, THE BURIED GIANT reminds us that war and hatred feed on the lies built into history.     

The Night Guest (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780865477735
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Faber & Faber, 10/2013

In THE NIGHT GUEST, dementia has begun to work its magic in Ruth.  She knows the tiger she hears snuffling in her living room isn’t real.  But it is thrilling.  So is the unexpected appearance of a “carer” sent by the government to Ruth’s isolated beach house.  Frida brings warmth and encouragement to Ruth’s unkempt life, even helping Ruth connect with an old love from her youth.  But can she protect Ruth from the predator that circles the house every night?  Suspenseful and packed with insight about the vulnerability of being old.  A knockout debut novel from a young Australian.

ISBN-13: 9781607741916
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Ten Speed Press, 3/2013

Whether you’re planning a garden or just planning to shop your local farmers’ market, Deborah Madison’s beautiful new VEGETABLE LITERACY will soon be your favorite reference book.  Long admired as a leader in the vegetarian cooking and slow food movement, Madison brings her considerable skills and knowledge to hundreds of exquisitely simple recipes.  Each family -- from Carrots to Mint to The Sensual Squashes, Melons, and Gourds – is illustrated with remarkable photographs and Madison describes the features that make its members interchangeable.  Botany has never been so fascinating.  Or delicious.  The garden is “a lively universe that stitches us firmly to the world at large.”  In the kitchen, it becomes a part of us.

ISBN-13: 9780316055437
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Little, Brown and Company, 10/2013

THE GOLDFINCH is small and mysterious painting, the centerpiece of Donna Tartt’s  dense and brilliant novel.  Theo Decker miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother.  The event catapults us through this intricately crafted tale of intrigue and art, a tale of survival and longing.  Tartt captures Theo’s complex inner life with a verve that makes it impossible to abandon him in the dark heart of this novel.  His fellow travelers on this odyssey become whole people, as flawed and fascinating as Theo himself.   The masterful plot and exquisite detail of characters and settings require constant attention.  The reward of the last 50 pages is so satisfying, I read them a second time.  You’ve never read a coming-of-age story like this one.      

Someone (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780374281090
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9/2013
Alice McDermott’s new novel, SOMEONE, has just over two hundred pages.  That means we can linger over its beautifully crafted words.  In them, this National Book Award winner packs the truth of life.  Marie, a child in pre-Depression Brooklyn, guides us through the treacheries of growing up poor and hopeful.  “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” fans will savor the clear-eyed details of friends and neighbors, rendered with wit and affection.  The street teems with incidents – stick ball games with a blind umpire, sudden death, disgrace.  McDermott trusts readers grasp the story as it unfolds, creating a mosaic of scenes that connect for us in unexpected and satisfying ways.  SOMEONE is a finely tuned book to savor over a winter weekend.

E.B. White on Dogs (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780884483410
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Tilbury House Publishers, 3/2013

Lovers of dogs and a well-turned phrase:  prepare to be charmed.  A collection of essays and letters, E.B. White on Dogs will put a smile on your face. Steeped in the privileged and literary world of a young New Yorker magazine, E.B. White’s essays reveal an unpretentious, kind-hearted, and insightful man.  With keen and occasionally biting humor, White’s observations on society and the natural world are delivered through the lens of his admiration for the dogs in his life.  One dachshund (his wife’s preferred breed) named Fred accompanies White through the heartbreaking “Death of a Pig.”  If you’ve never cried reading Charlotte’s Web,” you will now.  Buy two.  This is a lovely gift book.


Visitation Street (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780062249890
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Ecco Press, 7/2013

Between a fortress of housing projects and the newly christened berth of the Queen Mary, New York’s Red Hook borough shapes itself around VISITATION STREET.  Ivy Pochoda captures the despair of lives yanked off course as suddenly and swiftly as a swimmer caught in the dangerous currents of the East River.  Tenderness infuses this gritty story, laced with hope and remorse.  Pochoda’s loving eye takes in the exact moment of a fall from grace – the precise point at which innocence and guilt intersect.   

I’ll sell Pochoda’s literary chops to readers looking for an intelligent, intense fiction.  A great read.

ISBN-13: 9780399255373
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Philomel Books, 7/2013
Give your favorite three to seven year-old a stack of paper, a fresh box of crayons, and Drew Daywalt’s wildly funny The Day the Crayons Quit.  At school, Duncan discovers a stack of letters from his crayons.  They’ve had enough.  Illustrator Oliver Jeffers captures the problems and personalities of each color, from Red’s “you make me work harder than any of your other crayons” to orange and yellow’s feud over who is the real color of the sun.  Only green wants to say “that I like my workloads of crocodiles, trees, dinosaurs, and frogs.”  A pleasure to read aloud and children will appreciate Duncan’s brilliant solution.

ISBN-13: 9780393345865
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: W. W. Norton & Company, 8/2013

Toss and turn?  Count sheep?  Desperate to escape your honey’s snoring?  In Dreamland:  Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep, Journalist David K. Randall offers fascinating insights into the mystery of human slumber.  Though “ingrained in our cultural ethos as something that can be put off, dosed with coffee, or ignored,” every moment of our lives depends on the quality of our sleep.  Unlike our ancestors, modern sleepers expect uninterrupted blocks of this vital and elusive state.  But few would give up the single greatest impediment to healthy sleep:  artificial light.  Lack of sleep creates dangers on battlefields and football fields, roadways and school hallways, bedrooms and boardrooms.  Randall’s research will change how you think about the time spent behind closed eyes. 


TransAtlantic (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9781400069590
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Random House, 6/2013
Compact and epic, Transatlantic is a near perfect blend of fact and fancy. Ireland connects three stories spanning three continents in this complex, beautifully written and satisfying novel by National Book Award winner (Let the Great World Spin) Colum McCann.

City of Thieves (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780452295292
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Plume, 4/2009
"Find a dozen eggs or die." A mismatched pair of prisoners. A story so real you'll swear you've met these guys. Now just try to forget them.

Wingshooters (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9781936070718
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Akashic Books, 3/2011
"When her American father and Japanese mother divorce, Michelle LaBeau tries to find a place as the only mixed-race person in a small Wisconsin town. Just after Vietnam and the struggles for civil rights, the community is ripped apart by a series of revelations that pit loyalty against justice. A terrific choice for book clubs!"

Shelter (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780873517751
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Borealis Books, 3/2011
"An urban dweller with roots in northern Minnesota, Stonich sets out to find a piece of land where she and her son can belong. Newly divorced and strapped for cash, she buys a parcel that she sees for the first time from the air. Shelter contains stunning passages about the natural world, great stories about the life and times of true Northerners, and wry commentary about settling the wild."

The Cove (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780061804199
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Ecco Press, 4/2012
"Pitch perfect dialogue."