Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was InventedMore Staff Picks +
In the late 1800s lived Lizzie Magie, a clever and charismatic woman with a strong sense of justice. Waves of urban migration drew Lizzie’s attention to rising financial inequality. One day she had an idea: create a game that shows the unfairness of the landlord-tenant relationship. But game players seemed to have the most fun pretending to be wealthy landowners. Enter Charles Darrow, a marketer and salesman with a vision for transforming Lizzie’s game into an exciting staple of American family entertainment.
My Year of Rest and RelaxationMore Staff Picks +
The unnamed narrator in this bold new novel is in search of a reawakening. In her eyes, only sleep, countless hours of it, can enact a desperately needed reset of her life. With the aid of an ethically questionable psychiatrist and an abudance of black out inducing medication, her sleeping quest begins.
A Night DividedMore Staff Picks +
My fifth grader has been begging me to read this depiction of a family separated overnight by the construction of the Berlin Wall. Told from the view point of the youngest daughter, 12 year old Gerta, she takes us to a place in history where your own ideas and criticism of your government is a risky life or death venture. Gripping until the end, this is on my must read list for any upper elementary and older to appreciate their own intellectual freedoms and learn about a not too distant event in world history.
The Polygamist’s Daughter: a memoirMore Staff Picks +
After reading "Under the Banner of Heaven," by Jon Krakauer, and "The 19th Wife" by David Ebershoff, both good reads, I thought this book might be similar. I was disappointed though, to find that it fell short of being either well-written or well-researched. The book lacks substance and seems to elaborate on some insignificant memories to fill up the pages.
Passenger (Passenger, #1)More Staff Picks +
Etta Spencer is about to walk onto the stage for a performance of a lifetime. Her whole life has led up to this moment. When she is pushed through a strange glimmering doorway, her lifetime of practice and status as a musical prodigy is left behind. Her life intersects with a young man who is off limits to her in his time. The secrets he harbors threaten to create more barriers to the future only Etta dares to hope for. Fans of time travel will adore the tale that is capable of sucking the reader into another series. Full of questions without answers, inter-racial relationships, love and mystery tug at the heart and intellect.
Wicked MortalsMore Staff Picks +
All of us thrill to scary stories. We cannot leave them alone. Over and over again, we peer into the dark places seeking monsters, creatures, sources of evil. We know instinctively that these alien forces threaten our safety and everything we love. We tell these stories as warnings to keep our guard up against the darkness outside. But what if it isn't outside? What if it hides in someone you know? Or the person looking back at you from the mirror? And, most terrifying of all, what if the scariest part of the stories is that they're true? This collection of tales is taken from the monstrously successful Lore podcast, which began in 2015 and as of October 2017 had an audience of five million seriously creeped out devotees. Even on paper Mahnke's storytelling style is inviting and empathetic. (It practically begs for a campfire and wolf howling in what you hope is the distance.) Worryingly, the author suffers no shortage of material, from serial killers to magicians to folk healing gone hideously wrong. All too tragic. All too human. All too possible...Anyone else want to turn on all the lights and hide under a blankie?
Dear Bob and SueMore Staff Picks +
Let's take a romp through 58 National Parks! Karen and Matthew Smith did just that and while on their tour, they emailed their adventures back to their friends, Bob and Sue. While the Smiths may not be exceptional writers, there is humor, history, some science and a whole lot of useful information that is good to know if you are thinking of visiting any of our National parks.
Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought ThemMore Staff Picks +
After reading Jennifer Wright's book about plagues throughout history, I am convinced of three things: 1. Microbes are terrifying and I may never leave the house again...except they're in the house, too. Oh, dear. 2. Walter Jackson Freeman II was unassailably the worst person in history. 3. Human beings have limitless capacity for callousness when we're afraid and a limitless capacity for altruism when we choose to stand together. An illness that compelled people to dance until their bones poked through their feet? Check. An epidemic that killed 90% of an indigenous population in a few years? Check. A man who "cured" child rebelliousness via lobotomies performed with an ice pick? Check. (And ewwww!) But this book inspires more than if-you-need-me-I'll-be-under-the-bed dread. Lepers' lives made bearable because of one man's kindness? Yep. Millions of Americans uniting to end polio? Done. An Englishman founding a No-Nosed Club so that syphilis suffers felt less ostracized? That happened, too. Wright reports these events with clarity, compassion, and a large dose of wry humor. (Her response to the story of a dying Meso-American forgoing heaven because his disease-carrying Spanish conquerors would be there: "Sick burn, Cuban guy. Nicely done. High five across time and space.") After reading how easily disease can destroy civilizations and how it has been vanquished, I hope that when the next plague hits we choose to be heroes.
The Invention of WingsMore Staff Picks +
Because I visited the Charleston, SC area in early June, I was very interested in this historical novel, based on the lives of the Grimke sisters and their role in the Abolitionist Movement. The story is extremely well-told and captivating from the first sentence. The reading actors on the CD version are exceptional and I highly recommend listening to the audio of this book.
PatienceMore Staff Picks +
Jack's life falls apart after his pregnant wife, Patience, is murdered in a seemingly random act of violence. Decades later, Jack discovers a way to travel through time and begins to uncover the sad details of Patience's life that led to her death and pledges to stop her murderer before it happens again.