Barb's Picks

$17.99
ISBN-13: 9781250012180
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: St. Martin's Griffin, 10/2012

I admit that I fell in love with Slaughterhouse-Five in 1970. And I admit that I almost spilled a drink on Vonnegut when he came to speak at BSU in the mid-1980s. So I loved this entertaining, well-researched biography of this outrageous, satiric author.

- Barb



ISBN-13: 9780670025695
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Viking Adult, 2/2013

Even better and more complicated than the first Sean Stranahan mystery. Set in the mountains and fly-fishing streams of Montana, it's perfect for lovers of a good story even if they don't know how to tie a fly.

- Barb


ISBN-13: 9780345540645
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Del Rey, 7/2013
I loved this collection of long short stories with commentary by the author. Willis's speculative fiction feels like Ray Bradbury with a sprinkle of Terry Pratchett. There are silent alien visitors who only respond to choral music. Then there's a humorous parody of academic writing “proving” that Emily Dickinson's poetry referenced the 1897 Martian invasion that H. G. Wells described. A perfect introduction to one of my favorite science fiction writers.   -Barb

$15.99
ISBN-13: 9780767904469
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Broadway Books, 9/1999

A book for lovers of the outdoors, sailing, or the Arctic. Alvah Simon spent months alone on his sailboat trapped in the long polar night. Although I would never do what he did, I enjoyed vicariously sharing his experiences, his observations of the local Inuit culture, and his personal revelations about life.

- Barb


Sweet Tooth (Paperback)

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9780345803450
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Anchor, 8/2013

A spy love story for writers and readers. After Cambridge graduate Serena Frome is recruited in 1972 by MI5, she's assigned to project Sweet Tooth. Her job is to mind Tom Haley, a promising young novelist. While Serena reads his short stories so do we. Predictably, Tom doesn't know she works for MI5. Predictably, they fall in love. Unpredictably, the book ends . . . well you didn't really think I'd tell you how it ends, did you?   

--Barb  


Little Century (Paperback)

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9781250033369
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Picador, 7/2013

If you've ever driven between Burns and Bend, you know how desolate the landscape is. Now go back a hundred and fifty years. Imagine how you would feel if you were eighteen-year-old, Chicagoan Esther Chambers and you were arriving in Century, Oregon for the first time. Because Eastern Oregon is seldom the setting for novels, I was drawn to this debut novel. I loved the way the landscape defined the characters and how it created the conflicts between homesteaders, cattlemen and sheepherders.   

--Barb  


$26.99
ISBN-13: 9781476711959
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 11/2013

Since I enjoyed The Thirteenth Tale, I was thrilled to finally get another book by Diane Setterfield that incorporated the unseen and the ghostly. I loved the mystery of Mr. Black's identity. But I also loved the details of the inner workings of Mr. Bellman's cathedral-like store dedicated to Victorian mourning. A page-turning trip back into Victorian England with detours into the lives and mythology of rooks.

--Barb 




Guests on Earth (Hardcover)

$25.95
ISBN-13: 9781616202538
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 10/2013

This novel is an engaging portrait of life at the famous Highland Hospital in Asheville, NC in the 1930s & 1940s and its most famous off-and-on-again patient—Zelda Fitzgerald. However, it's also a coming of age story of Evalina Toussaint, the orphaned child of an exotic dancer. Evalina is committed to Highland after a suicide attempt, and she shares art therapy with Zelda. The details of hospital life were fascinating, especially its innovative treatment regime of exercise, diet, art,occupational therapy and occasionally shock therapy.

--Barb    


Letters from Skye (Hardcover)


ISBN-13: 9780345542601
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Ballantine Books, 7/2013

This is a great book for people who enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society like I did. During WWII, a daughter learns the secret of her mother's affair during WWI. Told through letters, this is a novel for people who believe in second chances.

--Barb  



Don't Ever Get Old (Paperback)

$15.99
ISBN-13: 9781250028921
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Minotaur Books, 4/2013

At 87, Buck Schatz is still a smart, tough sonofabitch. Sure, he can no longer tackle the bad guys he chases, but that's what twenty-some grandsons are for.

--Barb 



$30.00
ISBN-13: 9780307271600
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Knopf, 11/2013

I'm not primarily a non-fiction reader, but I loved reading this book by the author of Wild Swans. The official stories of Cixi are displayed at the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, but Chang debunks the tourist-guide portrayal of Cixi as cruel and evil. She had her flaws, and like other Chinese rulers she did order some people killed. However, she was also the ruler who modernized China, outlawed foot-binding, and brought years of peace and prosperity to China. A fascinating person and a fascinating book.    

--Barb   


$14.99
ISBN-13: 9780062208293
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Harper Perennial, 10/2013

This novel imagines that 86 year old Queen Elizabeth II is depressed over her uselessness and the sameness of palace life. Through an odd set of circumstances, she walks out of the palace grounds to get some more cheddar for her favorite horse and ends up on a public train to Edinburgh. A sweet novel with lots of interesting, quirky, kind, and all around good characters. A great book for readers who enjoy the Number 1 Ladies Detective novels like I do. I think Precious Ramotswe and the Queen would have enjoyed riding the train together.   

--Barb  


$25.00
ISBN-13: 9781476710839
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Atria Books, 12/2013

I loved this detailed, unsentimental memoir of working as a ranch hand on the Sun Ranch in Montana. Andrews lived and worked on land where elk, cattle and wolves travel on separate seasonal paths that intersect and often collide. Neither pro or anti-wolf, his story presents the complexity of ranching and predators. His chapter on predators is unforgettable. With clean, well-lighted prose and his black and white photos, Andrews refuses to simplify the problem. He will probably be damned by the extremes at both end of the debate, but his respect for both sides is part of what I enjoyed about this book.   

--Barb 

 


MaddAddam (Hardcover)

$27.95
ISBN-13: 9780385528788
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Nan A. Talese, 9/2013

I love Atwood's speculative fiction because it always takes current events and twists them into the future. MaddAddam didn't disappoint me with its story of the aftermath of the Waterless Flood pandemic. I read the first two books in this trilogy years ago, so I was happy this one included a summary of the previous events. It's a satisfying ending to a provocative dystopian trilogy.

--Barb    


$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780762448654
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Running Press, 3/2013

I chortled at Federle's witty description of classic and contemporary novels. His intriguing, privately-tested drink recipes made me want to buy a Cobbler shaker and whip up a batch of “Lord of the Mai-Tais.” Or maybe a “Brave New Swirled” or a “Huckleberry Sin.” This book includes sections with non-alcoholic drinks (“Refreshments for Recovering Readers”), snacks (“Bar Bites for Book Hounds”) and group-sized drink recipes (“Bevvies for Book Clubs”). Toast your inner literary nerd with this book or give a copy to a friend.

--Barb 

 


$28.95
ISBN-13: 9780670024858
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Viking Adult, 10/2013

A fascinating historical novel for people like me who enjoy botany, travel and philosophy. Born in 1800 in Philadelphia, Alma Whittaker is an insatiable seeker of knowledge and a self-taught botanist. Old scientific and religious ideas are being challenged, and so is Alma.  

--Barb 


The Crane Wife (Hardcover)

$26.95
ISBN-13: 9781594205477
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Penguin Press HC, The, 1/2014

The strangest book I've read, and one of the best. A mixture of a contemporary literary novel and a mythic story of Japanese gods and goddesses. If you are ready to try something different, give this novel a try.  

--Barb 

 


The Abomination (Hardcover)


ISBN-13: 9780062264336
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Harper Torch, 6/2013

It's shocking enough when a priest's body washes up on shore near Venice, but it's an abomination when the autopsy reveals the priest is a woman. Solving this murder requires the unique skills of Second Lieutenant Holly Boland, Captain Kat Tapo, and Danielle Barbo--the webmaster who created the virtual Venice called Carnivia. A taunt thriller based on extensive research, Abomination involves the U.S. Army, the Venice police, the Catholic church, and the Italian Mafia.

--Barb 




The Abduction (Hardcover)

$26.99
ISBN-13: 9780062267047
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Harper, 6/2014

Darker than the first book in the Carnivia trilogy, but just as engrossing. Another book that I stayed up until midnight to finish. Conspiracies inside of conspiracies abound after an American teenager is kidnapped in Venice. To save her, Second Lieutenant Holly Boland, Captain Kat Tapo, and webmaster Danielle Barbo pool their resources. The kidnappers seem to be working for either an anti-American protest group, the U.S. Army, the Vatican, the Venetian police, or a disgruntled Carnivia administrator.   

--Barb 


The Bees (Hardcover)

$25.99
ISBN-13: 9780062331151
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Ecco Press, 5/2014

Being bee-ignorant, I had no idea what was going to happen next in this book. Seeing the world through the eyes of Flora 717, a worker bee, changed my view of the flowers in my garden. Because Flora 717 is different genetically from her sister floras, she ends us disrupting the normal hierarchy of the hive. But she also helps solve hive crises like an attack by wasps and the unexpected death of the queen. A fascinating, compelling read with an unpredictable (unless you're a bee) ending. 

--Barb 

 



Hunting Shadows (Hardcover)

$25.99
ISBN-13: 9780062237187
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: William Morrow & Company, 1/2014

This was my first book in the Ian Rutledge series, and I loved it. Set in 1920s rural England, Rutledge is haunted by shadows of his WWI experiences. Both the good and the bad characters struggle to cope with what they saw or did during the war. Especially those who were assigned to be snipers. To other soldiers and civilians, snipers were seen as despicable. Being a sniper wasn't even noted in their military service record. When a two prominent men are killed by sniper shots, Rutledge has to uncover all those men in the nearby villages who were snipers in the war.      

--Barb       


$26.95
ISBN-13: 9780307908001
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Pantheon, 6/2014

A fascinating combination of literary biography, Cold War espionage, literary criticism, and Russian political history. As a teenager I fell  in love with Russian literature because of Dr. Zhivago.  I had no idea that it was such a controversial novel or that both the Kremlin and the CIA used as a weapon in the Cold War.  

 

--Barb 



$26.95
ISBN-13: 9780670014699
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Viking Adult, 1/2014

One of my favorite mystery series set in Montana. Sean Stranahan is a sleuth who's an artist and a fly fisherman. This one centers on a missing female fishing guide and a dead ranch hand whose body is found impaled on the antlers of a bull elk. Quirky, yet believable characters.   

--Barb 

 


$25.95
ISBN-13: 9781628723243
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Arcade Publishing, 7/2014

While this biography does deal with the murder she committed as a teenager, it also covers the 50 plus years beyond that and her life as a writer. It asks the question of whether people can ever pay the bill in full for their violent crimes. Can they ever live a life that's worthwhile after something like that? The author makes no direct judgements on Anne Perry's teenage actions or on what she did after her release from prison. She explains why without passing judgement. I like the way she analyzes the ways Perry is like her character Inspector Monk, and the way her life affected her writing.

--Barb 

 



Shades of Grey (Paperback)

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780143118589
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Penguin Books, 3/2011

In Chromatacia your place in the social hierarchy is determined by what colors you can see, with purples on the top level and greys on the bottom. With his better-than-average red perception, Eddie Russet hopes to marry in a powerful violet family. That is until he meets Jane Grey who shows him the illusions of his world. A fascinating, often funny, futuristic fantasy.

--Barb


$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780142001806
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Penguin Books, 2/2003

If you enjoy the quirky humor of Terry Pratchett's Discworld, you'll love Jasper Fforde's Bookworld. Visit Fforde's alternative version of 1985 Great Britain, where time travel is routine and characters can be kidnapped from books. Meet Thursday Next, famed Special Operative in Literary Detection. Thursday has to track down the villain who's kidnapped Jane Eyre. To do this she has to enter Bronte's novel and travel through Bookworld. Lots of puns, literary allusions, and laugh out loud details.   

--Barb 


$19.99
ISBN-13: 9780062272881
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Harperwave, 7/2013

Every recipe I've made from this cookbook has been delicious and easy to make. The text is sexy, informative, and fun to read. So this is the perfect cookbook for a nutrition minded cook or people who enjoy reading cookbooks.

--Barb 



$16.00
ISBN-13: 9781608198566
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Bloomsbury USA, 4/2012

A cozy mystery series set in Cambridge in the 1950s.  Sidney Chambers--the vicar of Grantchester--becomes involved with detective work because there are some places where a clergyman can go but a policeman can’t.  After officiating at the funeral of one of his married parishioners, Sidney is visited by a woman who insists that the deceased hadn’t committed suicide. She reveals that they were in the midst of an affair and had planned on running away together in two weeks. Only a clergyman could delicately probe the grieving widow for more details.  I enjoyed the series of mysteries in this book and Sidney’s moral dilemmas as he works with the police on solving each one.

--Barb 






Blue Horses: Poems (Hardcover)

$24.95
ISBN-13: 9781594204791
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Penguin Press HC, The, 10/2014

I loved this newest collection of Oliver’s poetry! As I expected, some of these beautiful, thought-provoking poems are connected to the natural world. However, many of them aren’t. Three of my favorite poems dealt with yoga, angels and a painting of blue horses. The perfect gift for the person who reads poetry or for the person you wish would read poetry.

--Barb




$27.95
ISBN-13: 9780385349604
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Knopf, 7/2014

Wow! A history lesson in the form of a compelling, political thriller! Nineteen-year old Margo Jensen—a black college student at Cornell—becomes the back channel needed to carry messages between Khurschev and JFK during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. She also becomes tangled up in the Washington infighting between the State Department, the CIA, the FBI, and the White House.    

--Barb 


If Not for This (Paperback)

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9781597095389
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Red Hen Press, 8/2014

How much of who you are is determined by your body? Is your twenty-seven year old river-runner, ripped, six-packed body who you are? Or is your forty-year old, stumbling, MS body who you are? Dalton and Maddy love rivers as much as they love each other, and they start their own whitewater rafting company near Ashland, OR. Then Maddy is diagnosed with MS, and Dalton goes to work as a carpenter so he can support her and eventually their two children. Maddy is sassy, strong, and able to joke about her body's new form. She even uses her claw-hand to play Captain Hook for her young children. Dalton is her caretaker and lover. Although there are times of anger, disappointment, and sadness, this is a positive book with a "Steel Magnolia" ending. It will make you look beyond the twitching and stuttering of someone's body and encourage you to look for who they are inside.

--Barb 


$25.95
ISBN-13: 9780385539128
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Nan A. Talese, 9/2014

Nine tales--not short stories--by one of my favorite authors. In her "Acknowledgements" Atwood makes sure that you understand that tales "evoke the world of the folk tale, the wonder tale, and the long-ago teller of tales."Atwood's tales are more like her early novel Robber Bride than her recent Maddadam series. The first three tales revolve around a fantasy world called Alphinland that one of the characters has spent her life writing about and that's become a global best selling book series. One is a version of a Grimm's like tale of a female werewolf born to a peasant family. One is the story of a disguntled older writer who's known only as the author of an Classic International Horror story called "The Dead Hand Loves You" that he wrote when he was in his early twenties. Wide ranging in topic, narrators, and plot, these engaging stories show that Atwood continues to write fascinating, unusual stories--excuse me--fascinating, unusual tales.

--Barb