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This week’s staff pick is from a bestselling author, but maybe not one you’ve read before.   Once again it has a long time span and one event effects a lot of people, with some suspense thrown in there, but it’s an excellent novel according to our staffer and worth the read.

“In 1866, tragedy strikes at the exclusive Windfield School. A young student drowns in a mysterious accident involving a small circle of boys. The drowning and its aftermath initiates a spiraling circle of treachery that will span three decades and entwine many loves… From the exclusive men’s club and brothels that cater to every dark desire of London’s upper classes to the dazzling ballrooms and mahogany-paneled suites of the manipulators of the world’s wealth, Ken Follett conjures up a stunning array of contrasts. This breathtaking novel portrays a family splintered by lust, bound by a shared legacy… men and women swept toward a perilous climax where greed, fed by the shocking truth of a boy’s death, must be stopped, or not just one man’s dreams, but those of a nation, will die…”– Taken from Goodreads.com

 

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This week’s staff pick is a hysterical bite-s-zed novel, perfect for some beach reading.  Our staffer literally laughed out loud several times reading this. This is a fast read, all written via letters of recommendation that a beleaguered creative writing professor writes over the course of a year, and his story comes out through them (all fiction, all hilarious).  As they said: “Pick this up, you won’t regret it.”

Finally, a novel that puts the “pissed” back into “epistolary.”

Jason Fitger is a beleaguered professor of creative writing and literature at Payne University, a small and not very distinguished liberal arts college in the midwest. His department is facing draconian cuts and squalid quarters, while one floor above them the Economics Department is getting lavishly remodeled offices. His once-promising writing career is in the doldrums, as is his romantic life, in part as the result of his unwise use of his private affairs for his novels. His star (he thinks) student can’t catch a break with his brilliant (he thinks) work Accountant in a Bordello, based on Melville’s Bartleby.

In short, his life is a tale of woe, and the vehicle this droll and inventive novel uses to tell that tale is a series of hilarious letters of recommendation that Fitger is endlessly called upon by his students and colleagues to produce, each one of which is a small masterpiece of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies. We recommend Dear Committee Members to you in the strongest possible terms.”– Taken from Goodreads.com

 

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This week’s staff pick is Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Six stories in one that follow the same reincarnated souls through time, this novel is wildly inventive.  The first part may seem a bit slow, but once you get to the second story, the novel takes off.  A wild, complicated ride that’s well worth the effort, this novel also inspired the movie starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry.  Our staffer highly recommends this, or one of Mitchell’s other works – like The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, a historical novel where once you finish the first part, the story explodes into soap opera worthy drama and high stakes. Psst- The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet would count for your book that takes place in Asia for the Read Harder Challenge.

“Cloud Atlas begins in 1850 with Adam Ewing, an American notary voyaging from the Chatham Isles to his home in California. Along the way, Ewing is befriended by a physician, Dr. Goose, who begins to treat him for a rare species of brain parasite. . . . Abruptly, the action jumps to Belgium in 1931, where Robert Frobisher, a disinherited bisexual composer, contrives his way into the household of an infirm maestro who has a beguiling wife and a nubile daughter. . . . From there we jump to the West Coast in the 1970s and a troubled reporter named Luisa Rey, who stumbles upon a web of corporate greed and murder that threatens to claim her life. . . . And onward, with dazzling virtuosity, to an inglorious present-day England; to a Korean superstate of the near future where neocapitalism has run amok; and, finally, to a postapocalyptic Iron Age Hawaii in the last days of history.

But the story doesn’t end even there. The narrative then boomerangs back through centuries and space, returning by the same route, in reverse, to its starting point. Along the way, Mitchell reveals how his disparate characters connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.

As wild as a videogame, as mysterious as a Zen koan, Cloud Atlas is an unforgettable tour de force that, like its incomparable author, has transcended its cult classic status to become a worldwide phenomenon.” Taken from Goodreads.com


Cloud Atlas: A Novel

David Mitchell

Published: Nov 20, 2012 by Modern Library
Find in the Library


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This week’s staff pick is a heist thriller that a lot of people couldn’t put down… our staffer loved it, and so we recommend to you: Ghostman by Roger Hobbs.

“In a daring operation, two crooks-for-hire rob an Atlantic City casino. But their heist goes horribly wrong, and only one of them makes it out alive. Now he’s on the run with $1/2 million vacuum-packed into a bundle the size of a briefcase. Little does he know it’s rigged with explosives.

Almost immediately, an expert fixer named Jack is in cross-country pursuit. With less than 48 hours to recover the money, clean up the mess, and–for god’s sake–try not to botch the job”–Taken from Amazon.com

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This week’s staff pick is by Mireille Guiliano, and was read by a staffer for the Read Harder Challenge.  She particularly enjoyed French Women Don’t Get Facelifts and found it full of great advice, stories, and recipes.

The author of the bestselling French Women Don’t Get Fat shares the secrets and strategies of aging with attitude, joy, and no surgery.

With her signature blend of wit, no-nonsense advice, and storytelling flair, Mireille Guiliano returns with a delightful, encouraging take on beauty and aging for our times. For anyone who has ever spent the equivalent of a mortgage payment on anti-aging lotions or procedures, dressed inappropriate for their age, gained a little too much in the middle, or accidentally forgot how to flirt, here is a proactive way to stay looking and feeling great, without resorting to “the knife”-a French woman’s most guarded beauty secrets revealed for the benefit of us all!


French Women Don't Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style & Attitude

Mireille Guiliano

Published: Dec 24, 2013 by Grand Central Life & Style
Find in the Library


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