Monday, April 1, 2013

Grayson Branch Staff Picks

This month we hear from the staff of the Grayson branch, who share some of their favorite reads in the hope that you might enjoy them as much as they did.

Letters from Berlin
by Kerstin Lieff

Margarete Dos once led a charmed life in Berlin, but as the Allies bomb the city around the clock and the Russians move to take it she does not recognize herself in the mirror because her life has become filled with terror and scarcity. World War II was a nightmare that millions of German civilians suffered simply because they were German. That Margarete survived to tell her daughter her story sixty years later is a miracle. A harrowing and moving true account of the fall of Berlin and the plight of German refugees under the Soviets.

The Life and Exploits of Britain’s Greatest Frigate Captain
by Stephen Taylor

Edward Pellew, Viscount Exmouth, was a frigate captain in the Royal Navy during
the American Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. Chronologically formatted, this biography begins with Pellew’s childhood and continues with his early years at sea, his fighting in America during the Revolution, and his eventual rise to the rank of admiral. The narrative is engaging and the reader will be eager to learn what happens next. A thorough and well-balanced biography based on previously unavailable sources; very well done.

The Power of Habit
by Charles Duhigg

A 2006 Duke University study concluded that “more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.” Author Charles Duhigg delves into the science of habit
specifically, how they are formed, how they become ingrained, and how they can be changed. Duhigg's focus ranges from habits in our personal lives to those of businesses, organizations and social movements. If you are looking for inspiration to help increase your productivity, form new habits or break destructive ones, this book is definitely worth a read.
After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story
by Michael Hainey

I had a “just can’t put the book down” experience as I read Michael Hainey’s account of his search for the truth about his father’s death at age thirty-five. Hainey's memoir is as intriguing as any fiction title you might want to read. I will not spoil the ending, but be assured that no part of this book is disappointing.

by Rachel Maddow

Though author Maddow clearly leans to the left in political matters, her book is solidly non-partisan and presents the case that American military power has drifted from its core mission in recent decades. No one administration holds the blame; instead, a series of decisions since Vietnam has led to an incremental shift away from our values. Maddow is not pessimistic, however, and believes that there is a way forward if we have the strength to make hard decisions.

An Apple for the Creature
by Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner

Editors Harris and Kelner serve up a collection of paranormal stories with an educational twist. You can enjoy a new story about a favorite character such as Sookie Stackhouse or Remy Chandler or experience a great stand-alone like Mike Carey's "Iphigenia in Aulis," a sad, haunting story of a young girl who just longs for human contact. If you have exhausted your usual authors, a short story collection like this is a great way to find a new favorite. 

Speaking from Among the Bones
by Alan Bradley

The fifth volume in Bradley's Flavia de Luce series returns to the small English town of Bishop’s Lacey just after the Second World War, where preteen chemistry whiz Flavia de Luce once again uses her great uncle’s chemistry lab and plain nosiness to get to the bottom of a local mystery. Along with her trusty bicycle, Gertrude, and household handyman, Dogger, Flavia earns the grudging respect of the local constables as she strives to save the family home from creditors and learn more about the mother she never knew.

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