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June 2018 Staff Picks

David’s Pick: The Rub of Time by Martin Amis

rub of timeAmis, who touts himself as “the only hereditary novelist in the Anglophone literary corpus”, is pretty authoritative when writing about literature, even when so much of it is devoted to his adulation of Nabokov & Bellow; Amis on politics and culture can be irritating, but the quality of the writing is high enough and the flashes of insight come often enough to make this an enjoyable collection.

Jayme’s Pick: The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

the 57 busBoth Sasha (a white agender private school teenager) and Richard (an African-American public school student who had lost numerous loved ones to murder) rode the 57 bus every day. One afternoon, Richard—egged on by friends—lit the sleeping Sasha’s skirt on fire, and the resulting blaze left third-degree burns over 22% of Sasha’s body. Sixteen-year-old Richard was arrested and charged as an adult with committing a hate crime. The short, easily digestible chapters take a variety of forms, including narrative, poetry, lists (including terms for gender, sex, sexuality, and romantic inclinations), text-message conversations, and Richard’s heartrending letters of apology to Sasha.  It’s a remarkable story about identity, choices, consequences and, in the end, forgiveness.

Jayme’s Pick: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

forgottenThe Forgotten Garden  could be described as a coming of age story, a romance, a mystery novel, and a fairytale.   The story is about Nell, a little girl who travels from England to Australia and starts a new life, one where her real name and parents are lost to her.  At the age of 21, Nell learns the truth about why she has always felt different from the other members of her family, and she sets off on a journey to discover her true self that will span her lifetime and her granddaughter’s.  Her only clue is a small white suitcase with a book of fairytales inside.    I must say Morton impressed me with the way in which she was able to adapt her writing to give a traditional feel to the tales.

Leanne’s Pick: The Disaster Artist : My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell

the disasterThe Room is widely regarded as the best worst movie ever made. A bizarre film directed, written, and produced by Tommy Wiseau – who also played the lead role. Greg Sestero, an actor in The Room, shares his experiences with Tommy and the creation of this masterpiece of bad theatre. A funny and uplifting look into the life of an enigmatic man. This book is the inspiration for the film The Disaster Artist (starring James and Dave Franco), which the Library also has a copy of.

Joanne’s Pick: Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants by Stefani Bittner

harvestHarvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants is a lovely book that has ideas on growing, harvesting and using 47 garden plants.  Many of the plants like rhubarb, rosemary, blueberries and roses, you probably already have in your garden and these projects will just help you to get more use out of what you already have.   The projects include flower arranging, beauty products such as lip balm or lilac scented skin cream, natural dyes, infused vinegars, herbal teas and food recipes and cocktails. This book is helpful in the kitchen and garden.

Natalie’s Pick: Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

warlightAfter seven years, Ondaatje has a new book and it is a beauty. Set in 1945 England, two teenagers are mysteriously abandoned by their parents and raised by shadowy characters who all conducted underground activities during the war. The book is dream-like, odd, hazy, and then exact. Be prepared to have loose ends simply evaporate followed by illumination, as it is all part of the magic that is Ondaatje’s writing. If you liked the English Patient you will not be disappointed.