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January 2022 Staff Picks

David’s Pick: Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart

Cover image for Our country friends : a novelIf you feel you’re ready for a pandemic novel, at least this one is funny. Echoing Boccaccio’s Decameron, a group of friends flee the city to wait out the pandemic and things get a little crazy for everyone. A hilarious and worthy successor to Shteyngart’s last novel Lake Success.

Jayme’s Pick: The Music of Bees by Eileen Garvin

Cover image for The music of bees : a novelGarvin is a beekeeper writing about her hometown of Hood River, Oregon. Raising bees amid the lush orchards of Oregon provides a pastoral backdrop for the story of the three characters whose dreams have been destroyed.

“The Music of Bees” tells of the power inside each of us that builds the sweet life we want even if we don’t get there the way we had dreamed.

It’s exactly the book we need after a year of uncertainty.

Mel’s Pick: Ice walker : a polar bear’s journey through the fragile Arctic  by James Raffan

Cover image for Ice walker : a polar bear's journey through the fragile ArcticA beautifully written book that demonstrates, through the story of Nanu, how the biologies and ecologies polar bears intersect with human cultures. A story of interdependence, tragedy, and unrelenting resilience that takes a hard look the lives of polar bears and Arctic peoples in a changing Arctic climate.

Natalie’s Pick: Evening in Paradise: more stories by Lucia Berlin

Cover image for Evening in paradise : more storiesLucia Berlin wrote sporadically between the 1960s and 1980s on stories that reflected her fascinating life – growing up in mining towns, being a teenager in Chile, her various marriages, jobs, and struggle with alcohol. Even though she received little recognition during her lifetime, a compilation of Berlin’s work in 2015 (A Manual for Cleaning Women) catapulted her into the public eye. This particular collection was named the 2018 NYT Book Review “Editor’s Choice,” and is a pleasure to read. I felt immersed and present in her world. Her own son wrote the introduction, and commented on the wonder she could evoke.