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July 2024 Staff Picks

Alan’s Pick: The devil’s chessboard : Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the rise of America’s secret government by David Talbot

Cover image for The devil's chessboard : Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the rise of America's secret governmentThis eye-opening book charts the rise of the C.I.A from its inception in 1947 through the Kennedy years and beyond. It is a ‘must-read’ for anyone interested in getting a deeper understanding of the most turbulent decade in recent American history.


Alan’s Pick: My dinner with André [videorecording]

Cover image for My dinner with André [videorecording]Amusing, witty, intense at times, a classic worth watching, both for the script and the masterful performance by actor Wallace Shawn.



David’s Pick: Knife by Salman Rushdie

Cover image for Knife : meditations after an attempted murderSalman Rushdie: Knife (2024). Few people have survived an assassination attempt as vicious as the one that nearly took Salman Rushdie’s life in 2022. Even fewer have the skill and grace to write about it with such clarity. Not an easy read but an essential one.


David’s Pick: Seize the Day by Saul Bellow

Cover image for Seize the day [text]A perfect short read, this novella compresses so much of life into a relatively small space. It’s a masterclass in portraying anxiety and frustration.



Jayme’s Pick: Tell me three things by Julie Buxbaum

Cover image for Tell me three thingsJessie, a girl-next-door type suddenly finds herself in an elite California prep school and must figure out how to navigate this new privileged world while still grieving her mother’s death. When she gets an email from an unidentified boy who calls himself “Somebody Nobody” offering to be her spirit guide to her new school, she doesn’t want to say yes—but she really needs his help. A sweet and fun teen romance, but also a pitch-perfect portrayal of the grieving process. I couldn’t stop myself from cheering for Jessie as she put her life together again.

Karen’s Pick: The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage

The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth  Century's On-line Pioneers eBook : Standage, Tom: Kindle StoreAs it details the creation of the telegraph, from the difficulties in laying cables on the ocean floor, to telegraph romances, to secret telegraph codes, it also draws parallels between the telegraph and the internet in the impacts these technologies have had on our ability to communicate. A very readable slice of world history.


Mark’s Pick: Life with Dave & Gail by Dave Harper and Gail Fennell

This book is a very enjoyable collection of memoirs written by two local writers. The book contains very funny and insightful stories, as well as interesting memories related to local history.