So many interests, like so many books, and so little time! That's why non-fiction books are usually my picks, because I try to keep up with my favorite subjects. As I heard once, "Act your shoe size!" We all need to slow down and see what there is to see. We need to reread some books, like Silent Spring. Sometimes it's children who help us grown-ups marvel at the wonders of the natural world, right in our own backyards. Stop and smell the flowers! But a good mystery is always interesting-for the other grey cells!

Find more of my archived Staff Picks here!

Linda's Staff Picks:

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The Plant Hunter: A Scientist's Quest for Nature's Next Medicines By Cassandra Leah Quave Cover Image
UNAVAILABLE-Possible Reasons: Backordered, Out-of-Stock, or Out-of-Print (But email us to search for a copy.)
ISBN: 9781984879110
Published: Viking - October 19th, 2021

Cassandra is a wonder! Scientist, mentor, traveler-explorer, wife, mother and she is driven to help the medical industry find new antibiotics.
She had had multiple surgeries from childhood thru adulthood, related to her artificial leg.
Her studies brought her to ethnobotany-using nature's resources to help find antibiotics.
This book is personal & reads as a dramatic biography, medical mystery and international intrigue!
You learn about Cassandra but also the trials women scientists have to experience to reach their goals.
And her goal? she is determined to find new antibiotics-from plants-or in combination of lab meds & the natural plant products.
This is current & Covid is involved with her research.
This is also about the environment-nature can save us BUT we have to 
preserve our natural resources-so we can find the help!
Great read & action packed...

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Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law By Mary Roach Cover Image
ISBN: 9781324001935
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 14th, 2021

If you've read Mary Roach before, you'll KNOW she gets down to all the basics & wants to know the answers.
She'll cover the historical issues of ie. caterpillars who are charged with harassing farmers & are awaiting trial!
But incidents with bears, tigers, elephants (OH MY!) and more are no joke.
Humans & their encroaching on habitats make for another modern dilemma we face.
This is around the world adventure-in getting along.

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Madhouse at the End of the Earth: The Belgica's Journey into the Dark Antarctic Night By Julian Sancton Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984824349
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - February 22nd, 2022

You are lucky to be reading this bizarre expedition at home!
What drives these explorers? Adventure, money fame? And how do they survive or accomplish their goals-luck, planning, prayers?
This is a descriptive account of the crew members, their personalities, the officers, captain and luckily the doctor who had some experience in survival from other voyages.
You must understand: what is planned was not exactly what they had to endure for 3
years, mostly being ice locked!
You too, will learn some survival tricks-how to adapt to foods to avoid scurvy and use any means you can to get free of the ice.
Their daily lives were full-learning, exploring, experimenting & surviving.
This reads like a great adventure story, which it is, with daily problems to overcome.
This was a new history in the making for this trip & future for others like Amundsen.
Was it worth it???

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One Step Too Far: A Novel (A Frankie Elkin Novel #2) By Lisa Gardner Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593185414
Availability: NOT ON HAND, but usually Ships in 2-7 Days
Published: Dutton - January 18th, 2022

Frankie is back on another mission to find a missing person. But this is out in the wilds of Wyoming, NOT her usual territory.
Tim & his old college buddies were on their adventure/celebration before Tim's wedding. 
But this camping trip turned into missing persons, strange noises, Tim's father, who after 5 yrs. STILL was determined to find Tim-or his remains.
Frankie learns & earns her way with the rescue group. AND, what they find is in these desolate hills, is gruesome...
Gardner does a great job keeping you guessing.
Frankie does her usual-lots of questions, of everyone; this paints a full picture for her, which she can make her conclusions-who done it?
What is really going on?

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Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside By Nick Offerman Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101984697
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - October 12th, 2021

Offerman is now on my favorite author list. I did NOT know anything about him BUT now, WOW!
He tells it like it is-us humans & the environment we've changed. AND the history of people.
With his special sense of humor, he'll take you with him, his wife & his dog  across the country in an RV in 2020. Here he is seeing the country changing for better or worse, and how we may be able to make a difference.
Eye opening, enlightening, funny, sad-hopeful...

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Marked Man: A Joe Gunther Novel (Joe Gunther Series #32) By Archer Mayor Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250224163
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Minotaur Books - October 12th, 2021

Archer Mayor fans may wonder-"how far is he going"?
This book definitely takes concentration. Why? Because of the convoluted, extended, 'intertwined' and controlled family!
The compound or 'home' is a modernized old mill in Brattleboro, which houses this group.
And it all began with the father, an early mob member from R.I.
There are accidents/murders within the compound AND old 'associates' looking...
Rachel & Sally, as well as the usual VBI staff with Joe
travel & experience SO many twists & turns, wondering if they'll ever figure it all out! AND humor here too, whew

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New England's Roadside Ecology: Explore 30 of the Region's Unique Natural Areas By Tom Wessels Cover Image
ISBN: 9781643260099
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Timber Press - September 14th, 2021

Those of us who like to venture outdoors AND are curious about what we stop & look at-rocks, trees, fungi, plants, ETC.-will enjoy paging thru Wessel's newest book.
As an ecologist, he is top notch. there are detailed & understandable descriptions of what you see PLUS the photos are a perfect match for what YOU might see in your exploring!
His other books are worth having in your library-all to help you understand & appreciate your surroundings!
***** 5 stars

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Damnation Spring By Ash Davidson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982144401
Availability: NOT ON HAND, but usually Ships in 2-7 Days
Published: Scribner - August 3rd, 2021

Welcome to Timber Company-and a life of hard work & probably die young or be crippled.  $$$
The Pacific Northwest is known for its Redwoods. and of course, the money making goes with the harvesting & selling lumber which is generations long. $$$
Author Davidson has brought the lives of the men & their families who struggle with the dependence  on the forest. A wonderful, emotional job that you can
feel the pain & joys in their lives.  $$$
The time frame here is with the environmental movement & the connection of herbicides used and the health of the community.
Rich & Colleen and their son Chub are experiencing the changes in the industry. And Colleen begins to see a connection to all the miscarriages & health problems of women. $$$
There is violence & hard feelings between friends & family and there is a deep understanding of the Native Yurok Tribe and what they've lived-with the land & waters.
 Strong characters & deeply moving story for a way of life-and change...$$$

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The Madness of Crowds: A Novel (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel #17) By Louise Penny Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250145260
Availability: NOT ON HAND, but usually Ships in 2-7 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - August 24th, 2021

Playing with statistics-Professor Abigail Robinson-throws residents of Three Pines and Gamache in an unbelievable dilemma.
It's about a pandemic & decisions about care-to give or NOT to "some"!!!
This is a moral issue where the suggestions touch Gamache & his family.
BUT there are murders involved-who do you believe (even if old friends) & who do you trust?
A personal & emotional, for Gamache, friends & family, story with harsh decisions to make-or NOT???

Notes: Things are strongest when they're broken.
Is goodness fragile?

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Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future By Elizabeth Kolbert Cover Image
UNAVAILABLE-Possible Reasons: Backordered, Out-of-Stock, or Out-of-Print (But email us to search for a copy.)
ISBN: 9780593136270
Published: Crown - February 9th, 2021

Bookseller: Linda
Title: Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future

Comments: What we don't know about our environment today is bizarre. Kolbert travels around the world to uncover a few of those issues.
What is Chicago doing about the Asian Carp? TOO MANY!
Louisiana is disappearing foot by foot because of the manipulation of the Mississippi River.
And there are desert pupfish living on the edge-small bodies of water, disappearing...
Carbon. what can we do to capture it? Store it? De-construct it?
Science is out there with some strange proposals with genetic engineering, astro physic techniques and other methods beyond comprehension.
But what to do? We have been trying to manage nature since we became hunter/gatherers. And it has caused problems.
There are also moral issues and what happens in the future from any action we take. Do we risk making more problems????
There is no answer here...what to do?
Engaging & eye opening read!!!

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The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine By Janice P. Nimura Cover Image
ISBN: 9781324020202
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 18th, 2022

Bookseller: Linda
Title: The Doctors Blackwell

Comments: Two sisters who were very determined to become doctors from the 1830s & continued thru schools in the United States, Paris, London & Scotland. And they each had a different vision of what they should strive for.
Nimura does a fantastic job of bringing all the family history, medical field treatments & limitations for women. This also includes international problems with public health and combines all in an engaging & accurate picture of the times.
There are many personal dramas. The struggles the sisters went through and the changes THEY made for women's health & safety are still seen today.
Highly recommended for the wonderful narrative, history & emotions of these two women.

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The Eagles of Heart Mountain: A True Story of Football, Incarceration, and Resistance in World War II America By Bradford Pearson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982107048
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - November 2nd, 2021

Bookseller: Linda
Title: The Eagles of Heart Mountain

Comments: Panic? Fear? Why did we remove all the Japanese American citizens from their homes, farms and "life"?
Internment camps, detention facilities, barracks-prison, all the same.
These innocent citizens and their children who were born in America, suffered after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Pearson delves into the personal lives of some detainees, what was life like, how could they justify their treatment and still keep their heritage and love of 'their' America.
Sports played a role in keeping the youth active-and it became a life line for some. But the prejudice they experienced was heartbreaking.
A very enlightening read of a tragic part of American history.

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Daughter of the Morning Star: A Longmire Mystery By Craig Johnson Cover Image
UNAVAILABLE-Possible Reasons: Backordered, Out-of-Stock, or Out-of-Print (But email us to search for a copy.)
ISBN: 9780593297254
Published: Viking - September 21st, 2021

Walt Longmire is back trying to solve a very sensitive problem; it won't get finished.
Young women from the rez are disappearing and no clues as to why or who may be involved. But Walt & Henry are making some progress one story at a time.
Their investigating involves meeting with families & some mysterious activities may lead to some clues.
This is a current situation and as you can imagine, emotional upheaval top all the families.
Of course there is action & some humor and even a special basketball game.
AND re-read pgs. 180-181 where Walt (aka Johnson) talks about being in a bookstore; very profound!!!

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Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II By Daniel James Brown Cover Image
UNAVAILABLE-Possible Reasons: Backordered, Out-of-Stock, or Out-of-Print (But email us to search for a copy.)
ISBN: 9780525557401
Published: Viking - May 11th, 2021

The harshness of life for Japanese-Americans was brought to the extreme after pearl harbor.
The Japanese in Hawaii & the ones 'state side', had different attitudes & culture. BUT together they became a force.
the young men who were needed for the WW11 effort, were trained & sent to Europe.
Despite them considered not being citizens & their families in camps, the men were a force together of skills, loyalty for the USA & each other.
Incredible details of their lives in camps, in training and in the battlefield.
Brown brings the stories of some of these soldiers thru the war & then upon their return...has anything changed? Do they still have to 'fight' at home?
An extensive history of the time with all the emotions expressed thru Brown's words.

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A Solitude of Wolverines: A Novel of Suspense (Alex Carter Series #1) By Alice Henderson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062982087
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - September 28th, 2021

Bookseller: Linda
Title: A Solitude of Wolverines

Comments: Alex Carter, a biologist, was brave from the beginning of this story. Just up & left Boston, a relationship and went to Montana to live in an old, closed ski lodge.
although she wasn't welcome since locals felt the land trust (who sent her, wouldn't let them hunt on the land. But she did make a few friends which put some changes in her life.
Her job was to set up game cameras & other devices to find wolverines, an endangered species in those mountains.
she is adjusting but WHO was really a friend and why was someone out there to kill her! and is there a Sasquatch???
Natural history, illegal transporting & hunting of 'non native animals'-and the drama of local law enforcement make this a challenge. 
Lots of action & information and the setting is definitely rough. Good to read from a chair-by the fire!

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Nose Dive: A Field Guide to the World's Smells By Harold McGee Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594203954
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - October 20th, 2020

Bookseller: Linda
Title: Nose Dive: A Field Guide to the World's Smells

Comments: That flexible appendage in the middle of our faces has an extraordinary job.
You don't see all those flying molecules of scents BUT the nose knows!
McGee combines his humor, scientific research, and narrative to show us what is out there; why things (food and 'other') smell the way they do, and tries to answer WHY and HOW!
There is history -- evolution and creation all combined. His term for this study is "osmocom". There are formulas to study here (but not necessary) but the 'WHY' is divided into sections and THAT is FASCINATING!
Why does parmesan cheese smell like pineapple??? which came first??? these molecules were here before anyone with a nose evolved!
Take your time & just pick your food, herb, flower or stinky thing and maybe find out why it smells that way.
Great fun for gardeners, cooks-and public health people...

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Voyage of Mercy: The USS Jamestown, the Irish Famine, and the Remarkable Story of America's First Humanitarian Mission By Stephen Puleo Cover Image
UNAVAILABLE-Possible Reasons: Backordered, Out-of-Stock, or Out-of-Print (But email us to search for a copy.)
ISBN: 9781250200471
Published: St. Martin's Press - March 3rd, 2020

Bookseller: Linda
Title: Voyage of Mercy

Comments: The potato famine in Ireland was causing massive starvation for millions. And there was no help from England.
At this time, 1847, US was at war with Mexico BUT because so many Irish immigrants came to the US, everyone learned of the tragic times. 
And then, Young America came together-all peoples, all areas, rich & poor-to start shipping food & supplies to Ireland. It was our first humanitarian effort supported by all!!
Author Puleo gives the background, the personalities and describes the harshest conditions known.
US and Ireland, to this day, share a special bond.
Great history & extremely moving action packed voyages...

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No Man's Land: The Trailblazing Women Who Ran Britain’s Most Extraordinary Military Hospital During World War I By Wendy Moore Cover Image
ISBN: 9781541672727
Availability: NOT ON HAND, but usually Ships in 2-7 Days
Published: Basic Books - April 28th, 2020

Bookseller: Linda
Title: No Man's Land

Comments: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. In this case-WW1 in Europe & the suffragette movement. Two women doctors decided to do their part AND prove a point: women doctors CAN handle war injuries & trauma. Flora Murray & Louisa Anderson set up the first hospital in France taking in all kinds of injuries. Many of these were new German weapons like chlorine gas & shrapnel wounds.
Their success continued into more facilities-the latest & biggest was Endell Street Hospital in London.
AND these hospitals were TOTALLY run by women.
This book is their story.  But very much part of WW1 damage in France & London, military politics and the nature of war affecting everyone...

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Deep River By Karl Marlantes Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802148971
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - July 14th, 2020

Bookseller: Linda
Title: Deep River

Comments: The Deep River, the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest, MADE the businesses AND people!
Early 1900's, Swedish & Finns came to escape the changes in Europe. Men & women  survived by hard work, sharing, not giving up-to make a new life.
This book is a total immersion into the day to day life-of wet wool, loggers boots, huge salmon, massive trees & the struggles with workers rights, big corporations, strikes & bargaining.
And yet there was life-births & midwifery and deaths...
This will take YOU inside the life with such details, I am shocked to have learned so much! 
An absolute emotional experience you want to follow. the author must have spent years researching to tell this amazing history.
And yet, its the same thing today-immigrants, workers, unions & wanting to have freedom to live... 

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All the Devils Are Here: A Novel (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel #16) By Louise Penny Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250145246
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Minotaur Books - June 29th, 2021

Here is an emotional packed, filled with international intrigue AND so much more of our friend Armand Gamache.
The story takes place in Paris where Gamache grew up. And now the early life of him ties into the current happenings with his godfather.
BUT we have the whole Gamache family here and everyone gets involved with the quest!
Three Pines? Yes, help comes from there too!
Penny seems to have brought everyone's personality to the front-and just see how it works-or not!
Plan some uninterrupted time for this book-emotions run high and action moves...