Linda's Past Picks - 6

If it's Wednesday, I must be at The Bookloft - not the greenhouse, not leading a field trip, not at Naumkeag and not doing trail work on the AT! 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!

Find more of my archived Staff Picks here!

Linda's Staff Picks:

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The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird Cover Image
UNAVAILABLE: Backordered or Out-of-Print (But email us to search for a used copy.)
ISBN: 9781501191886
Published: Simon & Schuster - February 11th, 2020

Bookseller: Linda
Title: The Falcon Thief

Comments: Could you have mixed feelings-as in good guy/bad guy-for someone who steals birds (endangered species too!!), their eggs AND sells them around the world for profit??? How could he!!!
BUT there is something unique & obsessive about Jeffrey Lendrum. Even the top investigator, Andy McWilliam, from the wildlife crime unit wants to know all about this guy who dangles from helicopters just to reach bird nests.
You will learn about various birds from around the world, their threatened lives and people who want to possess them or breed them into a new hardier survivor.
You'll travel the world in the searches and begin to understand the threats to wildlife today-for personal reasons OR for breeding.
And this Jeffrey is an escape artist until...

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A Game of Birds and Wolves: The Ingenious Young Women Whose Secret Board Game Helped Win World War II Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316492065
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - February 23rd, 2021

Bookseller: Linda
Title: A Game of Birds and Wolves

Comments: Games not just for children or fun BUT life & death situations during World War Two.
German submarines were out in force in the North Atlantic destroying cargo ships of the Allies. It was reaching a critical point-food & fuel as well as ammunition for Europe never reached the shore.
Retired military man was called in to use a new technique: a full wall with a map & game pieces for the Allies & German Uboats, wolves. From this point, they studied past attacks and planned new ways to counter attack. It was the women, Birds, who adjusted the players, trained the new captains and kept the codes for first hand information-at the moment, ready to respond.
Of course the Germans had their plans too with neither groups knowing what was to happen.
This is an exciting read giving you more understanding of the war in the Atlantic, the great role women planned in the spy effort and the teamwork needed to win.
Personal stories of the personalities before, during and after the war add to the drama.

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This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Medical Resident Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316426725
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Spark - December 3rd, 2019

Bookseller: Linda
Title: This Is Going to Hurt

Comments: This may be a very true title as: your stomach muscles COULD ache after the belly laughs, your head may throb after learning that the medical field is extremely tough for interns AND there could be eye strain as you might want to finish the book in one sitting! ====CAUTION===
Adam Kay gives the nitty  gritty of his work in the ob-gyn section. Some incidents are funny, some sad & others just plain remarkable.
But the problems with the medical field, whether in the US or Europe, have been the same issues-staffing, care & billing.
An engaging fun read as well as enlightening into the medical field.
OK, maybe take 2 aspirins...

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Bomber's Moon: A Joe Gunther Novel (Joe Gunther Series #30) Cover Image
UNAVAILABLE: Backordered or Out-of-Print (But email us to search for a used copy.)
ISBN: 9781250113306
Published: Minotaur Books - September 24th, 2019

Bookseller: Linda
Title: Bomber's Moon

Comments: Mayor's latest Joe Gunther delves into current issues. His Top Notch Team PLUS investigating reporter Rachel and private investigator Sally work on multiple fronts. Methods as per police used but also the insider information that Rachel & Sally have acquired thru 'their means', cause some disruption.
This book is deep in the searching of why the victim  was murdered which turns out to be very complicated.
Current news topics are covered here: drugs, prep schools, high tech thief, sexual harassment, past history and politics.
No quick read here; pay attention to the clues & details-yet you'll still be surprised!
Thanks Mayor!!

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Blind Search: A Mercy Carr Mystery Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250153050
Availability: Usually Ships in 2-7 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - November 5th, 2019

Bookseller: Linda
Title: Blind Search

Comments: Mercy Carr is back and busy. The Southern Vermont setting in Oct can be beautiful BUT when a death occurs, by an arrow, the atmosphere changes. Of course she gets involved as does her old friend Troy Warner, a game warden. And most important are their dogs: Elvis & Susie Bear.
If you've read the first book (Borrowing of Bones) you'll recognize the local folks who seem to ALL get involved to solve the problem.
But this mystery has a few subplots-dealing with a missing autistic boy, murder of 2 people by arrows, mischief in the woods with illegal hunting, drugs, weapon smuggling, Northshire town having it's busiest season interrupted and MORE!
Blind Search has lots of drama, bit of humor, touch of romance, action with chase scenes, medical emergencies-all covered in an early snow.
Great entertainment, especially if you love dogs as Elvis & Susie Bear are a big part of the rescue. ENJOY


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A Borrowing of Bones: A Mystery (A Mercy Carr Mystery #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250229489
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Minotaur Books - August 27th, 2019

Bookseller: Linda
Title: A Borrowing of Bones

Comments: Mercy Carr, MP & Shepard Elvis, both retired military, retreat to the wilds of Northshire VT. They both need to heal & bond after Mercy's fiancé was killed in action.
There are connections for Mercy here-she grew up in  these parts, her grandmother, Patience, is the still the local vet & very involved with the community.
But things aren't as peaceful as Mercy & Elvis are always on the alert-especially after finding a baby abandoned in the woods AND a buried body in the same woods!
In a small world, Mercy meets Troy Warner& his dog associate, Susie Bear, who both work as game wardens.
Mercy & Troy, after many years & different lives remember they were in school together. Between a very busy 4th of July holiday weekend, a cold case, missing persons, another body, art theft and the hierarchy of the police department, Mercy & Troy are driven to find answers.
Great new mystery series with lovable characters including the dogs, with intertwined mysteries connected in a small town AND beyond!

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Vanishing Fleece: Adventures in American Wool Cover Image
UNAVAILABLE: Backordered or Out-of-Print (But email us to search for a used copy.)
ISBN: 9781419735318
Published: Abrams Press - October 1st, 2019

Bookseller: Linda
Title: Vanishing Fleece

Comments: Sheep-wool-sweater; it's not that easy.
Clara Parkes knows it all & she takes you from farm to 4 different mills for the processing of 'just shorn' wool-to the skein you use.
Treatment of the wool like washing & rinsing, more cleaning, lanolin removal or not, dye baths-commercial or hand with natural materials AND the market are all part of her story.
She keeps this journey as a personal mission-meeting all kinds of 'wool' folks & processors. And thru this you travel the country, learn history and get a chance to be 'up front' in all these mills.
With her wealth of knowledge & sense of humor, she brings this story full circle where you can just enjoy the ride!
Question is????: what is to become of wool? Markets, international & US have changed BUT small farms are surviving & old mills are still working-AND-more people need to raise sheep & use wool!

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A Better Man: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250066312
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Minotaur Books - June 30th, 2020

Bookseller: Linda
Title: A Better Man

Comments: Inspector Gamache is faced with multiple situations where the stakes are high, solutions critical & the people involved are strained. One of Louise Penny's highest tension books.
the Three Pines residents all have a part in influencing the problems: the harsh Quebec police dept, the storm & flooding, the missing girl, the changes in the Village, all work together to challenge Gamache in his unexpected procedures.
Action packed and very personal for all involved.
You must commit time to just reading this... 

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Almost Midnight: A Novel (Mike Bowditch Mysteries #10) Cover Image
UNAVAILABLE: Backordered or Out-of-Print (But email us to search for a used copy.)
ISBN: 9781250102416
Published: Minotaur Books - July 2nd, 2019

Bookseller: Linda
Title: Almost Midnight

Paul Doiron is REAL good about giving you a thrilling story set in Maine-& environs.
Mike Bowditch, game warden & investigator, has his unofficial associates and those in higher places, who seem to access necessary information.
Current issues-wolves, prison reform, drugs, changing demographics & the 'ole boys club', all play a role in this newest fast paced mystery.
It's all about the people-good & bad-and Mikes' sensitivity to real life situations.
Well worth the drive north for adventure and beauty!

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Underland: A Deep Time Journey Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393358094
Availability: Usually Ships in 2-7 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - August 18th, 2020

Bookseller: Linda
Title: Underland

Comments: Bizarre, horrors, delights, extraordinary, dark, light history, geology-DANGER!
Macfarlane takes you below & immerses you into other lives.
This is the past-and what will be the future? What kind of traces will we, human species today, leave behind for the future?
A timely book for us. the exploitation of the earth for wealth has stressed our ecosystems AND that in turn, ADDS TO HUMAN DISTRESS.
This is an important read for today-nature & science; life & death...

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The Farmer's Son: Calving Season on a Family Farm Cover Image
UNAVAILABLE: Backordered or Out-of-Print (But email us to search for a used copy.)
ISBN: 9781328577993
Published: Ecco - May 7th, 2019

Bookseller: Linda
Title: The Farmer's Son

Comments: It's not easy being a farmer's son or daughter-but you'll have to weigh the pros & cons of being on a farm.
Son John has been a journalist, film producer and has traveled to some far away places-from the farm. But helping out a the farm through all the births & deaths of cows & sheep, the neighborly needs of farmers, the prize animals, the VERY long hours at birthing times and the peace of place...can make or break your choices.

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Deception Cove (Winslow and Burke Series #1) Cover Image
UNAVAILABLE: Backordered or Out-of-Print (But email us to search for a used copy.)
ISBN: 9780316448703
Published: Mulholland Books - May 21st, 2019

Bookseller: Linda
Title: Deception Cove


2 people: 1 ex-con, Mason who trained a service dog while in prison and Jess ex-Marine with PTSD and 'the dog'.
Lucy, the dog, is a binder between these 2 different people and helps solve the deep mystery about the death of Jess's husband.
These personalities are afraid to trust anyone but Lucy seems to know their traumas so she becomes the connection for trust.
Both Jess & Mason become involved in trying to solve a big drug deal gone wrong which involved Jess's husband AND the local law enforcement.
Lots of action, flash backs and a new team is formed, Jess, Mason & Lucy, to investigate on  their own terms, the drug problem.
A few heavy twists & turns and some surprising outcomes.
Wonderful complex mystery with emotions...

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The Sakura Obsession: The Incredible Story of the Plant Hunter Who Saved Japan's Cherry Blossoms Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525435389
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - February 25th, 2020

Bookseller: Linda
Title: The Sakura Obsession


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D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451495099
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - March 17th, 2020

Bookseller: Linda
Title: D-Day Girls

Comments:I can't tell you much-its all 'hush-hush'. And Sarah Rose has a story that includes many different people and their personal lives that changed because of the 'work' folks did.
the training, disruption of lives and the high level of danger is extraordinary! We read about war stories but the undercover resistance fighters & spies made OR broke a mission.
How do you change your personality, focus on destroying wires & telephone lines; who could you trust & can you con your way past the German guards????
An historical record that will surprise you....

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Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog Cover Image
UNAVAILABLE: Backordered or Out-of-Print (But email us to search for a used copy.)
ISBN: 9781501161155
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 2nd, 2019

Bookseller: Linda
Title: Lessons From Lucy

We dog lovers know DOGS are smart, naturally!
And Dave Barry brings his humor & sensitivity to the question of the ages-HOW TO LIVE, via LUCY, his old dog.
I'll just list the rules of life here:
1)make new friends & keep the old
2)getting old BUT have FUN
3)pay attention to PEOPLE (or dogs)
4)let GO of your ANGER, waste of time & no good reason.
5)don't judge PEOPLE by how they LOOK
6) be HAPPY but not with THINGS
A warm hearted read for all with hope for living to the fullest!

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Stick Together (The Awkward Squad #2) Cover Image
UNAVAILABLE: Backordered or Out-of-Print (But email us to search for a used copy.)
ISBN: 9780857055804
Published: MacLehose Press - March 3rd, 2020

Bookseller: Linda
Title: Stick Together

Comments: And sticking together really makes a difference...
The quirky team of investigators seems to be growing. You'll find 2 new members & the "special animals" become hands on investigators too!
Commissaire Anne leads the group into very personal waters: her police officer ex-father in law is murdered and the trail leads around the police staff & her ex husband! A cold case of bank robbery & now multiple murders, sends this group, with various expertise, to solve the case before the 'formal' police group!
Anne's team uses unique techniques to learn details as they are not given all the background information
from headquarters.
I think the fun about this mystery (even if there is a crime) are the team members: they are sooo different and yet work in unison.
There are even some laugh out loud episodes!

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In Search of the Canary Tree: The Story of a Scientist, a Cypress, and a Changing World Cover Image
ISBN: 9781541697126
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Basic Books - November 27th, 2018

Bookseller: Linda
Title: In Search of the Canary Tree

Lauren Oakes will engage you in the entire process of research, which of course is YEARS! But when you begin the study of seeking out the remaining yellow cedar trees in Alaska with Lauren & her team, it becomes more emotion than science...
The cedar is under threat due to climate change. The frozen ground with abundant snow cover has protected its roots during the long winters AND now that snow is going quickly. This bare ground leaves the roots exposed and the trees barely surviving. 
It is a study of the environment-but also becomes a study in human dependence on the local environment including the beautiful Yellow Cedar.
Many Alaskans have opinions as to what will happen. But their personal adjustments differ and yet they are all connected to each other and their lands.
Lauren has interviewed many and studied her research information-to find out there is a close attachment of a place and its species.
Life continues with humanity & nature changing. She raises questions-how to change AND change we must!

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The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143111122
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - September 24th, 2019

Bookseller: Linda
Title: The Poison Squad

Food & Drug Safety -- the same today as it was back in 1900! WHY? Follow the money & the politics...
So follow Blum's story as she brings all the past situations of adulterations & unsanitary conditions regarding food & drugs RIGHT in your face!
UGH, how could we continue with poison dyes in candy (and more) but legislation was just not happening.
You'll be shocked and disappointed but be cheering the few scientists who worked for YEARS trying to protect the public.
And today, we are still confronted by additives and new chemicals AND more data. READ YOUR LABELS!!!!

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Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571313812
Availability: Usually Ships in 2-7 Days
Published: Milkweed Editions - March 12th, 2019

Bookseller: Linda
Title: Rising

Comments:Yes, climate change AND the rising waters. But have we really looked, personally, at the consequences of all the world's coastlines?
The author takes you up close and personal to the people who are suffering with the loss of their land, the fish, the vegetation. From Alaska, Louisiana, Maine, and beyond, it's not just the water, but the SALT moving in that is a critical factor. Everything from microorganisms to megafauna that evolved together are now challenged. How will they adapt? Can we adapt? This becomes destruction in a physical sense and mental sense.
Rush takes us to the edge, to see for ourselves. To understand the science, social interaction, the political forces of the past (and now future) and even more... of what we can do. Or can we?

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Silence: A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives Cover Image
UNAVAILABLE: Backordered or Out-of-Print (But email us to search for a used copy.)
ISBN: 9780544702486
Published: Mariner Books - January 15th, 2019

Bookseller: Linda
Title: Silence

Silence is communication. Think of a monastery. The quiet where there is serenity, to make your mind more open, to think, to be aware, peace and prayer.
But, silence or isolation can be torture, darkness, and unnerving. Think of prisons, the gulag.
The author has studied the various forms of silence. The institution of prison - even before America's idea of incarceration in the 1830s - has undergone many changes. Currently there is still debate of what to do. The human mind needs stimulation, needs communication, needs meaningful work and needs light!
Thomas Merton needed the monastery to develop his thoughts in silence. But he understood: we must change, reach out, communicate (as he did by his writing) to the current times.
Brox explores it all. And makes you think: is there too much noise today? Can we enjoy some silence to let our minds - and hearts - wander??

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Attucks!: Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374306120
Availability: Usually Ships in 2-7 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) - October 23rd, 2018

Bookseller: Linda
Title: Attucks!: Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City

This is a wonderful & timely book which reads like a play-by-play event. BASKETBALL.
Anyone could play with any "basketball" & have a game with anyone. Sounds like fun?
But in the 1950s, even Indiana had its racial issues. Times were changing across the country but no full civil rights anywhere.
Here was a team with an inspiring coach who beat the odds, opened minds & integrated schools. This was a time the KKK existed and the "great migration" of Blacks from the south going north and west.
The power was in the people, the common man and others who opened their eyes & felt the joy of being together -- for basketball and humanity.

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Seaweed Chronicles: A World at the Water’s Edge Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616205744
Availability: Usually Ships in 2-7 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - August 7th, 2018

Bookseller: Linda
Title: Seaweed Chronicles

Seaweed: SEA - the area that sustains some of our food; WEED - the plant that can nourish us. Seems simple?
But it is a complex system and becoming more mainstream (no pun intended!). It is worthy for humans to add it to their grocery list.
There are many varieties of seaweed and they do taste different. Very popular in the Far East, but also, Maine, Alaska, California, Ireland and well, almost anywhere!
The concern today is: clean water, right balance of the whole ecological niche and the dreadful commercial, rather than small farmers/aquaculture harvesting of a nutrient rich food source.
Here is where one species that needs monitoring with a hands on knowledge of its growth, development and interconnectedness to the sea, is critical.
And this critical part, the sea & earth, have been exploited where we can see the destruction.
Perhaps we can be moved to care for our caretakers-and use our resources wisely...
Nice details about seaweed growth which I never thought of before!

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The Trail Cover Image
ISBN: 9781338035872
Availability: Usually Ships in 2-7 Days
Published: Scholastic Inc. - December 26th, 2018

Bookseller: Linda
Title: The Trail

Is this the right way? Can you follow the white blazes? Toby HAS to do this. He & his friend made a list and hiking the AT from Norwich, VT to Mt. Katahdin, ME. was the last item.
What Toby feels, does and thinks about are his friend, his Gram and the folks he meets along the trail. And his best buddy is "Moose", a stray who becomes his partner.
Wonderful story-full of surprises, action, fun, sadness, fear AND drama!
But this book has very important & practical information about hiking & survival.
The author did a SUPER JOB!

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The Last Thing You Surrender: A Novel of World War II Cover Image
ISBN: 9781572842458
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Agate Bolden - February 5th, 2019

Bookseller: Linda
Title: The Last Thing You Surrender

Comments: This is a difficult book-to write about. I was so moved by the story-strong feelings of anger, worry, sympathy, pain, trauma AND YET there was hope, forgiveness, friendship, family and love.
WW11 ear: Pearl Harbor, Jim Crow south, working class, the privileged, KKK, European war front, Japanese POW camp and the HOMEFRONT.
It was a book with so many questions (answers??) with such a mixture of characters bringing in their own drama to make changes, survive and keep life since there was (is??) so much hate & pain in the world.
What you have to keep is
Great writer, gotta read more