Top Staff Picks of 2022

These are each staff members top 5 staff picks of the year!

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Leech By Hiron Ennes Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250811189
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tordotcom - September 27th, 2022

Giovanni's Staff Pick

Leech was a little slow to start, with a very dry, clinical nameless narrator simply known as The Doctor (no, not that Doctor). The Doctor is one of many host bodies of a hive mind parasite that has replaced the world's physicians. When it loses track of one of its host bodies, it comes to the Chateaux de Verdira to investigate why this particular host was cut off and why it died. This is not a book for the faint of heart. The final chapters are set at a  truly break-neck pace and well worth the investment of the slow beginning with a very tender ending. 


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Lute By Jennifer Thorne Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250826084
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Nightfire - October 4th, 2022

Giovanni's Staff Pick

This was a powerful, gut-wrenching novel about sacrifice, belief and family. Nina, an American ex-pat, lives an idyllic life as Lady Treadway of Lute, wife of Lord Treadway, and mother to two children. She doesn't believe in The Day, the one day every seven years, seven people die between sunrise and sunset. No more, no less. But the Island gets a little funny on the Day. Stranded with no hope of escaping the island's needs, Nina soon realizes that The Day is very real, and Lute does not discriminate between local or visitor, young or old, innocent or guilty. Lute will have its blood, one way or another.


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The Butcher and the Wren By Alaina Urquhart Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781638930143
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Zando - September 13th, 2022

Giovanni's Staff Pick

Alaina Urquhart is a true Weirdo, in the best way possible. As an Autopsy Technician and co-host of a widely successful podcast, Morbid, she uses her extensive knowledge and experience to bring us up close and dirty behind the scenes of the role of a Medical Examiner and into the mind of a deranged serial killer. Dr. Wren Muller may not be able to speak to the dead, but that doesn't mean they don't have stories to tell. And with a dangerous killer dumping his victims throughout New Orleans, it is only a matter of time before she strays into his crosshairs trying to unfold the who, and the why, of this monster. 


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White Horse: A Novel By Erika T. Wurth Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250847652
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - November 1st, 2022

Giovanni's Staff Pick

Kari James grew up hating her mother, who disappeared two days after Kari was born. Her father is little more than a toddler after suffering brain damage during a drunk driving accident. She has been on her own most of her life and lost the only person she ever really loved to a drug overdose. Now her mother's bracelet resurfaces and sends Kari on a haunting journey to discover what happened to her mother. Did she really abandon her family? Or did something more sinister take place? Full of monsters, ghosts, booze and bad decisions, White Horse is a thrilling journey into one woman's search for her mother's secrets.


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The Final Strife: A Novel (The Ending Fire Trilogy #1) By Saara El-Arifi Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780593356944
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - June 21st, 2022

Giovanni's Staff Pick

This book has so much to offer, from a class society based on the color of one's blood, to a tournament to determine the next wardens to lead the empire within a decade, to secrets and lies that founded the empire and have been buried for centuries. We meet three young women: Sylah, a red blooded Ember who grew up with a rebel faction, known as the Sandstorm. Anoor, a blue blooded Duster left in place of a stolen Ember Child. And Hassa, a clear blooded Ghosting orphan who is more than meets the eye. Full of political intrigue, world building, and secrets, this new African based fantasy series promises to be a new staple in the genre.


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Lost & Found: Reflections on Grief, Gratitude, and Happiness By Kathryn Schulz Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780525512486
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - November 22nd, 2022

Cheri's Staff Pick 

Philosophical, beautiful and intimate this memoir made my heart skip beats.  The writing - WOW.  The Lost section at the beginning was the most accurate account of the experience of losing a father that I’ve ever seen. It astounded me and reminded me why I love to read. 


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The Clackity (Blight Harbor) By Lora Senf Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781665902670
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - June 28th, 2022

Cheri's Staff Pick

Welcome to Blight Harbor, the seventh most haunted town in America per capita where ghosts live in all the houses and witches and other supernatural beings are considered normal. Evie Von Rathe lives in the town with her aunt Desdemona who writes an advice column in the local paper (hilarious!). When a visit to an abandoned slaughterhouse goes terribly wrong, Evie’s aunt goes missing somewhere inside the building and it’s up to her to save her. The Clackity is a very dark, nasty creature that Evie must outwit on her quest to find her aunt, encountering a cast of other unsavory characters along the way. With every challenge Evie grows stronger and more confident in herself. There are SO MANY awesome pieces to this story that it’s impossible to list them all. I loved the good sparrow friends that assist her, the near blind witches she meets that are not as they first appear to be, the penny-eyes ghosts that are also prisoners, and the most horrible of all - the ghost of a former serial killer that is responsible for all of the torment. I absolutely loved this book! Fans of Neil Gaiman, John Bellairs, Edward Gorey and any Tim Burton film will enjoy this creepy yet heartwarming gothic tale. The artwork is also perfect.


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Just Like Home By Sarah Gailey Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250174727
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - July 19th, 2022

Cheri's Staff Pick

This is not your usual haunted house story or serial killer thriller.  Where do I begin?  1) My jaw hurts because I was clenching it as I read every page;  2) Sarah Gailey created scenes that were SO vivid and dark that I was thinking about them long after reading, especially once the lights were turned off and it was time for sleep! 3) This book made me question traditional ideas of good vs. evil, light vs. dark, loyalty vs. betrayal -- what family means, if forgiveness is possible, and what is the true meaning of home?  It made me question all of these things in a deeply disturbing, sometimes gory way, but I loved it despite my sore shoulders and neck from being so tensed out.  I also don't think I'll ever think of grease in the same way again after this one!  This was perfection.


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Woman of Light: A Novel By Kali Fajardo-Anstine Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780525511328
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - June 7th, 2022

Cheri's Staff Pick 

A stunningly beautiful multigenerational story of a family originally from “the lost territory” and ending up in Denver. I loved the connections between the generations, particularly with the women, and found it very refreshing to read a “western” that was so female-focused and told a non-white historical view of events. So much meaning is found in all the layers of the interconnected histories of the family, I was completely captivated by each one. I highly recommend to anyone interested in historical fiction, indigenous history, family sagas, and mystical connections to ancestors - including the author’s own that inspired the book. Let’s put it this way - I loved this so much I could pick it up and reread it again right now. It’s that gorgeous.


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Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel By Bonnie Garmus Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780385547345
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - April 5th, 2022

Cheri's Staff Pick

Lessons in Chemistry is centered around Elizabeth Zott,  a unique, utterly unforgettable character.  It's the 1960's, and Elizabeth is a brilliant (and very serious) scientist/chemist in a world that does not recognize women as anything other than homemakers.  We embark  with her on a journey that begins with finding love, losing love, unwed motherhood (a big no-no in this time period), horrible bosses (including sexual harassment), unlikely friendships, and a career that lands her on a TV cooking show (imparting more than cooking wisdom) to housewives/mothers, and infuriating the network (and world) for disrupting the status quo.  She's bold, courageous, unflinching, and for all of her intellect, completely unaware of how witty and hilarious she actually is.  Throughout it all, she is joined by her trusted dog protector (and learner of MANY english words!), Six-Thirty (yes, his name is also amazing).  I laughed, I seethed, I got sad, but mostly I was rooting for Elizabeth, not only as a woman, but as a human trying to succeed in life.  


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Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A novel By Gabrielle Zevin Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593321201
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - July 5th, 2022

Cheri's Staff Pick

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow packs a heavy punch. A story about two childhood friends that bond over a shared love of gaming and how their lives play out into their thirties. Gabrielle Zevin deftly creates a multilayered narrative that focuses on the business of video game creation while also following how these players navigate the real world. There are too many soul stirring moments to count ranging from absolutely devastating to the dreamily romantic. Gamers will delight in the design details and readers will appreciate the many nods to classics such as Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson. These characters, while sometimes enormously frustrating, have claimed a permanent space in my heart. 


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Fall Guy: A Joe Gunther Novel (Joe Gunther Series #33) By Archer Mayor Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781250224187
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Minotaur Books - September 27th, 2022

Linda's Staff Pick

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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Downton Shabby: One American's Ultimate DIY Adventure Restoring His Family's English Castle By Hopwood DePree Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780063080850
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - May 31st, 2022

Linda's Staff Pick 

Once upon a time...and a happy ending...but maybe sometime in the future.
Hopwood DePree was a successful Hollywood producer/writer who was researching his ancestry. and then he finds his name attached to a 'castle' in England! was his grandfathers tales true?
He made a visit to the town of Middleton in England & Hopwood Hall not knowing this was going to change his life!
With constant work & worry, Hopwood is trying to bring back the Hall to it's glory days-anywhere from 600+ years ago.
what he encounters with his work & searching more of his family history, is a community that is totally supportive of what he is doing.
Some of them remember back to WW1 & how Hopwood Hall was beginning to change.
Help comes from preservation groups, grants, neighbors & his family...and he realizes he is 'where he is suppose to be' fulfilling a mission of restoration of his home.
Being an American, he learns quickly the British cultural ways, language & traditions-which will give you many belly laughs!


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Facing the Mountain: An Inspiring Story of Japanese American Patriots in World War II By Daniel James Brown Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780525557425
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - May 10th, 2022

Linda's Staff Pick

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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Scent: A Natural History of Fragrance By Elise Vernon Pearlstine, Lara Call Gastinger (Illustrator) Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780300246964
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yale University Press - May 24th, 2022

Linda's Staff Pick 

Is it stink or sublime? and perfume-little microbial factories, by nature or man.
This book is more than just perfumes that we might think of in Macy's. Pearlstine is a naturalist and has blended the molecules of scent in the natural world used to attract pollinators or deter predators, into a complex history with humans.
Think of turpentine-one of our earliest scents. Maybe you'd rather get a bottle of Chanel #5!
She does discuss the blending of molecules for fragrance.
I think if you enjoy the science & ecology, you'll be amazed at all the interactions between plants & animals with the stories she tells!
In India there is a special time for 'scent of the soil'; in Texas watch out for the Rose Rustlers!!!!


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The Plant Hunter: A Scientist's Quest for Nature's Next Medicines By Cassandra Leah Quave Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781984879134
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - June 14th, 2022

Linda's Staff Pick

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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A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son By Michael Ian Black Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781643752044
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - May 10th, 2022

Ali's Staff Pick

In a last ditch prep-before-departure, Michael Ian Black puts his two cents in on all things "life" in this loving, familial, and humorous letter to his college-bound son.  Filled with stories of his own growing up, in fits and starts, and ultimately finding balance in manhood: no subject is off limits.  Machismo, pride, violence, dating, consent, emotional IQ, love, intimacy, privilege and so much more. Finally, the importance of giving back to the world in whatever way makes sense, and finding one's own recipe for happiness.  I loved this one!


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Kitchen Confidential Updated Ed: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly By Anthony Bourdain Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780060899226
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - January 9th, 2007

Ali's Staff Pick

I devoured this deliciously salty memoir.  From his first oyster (which he remembers as fondly as losing his virginity), to the bad-ass culture of NY city kitchens, (you have to be tough as nails to succeed), Bourdain tells the gritty, raunchy stories of his early years with carving knife precision and gut busting humor.  You will be thoroughly entertained, quite possibly grossed out, and definitely enlightened. 
This is a great autobiography by a great legend, gone too soon.  But damn, what a life!  I can't wait to dig my fork into his other works.  A++++


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Deer Man: Seven Years of Living in the Wild By Geoffroy Delorme, Shaun Whiteside (Translator) Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781771649797
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greystone Books - September 27th, 2022

Ali's Staff Pick

Geoffroy, a loner and lover of nature, lived with several generations of roe deer in northern France, and this is his amazing account.  Without any of the "essentials' of outdoor survival, he manages to eke out an existance and earn the trust and friendship of these beautiful, surprisingly individual animals, as well as foxes, badgers, and other forest dwellers. Beautifully translated by Shaun Whiteside, who captures the poetry and passion of the writing, this book will leave you with a new respect and compassion for the plight of the animals who have lost much of their habitat due to humans' activities.  I was cheered by the happy ending, though. This is one great read.


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Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art By James Nestor Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780735213616
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 26th, 2020

Ali's Staff Pick

I had no idea how much the simple act of breathing with purpose can influence our health.  James Nestor is a genius at telling us the story of breathing correctly and its potential positive impact, both mental and physical.  Inside these pages is information which just may change your life.  Whether you take just a few pieces of advice, or commit fully to the advanced techniques, this is an excellent, informative, and exciting read.  


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Caste (Oprah's Book Club): The Origins of Our Discontents By Isabel Wilkerson Cover Image
$32.00
ISBN: 9780593230251
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - August 4th, 2020

Ali's Staff Pick

BOOKLOFT TOP 100 OF ALL TIME!
#4 as of 2/11/22
"Big and heavy, both in size and subject.  Isabel Wilkerson examines and illuminates how caste works, not just in Nazi Germany, not just in India, but also unnamed, unacknowledged, in the U.S.  I found myself reading, then re-reading many parts of this book, needing time to process and absorb information which, though expertly and beautifully presented, is searing to the soul of anyone who cares.  White privilege is just another name for caste. And yes, it exists in America.


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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery By Alan Bradley Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780385343497
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bantam - January 19th, 2010

Max's Staff Pick

This series is without a doubt my favorite of all time. Whenever times are tough, I read this book. Flavia de Luce is such a wonderful character and you can't help but love her. The image Bradley paints of Buckshaw is beautiful. I am a fan for life.


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The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America By Erik Larson Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780375725609
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - February 10th, 2004

Max's Staff Pick

Forever an Erik Larson fan after this. Much like Philip Carlo, anything Larson releases, I'm the first in line to buy. He is truly a master of his craft. The ease at which you are learning is incredible. Its more interesting then any movie or documentary on this topic could be. 


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The Butcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath By Philip Carlo Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780061744662
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - October 19th, 2010

Max's Staff Pick

Philip Carlo is at it again, giving out the best true crime writing the genre has to offer. If I could interview any author, dead or alive, it would be Carlo. The depth at which he researches is amazing and he makes all that quality research palatable for the reader without diluting the facts. It feels like a story and not a research paper which it could easily be. 


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A Brotherhood Betrayed: The Man Behind the Rise and Fall of Murder, Inc. By Michael Cannell Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250204394
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Minotaur Books - October 12th, 2021

Max's Staff Pick

Michael Cannell nailed it with this book. I received this as a Christmas present from a friend a few years ago and to this day, it is one of the best presents I have ever received. It illustrates an important point about labelling these men just as "mobsters" when in reality, they had higher kill counts then most serial killers.


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Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago By Max Allan Collins, A. Brad Schwartz Cover Image
$21.99
ISBN: 9780062441959
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - June 4th, 2019

Max's Staff Pick

Al Capone's leadership of his syndicate changed the way the U.S. government saw the Mafia forever. They were no longer a ragtag group of petty criminals from Sicily, they were an immediate threat to the American people. Collins and Schwartz do an incredible job of illustrating each sides perspective while still remaining true to the smallest details. You can feel Capone's confidence in his supposed omnipotence and how he became a symbol of rebellion in the heat of prohibition. You can also see Eliot Ness's fierce dedication to forming a group powerful enough to do the one thing no agency or person had ever been able to do, take Capone down. This cat and mouse game not only involved the FBI and Capone, it involved the entire country, people waiting in lines around the block to get a newspaper to see what Capone was up to, asking him for autographs, going to his court hearings. Capone rose to a celebrity status, and whether you were rooting for him or not, you were watching him. The spotlight was where he thrived. Collins and Schwartz pull you back in time and make you a fly on the wall in both sides of this battle for Chicago. You won't be able to put it down!