Friday, September 11, 2009

Books on September 11th for Kids

Carmen Agra Deedy has written a deeply moving picturebook on September 11th called 14 Cows for America in collaboration with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah. This is the true story of Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah, of the Maasai people of Kenya who was studying in New York City during the 9/11 attacks. He brought the story of what happened that day home to his tribe & they, in turn, reached out to the people of America with a gift of peace and hope. The illustrations by Thomas Gonzalez are absolutely beautiful. For around ages 5-10, although I think it would be excellent for the classroom for older kids as well.

Fireboat The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman. In 1931 the John J. Harvey fireboat was launched & her crews faithfully fought fires for decades. By 1995, however, the need for fireboats had diminished & the John J. Harvey was considered fit only for the scrap yard. Fortunately, a group of friends had heard of the fireboat's plight & got together to save her & fix her up. Nobody anticipated that someday she might be called back into action. On September 11th, this piece of New York history that had been considered antiquated & useless was instrumental in saving lives & putting out fires. Her owners worked endlessly during the emergency. A very inspiring & touching story, again for ages 5-10

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dennis Lehane at Book House!

Next Wednesday, September 16th, at 7pm, Dennis Lehane will be signing and reading at the Book House! His most recent novel, "The Given Day," will be released in paperback the day before.

Mr. Lehane is also the author of "Mystic River" and "Shutter Island," on which the movies by the same titles are based, as well as "A Drink Before the War."

"The Given Day" is a historical novel about Boston during and after World War II. It was first published in hardcover last fall.

We hope you'll join us in welcoming Dennis Lehane to the Book House!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Graceling in Paperback!

Just a quick note to say Graceling by Kristin Cashore arrived in the store in paperback yesterday. This book is one of our favorite young adult novels, great for lovers of fantasy, romance, the Twilight series (though Katsa is way cooler than Bella), or anyone looking for a well written story with cool characters, a wonderful romance, and a ton of adventure. Those of us who have read it -- and there are many -- couldn't put it down!

Bonus: Graceling's prequel, Fire, will be out in hardcover in a matter of months!

And finally, check out Kristin Cashore's blog for more tidbits about the books!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Oldies but Goodies: Our Favorite Summer Reads

Looking for a good book to enjoy during the summer that's finally arrived? These books aren't fresh off the press, but they're some of our favorites.

Handling Sin by Michael Malone
By turns hysterical and touching, this novel follows Raleigh Hayes, who is torn from his comfortable life when his ailing father escapes from the hospital, leaving behind directions for Raleigh to gather specific items and then meet him in New Orleans on a particular date. A favorite of staff members and customers alike.

Julia Spencer-Fleming's Adirondack mystery series
These books are completely addictive! There are six in the series so far, all out in paperback, with a seventh on the way. The first is In the Bleak Midwinter, so be sure to pick it up first. And based on Julia Spencer-Fleming's recommendation, we started reading Craig Johnson's mysteries, and we love those as well! Start with #1, which is The Cold Dish.

Any novel by Sarah Waters, but especially The Fingersmith
Replete with twists and turns, this historical novel set in England will keep you guessing until the very last page. Don't start it late at night or you'll never go to bed! For people who are already fans of Sarah Waters' books, her newest novel, recently released in hardcover, is called The Little Stranger.

Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death series
Think twelfth century CSI with a feisty female lead and you have a sense of what these wonderful historical novels are about. As physician Adelia sorts out mystery after mystery for the king of England, all the while hiding the fact that she, as a woman, is the real doctor, she'll keep you on the edge of your seat. There are three books in the series so far, and we are anxiously awaiting the fourth installment!

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka
This quirky, endearing story follows a pair of sisters as they try to wrest their father away from the grasp of the young and beautiful Valentina, the "fluffy pink grenade" who has taken over the aging gentleman's life. As they join forces against this common foe, Nadeshda and Vera repair a relationship that has been strained for years. (It doesn't have much to do with tractors!)

The Reluctant Tuscan by Phil Doran
This light, quick read is Doran's memoir of moving to Italy with his wife. As they battle everything from the archaic laws of the village's government to an elderly neighbor who seems to have it in for them, they settle little by little into their new life. You will laugh, sympathize, and find yourself with a craving for some authentic Italian pasta!

Stop in and talk to us about these and other "oldies but goodies"!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Looking for Local?

Looking for something sporting Capital District flair? Look no further than the Book House! We carry a wide selection of local postcards in addition to beautiful greeting cards--both photo and art--by local artists.

Need something a little more substantial? We have Albany magnets and key chains and even Albany mugs. And of course, we have a large selection of books both by local authors and about the area, including hiking guides and maps.

Stop in and let us help you find what you're looking for!

Friday, July 31, 2009

New Titles for August

Fall is a big season for books! Many favorite authors will be releasing new titles over the upcoming months. We'll give you the breakdown at the start of each month.

Here's what's new for August for adults:
August 4th: That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo and Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon
August 11th: South of Broad by Pat Conroy
August 18th: The Law of Nines by Terry Goodkind

And for kids and young adults:
August 4th: the long-awaited paperback of Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
August 11th: The 39 Clues Book 5: The Black Circle by Patrick Carman and What Was I Scared Of? by Dr. Seuss

Give us a call at 489-4761 to reserve your copy today!

Chocolate Gecko, Theo Chocolate, and Mu Mu Muesli

As many of our customers already know, we now carry fresh local chocolate from Albany's Chocolate Gecko. We all have our favorites among their delectable selection: chocolate dipped handmade marshmallows, jumbo caramel and pecan turtles, chocolate covered Newman-Os, spicy Komodo Crunch toffee...and the list goes on!

We've just added another kind of chocolate to our front counter, making it even harder for the staff to concentrate: smooth, organic, fair-trade Theo chocolate bars from Seattle. Their website states that they are "proud to be the only organic, fair trade, bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the United States." These bars come in a wide variety of flavors, ranging from 70% rich dark chocolate to Fig, Fennel, & Almond and Coconut & Curry. Check out their website for more information, then stop by the Book House and try some for yourself!

And finally, we now carry Mu Mu Muesli. This blend of cranberries, dates, coconut, roasted almonds, and flaxseeds has been a hit at area farmer's markets; now it is also available at the Book House. It makes a delicious breakfast or snack. Eat it with yogurt, milk, or by the handful! And check out their logo...what could be cuter than a cow in a mu mu?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Book House is on Twitter!

We've done it...Book House is now on Twitter! Follow us for book news and event updates: @bookhousealbany

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

I have been a Diana Gabaldon fan for many years, so it was quite a shock to my system when I finished reading The Fiery Cross and realized that she was really starting to annoy me. I am sure fans everywhere are ready to burn me as a witch, but consider--as her hardcover sales started to grow, her books got longer and longer. I know Diana Gabaldon does a ton of research for her books, but it seemed as though she tried to include every fact she encountered in The Fiery Cross. In 1443 pages (in the mass market edition) she moves the story ahead 2 years. 2 years in 1443 pages? That is a few too many pages, in my opinion. Yes, it is a good story, but a good editor would have been welcome. So I didn't read the next book, Breath of Snow and Ashes.

Well--I recently found out that book 7 in the Outlander series, Echo in the Bone, is being released on September 22. What could I do? I had to sit down and read Breath of Snow and Ashes. I could stand being one book behind with nothing on the horizon, but to be 2 books behind was too much. My reaction: At 1432 pages (again in the mass market edition), it was long. But it moved the story from 1772 to 1776, so we made twice as much progress as in the previous book, and it didn't seem to have as much herb lore and medical tidbits, either. All in all, a much more satisfactory read than book 5.

And now, we wait impatiently for An Echo in the Bone. It will be 992 pages in the hardcover edition, so it is about the size of the previous two books. Will it be as riveting as the earlier volumes? Only time will tell.....

PS--If you are interested in another wonderful time travel novel, read The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It is so wonderfully romantic, I cry every time I read it! The movie is being released on August 14, so quick, read it before you see the movie!

(Susan T.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Booksigning at Market Block Books in Troy

Friday, 7:00 PM
Troy Night Out
Market Block Books
290 River Street
Troy, NY

Meet Brad Kessler! He will be signing his new book Goat Song. Brad is also the author of Birds in Fall, one of my favorite novels. Brad's new book is about his experiences raising goats and making cheese in Vermont. But more than this, the book explores the origins of the pastoral life, both etymologically and culturally. He's a brilliant writer and I think you'll be surprised at what a good book this is.

Stop by and meet this wonderful author.
Saturday, 12:00 PM
Market Block Books
290 River Street
Troy, NY

Come and meet Mike Esposito this Saturday at Market Block Books. Mike did a wonderful job collecting photos from Little Italy's past. We've already had people browsing the book saying things like, "that's my grandmother's kitchen!" Unlike many of the Images of America series that has historic photos of a city's past, this book has more intimate memories of a neighborhood that still has its connections in the present. This is a palpable historic in a book: the families, the churches, the stories. If you take a moment to look at this book you'll see the lives who made up this part of Troy, New York.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bookseller's Bookshelf: Marggie

Here's what Marggie has lined up to read next:

The Prayer Room by Shanthi Sekaran
This novel, for fans of Jhumpa Lahiri and Chitra Divakaruna, is about a British English professor, his Indian bride and their triplets adjusting to life in Sacramento, California, in 1974.

The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman by Nancy Marie Brown
This book tells the true story of Gudrid, who saled from Iceland to Newfoundland 500 years before Columbus.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This is a novel set in 1862 Mississippi and told through the voices of three unforgettable women.

Jesus Was a Liberal by Rev. Scotty McLennan, Dean of Religious Life at Stanford
According to Marcus Borg, this is "an immensely readable book that reclaims the honorable word 'liberal' for a vision of Christianity that is persuasive, compelling, and faithful."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Ugly Duckling retold by Rachel Isadora

I've just fallen in love with this series of Rachel Isadora's fairytales! She has been retelling & illustrating a number of classic fairytales from Grimm & Andersen but with illustrations inspired by a decade of her living in Africa. I have to say that The Ugly Duckling is one of my favourites! Besides being absolutely gorgeous, her vibrant collage/mixed media illustrations add a new depth & flavour to these beloved & familiar classics.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Perfect for Graduation

Here's a new book that would be perfect for anyone graduating from college.
The book has that title that makes my skin crawl, but I've given it a good read through and it's not what it seems. It's a very practical book for folks in their 20s and 30s to help get their financial lives in order. And the "rich" part is really a hook. Sure, some will read this book as a way of getting ahead, but the book offers a balanced approach to finances including sharing your wealth and doing what you truly love.

The author has a good sense of humor and solid advice. Even an old codger like me can learn something from this book.
I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Sethi, Ramit

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Stanley unwinds after BEA.

After being in NYC for the weekend I feel like all my molecules are buzzing. And without much time between the convention and work I jumped right into my next appointment at the store, meeting with one of my favorite reps. (Seriously, I like ALL the reps who come to see me. They are a great bunch!) When I got home on Tuesday night I was worn down and wanted to skip out on going to my weekly meditation group. But I hopped in the car and headed to Albany. Once I got there I knew I needed to be there. I needed to be still and do nothing for an hour. Just sit.

But sometimes it takes more than that one session to restore my inner calm. And so Wednesday came and I got back on the moving sidewalk and buzzed through the day. I was busy the whole day, not much of a break except to grab a bite to eat at the front counter. Bad form! I needed to stop and smell the roses.

Speaking of smelling the roses... when I got home last night I went across the street to see my neighbor who was working in her garden. She showed me her English roses with enormous blooms and smelling divine. Then she showed me her wild roses which are taking over her work shed. Small, delicate white blooms which start from tiny pink buds. Beautiful. Then she pulled out her binoculars from her table and pointed them to the top of a mulberry tree three yards away. At the top was a small flock of cedar waxwings, with black masks, happily eating berries. When we finished watching the birds her husband showed up and we sat on the back deck and sipped a beer. I was calm and peaceful and happy. After an hour of conversation I came back home and picked a pot full of greens from my backyard and mixed up a delicious supper of beans and greens and brown rice. I was content. I slowed down. I picked up the readers copy of a book I've been reading and settled into bed. The perfect ending to the day.

PS. Happy Birthday Allen Ginsberg, wherever you are!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

BEA Recap from Susan T.

This past weekend, I headed down to New York City for Book Expo America, the annual bookseller convention. Every year, thousands of booksellers and publishers gather to kvetch, kvell, and talk books; it is also a reflection on the state of the bookselling industry in the United States. To judge by the scaled-down booths, parties, and swag, the state of bookselling is at a cautious crossroads. Are books terminal? Will we all be doing our bedtime reading on screens in the foreseeable future? I think (and hope) that books will be a viable option for the rest of my life (and, I hope, my career!) For me, BEA is all about learning about the new books coming out in the fall, meeting authors whose books I love, and hanging it with people who share my passion for reading. On to the show!

I arrived an NYC on Friday night and headed to the Housing Works Cafe and Bookstore for a Midnight Fried Chicken Party put on by the Lee brothers of The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook fame. They have a new cookbook coming out this fall, The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern, and if the food at this party is any indication, it is going to be a heck of a cookbook! I especially enjoyed the soybean & tomato salad with buttermilk dressing. YUM! And the fried chicken was meaty, juicy & flavorful. All in all, an excellent way to start the show.

On Saturday, I headed to the Javits Center for the trade show proper. I won't say anything about all the exciting advance copies of the new fall releases I got, because you can't get them yet and it isn't fair to tease, but I met Kristin Cashore, author of Graceling, and thanked her for writing a novel whose heroine is the anti-Bella from Twilight--strong and independent, with or without a boyfriend at her side. I also met Isa Chandra Moskowitz, a vegan cookbook author whose latest, Vegan Brunch, appeals to me for some reason. I am not vegan, but I am trying to eat healthier, and some of these recipes look pretty simple, even for the novice cook. I glimpsed Craig Ferguson signing his new book, and said hello to Alan Bradley, the author of the bestselling Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. The highlight was meeting Michael Malone, author of Handling Sin, which has been one of my favorite books to recommend for over 20 years. His newest, The Four Corners of the Sky, was just released and is in the store in hardcover. Oh, and I met Tracy Kidder and got a signed copy of his forthcoming fall release.

By 4:00, I was dragging and my arms were tired of carrying canvas bags loaded with books. After a short rest at the hotel, I went out again, to meet friends for dinner. Before dinner, I stopped at the Strand Bookstore. I browsed for an hour and bought a book. Coals to Newcastle doesn't begin to cover it, but I like supporting independent bookstores when I travel. Yes, going to BEA is truly a busman's holiday, but one I totally enjoy. Now if I can only find a place to put all the new books I acquired........

Thursday, May 7, 2009

An Embarrassment of Riches

About 2 weeks ago, I was scrounging around for something good to read. So annoying, to work in a bookstore and not have anything gripping begging for my attention! I consoled myself with the thought that the selling season for the fall was starting up (that is when the publishers' sales reps visit and try to persuade our intrepid buyers to order many copies of the upcoming autumn bestsellers) and that soon we would have many galleys of forthcoming books to paw through.

Be careful what you wish for, indeed! From our Random House reps, I have a copy of the NEW PAT CONROY!! I love Pat Conroy. His new book, South of Broad, will be out in September. I am almost to the end of it, but I hate to finish too quickly, so I put it down for a day or so to start the new Margaret Atwood! The Year of the Flood will also be out in September. I think this will be as popular as The Handmaid's Tale; it is a topical look at a dystopian future whose problems bear eerie resemblance to today's headlines. Again, I am almost finished with it, and wishing it could go on for a little while longer.

Plus, I finished Kristin Cashore's prequel to Graceling, Fire, in just a day. It was a satisfying read that will please her ever-growing throng of fans. It is another book for adolescent girls who loved Twilight, but who need to meet a heroine whose life doesn't revolve around her crush. Fire will also be coming out in September. (And the sequel to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire, is coming out in September--another anti-Twilight strong heroine returns.)

And the cherry on top of the sundae? The Last Olympian, the 5th and last book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, was just released on Tuesday. My cup runneth over with books I can't wait to read, a wonderful situation for a book lover to be in.

Mark your calendars--this fall brings a bumper crop of fantastic fiction!

Also, a piece of shameless self-promotion: I am now writing a blog for Capital District Local First on the Times Union webpage. Feel free to wander over and give it a look see. Thanks for reading!


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bookseller's Bookshelf: Erin

I'm reading two books at the moment: one old, and one new.

The old one is Frank Conroy's Body and Soul, a novel that follows piano prodigy Claude Rawlings as he climbs from humble beginnings to stardom in 1950s New York City. It's definitely not a fast moving book, yet it is positively engrossing. Filled with the minutiae of everyday life and peppered with bursts of fascinating musical discussion, Conroy takes a rags-to-riches tale that could be commonplace and dull and transforms it into a story to be savored. This book is actually from the 1990s and no longer on our shelves here at the Book House, but it's still available. Ask and we'll get it for you!

As for the new one, I just picked up a reader's copy of Love Begins in Winter, a forthcoming collection of short stories by Simon van Booy. I'm just a few pages in, but I can tell I won't be putting this one aside. In beautiful, clear prose, van Booy tells ordinary stories as if they're infused with magic. The opening story, about a world-famous cellist, has such sudden and universal truths about life that I am absolutely intrigued to read more. Look for it coming in May!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Customers Strike Again!

Awhile back, I had several customers buy the same book in rapid succession. Within a few days, we had sold three or four copies of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka. Every time the purchase was made, I was asked, "Have you read it? It's supposed to be wonderful." After answering "no" again and again, I decided to take the customers' advice and read the book.

I ended up loving it. Two sisters who are usually at odds with one another end up banding together to save their elderly father from Valentina, a young Ukrainian divorcee It's quirky and fun, with enough seriousness to give it weight, full of zany characters who are real and lovable underneath. It incorporates history, family dynamics, and crazy situations into a quick novel that has very little to do with tractors! In short, it's a good, fun read that I now recommend to many customers.

The same thing happened again last month. This time, two or three customers asked for the book on the same day: The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. Over the next few days, several more people came in looking for a book we had no idea would be so popular! Having learned my lesson last time, I picked up a copy. Surprise! The customers were right again.

The Housekeeper and the Professor tells the story of three nameless characters: the housekeeper, the housekeeper's son (nicknamed Root by the professor, because his head is flat like a square root sign), and a retired professor of mathematics whose memory only lasts 80 minutes. As the story progresses, math and baseball pull these three characters together into a kind of family unit.

Some of my coworkers have read or are reading the book now as well. We can't keep it on the shelf! Thank you, Book House customers. Keep reading!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Let's Get Crafty!

From Susan T:

At the suggestion of a customer who shall remain nameless (thanks, SG!), I went to Beauknits, Ltd in Cohoes to learn how to knit. I recently resumed crocheting after a 30-year break, but I needed some instruction to resume knitting again. Thus, the lessons. Barbara at Beauknits is a wonderful teacher and I am almost done with my first hat; I'll finish it at next Saturday's lesson. In the meantime, I've started hat #2 and purchased yarn for an easy-looking sweater.
(Remember that Florida trip where I said I'd save money by not buying books? I lied.) What does this have to do with books, you ask?

Whenever I have a new enthusiasm (Pilates, local economies, crocheting, slow cooker recipes, the Mitford sisters, whatever), I need books about that subject. I might not read them right away, I might just dip into them now and again, but I need to be surrounded by information. On Monday afternoon, we received a book that covers 2 of my enthusiasms: "Pints & Purls: Portable Projects for the Social Knitter", a knitting book with patterns for the person who knits in a bar. Each pattern is rated according to how much attention it requires; the designated driver patterns are the most difficult and the 4-bottle ones require very little skill. (Although
one simple pattern warns, "Never underestimate the difficulty of counting!") I am now the proud owner of this book. Now I just need to find a knitting group that meets in a local pub.....

There are 2 more knitting books on my must-buy list. Erin recommends "The Knitting Answer Book." Published by Storey Press (one of our favorite publishers; they publish interesting, high quality titles), it answers any possible knitting question you might have. Then there is "The Knitter's Companion", recommended by another bookseller as the best knitting reference book out there, and small enough to stash in your knitting bag.

Knitting and books on knitting--who could ask for anything more? Possibly one more thing--one of those gadgets that holds my novel open so I can read while knitting......


PS--In the next couple of months, Beauknits, Ltd will be offering a class on how to knit 2 socks at the same time on one circular needle. If I am feeling ambitious, I might take that class, and I know just the book to bolster me: "2-at-a-Time Socks" by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. It looks scary, but the best thing about knitting is you can always pull it out and start over.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The House in the Night is here!

The new Caldecott award winner, The House in the Night, by Susan Marie Swanson & illustrated by Beth Krommes has been reprinted & is now here at your very own independent, locally-owned bookstore! This is a really beautiful book with luminous illustrations & a simple, lyrical text that is perfect for a new baby gift or as a read aloud, particularly for bedtime. There is a very classic feel to this book, akin to Virginia Burton's Little House or Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon that is very charming and lovely!

The Book House Book Group!

We used to get many questions here at the Book House about whether we had a store affiliated book group. At the end of last year, we decided to launch one and see how it went. The first meeting of the Book House Book Group happened in January, and it's been going strong since! The group meets on the second Wednesday of each month. So far, we've read The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon (January) and Firmin by Sam Savage (February).

This month's book is The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, a book that Stanley of Market Block Books called his favorite book of 2008. If you'd like to join us, the next meeting is on Wednesday, March 11th at 7pm at the Book House -- still plenty of time to read! Just stop by the Book House (or Market Block Books) and pick up your copy.

If you have any questions, or if you'd like to RSVP, give us a call at (518) 489-4761. We hope you can join us!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

News from Market Block Books in Troy, NY

This is my first post here and I hope it's not my last. I'm juggling a few blogs at the moment which is why I'm writing this post. We created a blog for the staff and customers at Market Block Books. Click on that name there (it's a link) and it'll take you to it. There you will see postings by some of your favorite Book House staff as well as guest contributors who just happen to be our customers. Have a look, leave a comment and let me know if you want to post your own book recommendation.

Stanley in Troy

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3 The Last Straw is here!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3 The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney was released yesterday, January 13th-to the delight of the series' many fans! It may have seemed an eternity to diehard fans since the last book came out, but it was just last October that Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Do-It-Yourself Book was released, which encourages kids to write a journal of their own in a Wimpy kid format. For those who may be unfamiliar with the Wimpy Kid phenomenon, it's a hilarious series written in journal form with cartoon style illustrations that is extremely popular, particularly with middle schoolers. The series has a broad appeal to both boys & girls & has been instrumental in getting many reluctant readers to actually enjoy reading. Suggested reading age is about 8 to 13.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Best of 2008: Staff Favorites

Below you will find the Book House booksellers' favorite books from 2008. They're as different as we are, so we hope there will be something for everyone! We'll be highlighting the books in the store to make it easy for customers to find them.

Without further ado, the best books of 2008, according to the Book House staff:

Wesley the Owl by Stacey O'Brien
Chosen by: Troy
The book chronicles the life shared by biologist Stacey O'Brien and her adopted owl Wesley.
Troy says: Stacey O'Brien's dry humor and engaging reportage make this "animal tale" a standout. Read it even if--especially if--you're not pet-obsessed, because it's intelligent and fun.

Au Pied de Cochon by Martin Picard
Chosen by: Julia
Stories, photographs, and recipes make this cookbook a unique package.
Julia says: Life is a party, and at this Montreal restaurant, it's a party with pork products. An amazing eating experience is captured in this fantastic cookbook.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Chosen by: Dan
The newest book by the best-selling author of Blink and The Tipping Point.
Dan says: Chance plays a bigger role in our lives than we like to admit. Gladwell shows how it may be the most important factor.

Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell
Chosen by: Drew
This novel just made the cutoff; it was published right at the end of 2008.
Drew says: This fast-paced thriller tells the story of a doctor who was a mob hit man in a past life. This is the first novel from Josh Bazell. Written in a Chuck Palahniuk style, it's impossible to put down.

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan and The Little Book by Selden Edwards
Chosen by: Susan T.
Two very different books, so she just couldn't choose! Mudbound is set in the post-WWII South and has been compared to To Kill a Mockingbird. The Little Book tells the story of one man's struggles to understand why he was sent back in time to a half century before his own birth.
Susan says: Hard to choose, but Mudbound is by Hillary Jordan, a local author from Tivoli, and The Little Book involves traveling back in time (one of my favorite fictional devices) and it hasn't gotten nearly as much press as my other favorites...Watch for Mudbound in paperback this spring and possibly an author event, too!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Chosen by: Erin
Though technically classified as a young adult novel, Suzanne Collins spins a nail-biting story that will capture any reader.
Erin says: Set in a future America, it follows sixteen-year-old Katniss as she fights to win the government-sponsored, required-viewing Hunger Games--a reality TV show where the last contestant left alive is declared the winner. I spent every one of my spare minutes reading it, and when I'd finished, I spent days searching for something as catching to read. Everyone should read this book.