Staff Reviews

Religion for Atheists

Alain de Botton's Religion for Atheists makes the argument that those who do not claim a faith of their own shouldn't "throw out the baby with the bathwater." Without religion, we would be bereft of some of the greatest music, books, architecture, and art. Also, he maintains that the church has had some pretty excellent ideas about organizing our lives and communities that we would do well to follow. Recommended by Kelly

Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion (Vintage International) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780307476821
Availability: Backordered
Published: Vintage - January 8th, 2013

What if religions are neither all true nor all nonsense? Alain de Botton's bold and provocative book argues that we can benefit from the wisdom and power of religion--without having to believe in any of it.

The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks

Lovers of Terry Tempest Williams' writing (and those who never read her before--these are usually the only two categories) rejoice. In time for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, her new book The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks chronicles one of America's best-known and beloved nature writer's visits to twelve national parks and monuments.

The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374280093
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Published: Sarah Crichton Books - May 31st, 2016

America's national parks are breathing spaces in a world in which such spaces are steadily disappearing, which is why more than 300 million people visit the parks each year.

Desert Boys

Chris McCormick’s Desert Boys is a remarkable collection of linked short stories (really, we can call it a novel) set in the desert north of Los Angeles. McCormick’s sense of place and landscape is completely immersive, and his characters are equally well-formed. Through humor, cleverness, pathos, and a bit of formal experimentation, Desert Boys effectively explores questions of leaving, coming home, and the pull of the big city.

Desert Boys: Fiction Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250075505
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Published: Picador USA - May 3rd, 2016

Winner of the Stonewall Book Award/Barbara Gittings Literature Award

Finalist for the Binghamton University's John Gardner Fiction Book Award

Finalist for the Saroyan Prize for Fiction

Longlisted for the Chautauqua Prize

"Hilarious, Devious, Original, and Unforgettable."--Karen Russell


Olio by Tyehimba Jess is a totally stunning, formally inventive tour de force of experimental poetry. The book charts the story of the first post-emancipation generation of black musicians, an important and relevant story, no doubt. But the most impressive aspect of Olio is its formal inventiveness—from split lines, to möbius poems, to conjoined sonnets about conjoined twins, this book explodes with poetic pyrotechnics.

Olio Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781940696225
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Wave Books - April 5th, 2016

Part fact, part fiction, Tyehimba Jess's much anticipated second book weaves sonnet, song, and narrative to examine the lives of mostly unrecorded African American performers directly before and after the Civil War up to World War I. Olio is an effort to understand how they met, resisted, complicated, co-opted, and sometimes defeated attempts to minstrelize them.

And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East

NBC war correspondent, Richard Engel, recalls 20 years of experience and history of the Middle East and North Africa. From the Arab Spring to the rise of major terrorist cells, he retells his life story as a writer, getting kidnapped, and coming home. He addresses questions such as how ISIS formed, why its numbers continue to grow, and whether or not the United States is at fault.

And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781451635119
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - February 9th, 2016


"Gripping astute, fast-paced overview... Engel] gives us sharp, unnerving snapshots." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Dog Songs

Dog Songs, by Mary Oliver, is a touching collection of poems meant for the soul who thinks their coffee goes best with dog fur and their pillows best shared with wet noses. As an overly obsessed dog person, I loved this book. It is the ultimate, eloquently written, collection of dog commentary, or as I like to call it, 'Dogemmtary.' Dog lovers across the globe can relate to such a set of poems. Beautiful and true, painful and worth it. There is no beauty or misery quite like watching your dog get old. Recommended by Jenna.

Dog Songs: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143125839
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Published: Penguin Books - September 29th, 2015

"The popularity of Dog Songs] feels as inevitable and welcome as a wagging tail upon homecoming." --The Boston Globe

The Coroner's Lunch

Dr. Siri, the Communist-appointed coroner of Laos, provides a glimpse into the corruption that rattles his country. As a member of the revolution himself, he fights for the rights of his people, both living and dead. Truly funny and fierce, 72-year-old Dr. Siri reminds me of my Nonno, my highly opinionated Italian grandfather. He is kind to those deserving, quick to stand strong in opposition, and boldly offends proudly. Laos is a country we know little about, yet it has such a colorful history.

The Coroner's Lunch (Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616956493
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Published: Soho Crime - April 7th, 2015

Laos, 1978: Dr. Siri Paiboun, a 72-year-old medical doctor, has unwillingly been appointed the national coroner of the new socialist Laos. His lab is underfunded, his boss is incompetent, and his support staff is quirky, to say the least. But Siri's sense of humor gets him through his often frustrating days.

Girl in a Band

STAFF REVIEW: Disclaimer: I don’t listen to much Sonic Youth, but I loved Kim Gordon's Girl in a Band. If you’re looking for tabloid fodder about Gordon’s breakup with Thurston Moore, you won’t be disappointed, but the real draw here is Gordon’s clear, frank portrayal of her long career in art and music. Like any good artist memoir, it’s full of celebrity cameos and funny anecdotes.

Girl in a Band: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062295903
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Published: Dey Street Books - December 1st, 2015


Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon, and role model for a generation of women, now tells her story—a memoir of life as an artist, of music, marriage, motherhood, independence, and as one of the first women of rock and roll, written with the lyricism and haunting beauty of Patti Smith's Just Kids.

Quiet Power by Susan Cain

STAFF RECOMMENDATION: Remember Susan Cain's book Quiet, that beautifully affirmed and absolved the world's introverts. Well, she has written a new book Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, A Guide for Kids and Teens, which will help not only them but also their parents, friends, teachers, and other caregivers understand and inspire them.

Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts Cover Image
ISBN: 9780803740600
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Published: Dial Books - May 3rd, 2016

The monumental bestseller Quiet has been recast in a new edition that empowers introverted kids and teens

Susan Cain sparked a worldwide conversation when she published Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. With her inspiring book, she permanently changed the way we see introverts and the way introverts see themselves.

Coyote America: A Natural & Supernatural History

Dan Flores in Coyote America: A Natural & Supernatural History has given us an “illuminating biography of an extraordinary animal.” The coyote has been depicted both in cartoons and as a deity in Native American mythology. Until we began ranching and herding on the plains, they lived alongside humans. After complaints by ranchers, the US. government started eradicating wolves, and when coyotes replaced them, they became the next target.

Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780465052998
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Basic Books - June 7th, 2016

Finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
"A masterly synthesis of scientific research and personal observation." -Wall Street Journal